What Causes Cracking Sound In The Knee And How To Treat It

Knee Cracking

Mai Delacruz

Mai Delacruz
Personal Fitness Trainer & Health Coach

Updated on 12/7/2022

What Causes Cracking Sound In The Knee And How To Treat It? The sound that some people's knees make, known medically as crepitus, can be described as squeaking, cracking, or even crackling. The vast majority of the time, there is no need for alarm.

On the other hand, a loud popping sound should give you pause for thought. A pop of this sort may be followed by discomfort and swelling, indicating an injury has occurred. This noise is often referred to as pathological noise in some circles. Even if the source is reliable, something may be incorrect.

Knee injuries can range from relatively minor to severe enough to necessitate surgical intervention. You won't get an accurate assessment of the situation until a medical professional examines your knee.

What may have caused the loud pop in my knee that was immediately followed by pain?

If you suddenly hear a powerful popping sound from your knee, it is relatively safe to conclude that something is amiss. Still, the degree of injury can vary significantly from person to person, and the following is a list of some potential reasons.

Tearing Of The ACL

Tearing Of The ACL

An audible popping sound, typically accompanied by excruciating pain, is one of the telltale signals of a rupture in the knee's anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). It is one of the most common symptoms of an ACL injury. You won't be able to stand or put weight on the leg that's been damaged.

PCL Injury

Other knee ligaments are more susceptible to injury than the anterior cruciate ligament. Injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) are more prevalent than injuries to the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), located at the rear of the knee joint. It is also less likely to make the same loud popping sounds at the time of injury than a torn ACL. You may also have some swelling and discomfort as a result of this.

MCL Injury

A rupture in your knee's medial collateral ligament (MCL) can cause severe pain and swelling. Additionally, an audible popping noise may be heard when the ligament rips. The degree of discomfort you experience will be influenced by whether you strain or tear it. After some time, you will most likely have some swelling and stiffness, and you may find that you cannot bend or straighten your knee.

LCL Injury

The lateral collateral ligament (also known as the LCL) is the last of the knee's four important ligaments and one of the most frequently damaged ligaments. However, it can be injured simultaneously as another ligament in the knee. As a result, even though you could hear a pop or a tearing sound if it is torn, it might also be the sound of another ligament. The patient will experience pain, weakness, and sometimes numbness or stiffness.

Meniscus Tear

Meniscus Tear

It is possible to tear one of the two cartilage pieces sandwiched between your thighbone and shinbone if you make a quick pivot or rotation or apply direct pressure. This type of damage, identified by a popping sound, is referred to as a meniscus tear.

The following symptoms include pain, swelling, trouble moving, and a feeling of instability. If the cartilage in your knee becomes loose and begins to obstruct the joint, you may also experience a strange slipping feeling.

Damage To The Cartilage

If a portion of the cartilage in your knee becomes injured, you may hear a popping sound as you move your knee back and forth.

A Tear In The Patellar Tendon

A patellar tendon connects the top of your kneecap to the top of your shinbone. It can tear, a condition known as patellar tendinitis, or it can become inflamed.

If it tears, you can hear a popping or tearing sound. You may be unable to straighten your leg, and it is also possible that your kneecap will feel as though it is creeping up into your thigh. You may also have discomfort, cramps, bruising, and an indentation at the base of your kneecap.

Arthritis Of The Knee

Arthritis Of The Knee

When cartilage usually separates the bones in your knee joint deteriorates, this can lead to the development of arthritis of the knee, which is also known as osteoarthritis. When you move your knee, you can hear and feel the bones in your knee rubbing or grinding against one another, which can also be accompanied by popping sounds.

First aid for injuries to the knee

Should dismiss None of those mentioned above wounds as unimportant. If you suffer one, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. To reduce the swelling in your knee, you should avoid putting weight on it and apply ice to it. Do not try to put any weight on it if you do not believe you can do so.

When Should One Go To The Doctor?

The popping sound might happen after you collide with another person, rotate, pivot, or jump and land with force. It could also occur after any of those actions. If you hear a "pop" of what you are doing or how to fit, you should have it looked out as soon as possible. You might need to do specific tests to determine what caused the damage and how extensive it is.

In addition, it is essential that you get treatment as soon as possible since doing so may help you prevent suffering other injuries in the future. According to a study that looked at over 1,900 persons with knee arthritis in 2016, researchers found that unstable knees rendered people more prone to falling and injuries associated with falling. However, it might reduce the risk via the application of suitable measures.

Assessing The Severity Of The Wound

Assessing The Severity Of The Wound

A physical examination of your knee will be performed, during which the attending physician will note any bruising, swelling, or other abnormalities that have developed. There is a good chance that this will also include some range of motion tests, during which your knee will be bent and rotated to see the results.

For instance, if your doctor believes that your anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) has been torn, they may carry out specific physical diagnostic tests on you, such as the anterior drawer test and the Lachman test, to evaluate the strength of your ACL. If it appears as though there may be damage to the meniscus, a McMurray test, in which the meniscus is subjected to some stress to determine how it responds to that stress, may be performed.

After that, you will most likely have several imaging tests. The following stage, which is often an X-ray, is typically followed by an MRI scan to gain a closer look at the ligaments and structures in your knee.

The treatment of the conditions that cause a loud pop to be followed by discomfort in the knee

The particulars of your therapy will change depending on the diagnosis that has been made.

Knee injuries can be treated effectively at home by following the RICE protocol, which includes resting the injured knee, applying ice, applying compression, and elevating it. This method is often advised by specialists in sports medicine for the first two or three days after an injury has been sustained.

Medications That Are Used To Relieve Pain

Medications That Are Used To Relieve Pain

Indeed, a knee injury can be rather painful. To alleviate some of the discomforts, your physician may advise you to take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs), or they may decide that corticosteroid injections would be more appropriate.


If you want to enhance your flexibility and the range of motion in your knees, your doctor may recommend that you include specific knee exercises in your regular workout program.

According to research conducted in 2014, knee function and discomfort may be improved by land-based exercise, and research also shows that water-based exercise may also aid with knee function.

Braces For The Knees And Several Additional Supports

If your creaky knee is the consequence of osteoarthritis, your doctor may consider wearing a knee brace or sleeve to support your knee joint since research from 2014 shows that it could assist. If your knee is noisy because of osteoarthritis, your doctor may suggest using a knee sleeve.

Putting orthotic inserts into your shoes might also be of assistance. A cane will probably not make the noise go away, but it will make it simpler for you to go around.

Physiotherapy (Physical)

Physiotherapy (Physical)

You can heal from a knee injury with nothing more than some rest and some physical therapy once you've had some time to get better from the ailment. However, it is also commonly advised to be done following surgery to assist patients in regaining their strength and mobility.


Ligaments that have been partially or fully ripped may require surgical repair.

Suppose you have torn your anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), for instance. In that case, your physician may suggest that you undergo ACL reconstruction so that you can restore the strength and stability in your knee. Will replace The torn ligament with a ligament taken from another region of your body or obtained from a donor.

In the case of a torn meniscus, arthroscopic surgery may be necessary to remove any damaged meniscus tissue or to stitch the torn ends of the meniscus back together.


Don't grit your teeth and tough it out. Get immediate medical attention for your knee if it gives you a start by making a loud popping sound (or possibly a succession of popping sounds).

How To Perform Knee Replacement Surgery Without Injuring Yourself

How To Perform Knee Replacement Surgery

Replacement Surgery is common to hear cracking or popping sounds emanating from your knee, especially once you reach 40. Crepitus is the medical term for these popping sounds. Crepitus in your knee may not be harmful, but it might indicate that another health problem is already present or is about to emerge.

If you occasionally sense an odd sensation in your knee joint, such as if it is inflated with air or locked into position, it may be accompanied by a strong urge to "pop" the knee back into place. It might be a sign of a condition known as patellofemoral pain syndrome.

Moving slowly, attentively, and with intention will allow you to do this task without risk.

How To Give Yourself A Knee Pop

The knee joint is a bit difficult to understand fully. Cartilage is in the space between your tibia, fibula (shin bones), and femur (thigh bone), providing a cushioning effect. The patella is an additional bone that covers the surface of your knee joint (kneecap). If you are cracking your knee and experience any discomfort while doing so, you should immediately stop and seek medical attention.

Quick and easy stretch to loosen up your knee.

Sitting down will relieve some of the pressure that is being placed on your knee.

Extend your leg in front of you in a straight line and point the toe of your foot upward.

Raise your leg as high as it can go. It would be best if you popped your knee by repeatedly bending it inside and then outward toward the rest of your body.


Knee Cracking

There are two varieties of knee pops, which are as follows:

  • The only person who can feel or hear pathological knee pops is the patient.
  • Knee pops caused by normal physiological processes are audible to everyone in the room.
  • If you have knee cracking that is both physiological and frequent, this is a symptom that you may require physical therapy or more testing to diagnose the underlying problem with your knee joint.

The Reason Why It Feels Like Your Knee Has To Pop

Synovial fluid is a type of lubricant that covers and protects your joints. This fluid is made up of a variety of components, including oxygen and nitrogen. When this happens, you may feel a "crack" in your knees because the gases from the lubricant have built up to an unsafe level and need to be expelled.

However, the reasons for crepitus aren't always that easy to pin down. Experts are still hard at work trying to figure out what exactly produces the popping and cracking sounds that come from our joints.

Other reasons for knee cracking include:

  1. Bones that break and don't mend right.
  2. Tendons catch on the ridges of your bones and muscles when you walk.
  3. Ligaments that tear and don't heal correctly.

It's possible that as you get older, the cartilage in your knees will start to wear out. As a result of the degeneration of your knee joint, you may have a "creaky" sensation whenever you move your knees because the bone is rubbing against the bone.

Pain in the knee joint is one of the symptoms that might serve as an early warning sign of an injury to the knee or another growing health concern.

Knee Osteoarthritis As The Affected Joint

Knee Osteoarthritis As The Affected Joint

  1. ACL injury
  2. Meniscus that has been ripped or stretched
  3. A case of bursitis (inflammation of the bursa inside your knee joint)
  4. Syndrome of the iliotibial band
  5. Plica syndrome

When you should see your physician.

If you ever sustain an injury and hear or feel a "pop" in your knee at the time of the incident, there is a good likelihood that you fractured a bone or broke a tendon. Seek medical treatment immediately to determine whether or not more testing is required.

If you see any of the following symptoms in your knee:

  1. A reddening or swelling around the patellar region of your knee that can occur at times
  2. Fever after exercise or injury
  3. A feeling of soreness or sensitivity whenever you touch your knee
  4. Continual ache experienced when walking or jogging.
  5. If your symptoms are severe, you should consider going to the nearest hospital's emergency department. These are the following:


  1. Lack of capacity to bend one's knees
  2. A popping or cracking sound coming from the knee at the moment of the accident
  3. Severe agony
  4. A swelling that suddenly develops with no prior warning or apparent reason


If there is no accompanying discomfort or injury, cracking your kneecap is considered to be safe. Participating in exercises that target the loosening of joints, such as Pilates and yoga, could help you achieve greater joint flexibility. You might also inquire with your physician regarding their suggestions.

Under no circumstances should you attempt to break a joint that is causing you discomfort. Be aware that cracking and popping sounds from your knee might indicate an injury or another growing health problem that requires medical treatment.

Causes Of Twitching In The Knees

Causes Of Twitching In The Knees

The involuntary contraction of muscles occurs when the muscles typically generate your knee twitches in your thigh rather than the knee itself. This is because the thigh muscles are closer to the knee than the knee. It's natural for the knee (or any other body part) to twitch thrice. On the other hand, frequent twitching might be brought on by various conditions.

The spasms and cramps you're experiencing are almost always brought on by muscle tension or exhaustion. On the other hand, muscle twitching might occasionally indicate a more serious underlying medical issue.

In addition to weariness and tension on the muscles, the following can also induce knee twitching:

  • Dehydration
  • Many individuals don't get the recommended amount of water each day. However, if left untreated for an extended period, dehydration can have catastrophic consequences and reduce levels of:
  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Electrolytes
  • Muscle twitching is a possible side effect at these low levels.
  • The treatment is to drink plenty of water while you are active. Make it a point to keep yourself hydrated throughout the day.


  • Vitamin deficiencies

Twitching of the muscles is another symptom that can arise from an inadequate intake of nutrients in one's diet. The following are essential nutrients that you need to make sure you receive enough of:

  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin B-6
  • Vitamin B-12
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium

In terms of treatment, if you are unclear whether or not you require it, have your primary care physician perform a blood test to assess your levels. The next step is to adjust your diet or take supplements as directed; sun exposure is another potential source of vitamin D.

Drug Side Effects

When some patients take certain medications, one of the potential adverse effects is that their muscles start to twitch and spasm. Among the medicines that have the potential to trigger muscular spasms are:

  1. Diuretics
  2. Corticosteroids
  3. Estrogen

If the twitching becomes troublesome, the treatment consists of working with your doctor to reduce your dosage or switching to a different drug altogether.

Stimulant Overdose

Stimulant Overdose

Did you realize it's possible to consume too much caffeine? You can. In addition, experiencing muscular twitching and spasms can be a side effect of taking excessive amounts of stimulants such as coffee, amphetamines, or other substances.

Treatment: Get quick medical assistance if you think someone else may have experienced a significant overdose. If you have been taking a lot of stimulants or drinking a lot of caffeinated beverages and have noticed that your muscles are twitching, limit the number of inspirations or caffeinated drinks you are consuming and see if the twitching goes away.

The Disease Is Known As Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Twitching and cramping of the muscles are potential early warning signs of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), widely known as Lou Gehrig's disease. A condition that leads to progressive deterioration of the brain and spinal cord.

Treatment: Although there is no known cure for ALS at this time, it can manage the development of symptoms with treatment. Your physician could recommend a mix of physical therapy, occupational therapy, and medicine, such as the following:

  • Riluzole (Rilutek)
  • Edaravone (Radicava)

An Autoimmune Disorder

Knee Cracking

Muscle cramps and spasms are common signs of some autoimmune diseases, including neuromyotonia (also known as the Isaac syndrome), which is one example.

As a kind of treatment, your physician would most likely recommend anti-convulsant medicine, such as gabapentin (Neurontin, Gralise).

The Management Of Knee Twitches

Even though the treatment will depend on the diagnosis, the vast majority of medical professionals will begin treating recurrent muscle twitching by proposing adjustments in lifestyle that do not include medication. Among these modifications are:

  • Practicing stress reduction strategies
  • Maintaining an adequate level of hydration
  • Performing the necessary physical activity

You will need to track how much coffee and other stimulants you consume if they cause your twitching. If a nutritional shortage is the core reason for knee twitching, you must also ensure that you obtain the right amount of nutrients.

If it is determined that medication is necessary, your doctor will monitor any adverse effects. Most of the time, therapy is tailored specifically to the ailment.