Knee discomfort is one of the leading reasons that people visit a doctor or connect with a physical therapist, and one of the most common symptoms associated with knee discomfort is a cracking or popping sensation when bending their knee. This cracking sensation could be caused by a number of different issues in your knee, all of which the team at OrthoRehab Specialist can help treat. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at some of the reasons why your knee could be cracking and how we can help you make your knee joint stronger and more comfortable.
Causes Of A Cracking Knee
If you’re dealing with a cracking or popping sensation in your knee when bending the joint or walking around, it’s a smart idea to connect with a doctor or a physical therapist, especially if this sensation is paired with discomfort or pain. Here’s a look at some of the knee issues that may present with a cracking sensation in the knee:
- Osteoarthritis – Osteoarthritis involves degenerative changes within the knee joint. When the protective cartilage in the knee joint breaks down due to aging or wear and tear, bones can start to rub against one another, causing discomfort and a cracking sensation.
- Cartilage Tear/Damage – Similarly, if the knee cartilage has been torn or damaged due to acute injury, you may experience some inflammation and swelling in the knee. This swelling coupled with the cartilage damage can lead to a decreased range of motion and a popping sensation when moving the joint.
- Meniscus Tear – Another acute injury that can lead to a cracking or popping sensation in your knee is a meniscus tear. It occurs when the cartilage between your shin and your thigh bone tears, and it often presents with pain and swelling, as well as sensation issues like cracking or instability and looseness.
- Tendonitis – Inflammation of tendons in the knee area can cause the tissues to become compressed or caught during movement, which can also present with a cracking or popping sound as the tendon moves.
- Patellar Femoral Syndrome – This condition develops when your patella doesn’t align with the trochlear groove, causing movement to feel disjointed. This can lead to problems when attempting to straighten the knee, as well as a popping or grinding sensation.
As you can see, the sensation you are experiencing in your knee can be caused by a wide variety of knee issues, and each condition requires its own form of treatment, so it’s helpful to connect with a medical professional to get an official diagnosis and individualized treatment plan.
If you come to OrthoRehab Specialists, we’ll begin by asking about your symptoms and having you perform a few baseline movements. We also have different diagnostic technologies available to help us pinpoint your issue before we work to develop a treatment routine tailored to your specific issue. While each treatment plan will be unique, all of the above conditions can be improved through activities like physical therapy, regular exercise and dietary improvements to spur weight loss. Your physical therapist can help you develop a routine and make some simple lifestyle adjustments to strengthen your knee or target the underlying issue that is causing your knee issues.
So if you are dealing with a cracking or popping sensation in your knee, don’t wait to seek treatment. While it’s not a life threatening issue, it’s unlikely to get better on its own, and oftentimes it will get worse if you don’t seek proactive treatment. Confront the issue head on by connecting with a physical therapist and get back to doing all the physical activities you love without discomfort. For more information, or for help with a different physical issue, reach out to the team at OrthoRehab Specialists today at (612) 339-2041.