Have you a noisy knee?


The medical word for a noisy knee is joint crepitus. We get asked about it every day. So let’s break all of that noise down.

Loud isolated cracks and pops.


People often feel or hear these when they are warming-up, or squatting or kneeling. This is generally due to bubbles of gas popping (like when someone cracks their knuckles, which is proven as not causing arthritis incidentally!), or from the kneecap locating itself into it’s groove underneath as the muscles warm up. Both are completely normal.


Fine grating.


People will very often associate their joint noise with “wear and tear”. People are usually anxious about this sound, however as many normal painfree knees have this sound as painful knees (with studies to prove it). Unfortunately once again Dr. Google will tell us that crepitus in a knee = severe arthritis. However the internet may not distinguish between a true osteoarthritic joint creak, which almost resembles a creaky door, (its really loud!) and the fine grating that often comes from a non-arthritic PFJ which is harmless and essentially meaningless (anyone who’s ever visited me in the clinic may have heard this when I squat!). So while it may feel meaningful and may affect your confidence in your knees, it is harmless to your actual kneecap.


Take home message: noises from your knee such as clicking andcreaking are very common and not a sign of joint damage. If however you have kneecap pain or discomfort, this is worth assessing as this can be treated very successfully. And if you have any doubts about your knee, ask your Chartered Physiotherapist.