Knee Clicking

Crepitus of the Knee

Knee Clicking Treatment in Dallas

Sometimes, when people move or bend their knees, they hear a strange clicking sound. Knee clicking or catching is an issue for many people, but its causes vary quite a bit. In many cases, this issue is very minor and means little to nothing about the state of your body. Other times, it is a serious symptom of a much larger problem. Serious problems require the skill and expertise of an orthopedic specialist to treat. When it comes to knee problems, you can’t afford to settle for anyone less than a specialist of knees, joints, and bones.

At SPORT Orthopedics + Physical Therapy in Dallas, we perform many different types of procedures and treatments on the knees. From Dallas knee replacement surgery to physical therapy, we do it all. Our Dallas orthopedic surgeons have very extensive experience treating a wide range of conditions and performing a wide variety of surgeries. If you’re experiencing knee clicking or catching, we recommend seeing one of our providers right away. To schedule your appointment with us, please call 469-200-2832, or fill out our online intake form.

In many cases, knee clicking is not at all serious. Unless, of course, you experience pain or swelling along with the clicking sound. For individuals who only hear clicking and feel no pain, two main reasons contribute to this.

  • Gas bubbles in the knee: Bubbles of nitrogen tend to build up in the joints of the body. When these bubbles burst, they make noise. Just like when you crack your knuckles, your knees also make this sound. However, if you do not experience pain, this is harmless.
  • Kneecap tracking: Sometimes, the kneecap is pulled out of alignment by the soft tissues that surround it and hold it in place. Once the knee pops back into place, you might hear the clicking sound. Without pain, this is also mostly harmless.

A large number of people experience knee clicking every day. Most of these individuals do not experience any pain or swelling, which means that they simply live with their noisy knees. Although it can be worrisome, we recommend staying calm unless the clicking comes with pain or swelling. Additionally, this clicking sound is generally more common in women than in men. This has to do with both anatomy and hormonal differences. If, along with your noisy knees, you start to feel pain, see swelling, or experience a buckling of the knees, speak with a SPORT orthopedic doctor immediately.

Knee clicking has a multitude of different causes, ranging from minor to severe. At SPORT, we have extensive experience in treating knee clicking after it develops from all of these causes. Below, we list a few of the most common causes that we see at our Dallas location.

  • Cavitation: Sometimes, air bubbles form within the fluid in your knee joint. They form as the pressure changes. These bubbles eventually burst, which we call cavitation. This is not normally something to worry about, so long as no other symptoms, like pain or swelling of the area, accompany it.
  • Catching of ligaments or tendons: Your tendons and ligaments sometimes catch as they move over a bony lump in your knee. As they snap into place, they might make a popping sound. This is not an issue, unless accompanied by other symptoms.
  • Soft tissue catching: This is very similar to the catching of ligaments and tendons. Unless accompanied by other symptoms, this is not usually a serious issue.
  • Meniscus tear: If the knee clicking comes with pain, you might have a torn meniscus. This usually signals a piece of cartilage caught in the knee. 
  • Osteoarthritis: If the pain and knee clicking persists, it could be from osteoarthritis. This happens when the smooth cartilage wears down. The bones create friction, noise, and possibly pain, as they rub together.
  • Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome: The patella, or kneecap, sometimes has roughness on its underside. Many people also call this “runner’s knee.” This condition usually comes with popping, clicking, grinding, or crunching feelings. It is usually more easily felt than heard.

Knee clicking treatment varies depending on its cause. For cavitation and catching of the ligaments, tendons, or soft tissue, it usually requires no treatment. Below, we outline our treatments for more serious cases of knee clicking. 

  • Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome: We begin treatment for PFS with rest, ice, compression, and elevation, or RICE. Then, we proceed to anti-inflammatory medications, as well as physical therapy. If this does not fully treat the condition, we then proceed with splinting, surgery, or sometimes both. This serves to correctly realign the knee.
  • Torn meniscus: Treatment for a meniscus tear is very similar to PFS treatment. We begin with RICE and anti-inflammatory medication. If the problem persists, we might move to surgery for a repair.
  • Osteoarthritis: With an early diagnosis of osteoarthritis, we begin with treatments intended to slow its progression, maximize mobility for the patient, and improve the knee’s strength. These nonsurgical options include possible weight loss and exercise, medications, and physical therapy. As the osteoarthritis progresses, we move more toward medication, and possibly knee replacement surgery.

In most cases, knee clicking is not a serious problem. If you do not experience pain or swelling along with the clicking sound, there is usually no need for treatment. As we mentioned before, many people experience knee clicking. If you begin to feel pain or see swelling in your knee, we recommend scheduling an appointment with an orthopedic specialist for a proper evaluation and diagnosis. 

If you recently sustained a knee injury and heard a pop at the time it happened, this is usually a sign of damage. Usually, knee damage results in pain and swelling. It could also be accompanied by instability of the knee joint. After a knee injury, always consult with your orthopedic specialist for a proper examination and treatment plan. If you find yourself worried about the clicking sound even without pain or swelling, it’s perfectly fine to visit the doctor anyway. Where your health is concerned, we recommend being safe rather than sorry.

Absolutely! Physical therapy offers treatment for a very wide range of issues. At SPORT, we provide only the best in physical therapy for the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Our highly experienced physical therapists look for imbalances in the muscles, ligaments, and tendons around the knee. Then, they work their magic to restore balance to the area, increase the strength of your knees, and help you live your life free of discomfort. Our wide range of techniques, including massages, rehabilitative exercises, and more helps make all the difference.

Schedule Your Appointment with SPORT Today

Whether you’re recovering from an injury, making changes after surgery, or coming in for an examination, our SPORT orthopedic specialists are here for you. If you experience any pain, swelling, or discomfort that keeps you from living your active lifestyle, we have customizable treatment plans to fit your schedule. We’re committed to lasting recovery for every patient, and we offer only the best in orthopedic care. From our 50 years of combined experience, we’ve helped thousands of patients with hundreds of different problems, including knee clicking and knee instability. To schedule your appointment with an orthopedic specialist, call 469-200-2832, or fill out our online intake form.

knee clicking