You may have wondered why, when you crouch, sit, or stand, you hear or feel your knees snapping or popping – it may even cause you discomfort or pain when it happens. What is the cause of these noises and pangs? Is it something you should be very concerned about? Is it just the result of everyday wear and tear?
There are a few possible causes for knees, and other joints, to snap or pop. Sometimes, the natural movement of joint can become less smooth over time, due to roughening or an uneven surface of the cartilage, which covers the end of the femur and tibia, the leg bones that meet at the knee joint. This may be due to arthritis or a sustained injury.
Another cause may a tendon in the knee snapping when tightened, caused by the tendon moving over a rough or extended part of the bone within the knee joint.
More serious causes, that will also result in pain, swelling, and discomfort in the knee, include meniscus tears or cartilage damage or injury.
The meniscus is a small pad between where the tibia and femur meet, and provides cushioning between those two bones. It can be torn or damaged by twisting the knee while weight is being put on the joint, during running, sports, lifting, or landing from a fall.
The cartilage in the knee can be damaged from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or from a sports or workplace injury, as well.
It’s always a good idea to present any new conditions to an orthopedic specialist. Even if your knee snapping or popping is not causing pain or discomfort, tell a doctor about it and get it examined to prevent any possible damage or pain in the future. If you are experiencing pain, swelling or discomfort, especially after a suspected injury, know that New York Bone and Joint Specialists does provide Orthopedic Urgent Care and will be able to accommodate a same-day appointment for you.