Crepitus of the Knee- Should I Get Worried?


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Many of us have had to deal with crepitus of the knees or usually experience it, but can hardly define it with a genuine term. In case a sound is heard from your knee or both of them as you extend them or get up from a seat, this is known as Crepitus. This condition can be experienced at any stage (age) in life, but common as people get older.

This sound may be audible enough or only heard by you alone. This cracking sensation, grating or popping of the knees is harmless and most people experience it without being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis.

It is normal to experience crepitus once in a while, however, it may indicate a necessity of medical attention in case continuously experienced alongside knee pain, swelling, burning, and discomfort.

Why does it occur?

Generally, this cracking experience in the knees is normal and can also be experienced in other regions like the neck, fingers, hip, shoulders, and spine. You may hear this sound in case you engage in physical activities that you usually forego.

  • Other people, especially those with office jobs may experience it quite often. The most common reasons for crepitus include;
  • Air bubbles seeping into the soft tissue of the joint, causing tiny bubbles in the synovial fluid.


  • Stretching the knees

Stretching or extending your knees. This happens the bubble burst with a cracking sound and even if the sound may cause attention, there is nothing to worry about.

  • When the cartilage rubs on the joint surface

This may happen in case your cartilage wears out causing periodical sounds in your knee. In some cases, it may cause pain and will require you to visit an orthopaedic doctor for an evaluation.

  • Knee Crepitus with pain & swelling

This may point to a serious medical condition such as Osteoarthritis (OA), torn cartilage and soft tissues, or Patellofemoral pain syndrome.

  • Cartilage degeneration causes various effects among which is an insufficient protection of your knee joint from friction and impact, and an alteration of the joint’s biomechanics, causing the bones to rub against each other.
  • In other cases, crepitus of the knee may occur with pain which can indicate the presence of a scar tissue, a meniscus tear, or a tendon is shifting within the knee joint.

 The Knee Structure

The knee joint is one of the vital joints of the human body. The femur (thighbone), the patella (kneecap), and the tibia (the shinbone) are the three major bones in the knee joint.

Within the knee joint is the soft tissue that serves as a cushion between the bones and helps the bones to operate smoothly. The synovial membrane is another layer within the knee joint that covers the joint and produces the synovial fluid to lubricate the cartilage.

Crepitus can occur due to wear with time since the cartilage rubs against the end of the femur in the trochlear region.

When to worry?

In case crepitus occurs with other symptoms such as;

  • Swelling
  • Burning
  • Pain
  • Knee Stiffness
  • Crepitus after trauma
  • Tenderness & Soreness

These and other symptoms may point to;

  • Torn Cartilage
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFS)


  • Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFS)

This condition develops in case the pressure between the femur and the kneecap increases or is greater than usual. This will cause the cartilage to soften and wear away, causing reduced functionality.

This form of knee issue is common among young people and normally occurs from overuse, rigorous physical exercises, and trauma.

  • Osteoarthritis

In case you experience crepitus with knee pain, this may be a sign of osteoarthritis. It results from the wear and tear of the cartilage, causing the bones to rub vigorously against each other.

Wear and tear worsen with time and age and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimation of 50% of individuals aged 65 and above were living with arthritis between 2010 to 2012.

  • Torn Cartilage

A torn meniscus can result in crepitus and is a major concern since it can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness.

How is Knee Crepitus Treated?

In case an individual is healthy, there is no medical intervention required, but rather, an individual is advised to maintain his or her bone and joint health.

In case worried about your crepitus, a consultation at the best Ortho Centre in India to diagnose or rule out any medical condition. Normally, an examination is done at Eva Hospital by the best orthopaedic doctor “Dr. Tanveer Singh Bhutani with specialized diagnostic approaches.

Your symptoms will perfectly determine the type of crepitus treatment to take, otherwise, there is no need to worry.

Will Crepitus Require a Surgery?

In case of various symptoms like swelling, tenderness, and pain, immediate treatments include;

  • Physical therapy
  • Anti-inflammatory Medications
  • Ice and heat compressions
  • Weight loss
  • Lifestyle modification
  • RICE, among others

In case diagnosed with progressive arthritis with extreme pain, your doctor will recommend a knee replacement at the right age. Normally, a knee replacement in India is conducted to relieve pain and improve joint function.

How to Control Crepitus

Though completely normal, progressive crepitus shouldn’t be overlooked. It is essential to pay attention to the various symptoms during regular activities.

  • Exercise regularly
  • Have a balanced diet
  • Maintain an excellent sleep pattern of 7 to 9 hours
  • Train from flat and comfortable play grounds
  • Wear comfortable shoes
  • Increase your water intake

 How to Promote Knee Health

Knee pain is a common issue with younger individuals. A majority of young individuals with various knee complains are obese or have unhealthy weight, experienced trauma in the past years, you are in poor health condition, or are fond of wearing high heels yet move up and down stairs from time to time.

Also, weak hip adductor muscles is another issue for poor knee health and excessive squat exercises.

Swimming, walking, cycling, and running are key exercises to strengthening the quadriceps that aid in preserving your knee health.

Stay Raw-Stay Uushakable!!!

Happy Karma!!!

Author: Tanveer Bhutani

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Disclaimer: The opinion and views shared are purely of the writer and not team Material contained on this website is for informational purposes only and not to be substituted for professional medical advice.


2 Replies to “Crepitus of the Knee- Should I Get Worried?”

  1. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post. It is important and very useful, and the articles are nice to share everyone.

    1. Thanks for your feedback!!!

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