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Noisy Knees

The following question was answered by Doug Balzarini, BS, CSCS, ACE-certified personal trainer at Fitness Quest 10.

Is that “popping” and “cracking” noise in my knee harmful?
The noises you hear in your knee, or other joints for that matter, can be the result of a few possibilities.  

Keeping with the knee joint, if the knee cap (patella) is not tracking properly it may rub on surrounding tissues.

Synovial Fluid 
Excessive work from a particular joint causes the production of synovial fluid in that joint. This fluid is made in our system to help protect and lubricate joints. Generally speaking, it is pockets of air in this fluid that elicits “popping” noises as you flex and extend the joint.

If there is meniscus damage you may hear the injured tissue “pop” with each step you take.

Over time, cartilage in a particular joint can deteriorate and a “popping” sound can occur.

Summary - If you continue to hear “popping” that is not accompanied with any pain, you may want to incorporate corrective exercises into your routine to help restore your joint integrity. Many fitness professionals could design a program that includes such exercises to assist with this issue. The bottom line is if there is pain with the noise you would want to see a physician for further testing.

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