Have you ever had a popping sound in your knees when you suddenly stand up after sitting for a long time? Maybe you hear a similar sound when you stretch your arm.
The popping sound of the knee is called crepitus in medical terms. Sometimes the popping sound is made unintentionally, like a popping sound from the knee, but sometimes it is made intentionally, like when you squeeze your hands together. Some people use it for the purpose of relieving tension. This is because the sound of “popping” itself is actually very enjoyable, so you can feel psychological satisfaction.
Unclear causes of knee popping sounds
What causes knee popping sound? Among the phenomena that are easily encountered around the world, there are some that seem simple at first glance, but the cause is surprisingly unknown. So is the knee popping sound. There are several hypotheses about the cause, but nothing is clear yet. Some say that the popping sound of the knee is the sound of cartilage and cartilage hitting each other, while others explain that it is the sound of the fascia or tendon bouncing off the bone.
Is the knee popping sound made by air bubbles?
Currently, the most convincing explanation is that the popping sound of the knee joint is from the synovial fluid. Synovial fluid is the slippery, transparent fluid that fills the joints. It actually looks like the white of a raw egg. Thanks to its slippery nature, synovial fluid allows the two bones to move smoothly within the knee joint without colliding with each other.
When the knee joint moves suddenly, such as when standing up after sitting for a long time, the synovial fluid also moves, creating a pressure difference. In doing so, air bubbles are created in the synovial fluid, and the sound of these air bubbles moving can be heard as a popping sound in our ears. So, the popping sound you hear at the knee joint is actually the sound of air bubbles. The next time you get up from a seat, if you hear a popping sound in your knees, check to see if it really sounds like that.
Are popping sounds harmful to the knee joint?
There are other things people are curious about as much as the cause of the popping sound in the knee. That’s whether the popping sound is harmful to the knee joint. The answer is that making a popping sound in itself is not harmful to the knee joint. Not only that, the popping sound does not necessarily mean that there is something wrong with the knee joint. But there are exceptions.
When does knee popping sound need treatment?
The most important criterion is knee pain. Simply put, any pain in the knee joint requires treatment. Knee cartilage supports the body’s load and absorbs shock to prevent damage to the knee joint bones. If you hear a popping sound accompanied by pain in the knee cartilage, you should suspect chondromalacia, in which the cartilage is weakened and its elasticity is reduced. The mild initial chondromalacia can be improved with simple drug treatment or rest, but if left untreated, it can progress to degenerative arthritis and, in severe cases, may require artificial joint transplantation.
On the other hand, there are cases where a popping sound is heard from other areas than the knee. A typical example is a popping sound from the hip joint, which is also called a ‘snapping hip joint’. It is caused by an imbalance during strenuous exercise, training, or walking. It is often seen in young people, and if there is no pain, it is not a serious problem. However, repeated exercise can cause lasting damage to the inside of the hip joint. Therefore, if the popping sound persists in the hip joint, it is better to visit a doctor to investigate the cause.
Nearby doctors treating knee popping
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