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Should I Worry that My Knee Cracks?

Many people I see in the clinic ask, "why does my knee crack all the time?" I have seen countless cases of cracky knees, but many of them are nothing to worry about.

Here is how you tell if you should be concerned:

1. It has just started recently. Do you remember a time in the recent few weeks or months that one day you knee started cracking? This could be a sign of trouble and would warrant getting it checked out.

2. It is painful. Many times, healthy knees crack and creak during activities of daily living such as walking up and down stairs, squatting, or bending/straightening the knee. If it hurts at the same time, this could indicate a potential issue with the joint.

3. The knee is swollen. Take a good look at your knees both standing in front of a mirror and with your legs straight out in front of you. Can you see any visible swelling in or around the knee that cracks? If so, get yourself to the physio to get it looked at.

4. The knee feels unstable. Do you get the feeling that the knee is going to give out on you? This is a warning sign that there could be potential ligament damage or your knee muscles are not functioning correctly.

5. The knee locks. Most of the time, this sensation is also painful but sometimes with knees--especially with damage to the soft cartilage called the meniscus--you can get a blocked feeling when bending or straightening the knee. It may feel that you need to wiggle your knee loose. If that is happening, it is also a sign that there may be some joint or cartilage injury that needs to be rehabilitated.

If none of those situations apply to you, there is a good chance that you have a healthy knee that is simply adjusting to the way that you have been moving it.

Did you know? There are specific stretches and exercises that can help ease the movement in the knee joint, and reduce cracking. If you are looking for more specifics, please feel free to get in touch with us and we can show you how to do them.

Nadir Mawji is a registered physiotherapist at The Clinic. You can learn more about him here.

#knee #physiotherapy

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