Quick question from a reader of my Staying Active column in the Los Altos Town Crier:
“Hi Kim, is it bad that my knees are making a clicking noise?
It’s not painful, but I’m worried that something is wrong, is this normal?”
– Martin, 61, Los Altos
A knee that decides to ‘pop’ or make a cracking sound can sometimes feel worrying, and I’m sure that most of us at one time or another have kneeled down and had our knees make a clicking noise…
Please don’t worry, these noises are common and come along as an inevitable consequence as we grow older.
And in fact, it’s so common that it’s one of the most frequent questions I’m asked and brings many people into my clinic.
Chances are that if you’re aged 50 plus, clicks and clunks might even be one of the first sounds that you hear when you get out of bed in the morning, and it’s likely that you’ll hear your knees creaking when you bend your legs too, and move into different positions.
It happens to a lot of people, and it’s nothing to be concerned about, however it’s definitely something to look into before it could turn into something that brings you knee pain…
So Why Do Our Knees Creak And Click As We Get Older?
Well as it happens, this is one of the easiest things to explain…
Your knees job is to act like a cushion that protects your body, and absorbs the shock it receives each time your foot lands when you walk. Your knees take a pounding from every surface you walk on, regardless of what activity you do.
Add everyday walking, to going out for a jog, playing golf, or simply enjoying hikes with your friends over the weekend – that’s a lot of impact that your knees take over the years.
And as a result, the protective cartilage (the cushion), can begin to wear down… and because your knee joint is tough, inevitably as you move, your knee joint rubs together and clicking noises occur!
Now the thing is, these noises don’t always bring knee pain – not to begin with anyway. But it can often be a sign that pain and stiffness may be on the way – and while that may sound worrying, if you choose to do something about it now, you might just be able to prevent knee pain in it’s tracks.
So what can you do about that ‘click’?
Well there’s a range of simple exercises you can do that strengthen the muscles around your knees, and help to protect your joints. By doing these once a day, you WILL notice a significant difference, and hopefully won’t have to put up with clicking noises for much longer.
One example of an exercise is the quad stretch. This is where you rest one hand on a hard surface (like your kitchen counter), and with the other hand, hold onto your foot behind your back as you bend your knee towards your glutes.
There’s more tips and simple exercises that you can do from home in this free information guide when you visit: https://physiofitpt.com/knee-pain/ to help relieve annoying knee pain.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kim Gladfelter, MPT, OCS, FAAOMPT
Women's Health Physical Therapy Specialist at PhysioFit Physical Therapy & Wellness
Kim Gladfelter is a physical therapist, Pilates instructor, educator, author, and co-founder of PhysioFit Physical Therapy & Wellness. She is known as a keen, well-rounded expert of healing through movement and women’s health specialist in the Silicon Valley area.
Kim has helped men and women of all ages to stay active and feel their best. She also writes about managing pain in her health columns, blogs and the local Los Altos Town Crier newspaper as well as reaches out to the local community, support groups, schools, libraries, and sports centers to advise and educate on body awareness and therapeutic exercise.