Is Crepitus or Crackling Sound in Your Knee A Serious Concern?


It is common to hear a cracking or crunching sound when you move your knee. It is known as Crepitus. It is common in the knee. It is felt when you place your hand over the kneecap while bending or straightening your leg. It is pretty common in older people. It can cause serious concern if there is pain or swelling. People with Arthritis often hear and feel these crunching sounds.

Causes of Crepitus

The popping sound happens when gas or air builds up in the knee joint area. It leads to the formation of bubbles in the synovial fluid. When a person bends or straightens his legs, these bubbles burst, and ligaments snap, causing the sound. This condition becomes severe if there is a pain in the knee.

If you are a patient of Arthritis and feel this crackling sound, which causes pain and restricts your movement, it is advisable to get your knee checked by a healthcare professional.

Osteoarthritis (OA), Rheumatoid (RA) or infectious Arthritis are other reasons that cause the crackling sound. Knee joints break down due to stress or biochemical changes in such situations.

Knee injury is another reason for this crackling sound. Sportspersons generally experience this condition after they get hurt.

Runner’s knee, or in medical terms Chondromalacia patella or Runner’s Knee, or Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, is another condition wherein the crack sounds in the knee are heard. It is caused due to overuse of knee or knee injury and is very painful.

The Treatment

If Crepitus or crackling sound provides discomfort or pain, it is best to get the knee checked by an experienced healthcare professional.

In case the person has OA or the Osteoarthritis Foundation, the doctor may advise:


  • Analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
  • Application of Ice pack or Heating pads
  • Knee supports
  • Physical Therapy
  • Weight Management
  • Surgery in severe conditions

Early detection can help to prevent pain and discomfort. Regular exercise, weight management, and avoiding knee injuries can help to a certain extent.

A healthy diet, and maintaining a balance between work and rest helps to prevent such situations.