Fix Your Clicking Knees

Clicking Knees

What Is A Holistic Approach In Physiotherapy

Feeling creaky in the knees? Feeling the cracks and pops when you bend and straighten your knees? Or, you are going downstairs and your knees are painfully clicking with every step.

Don’t fret, we will look at some of the common causes of clicking knees.

In our Burnaby Physiotherapy practice, we see and hear about this common complaint. There are 4 main reasons why your knees may click.

Gas Bubbles

Our body is made up of different types of joints. The joints that have movement are called synovial joints. Synovial joints have a synovial membrane and within the membrane contains synovial fluid. Synovial fluid lubricates the joint and allows smooth motion. The fluid contains gases such as nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide. The popping or clicking sound occurs when the gas bubbles are released into the joint space. This clicking noise is generally pain-free, and most people would feel relief when this happens. This sensation is similar to cracking a knuckle. This type of cracking is not something we can change, it is a physiological process that occurs normally in the body.

Poor Kneecap Tracking

Our kneecap is a floating bone that is attached to the quadriceps tendon at one end, and the patellar tendon at the other. This allows the kneecap to move up and down the knee joint as we bend and straighten the knee. Tight tissues that change the position of either the lower leg, kneecap or thigh. This will change how the kneecap tracks along the knee. This may pull the kneecap in other directions and rub against other structures that can cause clicking knees. This clicking is not immediately harmful.  But prolonged clicking and grinding of the kneecap at the joint can cause irritation to the cartilage, leading to pain and discomfort.

Meniscus Injury

There are 2 cartilage discs that help absorb forces that go through the knee  joint. Sometimes our meniscus can tear from trauma or just by moving the knee awkwardly. Painful clicking in the knee and or locking can also be a sign of a meniscal injury. This will need to be treated by a Physiotherapist, or if required, by surgery.


Arthritis can cause some painful clicking in the knee as well. The cartilage surface of the knee and/or kneecap can wear down.  This leads to uneven surfaces of the two joints to rub against each other and causes clicking in the knee.

While not all the clicking in the knee is harmful, there are some simple steps that you can take to help you manage the clicking knees

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