Why is my knee popping?

Kansas City Orthopedic Experts Discuss Knee Popping

Have you experienced a strange popping in your knee & wondered “What is going on in there?”

Or the even worse, “Did I do something damaging to my knee?”

The providers and care team at Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance have received specialized training in caring for the knee, but sometimes this popping is normal and won’t require treatment.

why is my knee popping? Our Kansas City experts weigh in.

Hearing or feeling the occasional pop or click in your knee, especially if it isn’t painful, does not always mean there is an issue.

Your joints make noise from time to time. This noise is crepitus. It happens when gas builds up in a joint and forms bubbles in the joint fluid. When your knee bends, some of the bubbles burst. The bursting is responsible for the sound that you’re feeling or hearing.

Ligaments may also snap, which can feel like a pop. Again, this is normal. On the other hand, abnormal knee popping may be worth your attention.


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“should I be concerned about knee popping?”

Sometimes, there is something going on in the knee that would indicate you should have a physician check.

Arthritis can cause this crepitus sound.

In fact, it may feel more like a crunch. When pain accompanies this popping sound, there is a reason to be concerned. It can be a symptom of osteoarthritis, a.k.a loss of cartilage. This is especially prevalent in older people. Additionally, if osteoarthritis runs in your family, the chance of this being the cause is also greater.

Another cause of popping in the knee is a meniscal tear.

The meniscus is soft tissue on the knee, a C-shaped ring of cartilage that can tear and cause painful symptoms. This can feel as though you can’t bend or extend your knee all the way; it may also cause the sensation that your knee is locked in a specific position. These injuries are common in any age group and can be chronic or acute.

A tear in the meniscus can cause crepitus as the knee moves.

A condition called plica syndrome can cause similar symptoms to a meniscus tear. However, plica syndrome is an abnormal band of tissue in the knee.


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other causes of knee popping

Runner’s Knee

Knee popping can also be a result of patellofemoral syndrome, commonly known as runner’s knee.

Overloading pressure on the patella (kneecap)—where the pain is usually felt—can cause runner’s knee.

Pattellofemoral Syndrome

A misaligned kneecap could be the cause. Patellofemoral Syndrome is a precursor to chondromalacia patella, which is damage to cartilage under the kneecap. Both conditions often cause crepitus.

ACL tear or other injury

If you have an acute injury and feel one large and very painful pop, it is possible that you have a damaged ACL, ligament, meniscus tear or bony injury.



Why is my knee popping? Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance is here to help.


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You know your body, and you can probably sense when your knee popping no longer feels “normal.”

Whether the popping in your knee is from arthritis or a ligament injury, the specialists at Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance are expertly trained to identify and care for your knee issues. Schedule your consultation today and take charge of your injury.


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