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The Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists

Noisy Knees by Stephen Coleman

Noisy knees are exceptionally common and there are a lot of different explanations for what might cause these noises. Generally benign noises can be referred to as crepitus. Crepitus or noisy knees can be present in up to 99% of healthy knees as reported by some studies. That is an enormous prevalence rate. The types of noises that are often described range from clicking, catching, snapping, popping, grinding, grating, clunking and crunching. Often times the differentiation in the adjective used can indicate what structures are involved in making the noise, though this does not necessarily indicate there is a pathological issue.


Physiological noises on the other hand are usually due to two or more structures rubbing off each other, a build up of gas in the joint, snapping of ligaments and tendons off bony prominences, catching of soft tissues or previous injuries like an old meniscal injury. These physiological noises also will not have any of the symptoms listed above like the pathological reasons for noisy knees. These physiological reasons for noises being heard from knees are generally harmless. It is for this reason that if you hear any noises coming from your knees and you have no other symptoms, there is likely nothing to worry about.


That being said, if you areexperiencing certain noises in your knees that are accompanied by other symptoms like pain or swelling, it may be worthwhile to have them looked at by a physiotherapist. There may be simple solutions to help reduce these symptoms like stretching, strengthening, stability and mobility work that may improve the functioning of your knee joint and help reduce these symptoms.

Get it touch with us at Galway Bay Physio on 091 569 706 or visit us at to book an appointment, and we will be able to help you with any pain you may be experiencing.

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