Have you ever heard a crunching or crackling in your knees? Chances are, you have crepitus. Crepitus is the medical term used to refer to any noises that result from the movement of a joint. And while occasional snapping and popping when you bend your knees is usually no cause for concern, there are instances where crepitus may be indicative of underlying conditions that require treatment.
Here are a few things you should know about crepitus, such as common causes, methods of prevention, and symptoms to keep an eye out for. If your crepitus is bothering you, or if you experience any pain or discomfort alongside crepitus, make sure you book a consultation with our physiotherapists to explore your treatment options. You can make an appointment through our online booking system or call us on 9489 7744.
Crepitus, also known as noisy knees, joint popping or creaking joints, refers to any grating, cracking, popping noises or sensations that occur when you move a joint. Crepitus can affect a variety of joints including the hips, shoulders, neck, spine, though the majority of people experience crepitus in their knees. An example of crepitus knees would be when your knees crack or pop when you bend them.
You may be wondering, ‘should I worry about crepitus?’ The answer is, it depends. Crepitus is not typically a severe condition and, in most cases, does not require any medical attention. However, crepitus may indicate underlying conditions such as injury or arthritis, and in such instances, it is important to seek out professional advice and treatment.
Here are a few causes of crepitus. While some are harmless, there are also some more sinister causes that require medical treatment:
Neither the popping or clicking sounds caused by gas bubbles or ligament movement should be a cause for concern as they do not cause damage and are simply the result of the body’s position and movement.
However, if you hear a grinding, rubbing, crunching or crackling sound coming from your knee, it is likely that there is damaged or deteriorated cartilage. Such variations of crepitus may be a sign of knee injury, or arthritis of the knee and can worsen if left untreated.
Another thing you should pay attention to, is if the crepitus is accompanied by any pain or inflammation. If your knees hurt or are swollen, your crepitus may be linked to an underlying condition. If this is the case, it is advised that you seek medical attention from your doctor or physiotherapist as soon as possible.
Here are a few non-invasive treatments our physiotherapists may prescribe or recommend:
While most cases of crepitus can be eased and managed with non-invasive treatments, some patients with serious cases may require surgery. Some surgical methods that your doctor and physiotherapist may recommend include arthroscopic surgery, debridement and joint replacement.
At Fairfield Physiotherapy & Sports Injuries Centre, we treat crepitus and other underlying conditions including knee injuries and arthritis. If you think that your crepitus may be linked to other joint conditions, or if you are experiencing pain or swelling around your joints, it is recommended that you contact a physiotherapist and arrange a comprehensive assessment. Simply call us on 9489 7744 or book an appointment through our online booking system.
Our physiotherapists will help assess and diagnose your condition and provide personalised treatment plans to help you manage the symptoms and achieve sustainable recovery.