Why Does My Knee Click When I Squat?

Should I be concerned about Knee Clicking?

When performing squats, the knees undergo pressure and it’s not uncommon to hear a clicking sound. This phenomenon, known as knee crepitus, is similar to the popping of knuckles or backs and occurs for various reasons. It’s like tiny bubbles getting trapped in the knee joint over time and bursting when the knee bends or extends, similar to popping bubble wrap. Generally, this process is safe and nothing to worry about. However, if the clicking is chronic and occurs regularly, it might be a different story. If you experience discomfort, pain, or instability, it’s recommended to see a physiotherapist to identify any underlying conditions.

Knee Osteoarthritis (OA)

For individuals in their 50s, knee osteoarthritis may be a possibility. Chronic inflammation in the joints leads to cartilage breakdown and arthritis, resulting in cracks and noises in the knee joint. To ensure your safety due to age and the condition of your joints, we suggest consulting a physiotherapist to identify the best rehabilitation approaches.

Knee Injury

Knee clicking can also be a result of a knee injury caused by falling on the knee or experiencing sudden pressure. In such cases, squatting may cause the knee to crack. Several possible causes of this condition include meniscus tears, chondromalacia patella, and patellofemoral syndrome, commonly known as runner’s knee. If you notice crunching or grinding while moving your knee, it is not normal and should be addressed by a physiotherapist promptly. Delaying or neglecting attention to this issue can lead to irreparable pain and damage to the knee.

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Knees Clicking but No Pain

During warm-up exercises, you may experience crackling and popping sounds in your joints. To address this, let’s go through some warm-up routines, including foam rolling and stretching. These activities will help loosen up your tight quads and muscles, allowing for better movement in your joints and muscles.

Stretches to Reduce Clicks and Pops

To alleviate knee clicking, the following stretches can be beneficial:

  • Strengthening your quadriceps and gluteal muscles.
  • Improving your squatting form.
  • Raising awareness of the importance of stretching before applying pressure to your knees.

If you spend most of your day sitting or engage in strenuous activities, your muscles can become stiff. To improve muscle elasticity, we recommend investing in a foam roller, which can cost less than $10.

1. Foam Rolling

  • Place the foam roller on the floor and position your front quads on top of it.
  • Avoid rolling over the knee cap and reduce pain by putting more pressure on your arms.
  • Slowly move up and down the entire length of the muscle, paying attention to tight spots. Pause on these spots for a few seconds to allow the roller to penetrate deeper into the tissue.

2. Deep Squat Stretch

  • Sit in a squat position and hold a weighted dumbbell, gym plate, or wall in front of your hands (for stability).
  • Focus on your core, glutes, and ankles for 30 seconds to a minute to maintain balance.
  • Over time, aim to perform the deep squat position without any assistance.

3. Stretching Quads with a Rope

  • While lying on your stomach, use a rope, conditioning band, or dog leash to wrap around your foot.
  • Pull the rope over your shoulder, moving your foot toward your glute area.
  • Hold for approximately 45 seconds to stretch your front quad.
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4. Knee Flexion Gapping Stretch

  • Take one foot and position the ankle behind the knee, allowing it to rest for a few seconds.
  • Rock gently sideways to open up tighter restricted muscle areas, providing relief from the ankle and releasing tension.
  • Repeat this stretch on each side for 2-5 minutes.

Repeat these stretches over the next few weeks and observe the improvements in your range of motion and muscle elasticity, which will benefit your squatting routine. If you experience mild soreness, certain foods can help reduce inflammation as your body adjusts.

Foods that Help Reduce Inflammation and Joint Discomfort

Include the following in your diet to help combat inflammation and promote healthy joints:

  • Turmeric: With its high curcumin content, turmeric acts as a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. Its properties are believed to alleviate pain, making it beneficial for individuals with arthritis.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: These fatty acids reduce the production of inflammatory molecules and substances, including inflammatory eicosanoids and mediators. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, oysters, chia seeds, walnuts, and flax seeds, can help fight inflammation.

Looking for a Physiotherapist?

If you have any concerns or experience pain in your body, Primal Physiotherapy offers the best physiotherapy and rehabilitation services tailored to your needs. While clicks and pops are normal, stretches and correct mobility rehab exercises can help reduce them. For a comprehensive assessment, book an appointment at your nearest Primal Physiotherapy location.

For more information about Primal Physiotherapy, visit 5 WS.

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