If your knees make cracking or popping sounds, it may be completely natural. According to various sports medicine doctors, your knees are among the most common joints to “crack”—especially as you age.
You may hear these noises when you sit down, stand up, or perform the full arc of your joint’s motion. As long as these cracking and popping sounds aren’t associated with swelling or pain, they are most likely no cause for concern.
Why Healthy Knees “Crack”
Your knee’s cartilage—tissue that absorbs shock in the joint—can develop unevenly as you get older. Since cartilage covers the bone, areas in your joint with less tissue can produce a sound when they rub against each other. Cracking and popping noises can also come from your ligaments—tissues that connect your lower leg bones to your thigh—as they tighten.
Other Reasons for Your Knee’s Sounds
If you notice any swelling or pain when your knee produces a cracking noise, your discomfort might signify an injury. This damage can range from slight to severe, and you may want to consult a doctor if the pain persists.
For example, cracking sounds can originate from torn or worn-down cartilage in your knee. If it feels like your bones are grinding against each other when you move your joint, you may suffer from arthritis. These noises can also come from a meniscus tear—a common sports injury. Since your meniscus helps cushion your knee, a tear can cause pain, swelling, and unpleasant sounds like cracking.
If your knee’s popping or cracking sounds are directly related to discomfort, consider stem cell therapy as a solution. This noninvasive procedure repairs damaged tissue and can relieve aches in your joints.