FEELING GREAT: ‘Knee noises’ become more common as you get older

Quick question: are any irritating noises coming out of your knees? If not, give it time.

“The presence of noises doesn’t always mean you’ll get knee pain - not at first anyway. But it’s often the first sign that trouble in the form of pain, stiffness and swelling is on the way.”
“The presence of noises doesn’t always mean you’ll get knee pain - not at first anyway. But it’s often the first sign that trouble in the form of pain, stiffness and swelling is on the way.”

Quick question: are any irritating noises coming out of your knees? If not, give it time. Because clicking, clunking and cracking are common, audible sounds that come as an inevitable consequence of growing older and they become more noticeable in the 40-50 age bracket. Chances are that if you’re 50 or over, clicks and clunks might even be the first sound that you hear when you get out of bed in the morning.

It happens to lots of people, and what’s just as common is a grating noise which occurs when the surfaces of your knee joints rub together each time you bend your legs (or move between positions).

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I could go on, describing the different noises that come from ageing knee joints - it’s so common that the question “Why does my knee click and crack?” is one of the most frequent we get asked in the Paul Gough Physio Rooms. It also one of the easiest to explain.

Your knee’s job is to cushion and absorb the shock it receives from the pounding, twisting and impact of hard surfaces every time your foot lands when you walk. Your knee takes a pounding from the hard surfaces you walk on, regardless of what else you do. Add this to the pounding your knees take as a direct result of playing five-a-side football in a sports hall, running on the roads or trails, playing bowls, golf, or just taking a long walk with friends on a weekend.

The upshot is that over time this cartilage wears thin (or disappears completely), exposing nerves and causing pain but also leaving uneven surfaces that can collide – and because these bones in your knee joint are very tough and hard (as you might well expect), inevitably they cause a distinct noise when they rub against each other as you move your leg in and out of different positions.

And that’s it, nothing more to it. The phenomenon of knee joint noises explained in one paragraph!

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What’s interesting is that the presence of the noises doesn’t always mean you’ll get knee pain - not at first anyway. But it’s often the first sign that trouble in the form of pain, stiffness and swelling is on the way and you’re not too many years away from it. If you like, it’s a warning sign to act fast and do something before things turn for the worse.

Next week, I’ll tell you what you can do about it!

For more back pain tips and advice, please call my team for a FREE copy of my book The Healthy Habit. It’s a great January boost for anyone looking to improve their outlook and health. The first 2 readers to get in touch can have a copy. Call 01429 866771 or visit paulgoughphysio.com.