How To Crack Your Knee? 5 Causes & Treatment

How To Crack Your Knee? 5 Causes & Treatment

How to crack your knee? You get up. Knee fractures occur. You descend the steps. Your knee crackles. You exercise. Oh, more tunes! What’s all that hubbub about?

In many cases, says Interstate Rehab’s regional director Benjamin Butts, P.T., D.P.T., O.C.S., pushing the fluid that covers your joints through specific ranges of motion is completely innocuous. 

However, there are situations when cracking and popping, together with persistent discomfort, might be warning signs of a problem.

You shouldn’t ignore your noisy knee, whether it’s simply a niggle or an indication of a serious health problem. Here are some explanations for such noises and some solutions you may try.

What Triggers Knee Pops & Cracks?

According to Bert Mandelbaum, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon, and sports medicine specialist at Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles and author of The Win Within: 

Capturing Your Victorious Spirit, if you notice that your knee pops and crackles often, there may be an underlying problem. Typically, one of the following factors is at play:

1. Muscular Spasms OR Alignment Issues

David Reavy, P.T., O.C.S., director of React Physical Therapy in Chicago, says that muscles that are tight or out of place can cause the kneecap to become unbalanced. 

According to Butts, “since the cartilage may get worn down and possibly induce early onset arthritis, as well as numerous concerns linked with degradation of the joint,” over time that imbalance can lead to clicking or popping, which might be a serious hazard.

One muscle could also be somewhat stronger than the other, and according to Dr. Mandelbaum, “the integrity and harmony between the muscles, tendons, and bones are crucial.” 

Cracking and popping might occur if your muscles aren’t in the proper positions or if one is working a bit harder than the others.

2. Arthritis

According to Dr. Mandelbaum, arthritis, which is a general term for joint inflammation, may also cause cracking, clicking, and popping. 

This disorder affects the knee’s capacity to glide and operate smoothly by wearing down the cushioning inside the joint as a result of bone and cartilage erosion. And that can result in noise.

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3. Old Knee Injury

According to Dr. Mandelbaum, patients who had an accident in their teens or twenties often experience cracking and popping years later.

4. Discreet Cartilage

According to Mark Slabaugh, M.D., an orthopedic sports medicine specialist at Baltimore’s Mercy Medical Center, cartilage is one of the primary forms of connective tissue in your knee and is in charge of lubricating and cushioning your knee. 

Your knee joint will not function as it should if the cartilage around it is loose (for example, because of arthritis or an accident), which may cause popping, catching, and locking.

How To Prevent Knee Popping And Cracking ? | 6 Physical Therapists Ways

According to Dr. Slabaugh, symptoms like discomfort, swelling, catching, or locking are indicators that you should see the doctor. 

However, if you are just bothered by the loudness and are not in pain, “performing exercises on your own is extremely acceptable.”You’ll need a few pieces of equipment to get started, which you can readily get online.

Try these exercises, provided by Eun Jung Decker at React Physical Therapy, three times per week for the best results to reduce the odd sounds and prevent injuries. (These shouldn’t hurt; if they do, cease using them immediately.)

1. Calf Discharge

Self-myofascial release is a method that uses pressure to directly relax tight and tense muscles. Contrarily, stretching just causes the muscle to elongate. 

According to Reavy, releasing enables you to activate tight muscles that are changing the equilibrium of your muscular structure. Utilize this method to relax your tense calf muscles and realign your kneecap.

How to execute:

  1. As you sit, place your calf on top of a massage or lacrosse ball.
  1. Roll yourself up and down over the ball while stacking your other leg on top of it.
  1. Stop and point your foot up and down for 30 seconds when you discover a sore area.
  1. Continue as required.

2. Release Your Hip Flexors

Reavy asserts that a misplaced hip is often the source of knee discomfort. In order to address this problem, he suggests a hip flexor release.

How to execute:

  • As you supinely lay there, put a 5-inch massage ball right below your hip bone.
  • Put some manageable weight on the ball.
  • Swing your leg from side to side as far as you can manage, bending the knee on the releasing side to a 90-degree angle.
  • Repeat as often as necessary at intervals of 30 to 2 minutes.

3. IT Band Debut

The iliotibial (IT) band is a ligament that extends from the hip to the shin along the outside of the thigh. 

It serves to stabilize and move the knee joint and is linked to the knee. According to Reavy, it may pull the kneecap out of position when it’s tight or irritated.

How to execute:

  1. Lower your leg with a foam roller so that it is positioned halfway between your hip and knee while lying on the side you wish to release.
  1. Move the foam roller from the top of the knee to the base of the hip. Slide your leg over it. As much as you can tolerate, try to massage the most sensitive parts.
  1. Repeat for 2 minutes at 30-second intervals.

Tip: Use the foam roller to find the sorest spot on the IT band and pause there to concentrate on that particular location. 

Once your knee is 90 degrees bent, straighten it. For 10 to 15 seconds, keep bending and straightening your body. Repeat on additional sore spots on the IT band.

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4. Squat Your Inner Thighs

Additionally, the inner thigh often has less strength than the upper quadrant. Reavy suggests doing inner thigh squats to strengthen them and prevent knee problems.

How To Crack Your Knee?

How to execute:

  • Sit with your weight on your heels and your feet shoulder-width apart with your toes pointing out at a 45-degree angle.
  • Bring your hips back as you start to squat, pretending to be attempting to sit on a chair that is too far behind you.
  • As you squat, move your knees out to the sides, squat as low as you can (no lower than a 90-degree angle), and then push yourself back up through your heels.
  • Three sets of fifteen.

5. Stimulation Of The Vastus Medialis Oblique (VMO)

According to Reavy, the VMO, also known as the quadriceps muscle with a teardrop form that runs down the inside of the kneecap, is often one of the weaker muscles on the leg. Once again, it might throw your kneecap off course. The answer? You guessed it: make it stronger.


  1. Stand with your feet slightly apart and your weight entirely on your front leg.
  1. Squat down straight and pause in the middle. Keep your front knee exactly over your ankle.
  1. Twist your front leg to the right while squatting; hold for 3 to 5 seconds.
  1. Release and push into the balls of your feet to stand up.
  1. Per leg, do three sets of 15 reps.

6. Using A Resistance Band, Side Steps

This imbalance causes your kneecap to slide out of place because the outer quad muscle is often weaker than the muscle that runs down the top of your leg. The answer? Butts advises strengthening that outer muscle.

How to execute:

  • Pull a medium resistance band up to just below your knees, then squat down (if this is uncomfortable, standing works, too).
  • While attempting to draw your legs apart and stretch the band, take two steps to the right and two steps to the left.
  • Repeat one set of 30 to 60 seconds three times.
  • January 24, 2023