Many people come into the clinic worried out about their ‘clicky’ knees.

“Everytime I go upstairs my knees creak loudly like a floorboard and I’m worried they are going to pop out.” They often say.  “Will I get arthritis?”

Clicky knees are actually very common and usually harmless and are seen in people of all different ages and sizes. Some people have knees that click whenever they walk, others have one knee that clicks and one that doesn’t. Most commonly, people find that their knees click when going up or downstairs or when squatting down.

 So what causes the click and what can you about it?

To understand what causes the click we need to know a little bit about the anatomy of the knee. Our kneecap is a small bone that essentially floats in the groove between your thigh bone and shin bone.It is held in place by large tendons – like a stone that is encased in a strong rubber band that runs from the top of your shin up to the muscles in your thigh.

knee anatomy

The muscles in your thigh hold the top end of the rubber band and help guide the movement of the kneecap up and down.When you contract your thigh muscle tightly the kneecap gets pulled up. When you do activities such as squatting or walking up stairs the kneecap glides up and then back down.

If the kneecap glides along in its groove smoothly as this happens you don’t feel or hear anything.But sometimes it can drift outside its groove and will make a cracking noise as it does.

Contributing factors:

This drift can be caused by a number of factors. The most common one is imbalance in the muscles of the thigh.When one muscle is stronger or tighter it will pull on the tendon and move the kneecap more to one side.Usually the outer thigh muscle tends to be stronger and tighter and the inner one is weaker, meaning the kneecap will glide slightly to the outside. There are other causes too like flat feet and wear and tear to the back of the kneecap.

My knees are sore and they click, what can I do about it?

In most cases, the pain can be quickly fixed with some physiotherapy.

If your knees are painful or you are worried by your clicking knees, make an appointment with one of the physiotherapists at Coast Allied Health, who will be able to identify the exact cause of your problem and design a program of exercises, stretches and taping to banish the pain and the click.

If you suffer from sore or clicky knees, we can help.

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