Orthopedic Knee Doctor Pottstown, Pennsylvania
Knees That Crackle and Pop: Is It Arthritis?
As an orthopedic knee doctor Pottstown, PA has to offer, we treat a broad range of patients. Many come to us because they have the early signs of arthritis. Others suffered an injury and are in pain, and there are those who have been suffering from osteoarthritis for many years. Regardless of why they have come to us, it is our objective to treat them with professional care and expertise. If you have knee pain, please call an orthopedic knee doctor in Pottstown, PA.
Why Do My Knees Crack and Pop?
Knees that make sounds like popping, clicking, or crackling may be telling you something important. Research indicates that middle-aged and older adults who said their knees popped and crackled frequently were more likely to develop arthritis symptoms the following year.
It’s typical for the knees to make a little noise now and again, and hearing a loud “crack” during your spin class is probably not something to worry about. But, a new study found that aging knees that “pop,” “click” or “crackle” may be on the way to having arthritis in the not too distant future.
Of people who complained their knees were “always” noisy, 11 percent developed arthritis symptoms within a year. That’s compared with 4.5 percent of people who said their knees “never” popped or cracked. Of people who said their knees made noise “sometimes” or “often,” roughly 8 percent developed similar knee symptoms in the following year.
Orthopedic knee doctors in Pottstown, PA, as well as other knee doctors, have a medical term for those joint noises: crepitus. The term usually refers to the joints but is also used to describe lung sounds. And although it’s a common patient complaint, it hadn’t been clear until recently that crepitus was a precursor to symptomatic knee arthritis. Radiographs back up these findings, as X-rays reveal new cartilage breakdown in crepitus patients. Also, patients identify numerous symptoms, including frequent pain and stiffness.
Anatomy and Function of the Knee
The knee acts like a hinge. It joins the thigh bone (the femur) to the long bone of the lower leg (the tibia). The other bone in the lower leg (the fibula) connects to the knee joint as well. The kneecap (the patella) is the small, cap-shaped bone that sits at the front of the knee, shielding the knee joint.
There are two thick pads of cartilage (the menisci) that cushion the tibia and femur and reduce friction where they come together. A fluid-filled capsule (the synovium) encloses and lubricates the knee joint. Additionally, four tough, flexible bands of tissue (ligaments) stretch across the surface of the knee joint, connecting the bones.
As time goes by, gas can build up in the areas surrounding the knee joint, forming tiny bubbles in the synovial fluid capsule. When the knee is bent, some of these bubbles burst, and ligaments may pop or snap. This is a normal bodily process that happens to everyone from time to time.
Crepitus and Arthritis
Crepitus in the knee joint is typically painless. There’s no need to be too concerned about it. However, when pain accompanies the crackling and popping sounds if could signal a problem.
Arthritis is an inflammatory condition that actually damages cartilage and bone. Once damaged by arthritis, the knee joint may crackle and crunch as it moves. Crepitus also results from different types of knee trauma and injuries. An orthopedic knee doctor in Pottstown, PA can evaluate your symptoms and help you to understand your treatment options.
Schedule an Appointment with an Orthopedic Knee Doctor in Pottstown, PA
If you have frequent crepitus schedule an exam with a Pottstown, PA knee doctor. It may not be likely that immediate intervention is needed, but knowing where you stand gives you options. You knee professional can keep an eye on your progress and, if the time comes, guide you on treatment options, procedures, and surgical interventions that can restore function and eliminate stiffness and pain. If you have frequent crepitus, schedule an exam with orthopedic knee doctor Pottstown, PA patients rely on. Call Premier Osteoarthritis Centers of Pennsylvania today.