Why the knee cracks while running?

Fact Checked

For those who love to run as a form of exercise, some will notice a cracking sound. It is important to note that when running, the knees are relied on since they are responsible for extending the lower leg as well as absorb the shock from the impact sustained by the foot as it strikes the ground.

On the other hand, the constant impact from running can drastically affect the overall health of the knees. If the individual hears a cracking or popping sound in the knee, this can indicate that the protective cartilage serving as a cushion is starting to wear down or deteriorate. There are preventive measures and treatment options that can help manage these symptoms. All you have to do is to register for first aid training today.

Since the joints and ligaments naturally have a certain degree of looseness, the occasional cracking or popping can be considered normal. This can even cause a twinge of pain since the joint rubs against a nerve. Once the knee cracks occasionally, it is not an issue to worry about. On the other hand, if the knee starts to constantly crack every time the individual runs, this can indicate as a symptom of an underlying condition.

What is runner’s knee?

The cracking sound can indicate a condition called chondromalacia which is called as runner’s knee. The condition is basically an overuse injury that is experienced by runners due to the constant stress on the knee. Over time, the repetitive use leads to the break down or slackening of the protective cartilage in the knee joint. This results to rough and uneven areas on the knees which produces the cracking sounds when the individual runs. Even though it can initially start as cracking, continuous running will lead to irritation and pain in the knee that can occur if left untreated.

Knee cracks
Knee cracking is quite common among runners who run for more than 40 miles in a week.

Who are at risk?

Knee cracking is quite common among runners who run for more than 40 miles in a week. Even teenage girls face a higher risk to suffer from this symptom due to the rapid growth in the legs and knees.

Those who are older than 40 years old are also likely to experience this condition since the degeneration of the joint naturally occurs as one starts to age.

Treatment for knee cracking

If the individual experiences knee cracks or popping in the knee due to constant running, it is important to rest the knee. Always remember that this can indicate overuse, thus it is important to provide the knee with enough time to rest to help the cartilage heal as well as avoid injury.

The knee should be kept immobile by wearing a knee brace. Applying an ice pack on the affected knee can help reduce the inflammation. Apply the ice pack for 15-20 minutes at a time. Additionally, thigh muscles that are weak can also contribute to the breakdown of the knee cartilage. With this in mind, exercises such as lunges and squats can help strengthen the thighs and reduce the risk for runner’s knee.


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