Noisy knees (crepitus)

Do your knee click or make noises?

Knee crepitus or noisy knee is a common complain/concern of people with knee cap pain. We don’t know what causes the noise on the knees. But, recent data show that people with knee cap pain who have noisy knees have similar levels of pain, function, fear of movement and knee strength compared to those who don’t have noisy knees. In other words, if you have knee cap pain and a noisy knee, it doesn’t mean your condition is worse than those who have knee cap pain and no noisy knee.

Additionally, a previous study investigated 250 asymptomatic knees (knees with no pain) and found that 99% of people had knee crepitus.

Supporting articles

De Oliveira Silva 2018A. Implications of knee crepitus to the overall clinical presentation of women with and without patellofemoral pain.

De Oliveira Silva 2018B. Knee crepitus is prevalent in women with patellofemoral pain, but is not related with function, physical activity and pain.

Pazzinatto 2019A. What are the clinical implications of knee crepitus to individuals with knee osteoarthritis? An observational study with data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative.

Pazzinatto 2019B. Knee crepitus is not associated with the occurrence of total knee replacement in knee osteoarthritis – A longitudinal study with data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative.

McCoy et al. (1987) Vibration arthrography as a diagnostic aid in diseases of the knee. Journal of Bone Joint Surgery (69), 288-293.

Robertson et al. (2017) People’s beliefs about the meaning of crepitus in patellofemoral pain and the impact of these beliefs on their behaviour: A qualitative study. Musculoskeletal Science & Practice. (28), 59-64. doi: 10.1016/j.msksp.2017.01.012