Dr. Dugan explains what causes popping sounds in the knee.
Usually popping is coming from the kneecap, the patella, and whether it is gliding smoothly or not so smoothly. I usually tell patients not to be so worried. I always harken it to the kid in middle school who is always popping his finger joint at us, that there is air in joints, and so the air may be releasing with that popping sound.
On the other hand, if you start to have a wear and tear in the back of your kneecap, on the cartilage, it can then cause chondromalacia patellae or cartilage damage of the patella, and then you can have a lot more popping and clicking, and that may forebode that your alignment is poor, and you really want to think about some exercises to strengthen the muscles to help improve that alignment.
About Dr. Dugan, M.D.:
Dr. Sheila A. Dugan, M.D., is Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Rush Medical College, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois. She is a faculty member of the Department of Neurosurgery and the Department of Preventive Medicine. She is co-medical director of the Rush Program for Abdominal and Pelvic Health.
Dr. Dugan is multi board-certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation, electrodiagnostic medicine and pain medicine. She is highly skilled in neurological and sports-related rehabilitation. Prior to medical school, she received her physical therapy degree from Northwestern University in 1986. She's currently pursuing development of a program focused on women's musculoskeletal care, including both their medical and rehabilitation needs.