When it comes to conditions plaguing your knees, finding the appropriate treatment option means you must first determine the various factors that are contributing to your discomfort. From physical therapy sessions that promise to help alleviate the pain and swelling associated with knee problems to surgeries designed to repair or restore damaged cartilage, an assortment of treatments available today have proven successful for patients in recent years. Whether your knees have been giving you trouble for quite some time or you have only recently begun to notice an audible sound coming from your kneecap whenever you walk or adjust your legs, one question you are probably wondering is, “Why does my knee make grinding noises?”
Symptoms of a grinding kneecap
The most common symptoms that occur in patients who are affected by problems with their kneecaps or the cartilage that surrounds them are a popping sensation, which generally is not painful. For many people who suffer from knee problems, the popping or grinding sound that accompanies the ailment can only be heard by the actual patient. However, those who struggle with knee issues that are more severe may have knee problems whose popping sounds can be heard by family, friends and passersby. While this undoubtedly embarrassing grinding sound can undoubtedly cause you to feel self-conscious, your self-esteem isn’t the only thing you should be concerned about when knee problems are at stake. It’s imperative to get to the bottom of your symptoms to find out exactly what is causing them so you can get on track for a type of treatment that will work for you, your body and your lifestyle.
Conditions that cause grinding of the kneecap
A wide array of conditions can cause problems with your knees; however, the ones most often responsible for a grinding sound you can actually hear are those that involve the cartilage, a flexible, connective tissue that allows your knees to move and bend. While a popping sound that is emitted from your knee is typically indicative of a torn ligament—such as the ACL—a grinding sound relating to the knee usually indicates an issue with the cartilage that covers your joints.
If you are curious why your knee is making a crunch or grinding sound, the two most likely culprits are arthritis and a condition called chondromalacia patella. According to the Mayo Clinic, chondromalacia patella is a term used to describe general damage to the cartilage around the knee rather than one specific injury or issue. When the cartilage is damaged due to an injury or worn away over time, the surrounding bones are forced to grind up against one another rather than the protective cartilage that was once coating the surfaces of the knee joints. This grinding of the bones is the grinding sound you likely heard when you move or bend your knees.
If you hear a grinding sound in your knees or your suspect you have cartilage damage from a recent injury or long-term deterioration, contact a medical professional who can diagnose your condition and recommend the appropriate physical therapy or treatment program.