• Snap, Crackle, & Pop: Knee Noises

    kneeBuilders often take their knees for granted - even though they bear the weight of our bodies plus any plates, weights, or bars we torture them with. So it's no surprise that popping, crunching, grating, and cracking noises are common complaints during squats, lunges, and sometimes just a jog. Here are some tips for understanding, identifying, and correcting the problem causing the noise. WHAT CAUSES IT? Joint noise, crepitus, or articular release - whatever you call it, it's common and often benign. It can be caused by any of the following:
    • Release of air pockets within the synovial fluid that surrounds knee cartilage
    • Quick rubbing of tendons and/or ligaments over bone as they glide in and out of place
    • Tears within the tissue in your knee (cartilage, ligament, tendon)
    WORST CASE SCENARIO If you experience no pain, inflammation, or discomfort when you hear these noises, it's likely nothing to worry about. If you are experiencing some negative effects, however, the noise may be an indicator of a more serious problem.
    • Tear of the meniscus
    • Tear of a ligament
    • Wear/tear of cartilage between bones
    • Arthritis
    If this is the case, you should see an orthopedic doctor immediately. Failure to address an injury or condition in your knee can have lifelong negative effects. PREVENTION
    • Use proper form. Focus on proper form before adding too much stress on your knee. Whether you're lifting, playing sports, or just jogging, bad form can cause knee pain and lots of time on the bench.
    • Strengthen surrounding muscle: Your body adapts to everything. When one muscle is weak, it attempts to compensate elsewhere - adding stress to an already stressed area. Strengthen core and upper and lower leg muscles for better knee health.
    • Strengthen surrounding joints: The same goes for joints. Strengthen pelvic and ankle joints for better knee health. Spread the stress.
    • Stretch/improve flexibility: Abrupt movements and stress on the knee can cause damage. Stretch before your workout to lubricate the knee. Make sure your stretching includes slow versions of what your workout will entail. Get your knee warmed up to the movements you will ask of it.
    • Wear good shoes: If you wear poor shoes during a workout, your knees are likely to try and compensate. Invest in a good pair of shoes or at least some orthotics built specifically for the shape of your foot.
    Just as there is no such thing as spot reduction, there is no such thing as spot prevention. Prevention of joint injury requires full-body health.    
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