Knee Clicking: What It Means

Dealing with a popping or clicking knee? You’re not alone. David McAllister, MD, director of the UCLA’s Sports Medicine Program explains, “A lot of joints crack and the knees are a really common joint to crack. Most people have knees that crack when they squat down or go through the full arc of motion. We generally don’t worry about cracking or popping when it isn’t associated with pain or swelling.”

That’s the key, if pain and/or swelling is associated with a popping knee, you could be dealing with injuries ranging from arthritis to an ACL tear.

Below is the information you need to know when it comes to knee popping and clicking.

What is Knee Clicking?

Knee clicking or knee popping occurs when your joints are extended. This can happen as you walk up stairs, walk around town and even as you sit down at your desk. The most common reason your knee is clicking is due to the knee structure not being in the proper position. It could also be from soft tissue catching part of the knee structure. In addition, ligaments and tendons around the knee can stretch over part of the knee structure before snapping back into place. Air bubbles bursting inside the joint fluid can cause the clicking noise as well.

All of these instances are natural and if they are painless when they occur, there is no need to worry about future knee injuries.

What Types of Injuries Are Associated With Knee Clicking?

On the other hand, when the clicking and popping sound is immediately followed by pain and swelling, you most likely have injury that will need to be examined and diagnosed by a physician. Same goes for ongoing knee popping and pain. Below are the types of injuries that are associated with knee clicking.

ACL/MCL Injury

An ACL injury deals with an overstretched or torn ligament located in the center of the knee. MCL injury is when the Medial Collateral Ligament located in the inner side of the knee is overstretched or torn. The knee popping sound is common with both injuries as well as immediate pain and swelling.

Runner’s Knee

When you put ample stress on your tibia from running, it can cause your kneecap to be out of line with your femur. This causes a grinding or clicking of the knee.

Cartilage/Meniscus Tear

The meniscus lines the joint and when it’s torn, small parts of the meniscus can catch in the knee, which results in knee pain, swelling and knee clicking.


Arthritis occurs when the cartilage of the knee is worn down and/or tears. This is most common for people over the age of 50. Knee popping, pain and clicking is common with arthritis.

How Knee Clicking is Treated

What are the treatment options with knee clicking? The first step is to talk with your healthcare provider and understand your options when it comes to treating your knee clicking and/or knee popping.

From icing the knee down after an exercise to surgery and stem cell injections, there are many ways to treat knee clicking if you are experiencing swelling and pain. Below are the most common treatments.

Icing/Rest/Knee Brace

If you’re experiencing runner’s knee, icing and rest are a common way to treat your knee after a run/workout. Knee braces are a great way to also help keep your knee in the proper position when you exercise.

In addition, physical therapy can help strengthen the knee joints and structure.


For the more severe knee injuries (ACL, MCL, meniscus tears) surgery may be required to repair and remove damaged tissue. The recovery process can vary from short term to long term.

Stem Cell Therapy

If you’re looking to avoid knee surgery, NSI Stem Cell offers an array of stem cell treatment plans, all of which are designed to target specific issues involving the knee joint and the surrounding area of the leg.* Whether it is pain, stiffness, numbness, nerve pinching, trauma, bone-on-bone damage, arthritis, osteoporosis, tendon pulls, muscle aches or other issues, stem cell injections can help you find relief!*

Our stem cell injections will help heal damaged tissues, restore nerve communication, improve blood and oxygen flow, speed healing, restore mobility, improve flexibility, and help strengthen the damaged knee.* Here at NSI Stem Cell Centers, treating knee pain with stem cell injections is just one of the services we offer. We used the patient’s own stem cells to repair and strengthen, to return form, function and stability of their knees.* Our goal is to help you continue living a happy, active, healthy life that allows you to do the things you love without worrying about pain or possible future injury.*

Click here to learn more about stem cell therapy for knee pain.

How to Keep Your Knees Healthy

In order to keep your knees healthy, it’s important that you exercise on a regular basis. Great knee exercises include: squats, walking up stairs or hills and riding a bike or a stationary bike. Also, be sure to properly stretch and warm up before your exercises to avoid knee injury.  

Click here to learn more about knee strengthening exercises.

About National Stem Cell Institute (NSI)

Considering stem cell therapy for knee treatment? When searching for a qualified stem cell therapy center it’s important to remember that not all of them are created equal. Stem cells, when used properly, are your body’s most powerful means for healing that can repair everything from ligaments, tendons and cartilage to organs including your liver, pancreas and lungs and even neurological tissue like your brain, nerves and spinal cord.

Unfortunately, the majority of the so-called “regenerative medicine clinics” in the world aren’t trained in the latest, most technologically advanced procedures and will, therefore, provide poor results if any.

The good news is the National Stem Cell Institute (NSI) has established the most advanced stem cell and platelet rich plasma procedures on the planet which has drawn patients from all over the world as well as professional athletes and celebrities because they are recognized as the best in the world at stem cell therapy.

Patients have raved about their experience at NSI Stem Cell Clinics testifying that it was their unique cutting-edge treatments that helped them experience a breakthrough when nothing else worked and helped them avoid surgery and side effects of other treatments.

If you want to learn more about NSI Stem Cell Clinics and see for yourself why people travel from all over the globe for treatment, you can set up a complimentary consultation today to see if you are a candidate for their world renown stem cell therapy. You can contact the National Stem Cell Institute at (877) 278-3623.

* Disclaimer: Individual patient results may vary. As each patient’s problem is different, each treatment must be tailored around your specific needs.

Knee Popping: Why is My Knee Clicking? was last modified: by
* Disclaimer: Individual patient results may vary. As each patient’s problem is different, each treatment must be tailored around your specific needs.