A very common feeling amongst patients with creaky knees is that it is a sign of Arthritis.
Clinically, creaky knees are just a sign that your knee mechanics aren’t perfect.
Think tight, restricted quads, glued down soft tissue around the knee + knee cap, stiff ankles and hip tightness.
As the knee is designed to function best as a hinge in a linear plane, the more stiffness and tightness we introduce into the leg itself, the more the system has to compensate and around it.
That linear knee movement gets thrown into disarray.
This is seen best when squatting. Instead of seeing a mechanically strong movement where the knee tracks straight/rotated outwards we see a knee that tracks INWARDS – exposing tissue to foreign shapes and positions.
This is relatively easy to prove with a few hip and ankle mobility exercises, a tennis ball jammed into the areas around the knee and some movement retraining.
Once knee FUNCTION improves the sound effects generally go away.
There may even be some Arthirtis in the knee itself, but creaky knees are NOT the symptom associated with it. If you treat the restriction the sounds can go – whether the knee looks imperfect on an X-ray or not.
So if you, or someone you know wakes the neighbourhood at night when walking down the stairs, don’t fret. There’s a strong likelihood it can change.
You just have to put the work in.
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