T Nation

Knee Clicking and Grinding


Long story short,
I started running sprint regularly about 6 months ago. 3 months into sprinting and jogging, my right knee start clicking. At first I thought it was nothing, but when I put my hand over the knee and go down for a squat, I can feel all sort of weird things grinding and popping. Here's the funniest thing...three months later, I'm still running, sprinting, squatting and have absolutely ZERO pain and ZERO discomfort.

Even though there is zero pain or discomfort, I cannot see this as a healthy sound/grinding/movement for my knee to be having.
My hips feel flexible during stretching. My glutes were tight, so i diligently stretch them, yet no matter how much the flexibility increase in them, not changes in the knee.
I'm thinking it might be tight quads.
Has anyone suffered from something similar? If yes, any ideas?


As soon as I break parallel in a squat my knee clicks. I have no discomfort, and like you no matter how flexible I get it doesn't go away. I saw a doc about it since it occurred after a knee sprain and he said it was most likely a small flap of cartilage sticking out through the joint, and that it doesn't need to be taken care of unless is becomes painful for some reason.


thanks maineaic! Did you get an MRI aswell?


bump - any other people have any advice?


It sounds like the tracking on the patella is off, most likely towards the outside. Runners are infamous for tight IT bands. If you can't roll the IT band with just a PVC pipe than it's too tight for my liking. We just had an article on here to strengthen the VMO on the quad. Focus on that. Get the glutes strong a la Bret Contreras.

Here's a stretch to do after running and after rolling.


This is bad advice. You can't diagnose poor patellar tracking from painless crepitus. He has NO pain.. . therefore this advice is terrible. Sure, strengthen your glutes and VMO anyway, everyone needs a stronger ass, but don't focus on it.

In a perfect world, we would all have smooth articular cartilage that would rub perfectly over the cartilage on the opposite side of the joint. But this is real life, and everyone has some amount of rough, or worn down cartilage. When 1 rough surface rubs on another, you get that grinding, cracking sound - crepitus. I have the loudest knees out of anyone I know, and I have now for about 5 years... No issues.

Don't worry about the cracking my friend, but like the other guy said, when it becomes painful, then you take care of it.


I liked the video. Maybe having a tight 'posterior hip capsule' or whatever he said is the reason I hurt my SI joint in December and didn't get back to weights I was lifting just prior to the injury until 5 months later.


thank you all for the ideas and comments. I will continue to train my knees with squats and sprints as it seem the general consensus is no pain, no worries.
I will being foam rolling more regularly my IT band as per student, I can't see it hurting.

I'm completely inclined to believe you, as it has been my experience so far that there is nothing wrong minus the sensation inside (when i place my hand on the knee) of something grinding and the sounds associated; however, I can't help but feel that what ever is grinding in there cannot be good! Or, if there is something I can do to stop this awful movement in the knee, to do it. It's more become more of a psychological barrier as I just returned back to lifting after 8 months doing physiotherapy for my shoulders.


The only thing that will stop that noise is headphones!

Unless you want to bite on a towel, open up your knee with a scalpel, and grind off some of that rough cartilage. I am a post rehab specialist, and I have taken at least an hour lecture on crepitus. No worries.

Let pain be your guide with this one. You are right though, it is all a psychological thing.


I agree with Im_New_Feed_Me. If there is no pain with the clicking, then there is no major concern. The clicking could be due to many different things. Could be rubbing of your IT band. Could be shifting of your patella. Could be a minor tear of your meniscus. Could be some scar tissue around the knee/muscles of the knee, within the knee joint, around the patella, or under the patella. Could be an asymptomatic pilica band restriction. I hope you get my point by now.

If pain begins with the clicking, then you should get it checked out. It still will be beneficial to strengthen the glutes, address hip mobility, quad flexibility, improve soft tissue quality, etc. for overall joint and body health. Addressing those things may help decrease the clicking, but isn't a guarantee to eliminate the clicking.