T Nation

Noises when squatting

I often hear cracking noises in my knees when squatting. Is this a bad thing? They don’t hurt at all, so I’m presuming its okay.

My former high-school coach (we all know how good their info is! hehe) used to tell me that it was simply air and fluid moving around, and it was nothing to worry about.

You should worry pal…be cautious. Reduce your rep speed to see if you can eliminate this

I think this is a fairly common question and the answer I see is never very clear. I have the same symptoms. I personally don’t worry about it, but if you find out anything please post some info here.

Yeah, my knees make a walnut crunching sound when I deep squat, but it doesn’t hurt at all. It’s been like that way before I started lifting. I would like to know if it’s okay and my family doctor told me it was fine (this was about 7-8 years ago though…). Something has to be wearing out!

Go to issue #149. Author Lori Gross spoke about this. The article is boring as hell, but I guess something sunk in, because I remember her talking about this. On another note, LORI, you don’t need to use your letters after your name for everything you write. You even wrote into feedback and put all those letters. It’s really just an ego thing. It does nothing for me to see this, except to laugh. I have several certifications myself, but putting them after everything I write about looks tacky. If you believe in your ability and knowledge, the readers on this site and mag don’t need you to validate your background every time.

James,
The noises you hear could concievably be caused by air and fluid, but with your apparent training age and history of weightlifting it is highly unlikely. There are many specific reasons for the noises but generally, these noises are the result of: 1.some degree of cartalaginous/meniscal degeneration below the kneecap and between the leg bones(femur/tibia), a.k.a. chondromalacia 2.patellar mistracking in the groove of the thigh bone (femur) at the knee 3.lack of lubrication in the knee via synovial fluid 4.pieces of cartilage or other debris getting “run over” by moving structures during the squat. If these symptoms get worse with time or you begin experiencing pain with these symptoms you may have to get your knee scoped (arthroscopy). Hope this helps. One more thing, when in the down position in the squat be sure never to take the tension off of the muscles and “relax” as this stretches the knee joint and related structures terribly and will definitely accelerate knee-related problems.

I believe the condition is called crepitus, as per the Issue 149 article. I’ve had the same “problem” ever since I started lifting (at age 15) and I’m 39 now, so that’s almost a quarter century of squats (mostly to parallel, but full in the last couple of years) without any pain. I’m no expert on this - just my anecdotal experience, for what it’s worth.