Are you scared of the noisy sounds in your knees? Many of us have knees that crack when we squat down, stand-up, or during other activities in our daily life. Well, you do not have to worry always when you have any popping or cracking sound in the knees because some joints of our body crack even if they are healthy.
Knee pain is one of the most common problems that can occur at any age, but often in a later age. It affects 1 in 10 people across the world, above the age of 60 years. It is usually associated with any of the structures of the knee area, like the knee joint (bony parts-tibia, fibula, and femur), cartilage, ligament, patella or knee-cap. Depending on the involvement of the structure, the location of your knee pain varies. So, the knee pain can occur as a result of an injury like torn ligament or tendon, problems in the bony structures, or due to other medical conditions. Diseases like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis too can take a toll on the knee joint.
Knee pain in elderly people occurs as a result of the side effect of these long term medical issues, which impacts the bones or joints. But, in the majority of the cases, it occurs due to the weakening of the bone structure, caused by the aging process.
Why Does the Healthy Knee Joint Crack?
As age advances, the cartilage starts to develop rough areas. Cartilage is the tissue that covers and protects the bones from direct contact with each other. So during sitting down or standing up, these rough surfaces also move across each other, which causes cracking or popping sound.
2 most popular reasons for Knee pain while sitting and standing up due to Patellofemoral pain syndrome and knee osteoarthritis.
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome is the medical term for pain felt behind your kneecap, where your patella (kneecap) articulates with your thigh bone (femur).
Symptoms of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
- Pain on the inside of the kneecap
- Pain around the edge or under the kneecap
- Pain becomes worse with activity
Knee Osteoarthritis is one type of arthritis, which is degenerative; while the other type is rheumatoid arthritis, which is autoimmune.
Symptoms of Knee Osteoarthritis
- Pain increases with the activities
- Feeling of warmth in the joint
- Stiffness in the knee
- Use of knee braces
Other Causes & Symptoms of Knee Pain
Let’s explore in detail, what might be the causes behind the knee pain.
Knee Pain Causes:
The treatment vary depends on the cause of the knee pain. If you know the causes, there is a chance of taking the preventions. Several situations may cause Knee Pain such as Injuries, Improper treatments for the injury, as an increase in age. Injuries are the most common causes of knee pain and further knee diseases which may be caused if left untreated on time.
Knee joint pain can be due to following reasons including Arthritis, Osteoarthritis Rheumatoid Arthritis, Bursitis, Tendinitis, Gout, and Pseudo Gout, Septic Arthritis, Strains, Sprains, and Injuries.
- Sudden Injuries – One may suffer the knee pain due to a sudden hit to an external object or a sudden unexpected fall may be the cause of knee pain.
- High impact activities – Some types of Sports or activities that may show a high impact on knee joints may result in knee pain.
- Too much Body Weight – Obesity or overweight might be the other major cause behind the knee pain.
- Ineffective Nourishment – Our body requires to be nourished on daily basis for maintenance of healthy joints. An insufficient diet may also result in knee pain. For example, our body needs calcium to maintain healthy bones. If the requires amount of calcium supply is lacking in our daily diet, that may be the one of the cause for knee pain.
- Lack of Muscle Flexibility – Lack of flexibility in the knee joints due to a sedentary lifestyle, or lack of proper exercise to the body joints can become one of cause for knee pain in later ages.
- Medical conditions – Some health issues like arthritis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis may also be the cause of severe knee pain in elder ages.
Knee Pain Symptoms:
Symptoms represent the occurrence of the issue. Here is the list of signs of the Knee Pain and joint issues.
- Lack of Stiffness
- Not able to straighten Knee
- Popping or Crunching Noises
What is the Best Exercise for Pains of Knees?
Knee pain is very common these days. The life is very mobile and hectic in the present scenario of the individuals and therefore a lot of people are facing the problems of joint pain and knee pain. Allopathic medicines are what people resort to when they feel any sort of discomfort or pain in the knee but it is always better to choose if there is any natural remedy for treating such common issues before opting for the medicine. If we have to choose the natural remedies, yoga could be of great use when done every day on regular basis. Let’s check out some helpful yoga asanas for knee pain relief.
Yoga for Knee Pain
Let’s explore how we can benefit from the yoga in case of knee pain –
Yoga is a 5000-year-old Indian body of knowledge. Yoga is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines, though many think of yoga only as a physical exercise where people twist, turn, stretch, and breathe. Yoga helps our body immensely. Yoga improves the level of concentration and the way of looking at things. Yoga is not just an exercise, but a lifestyle. There are a number of benefits that yoga has on your mind, body, and soul.
To mention few, major benefits of yoga are like –
- Yoga Improves health and improves your flexibility of the body
- Builds muscle strength and perfects the body posture
- Helps to maintain healthy cartilage and bone joint
- Protects the knee joints and spine
- Betters the bone health
- Increases the blood flow in a healthy way which means more oxygen supply to the body organs
- Helps to boost immunity
Other physical benefits of yoga include improving respiration, energy, and vitality. Yoga is very helpful in improving the overall metabolism of the body, to support healthy body weight and to improve athletic performance. Exercises, healthy diet and yoga are 3 important pillars of the holistic approach towards a healthy body and a healthy mind.
The brilliance of Yoga Asanas helps in relieving joint pain in many ways as it improves overall metabolism by increasing blood circulations and strengthening your weak muscles. Yoga Asanas for knee pain relief provide additional benefits by increasing leg strength and minimizing knee adduction.
Yoga Asanas for Knee Pain
Can Yoga help with knee pain? The answer is a positive yes. One has to perform these yoga asanas mindfully. These yoga asanas help prevent knee problems and associated disease conditions. Want to remain fit and flexible always? Having Weak Knees? Do some Yoga.
5 effective yoga movements or yoga asanas for knee pain are:
1. Tadasana (Mountain Pose) – Yoga for Knee Pain:
Tadasana could be the best yoga pose to start with for the beginners. Tadasana could help in increasing the flexibility of muscles and strengthen the joints like the thighs, knee joints, and ankles. Tadasana could be practiced to treat and for better results in joints and knee pain related problems.
Tadasana is usually the starting position for all the standing poses in yoga. But it’s useful to practice Tadasana as a pose in itself. Tadasana yoga pose is effective to increase height and stretching your body from feet to your arms. Stay in the pose for 30 sec to 1 min, breathing easily. Practice 5 rounds. For beginners, it may be difficult to maintain balance but with practice, it becomes easier.
Tadasana asana improves posture and develops balance. It strengthens the muscles of thighs, knees, ankles, abdomen, and buttocks, Relieves sciatica, Reduces pes planus (flat feet).
2. Triangle Pose (Trikonasana) – Yoga for Knee Pain:
Triangle Pose is also called as Trikonasana. The name Trikonasana comes from the Sanskrit words trikona which means triangle. Triangle pose is a yoga pose that stretches the legs and creates balance.
Trikonasana is extremely beneficial to burn fat from stomach, waist, thighs, and back, so it helps in obese people to lose excess weight which may be causing the knee pain. Trikonasana is one of the key standing pose found in most styles of yoga. This yoga asana is energizing and works on the waist, hips, and legs, thereby helps to reduce the knee pain. Hence could be practiced as one of the yoga asanas for knee pain relief.
Stay in the pose for 30 sec to 1 min, breathing easily. Practice 5 rounds. For beginners, it may be difficult to maintain balance but with practice, it becomes easier.
3. Uttanasana (Forward-Bending Pose) – Yoga for Knee Pain:
Stand with your feet parallel and hip-width apart. Fold forward slowly while exhaling. If your hamstrings are tight or your lower back is sensitive, bend your knees. This yoga asana helps to stretch hips, hamstrings, calves and also strengthens the thighs and knees, therefore helps in reducing the knee pain involved due to weak muscles groups in the legs.
Benefits of Uttanasana Pose:
- Stretches the muscles of hip, hamstrings, and calves
- Strengthens the thighs and knees
- Keeps the spine strong and flexible
- Reduces depression, anxiety, and stress
- Eases symptoms of menopause, asthma, headaches, and insomnia
Note: Stay in this posture for 30 sec to 1 min.
4. Vrksasan (The Tree Posture) – Yoga for Knee Pain:
VRKSH means tree. The final position of this asana resembles the shape of a tree, hence the name.
- Stand with 2 inches apart
- Focus on a point in front
- Exhale, bend the right leg and place the foot on the inside of the left thigh. The heel should be touching the perineum.
- Inhale and extend the arms up and join the palms.
- Maintain this position for TEN to THIRTY seconds
- Exhale and bring the arms and right foot down
- Relax and repeat the asana by bending the left leg.
VRKSASAN improves neuromuscular coordination, balance, endurance and alertness. It tones up leg muscles and improves and rejuvenates the ligaments also and hence may be used as one of the yoga for knee pain relief.
5. Parsvottanasana (Pyramid pose) – Yoga for Knee Pain:
Parsvottanasana or pyramid pose in yoga helps to build balance in our body, strengthens the legs and also helps to calm down the brain. This yoga pose is also very much useful for the overall joints health including the knee joints. Regular practice of pyramid pose helps to reduce knee pain, hence could be considered as one of the beneficial yoga asanas for knee pain relief.
6. Bhadrasana (The Firm/Auspicious Posture) – Yoga for Knee Pain:
Sit on the floor with straight legs. Now bend your knees, bring your feet together so that the soles touch each other and pull them with the hands towards your body, close to the perineum. Grab your feet, sit straight, relax your shoulders and smile.
Bhadrasana yoga posture strengthens the muscles of your thighs, hip and buttocks. This asana can be used as a yoga asanas for knee pain relief as it improves flexibility and reduces knee pain.
7. Makarasana (The Crocodile Posture) – Yoga for Knee Pain:
Having held the head with the two arms, one lies down on the ground facing downwards, chest touching the ground, two legs spread apart. This posture is called the Makarasana.
This asana is advised for getting relief from knee pain because in this posture you have to keep your entire leg straight, which ensures proper blood supply to the knees.
Knee support aids like knee caps may help to provide warmth to the knee joint and mild compression to the knee which would help the pain and inflammation that may be seen with the age, arthritis.
When Should you Visit Your Doctor?
Cracking or popping sound coming from your knees is not dangerous unless it causes any pain and swelling. So, if you have pain or swelling, visit your doctor without any delay, because it can be dangerous if left untreated. The noisy sounds in the knees may occur due to the following problems:
Injury or Wearing of the Cartilage:
Sometimes due to the injury, a part of cartilage breaks off. As a result, you have swelling and severe pain in the knee area. In older people, the cartilage becomes thinner gradually and also breaks. It causes serious pain and difficulty in moving the legs. This condition slowly worsens and is called as Osteoarthritis.
Read More: Knee Brace for Osteoarthritis
Tear of the meniscus is one of the common problems, which can occur during heavy activities like sports, twisting, running. The meniscus is a disc-like cartilaginous structure that provides the cushioning effect between the joints. It prevents the direct contact of the bone with each other and also protects them from the impact of heavyweight.
What are the Precautions to Avoid Knee Problems?
You can follow some precautions, which can help you keep your knees healthy. Some of these are:
- Always wear flat shoes that give you comfort, and try to avoid high heels.
- Exercise regularly, which can strengthen your legs and bones. For example, walking up stairs, brisk walking, cycling, works wonderfully in building the muscles for the knee support.
- Stretching exercise is also very effective to keep the knees healthy and strong.
- People, who are obese, are at greater risk to develop arthritis of the knee. So, it is important to maintain a proper body weight which can help you reduce stress on the knees.
- Early physiotherapy intervention when you have mild pain or discomfort in your knee can help, so its imperative that you discuss your condition with you doctor and take remedial steps without delay.
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Dr. Kaleem Mohammed graduated as a Bachelor of Physiotherapy in 2014 from Deccan College of Physiotherapy, affiliated to Dr. N.T.R. University of Health Sciences, Vijayawada, India. Dr. Kaleem is an expert at handling physiotherapy needs of patients suffering from orthopedic and spinal conditions and post-surgery rehabilitation. Dr. Kaleem is associated with HealthClues since its inception where he facilitates diagnosis and advanced consultation with senior doctors. He is also a medical researcher and prolific writer who loves sharing insightful commentaries and useful tips to educate the patient community about fitness, treatment options, and post-treatment recovery.