Can osteoarthritis cause popping of the knee?

Knee popping is typically a symptom of more severe osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis of the knee results from years of wear and tear on the knee joint [source:]. Minor symptoms typically include intermittent joint pain, swelling, and stiffness in either one or both knees. As the knee cartilage breaks down further over time, the bones that meet at the knee joint begin to rub together. This can cause loss of joint motion and joint malformation. To make matters worse, small deposits of bone may begin to appear around the knee joint [source: NIAMS]. Symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee can result in a significant decrease in mobility and function, which can greatly impact your quality of life and your ability to perform daily life tasks, such as walking, going up stairs, bending and running.

People with more severe osteoarthritis of the knee experience periods of knee popping or a crunching sound when walking, running, or simply moving their knee joint [source: NIAMS]. Keep in mind, however, that knee popping is a common symptom related to various knee problems. You should talk to your doctor about your knee popping so that he can determine whether the cause is osteoarthritis or another knee-related problem. Blood tests and X-rays are typically necessary to determine the cause of knee popping [source:].


If your knee popping and other osteoarthritis symptoms are painful or concerning, consider different medical and nonmedical treatments. Rest your knee periodically throughout the day to reduce joint pain. Ice your knee for about 20 minutes a few times a day to reduce swelling and pain. Consider taking over-the-counter medication to relieve swelling and pain, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen [source:]. Consult your doctor if your symptoms persist or worsen, as other more invasive treatments can help relieve your knee pain and decreased mobility [source: NIAMS].