View Full Version : developed a popping knee today?? any ideas???

03-03-2003, 02:59 PM
Hey guys,

Today while climbing a flight of stairs I developed a "popping knee". on every step my left knee is now starting to act like it has a "catch" in it and it pops very loudly. However I don't have any pain or loss of strength. Has anyone else had these symptoms before? I am probably going to wait and if it is still doing it in the morning I may go ahead and go to the doctor but does anyone else here have any ideas of what it could be? The popping feels like it is coming behind my knee cap if that helps. Thanks.


03-03-2003, 04:07 PM
Lol...what is it with knees? That sounds like the acl has ruptured lee. Its a ligament inside your knee. There are four ligaments that attach the top of your leg to the bottom. Two on either side called the medial and lateral collateral ligaments and the two inside that rotate and allow your knee to twist a little. Sometimes if you plant your foot down and then twist too far or hard or if you have a side on impact (i.e. in rugby) you can tear or stretch one of those ligaments. The popping sound usually happens at the time of the injury from what I read. here is some more info on the ligaments anyway. If it's doing that every time you walk, then you could have a meniscal tear which is the cartilage in the knee. I'd get that checked. I damaged the mcl (medial) and my knee became unstable and clicks a lot now so I think I have torn a piece of the meniscus also. I am waiting for an MRI at the moment and I have stopped working on my knee in the hope that a rest will help--that's if the ligament is just torn and not snapped.


Here is a link about various sports injuries also:


and here is another link to a sports site that gives you an idea as to how to rehab a knee with that injury before and after surgery.


03-03-2003, 04:12 PM
infact reading your post again Lee it sounds very much like a meniscal tear. Sometimes when the cartilage tears it stick up and when the joints are moving the bit that's jutting out or up catches. Sometimes it can be bad enough to actually cause your leg to lock up because it traps. It's a bit like getting something jammed in a door jamb on the hinge side and not being able to close it properly. They will need to nip that damaged part out as it may worsen and tear more. I'd go and get it checked by your Doctor and certainly don't do too much on it until you get to see someone unless you make it worse. Cartilage doesn't grow back, they can only nip the damaged parts out. So it is important to make sure it doesn't get worse than it is.

03-03-2003, 04:17 PM
thanks for the info belle.....those websites sure have alot of information. I take it by the way that you describe that it looks like surgery is probably in my future? Is there any likelihood that the cartlidge could "heal or repair" itself? Thanks again for the links.


03-03-2003, 05:32 PM
Get to a doctor. Meniscal tears are a lot like hernias; they don't generally repair themselves.

03-03-2003, 05:48 PM
No Lee... the cartilage doesn't repair itself. They have to remove the torn and affected part. From what my Orthotic guy says they just nip out the affected part to smooth the meniscus out and make sure there is no catching and then your fine after that. Should be ok if it is just a little tear hopefully. You will need surgery to fix it, it won't heal itself. I am taking 1000mg glucosamine but that is to help repair the ligament which I hope is just torn a little at the moment. When I have the MRI they will be able to tell me more. The ACL--once that goes, you should get that fixed too because it leaves your knee in a vulnerable place having one torn or damaged ligament. Sometimes they can stretch and just be a little lax and cause instability so I am hoping that this is just the case and that mine repairs, so I am following the advice and trying the rehab program on that site I pointed you to which is some 6-10 weeks in length.

03-03-2003, 06:42 PM
I would have thought that if it were a meniscus or ligament tear that I would have a loss of strength in the knee. I don't have any "real" pain or loss of strength but it is starting to get pretty stiff so we have put some ice on it to try to help it stay at least a little "limber". Boy this sure is a bummer.


03-03-2003, 07:07 PM
Well I only had momentary pain when I went down a pot hole and that was it. As you get older and if your unfit it doesn't really take much to snap, tear or stretch a ligament in your knee. my was swollen a day or two later and ached, but not really bad pain. It got a little better for a while and then when I started working on it again it really piked out.

Ligaments are slow to heal and not like muscle, so even if it is stretched or a little torn, it can take a good 6-10 weeks to repair itself. The meniscus itself will not repair, but you can protect your cartilage and joints by taking glucosamine. Mine stiffens from time to time. I just do the isometric exercises on my leg for the time being to keep it from seizing up at present. In two weeks I've seen a good improvement already, so I am hoping it will be even better come week 6 from starting to rehab it.

Only need ice for when it is swollen. After that keep it warm as it helps where moving it is concerned, and keeps blood circulating to the area to heal any torn ligaments or injury. I use a piece of neoprene at the moment until I get my knee brace because it keeps it warm. You could use heat rub onceswelling goes down if it aches and glucosamine (1000mg) helps with swelling.

03-04-2003, 05:04 AM
Get to yer doc Bro..
Dont take chances..Specially w/summer coming !!

Good luck..


03-04-2003, 05:28 AM
thanks for all the advice guys.....

I woke up this morning extremely stiff and it popping even worse. I couldn't hardly sleep last night because the weight of the blankets on the bed were making my knee feel like it was being pushed in different ways.

I'm definitely heading to the doctor this morning. Thanks again.


03-04-2003, 01:39 PM
Wow! I am like that every night! I cant stand any weight on my leg and I toss and turn all over the place trying to get into a position that is not uncomfortable. I always end up lay on my right side which is a bummer because I like to sleep on my left side! I hate it at the moment because if I lay on my left side, I have to rest the inside of my right knee on the bony left knee and my mcl aches. At night even my knee cap feels achey though and like you said come the end of the day, any weight on the leg makes it feel pressured. It's gradually getting better at nights and I try to go without the anti inflammatories, but occasionally I end up waking up at 3am and getting the tabs because of the constant dull ache. Drives me nut's!

03-04-2003, 02:07 PM

I couldn't get an appointment until tomorrow afternoon. Today the popping has increased and it is starting to get quite sore. I sure hope the doctor has some sort of a solution and doesn't tell me the ol' give it a few weeks and lets see what it does speech. I guess I'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out what the real deal is. it's getting to the point where it is burning and aching while sitting still. what a mess :(


03-04-2003, 03:30 PM
I know how your feeling. Now you have an inkling as to what it is your hoping he will come to the same conclusion. If he/she knows their stuff, they will be referring you on somewhere though. You should also get a script for anti inflammatories and ask about a knee brace because you need to isolate the knee, but obviously you still need to walk on it. A hinged knee brace can be set at different angles so that you cannot accidentally extend your leg beyond certain angles. For example if you read that site it tells you not to make movements of beyond 90 degrees at first. The inge is therefore set to 90 degree angle and it stops you inadvertantly moving the leg further than 90 degrees. Then as you get better it is extended to 110 degree etc etc. This gives your ligaments a chance to heal whilst you still have the use of a leg if it is an acl injury. I'm still waiting for my brace, so I have to constantly remember not to bend my knee too far at the moment and a few times I have done it. The brace also provides stability to your knee and you are less likely to do further injury whilst ligaments repair. if it is a snapped ligament it requires surgery. Some Doctors don't operate if it is the acl but if you are a very active person and are likely to have your sporting ability hampered, then you should have a torn ligament repaired. Then you need to rehab it for the recommended time and get back to full mobility. An mcl or lcl needs to be repaired most definately as they are the ligamnents to either side of the knee and are the ligaments that restrict it from moving too far from side to side.

Physio will consist of treatments where you do isometric exercises.

Here is a link to a board on the net where other folks go to discuss the different knee injuries:


I found it useful just reading some of the posts actually.

03-04-2003, 03:51 PM
Originally posted by Belle
I hate it at the moment because if I lay on my left side, I have to rest the inside of my right knee on the bony left knee and my mcl aches.

Try putting a pillow between your knees. That really helps lower back pain too.

03-04-2003, 05:15 PM
LOl, I tried that, having been pregnant and knowing that trick, but it is the gravity of the situation that stopped it being comfrotable--even with a pillow in the beginning. Because it is the mcl ligament (along the inner part of the right knee) when I lay on my left side the inner right knee is pointing down and it feels as if it wants to leave the socket--even with a pillow prop. That may be because my legs are quite heavy and still have a high BF % though at the moment. Dunno. It's getting better though, but in the beginning, not even a pillow would help as the tenseness and swelling were on that inner side of the knee and it was sore just to touch the surface, and when you add blankets and bedding it weight you down further, it always felt as if the bottom of the leg was pulling away and down from my top leg when propping it. It's the same when I sit on the settee and put and put both legs on the settee and let them drop to the left whilst watching TV or something. There is a strain on the mcl and because it is torn or stretched the knee seems to be very lax and just aches really badly especially towards the end of the day. Just feels like it will pop out of the joint and feels odd. So lying on the right side was better as it brought it back in alignment because it was rested on the mattress if you will.

I have read about something called Goode wraps that apparently help when you wear those as they are impregnated with a blend of natural rare-earth semiconductors. The semiconductors increase circulation to reduce stiffness and pain. Goode Wraps are available for the wrist, knee, shin, leg, ankle, elbow, shoulder and back. I don't know if you can get them here but I'm going to look around for one.


03-05-2003, 03:27 PM

i went to the orthopedic surgeon today and he thinks that i have a partially torn ligament and damaged miniscus. he pulled my leg that hurt like h*ll but after that the popping has ceased(at least for now)....I've got a mri scheduled for tomorrow and then once the results are back we'll probably get surgery scheduled. He seems to think that i am a likely candidate for surgery. :( thanks again for the help guys.


03-05-2003, 03:58 PM
WOW, that was quick! I'm impressed. My MRI is not until next Wednesday and I've been hobbling around waiting for some action for two weeks! Well, keep me updated as to how your MRI goes tomorrow Lee. Since your having yours done before mine, you'll know more than me this time tomorrow! ;)

03-05-2003, 06:48 PM
Originally posted by leeinmemphis
I went to the orthopedic surgeon today and he thinks that i have a partially torn ligament and damaged miniscus. he pulled my leg that hurt like h*ll but after that the popping has ceased(at least for now)....I've got a mri scheduled for tomorrow and then once the results are back we'll probably get surgery scheduled. He seems to think that i am a likely candidate for surgery. :( thanks again for the help guys.
Good luck on this. I had an MRI scan once, but I fell asleep (they had to restart it, because I moved when I nodded off). I could fall asleep just about anywhere! It was just so relaxing, the rythymic noise the scanner makes, and it was pretty dark.

Unlike muscle tissue, ligaments and cartilage are poorly vascularized, so they take a while to repair themselves (or to recover after surgery.

03-06-2003, 07:11 PM

had the mri today and they put me in a vise to hold my knee still while the did the scan and it hurt terribly bad. I almost had to push the emergency stop button at the end but luckily it ended quickly. I had the test done in one of the old "tube" type machines and it was a fairly tight fit but that brace they put my knee in I believe made it worse. It is so stiff now that I can't hardly bend it! I should have the results tomorrow and then know if I'll have to have any surgery done. In a way I am kind of hoping that I do so I can get over the pain but in another way I've never had to deal with surgery, health insurance, and doctors and to be honest it is a little intimidating. More than anything I'm a little uneasy about being put to sleep.....I guess just because I never have....I'm sure everything will be fine. :)


03-06-2003, 09:41 PM
I think that the op is done with a block isn't it Lee? I have had two major c-sections done under a block so one would hope that if I have to have a knee op, that it will be done with local anaesthetic as I don't like being put under myself either. hence staying awake for my previous op's. LOL! From what I have heard they make three incisions and fill the knee cavity with fluid so that things space out and they look at everything in there, make any necessary repairs and then finish up. Well this is what I read and have been told here anyway. That scan sounds nasty. Mind you, you were relatively close to your injury so still tenderness. Mine has settled down now. hopefully I won't feel as uncomfortable. :)

I've heard after surgery that you can be up and back on your legs in 48 hours and fine once things have been fixed.

03-07-2003, 11:16 AM

I just got off the phone with the surgeon and he said that he thought I should wait because he didn't see a significant amount of cartlidge damage. I can't hardly believe it because of the pain I am having now(I can barely walk)......he told me if I still hurt on Monday then to come see him. I have to admit that I am a little disappointed. I thought I was going to be able to get this behind me but apparently he's going to make me deal with it for a while :(

I am just speechless.

I'll probably end up getting a second opinion.


03-07-2003, 02:27 PM
Sorry to hear that your having problems. I hate it when they do that, but I am just wondering if they are waiting for the swelling and pain to go down before assessing your knee again. Mine has now but the clicking is still apprent which would suggest it is definately a case of something amiss.

Even if they did not see significant cartilage damage on the MRI, it does not rule out that it hasn't occured. If you continue to have problems when the swelling and inflammation is down, then they would probably have to do an exploratory as I have hear that MRI's don't pick up everything and especially ACL problems which are in side the knee, unlike MCL and LCL injuries. It has taken about two weeks to get my leg to a comfortable situation for me and there is no pain now--only the clicking. That annoys me as my theory on that is that something is wrong and needs fixing when it involves joints not having a smooth noise free day. My knee cap also makes a squeaky, grindy noise like there is a lack of fluid.

Do you have to go back for another check up or follow up?

03-07-2003, 05:43 PM
he told me that if it still hurt over the weekend then to come back next week....but he made no appointment. If it still hurts next week then I will probably get a second opinion before I let them do any surgery though....just to double check and make sure everything is in order. have a good weekend.


03-07-2003, 08:40 PM
MRIs are super, but once in a while, they have to go in with an orthoscope and have a look.

03-11-2003, 08:40 PM
Just updating this thread. Lee, how is your knee and swelling? Any better???

What a day... my MRI was put to an hour after the original time and even then, something was wrong with the computer program linked up to the scanner and the monitor was not detecting the mouse apparently. After half an hour of waiting past my appointment time and Bruce cossing because he was taking time off work to watch the kids whilst I had my scan, someone came out and told us about the hiccup. They had got half way through scanning a lady and the mouse just died on them apparently and they were waiting for a technician. Anyway I just asked her had they checked the mouse usb port plug to see if it had come loose? They had but that wasn't the problem. So I asked her "Have you rebooted the computer cos if that doesn't work there is a problem with the mouse drivers probably and you may need to remove the mouse program from the hardrive and then reboot and the program will detect it and reinstall." She then went off into the back and within 15 minutes they had the scanner working again. Dunno if what I had said had helped LOL! Probably would have been waiting all damn day if I hadn't said something though knowing this hospital here. :rolleyes:

Anyway, the scan went well. Took about half an hour and like Lee says, they wedge your leg up in a brace so that it doesn't move whilst they scan it. Geez, you just don't know how hard it is to lie as still as anything and not even twitch for half an hour, but luckily I didn't get itchy anywhere. I was lay there for 30 minutes thinking all I need now is for my foot to itch like crazy and I will be stuffed. WHAT A NOISE! I had headphones on and it STILL sounded loud. She was saying that kids have to be anaethetized before the scan as they don't understand about keeping still and stuff. However, going into a long just over a foot wide tube is more than enough to give a kid a heart attack anyway and the freakin noise never mind keep still! As luck had it, because it was my knee, they popped me in and left my head on the outside so I didn't feel claustrophiobic, but keeping still was completely surreal.

It will take 5 days for my Specialist to get the results anyway so I still know nothing about what is going on with my knee. I did not get home until 2pm and was famished. I had no breakfast or lunch or snacks due to rushing about, only a cup of tea whilst waiting for them to get the mouse working. I have only just got a meal now and have leg workout tonight (wednesday) so need a shake to--think I'll double the number of scoops and tank myself up because I may not get a good workout done otherwise. Well that's that over with anyway. I'll keep you updated when I get my results.


03-12-2003, 05:43 AM

My knee is feeling a little better but it still doesn't feel right. I'm going to wait a little while and see how it feels and if it doesn't get any better then I'll probably go to another doctor. Sorry to hear that your mri took so long. That brace for my knee that they used in the mri is probably the most uncomfortable that I've been in a long time. I sure hope I don't have to go through that test again for a long time(and so does my insurance company ;) )

take care.


03-20-2003, 08:44 PM
Well I finally got the results of my MRI. Their impression from the scans they did are that I have an osteochondral injury, lateral femoral condyle, with no evidence of a gross defect or losse body. The ACL and both menisci appaear intact. They found that the joint alignment was normal. There is subchondral oedema in the lateral femoral condyl anteriorly, although the overlying cartilage appears grossly intact. The medial and lateral menisci "appear" normal, and the anterior cruciate ligament appears intact. The posterior cruciate ligament and both collateral ligaments also appear intact. Lastly the patellofemoral joint appears normal.

The Doctor seems to think it is something that will get better with time maybe but can often be an early sign of osteoarthiritis. Says it is an injury that occurs with the type that I had and aggravated with repetetive movements and that I should not do running and other high impact stuff on it. He said it is rather like a bruise but on the bone and hopefully it will heal in time. I think my instincts were right after all where stopping cardio was concerned anyway. He did say I should do cycling and rowing, which ironically is all that I can manage anyway at present.

They cannot do anything for it and I just need to exercise and increase muscular strength and use pain as a guide as to whether I am pushing things to hard with it.

Just thought that I'd finish up on the knee thread with it and post the outcome anyway. I feel my mcl must have been lax and it had led to a lot of wear and tear in my knee. The pain is mainly along the joint line and does feel pressure behind the knee cap at times and aching so I guess it is correct. There appears to be a white shado on the lower knee cap anyway. Possibly the mcl is healing nicely and tightening up since the first Doctors initial diagnosis after rotating my knee anhow.

Certainly hope it ain't osteoarthiritis starting anyway that's for sure. LOL, even if I wanted to do running, I can't. Ohhh whadda shame I am going to miss is SOOOO much. Ha! Ha! Ha!

04-14-2003, 05:28 PM
Just an update to this thread. I had my physio appt on Monday and she did several physical tests to check all four ligaments in my knee. She says that they are all in good condition and not damaged. We found during the examination that most of my pain was coming from behind the knee cap and also there is a weakness on the quad muscle on the inner thigh just above the knee. There are four muscles that make up the quads and they are all attached to the Patella tendon which is the tendon that the knee cap is attached to. So whatever happens to those muscles is important where positioning the knee cap is concerned.

She says that my patella is not tracking in the groove of the bones properly when I bend or flex my leg and this is due to a weak vastus medialis muscle. This sometimes happens after an injury to the knee and if there is an arthritic response--it can weaken the muscle. With continuing my resistance training I have made the siutation worse because that muscle has forgotten what to do in a sense so the other muscle on the other side of the thigh is kicking in and is dominant and so when doing normal every day activites now even, because that muscle has become stronger, it is pulling the patella over the larger bone. Because the under neath of the patella is rubbing across bone unevenly is is getting bruised and this is what makes the crickling noise that is audible. If not corrected it leads to osteoarthritis in the knee. :rolleyes:

Anyway she gave instructions not to weight train on that leg until we have retrained the weaker muscle to do some work. Sooo I have been set one exercise for now to do. I have to sit on the edge of a chair with my legs at 90 degree angles and push my foot into the floor slightly until I feel the weak muscle pulling in, whilst being very careful that the other dominant muscle doesn't tense up in first. LOL! I can understand why she has only set me ONE exercise for now....it's like trying to be Uri Geller and bend friccin spoons by looking at them I tell you trying to concentrate on which muscle is doing what. :rolleyes: I go back on Wednesday to learn some other exercises as she reckons that my whole leg is misaligned in some way and I need other exercises to correct it.

She says it will take only THREE weeks of exercises and physio to correct this problem. Confession:

I have been exercising the outer legs muscles alot more than the inner at the gym because I was doing stuff on the adductor machine thinking that this would tone my "inner thigh area." LOL!
So I have probably hastened this because in doing that exercises I have been exercising the outer muscles even more! Then she say that all the running I did in January and going over on my knee would not have helped the situation as the knee cap is really irritated by running if it isn't aligned properly.

All this pain because of one stoopid lil muscle not working right. LOL! She says as soon as we sort the muscle out and the knee cap is working properly the pain will stop. :)

I am sooo relieved it is such a simple proplem and easy to resolve. I have started doing my training again as she said as long as it does not involve the outer thigh muscles on that leg being tensed this is ok for now. So I went for my workout last night and the upper body and someone actually spotted me on bench press too towards the end as he could see I was having a struggle. I am feeling so much better today just having done those exercises yesterday and understanding how I am making the situation worse with the way I sit!

Just thought that I'd let you guys know.


04-14-2003, 05:37 PM
I'd say that I need to do some abduction type exercises to redress the balance. This morning I lay on my side in bed and experimented with some exercises just pushing the outer side of my thigh into the mattress and could feel the weaker muscle doing some work with just that simple exercise so I guess that will help also.

08-12-2003, 10:02 PM


08-13-2003, 05:29 PM
I pop all over but not going to have surgery until it pops through the skin. most of the time your body will heal its self .

08-13-2003, 06:24 PM
Slowly though... :D Don't expect that to fix itself overnight. A meniscal tear will possibly need repair or surgery. If it's just stretched or lax then it may just need rest on that leg weight training wise. That and physio based exercises.

07-20-2015, 10:25 PM
Hey guys,

Today while climbing a flight of stairs I developed a "popping knee". on every step my left knee is now starting to act like it has a "catch" in it and it pops very loudly. However I don't have any pain or loss of strength. Has anyone else had these symptoms before? I am probably going to wait and if it is still doing it in the morning I may go ahead and go to the doctor but does anyone else here have any ideas of what it could be? The popping feels like it is coming behind my knee cap if that helps. Thanks.

-lee-Knee clicking tends to occur when the joints are being extended, and at times, it can be accompanied by severe pain. The knee starts to click because, more often than not, there is a part of the knee that is not in its proper position.