Are your knees clicking or popping?

As a fitness trainer and yoga teacher, I work with people that have knee issues, some more serious than others. In general, if cracking or popping is painless there’s no need for concern. Some clients find it difficult to focus on an exercise if their knees make noise and so we try to work on body posture and correct execution to minimise the sound and feeling of the knees snapping. 

Photo by Jacob Postuma

Photo by Jacob Postuma

There are many different reasons for knees to pop, injuries are the obvious one. But if there’s no pain or swelling then it can be because of age, because of sitting many hours or because of overtiring our joints. As we age our connective tissue, our fascia changes it loses its fluidity and it becomes less, especially in some areas of the body and around bones. So, it could be our ligaments changing, or our joint lining moving easier over bones. 

What I see often with new clients is that their body posture is wrong, and the way they perform strength training exercises is not optimal. For instance, in order to protect the knees, you need to squat the right way, engage the core, engaging the glutes and minimise putting any pressure on the knees. If we become more conscious of this pressure we put on our knees from a young age then we might have fewer issues later in life. 

Do I train clients with knee problems? Well, if we want to look at it in more detail and from a medical perspective, there are plenty of reasons your knees are snapping or popping. Think of crepitus or meniscus tears or arthritis signals. I don’t take up clients with medical or severe knee issues. In cases though, where it’s more of an imbalance problem, or because of inactivity or cartilage injury then we work together but we avoid exercises or poses that affect the knees and give alternatives. If for example knee snapping or popping happens too often or becomes uncomfortable for recreational runners, I suggest to stop or limit the times they run and first agree with a doctor on the next steps before training again. 

As a yoga teacher who meets many people with joint issues and limited range of motion I always say, “Whatever it is we need to do to keep our joints going, we need to start doing it from an early age.”