felt a pop in my knee

Should I be concerned if I felt a pop in my knee?

Your knees are very important joints that enable you to move around freely and perform a wide variety of tasks. That’s why it can be so concerning when you have knee pain along with a pop in your knee.

What does it mean if I felt a pop in my knee?

While we don’t want to alarm anyone, we do want to emphasize that a loud pop in your knee can be associated with a serious condition. It is possible that it is nothing more than crepitus, which is the buildup of gas in the joint that makes a popping sound when it releases — much like popping your knuckles. However, if you felt a pop in your knee along with pain or during a physical activity, such as running, you should visit a health care professional. 

A loud pop in the knee could be associated with:

  • ACL tear — The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) runs through the center of your knee and is responsible for helping provide stability to the joint. A sudden twisting motion and downward force on the joint can cause the ACL to tear, which is often characterized by a loud popping sound. When the ACL is torn, it can be difficult to participate in activities that demand a lot of motion from the knee.
  • Meniscus tear — Like an ACL tear, a meniscus tear can occur as the result of a sudden twisting of the knee along with downward force. The meniscus is a C-shaped, flat piece of cartilage that helps protect the knee from shock and friction. When it is damaged, the meniscus can fold back on itself or fragment into pieces that can keep the knee from fully bending or straightening.
  • Arthritis — Is your knee pain more slow and creeping than it is a sudden injury? If you have long-lasting pain and frequently experience popping, you may have a chronic condition, such as arthritis.

    Arthritis is an inflammatory condition that causes the cartilage in your joints to wear down, which can affect the cartilage in your knees. This is a painful condition that can limit your range of motion in the affected joints.

Visit SOL Physical Therapy today for knee pain treatment

Do you have knee pain that is accompanied by a pop in the knee? Even if you don’t think it’s serious, you should visit a professional for an examination and treatment. Left untreated, many knee conditions can lead to more severe conditions that cause further issues. Contact our team today for more information about a loud pop in the knee or to schedule an initial appointment.


About the author

Sports + Orthopedic Leaders Physical Therapy & Performance Training serves the communities of Oakland, Alameda, Berkeley, Walnut Creek, Orinda, San Francisco and beyond. SOLPT’s award winning team of Physical Therapists, Performance Coaches and movement experts has helped thousands reach their rehabilitation and performance goals to move beyond pain. We're committed to helping anyone of any fitness level move effectively and more powerfully for a lifetime. We offer rehabilitation and performance services to all populations, with specialties in Sports Rehabilitation, Active Release Techniques, and Manual Therapy Techniques plus Personal and Small Group Training, Sport Clinics and Wellness Services.