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Is Your Knee Making Cracking Sounds? Could Be Osteoarthritis

Do you hear any cracking or popping sounds from your knees? If yes, beware - it could be a sign of osteoarthritis.

Is Your Knee Making Cracking Sounds? Could Be Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the commonest chronic disorder involving the joints. It is also called degenerative arthritis as it is related to the ageing process. In normal life, joint surface is covered with soft and very smooth bone that is called cartilage. In normal health it provides elastic tissue or padding in joints that act as a smooth cushioning material inside joints, and prevents bones from rubbing together with friction-free movement of the joints. However, with decades of use of joints, often with their misuse (wrong postures, burdening them with excess weight etc.) joint cartilage gets damaged, develops cracks, and becomes rough and flaky so that small pieces of damaged cartilage start to break off. With time, large sections of cartilage may get worn out completely, leaving the bone ends unprotected so that the rough surfaces rub against each other and cause painful joints.

The most common symptom of osteoarthritis is mild to severe pain in the joint. Initially the pain usually occurs following activity, and rest provides relief. In the later stages, pain occurs with minimum movement and even at or after rest. There may also be swelling and stiffness of the joints, which occurs especially in the morning or after a period of inactivity. Other symptoms include weakness in the muscles around the affected joints due to lack of use, deformity of the joint and a creaking or grating sound in the joint. According to a new study, if you hear a grating, cracking or popping sound often when you bend your knees or move around, it could be a warning sign of Osteoarthritis. The study was published in the journal, published in the journal Arthritis Care and Research.

The team of researchers from Baylor College of Medicine examined 3,500 participants who were at a high risk for developing knee osteoarthritis. It was seen that out of those who developed the disease within a year, more than 75 per cent had signs of osteoarthritis on radiographic images but no frequent knee pain at the start of the study.

As the cartilage gets damaged, the knee joint may move freely and crackle and crunch while moving which is also known as Knee Crepitus. These noises in the knee are common and usually painless but thy signal the risk of Osteoarthritis. It is often seen that many people are diagnosed with Osteoarthritis but they may not experience pain or the other common symptoms.

Experts believe that these findings may be helpful for identifying individuals at risk for knee osteoarthritis, potentially assisting with earlier diagnosis and intervention, the researchers added.

Who is at Risk?
  • Factors that may increase the risk of osteoarthritis include:
  • Older age
  • It is seen that women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis.
  • Being obese contributes to osteoarthritis in several ways, and the more you weigh, the greater your risk.
  • Increased weight puts added stress on weight-bearing joints, such as your hips and knees. In addition, fat tissue produces proteins that may cause harmful inflammation in and around your joints.
  • Injuries, such as those that occur when playing sports or from an accident, may increase the risk of osteoarthritis.
  • Genetics. Some people inherit a tendency to develop osteoarthritis.
  • Bone deformities. Some people are born with malformed joints or defective cartilage, which can increase the risk of osteoarthritis.
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