Snap crackle and pop
It is very common for knees to make funny noises as we move and walk around and this can be worrying to hear. Its totally normal for joints to occasionally crack and pop - so don’t worry. As long as it is not causing you pain then these noises are totally harmless. I like to think of it as my joints giving me a round of applause as I make it up the stairs.
The most common issue we see with knees in people over 50 years old is osteoarthritis, this is a condition in which the joint surface changes in appearance. Arthritis is not always painful and is a completely normal part of life. If we look back on photographs of our faces they don’t look the same as they once did and nor do our joints. Think of joint changes on x-rays as the equivalent of a few grey hairs, a cosmetic change which isn’t really doing us much harm. Arthritis of the knees is considered wear and repair and is the joint getting a little thicker and more stable in response to loading over the years. This is similar to getting areas of roughened skin on the hands when we do lots of manual work and is actually our bodies adapting to the demands we place on ourselves.
If you have pain from arthritic knees there are some great strategies to help. It has been shown that weight management drastically reduces painful symptoms and (if we are overweight) losing 10% of the excess weight may half knee pain! Exercise is a brilliant way to strengthen the muscles around the knee and improve the amount we can do before pain starts.
Osteopaths can provide advice on lifestyle and safe exercise as well as using gentle hands on treatments to reduce pain and improve movement through the knee. This often makes a big difference to the amount you are able to do. We asses all the surrounding joints and look at how you move to try and improve function.
Its easy to put pains down to age - yet, often the pain is only on one side and it's good to remember that both of our knees are the same age as each other and so this is rarely the true cause!
The take home message is that arthritis is not always painful, it is a normal part of life’s journey. If it is bothering you there are lots of strategies we can try to make life a little easier.
If you would like to know more, we are happy to talk through the best options to attain your goals.
This blog was written by Andrew one of our osteopaths at the Penn clinic.