A knee that clicks is quite common and is not a cause of concern, especially if there is no pain or swelling accompanying this symptom. When these symptoms are present, then a clicking or popping knee sound may be due to different medical issues, including a meniscus tear and knee cartilage damage, according to WebMD. The medical term for a popping knee is knee crepitus.
It is quite common for knees to pop, crack or click when performing activities that involve body motions such as bending down, squatting and standing up. It can be associated with the aging process and its effect on the functioning of cartilage, ligaments or joints, notes WebMD. These sounds are not linked to any serious knee condition.
A clicking or popping knee noise that causes pain or inflammation can be cause for concern because it may be connected to a knee injury called a meniscus tear. This is an injury that can occur from many contact sports and jogging. The meniscus is a type of cartilage that acts as a cushion in knee joints, states the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. This type of injury causes knee pain, inflammation and joint stiffness.
Similarly, osteoarthritis is a condition in which the knee cartilage is damaged or destroyed, states Healthline. Other types of arthritis can also cause cartilage damage that leads to pain, inflammation and knee popping and catching.