Pain and Cracking sound in back of knee


Q: For the last couple of days, I have been experiencing pain in the back of one of my knees. I have had pain when bending it, but straightening it was OK. I had pain when walking on it. It felt "tight". Today, when getting into my car, I heard two cracking sounds. Instant pain and tears. Now, I am in constant pain, can't walk on it or put any weight on it. I have a hard time moving my leg, can't straighten it without extreme pain, but bending it is better. No swelling that I can see. Help!


A:    There is a possibility that your symptoms may be due to degenerative changes in your knees, meaning Arthritis. On the other hand, the way you described the situations when the pain worsens may suggest a common presentation of a Patellofemoral Syndrome or Chondromalacia patella  . The pain typically is located behind the kneecap and often shows during activities that require knee flexion and forceful contraction of the quadriceps (during squats, ascending/descending stairs or pendants). Pain may be worsen by sitting with the knee flexed for a long period of time, such as while watching a movie, hence leading to the terms "theatre sign" and "movie-goer's knee." The causes are diverse: Overuse (repetitive use or activity), overloading, and misuse of the patellofemoral joint. Physical Therapy and some lifestyle changes may help to improve the symptoms, meaning: weight loss and exercise. Regular exercise may help you to strengthen the muscles, especially quads and also potentially stimulate cartilage growth and regeneration.

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