Why do my knees keep clicking?

Clicking, cracking, or popping sounds issuing from the knee are actually very common – most people will experience sounds from their knees at some point in their lifetime. Your knees may click when bending or straightening the knee or walking up and downstairs.

The name given to crackling knees is crepitus. In general, crepitus is not a cause for concern. However, if your clicking knees are accompanied by pain or a reduced range of motion in the knee, you may need to seek treatment.

What causes crepitus? 

There are a number of potential causes of crepitus.

Gas bubbles

Gas can build over time in the synovial fluid surrounding the joint. Bending your knee can cause the bubbles to burst, leading to a popping sound. This happens to most people at some stage of their life and is not a cause for concern. The popping sound should not be accompanied by pain. It’s the same effect as cracking your knuckles.

Patellofemoral joint

The kneecap slides in the patellofemoral joint and can sometimes make a grating sound due to the uneven surface. Knees vary from person to person – for example, some knee joints are more worn by age or use, or some people’s kneecaps may move more freely. This can cause some individuals to have knees that are more prone to making noise than others.


These tight bands of tissue may flick over each other or over bony parts of the knee, resulting in a clicking sensation. You may hear the clicking noise as they snap back into place after bending your knee.

Knee injury

Injury to your knee can cause crepitus. Injury can be caused by overuse, such as ‘runner’s knee,’ or by an accident or fall. Most knee injuries that result in crepitus will also be accompanied by pain or aching in or around the knee joint.


Osteoarthritis is most common in people over the age of 50 and is usually the result of wear and tear. Osteoarthritis in the knee sees a breakdown of cartilage around the knee joint, leading to pain, inflammation, and crunching or crackling sounds issuing from the knee.

Knee replacement surgery

Following surgery such as a knee replacement, you might be more keenly aware of sensations and noises issuing from your knee. You may experience crepitus after a knee replacement, but if it’s not combined with pain, it’s likely harmless.

How to

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DEA cracks down on pharmacies prescribing Suboxone and Subutex : Shots

Suboxone and a similar medicine, Subutex, are both proven to help people with opioid addiction stay in recovery. Yet the Drug Enforcement Administration often makes it hard for pharmacies to dispense it.

George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Suboxone and a similar medicine, Subutex, are both proven to help people with opioid addiction stay in recovery. Yet the Drug Enforcement Administration often makes it hard for pharmacies to dispense it.

George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images

When Martin Njoku saw opioid addiction devastate his West Virginia community, he felt compelled to help. This was the place he’d called home for three decades, where he’d raised his two girls and turned his dream of owning a pharmacy into reality.

In 2016, after flooding displaced people in nearby counties, Njoku began dispensing buprenorphine to them and to local customers at his Oak Hill Hometown Pharmacy in Fayette County.

Buprenorphine, a controlled substance sold under the brand names Subutex and Suboxone, is a medication to treat opioid use disorder. Research shows it halves the risk of overdose and doubles people’s chances of entering long-term recovery.

“I thought I was doing what was righteous for people who have illness,” Njoku said.

But a few years later, the Drug Enforcement Administration raided Njoku’s pharmacy and accused the facility of contributing to the opioid epidemic rather than curbing it. The agency revoked the pharmacy’s registration to dispense controlled substances, claiming it posed an “imminent danger to public health and safety.”

Although two judges separately ruled in Njoku’s favor, the DEA’s actions effectively shuttered his business.

“I lost everything that I worked for,” Njoku said.

Lawyers, pharmacists, harm-reduction advocates and a former DEA employee say Njoku’s case is emblematic of the DEA’s aggressive stance on buprenorphine. An opioid itself, the medication can be misused, so the DEA works to limit its diversion to the streets. But many say the agency’s policies are exacerbating the opioid epidemic by scaring pharmacies away from dispensing this medication when it’s desperately needed.

Drug overdose deaths hit record highs last year, and despite medical experts considering medications like buprenorphine the gold standard, less than 20% of people with opioid use disorder typically receive them. The federal government has taken steps to increase the number of clinicians who prescribe buprenorphine, but many patients struggle to get those prescriptions filled. A recent study found that 1

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