Creaky knees

  • Creator
  • #39941

    Dear uphill athletes

    A question about creaky knees. I am 32, 3 years of training in the 300-400 hour per year range, running probably no more than 40k per week, often less with cycling and other things.

    Recently (maybe 6 months or so) I have started to notice some knee sounds in the bottom 10-20 degrees of flexion in a squat and the top 20-30 degrees of extension in squat or step ups. No pain. No tenderness. No swelling. Only in the right knee. Doesn’t stop me running but have convinced myself I can feel a very very slight pain when running, and a very slight (2/10) tenderness when palpating the superior border of the patella after running (attachment of quadriceps femoris tendon)

    I have no idea what is causing this, why it is only right knee, and if it something to be worried about. As covid is causing quite a lockdown, it would be a good time if I did have to do some rehab to sort it out.Not sure if it is relevant but my right knee tracks inward slightly on step ups, dont know if this is relevant.

    Anyone got any insights?
    Many thanks

Posted In: Injury & Rehab

  • Participant
    depeyster on #39947

    First, I have no qualifications, just a random voice on the internet. So, of course your best advice would be to consult with an experienced professional.

    With that disclaimer, I would urge you to look at the work of Keith Baar on connective tissue. He has published a lot of research on tendons (assuming your issue is the quadriceps tendon) and advises many elite athletes in many professional sports.

    I am in the middle of starting to test some of his ideas on myself but I have not implemented all of his suggestions yet.

    He has advice for restoring healthy connective tissue, as well as how to periodize training for those who are already healthy.

    In a nutshell, in a case like yours, his regimen would probably be something like:

    Take 15 mg of collagen or gelatin with 50 mg of vitamin C.
    About 1 hour later do 30-second isometric squats reps. After a rest, do another rep until a total of 5-6 minutes have passed.
    Repeat this (including the supplements) one or two more times in the day, with at least six hours break between the isometric sessions.

    If you are still doing your endurance workout, take the supplements an hour or so before that workout and then do the isometric workout at least six hours before or after.

    You are relatively young. Have you had non-contact sport injuries in the past? If so, did they tend to be muscle tears or bone, cartilage, tendon, or ligament problems. Depending on which type, the answer would suggest what kind of training to program once you have healed.

    Josh Gray on #39956

    Take this as anecdotal as well. I’m 37 and have had noticeable creaky knees for at least 10 years. I have a lot of wear and tear from playing football from a young age and having a physical job with lots of kneeling and squatting. Through experimentation and from studies I’ve found, What I’ve found works for me is to avoid processed carbs and to eat a mostly low carbohydrate diet, focusing on carbs I do eat are the most nutritionally dense. Also eating plenty of healthy fats have helped. Even though the creaky knees are still there, I also notice the pain is more noticeable depending on my own emotional state. When I’m more stressed or anxious I have more pain. When I’ve cultivated good personal relationships and managed the stress in my life the pain is practically nonexistent.

    Anonymous on #39962

    I’m no expert either, but inward knee tracking is usually a case of weak hips, in particular the gluteus medium. Google for exercises.

    Pete Dickinson MS,PT on #39968

    Scott beat me too it. Strengthening the hips goes a long way to improving control and managing the aberrant force vectors around the patella. This can be done with ‘two legged’ exercises such as the deadlift, but then should progress to single leg exercises. Fascial mobility to the hip and inside quad is also helpful. Knees are allowed to creak, and as such, do not give a very good indication of dysfunction.

    maxf on #39969

    Thanks guys.

    Have been googling and already started foam rolling quads. (vastus lateralis seems especially tight)

    Will try to hip abduction exercise too. Can anyone recommend a favourite exercise?


    Pete Dickinson MS,PT on #40004

    I wouldn’t think in terms of specific hip abduction exercise, but posterior hip fascial mobility, and hip extension strength through hip hinge, step up etc.

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