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Dr. Abby
Dr. Abby, US Board Certified MD
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 10330
Experience:  Family Physician practicing medicine for over 10 years, United States
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My knee has recently started making a clicking sound whenever

Resolved Question:

My knee has recently started making a clicking sound whenever I strighten my leg, including when I exercise, walk up stairs, or just walk on a flat surface. I also recently began an exercise and stretching program that included hiking up 15 flights of stairs. Neither seemed overly strenuous. The knee is not swollen or causing me any pain, at least not yet. But the clicking sound has got me worried. Do I need to make an appointment to see a doctor?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. Abby replied 7 years ago.

What is your age?
Have you ever injured your knee?

Dr Abby
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I am 43 years old. I have never seriously injured my knee, but I was having some trouble with it a couple of years ago. It didn't really hurt so much as it felt like it had a weird twinge in it. The twinge is hard to describe. I saw an orthopedist at that time, and he couldn't find anything wrong with it. He even suggested it was all in my head. The twinge went away after a while. But I am definitely not imagining this clicking in my knee. I can hear it as well as feel it. It tends to be more pronounced at certain times than at others. Sometimes it's clicking hardly at all; other times I can definitely hear it. I also need to know if I should stop exercising all together, even though there's no pain or swelling. I really don't want to do that, but I will if that's what it takes to make it better.
Expert:  Dr. Abby replied 7 years ago.

I know that it is not in your head!
And no, I would not stop exercising.
The two most common reasons for clicking in the knee are arthritis and patellofemoral syndrome. But the noises or clicking of the knee do not necessarily indicate that there is significant underlying problems with the knee.
If there is not any tenderness to touch, enlargement of the bones (protrusion of the bones) of the knees or morning stiffness, I do not think at your age that you have arthritis.

If you notice a snapping and burning pain on the outside of the knee you could have a tight iliotibial band (which is a band of tissue that runs down the outer thigh to the knee). It is almost exclusive to runners.

Here is information for you about patellofemoral pain syndrome, another cause of clicking and pain. There are exercises to do that may help if this seems like it is what is causing the discomfort.

I think it is fine to exercise--running is not the best for knees in general. If you start to have swelling or increased pain, have it checked out.

I hope this is helpful for you. If you have any more questions, let me know.
Dr. Abby
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Dr. Abbey: I think you may have saved me a trip to the doctor -- provided my knee doesn't start hurting. I have also printed out the exercises for patellofemoral pain syndrome. Thank you.

Expert:  Dr. Abby replied 7 years ago.
You are very welcome! I am glad I saved you a trip!!!!

Have a great day!
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