"Knee Clunking"

Knee Pain Explained #AskUs - Knee Clunking

August 29th, 2018

I have recovered from a torn patellar tendon tear and debridement of bursitis with which the surgery has gone very successful 12 months ago.

At the moment I am still suffering from patellar femoral pain syndrome where I have pain/aching in and around the Patella. I have no particular problems doing squats or running but my patella does have a “Clunk” when running over the groove in my knee and I think this is the sole reason for my knee pain. Once my knee and leg muscles are warm the “Clunk” seems to subside for a while.

Is there any exercise program that you could suggest/ help me put together that will stop my patella from “Clunking” and stabilise my knee? I seem to have a slight muscle imbalance in my Vastus Lateralis on my left side compared to my right side, also when doing leg exercises I notice that my left side fatigues a lot more.

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Chloe Wilson - Knee Pain Explained Team
September 6, 2018

There are lots of different things that can cause your knee to make strange sounds such as knee popping & clicking. Knee clunking and instability go hand in hand and are often related to muscle imbalance - some muscles may be weak and others tight.

I would recommend by starting with kneecap strengthening exercises for the VMO muscles - they help to control how the kneecap moves and are really important for stability. When the patella shifts slightly out of place it can cause a knee clunking sensation as it shifts up and down the patella groove.

It may also help to strengthen your glutes - weakness in the glutes changes the way the forces go through the knee and how the kneecap glides, and can cause it to shift slightly outwards, which can result in knee clunking and a feeling of instability - have a go at The Clam and The Bridge exercises.

Another thing to consider are Iliotibial Band Stretches for the band on the outer side of the leg. Tightness in the ITB can also shift the kneecap laterally slightly which may also be contributing to the knee clunking. Best of luck. Chloe

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