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Knee makes squishing sound when descending stairs or squatting, no pain, jogging. What is wrong?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 1994
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Dear Doctor: I am a 46 yr old female who took up walking which progressed into daily light jogging for 30-60 minutes daily, and within 3 months I noticed that my right knee makes a squishing sound when I descend the stairs or squat. There is no pain ... yet. I had purchased proper jogging shoes from a reputable sports store that found the best shoe for my feet. I stretched before jogging. I thought I did everything right - built up to jogging from brisk walking. I've been afraid to continue jogging. We live in a hilly area, so I do a brisk walk up the one road and enjoy light jogging downhill, but it definitely places a strain on the knees, so I sometimes tilt sideways or even turn backwards as I run downhill to relieve and vary the stress. I have no health insurance - can you tell me what could be wrong and advise what I might do about it? Can I continue jogging if I wear one of those elastic knee braces? Note it's just a clear, audible SQUISH, SQUISH noise. No cracking. It feels a little odd too, but not painful. No swelling so far. Thanks for your thoughts and suggestions.
Posted Mon, 1 Oct 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 3 hours later
Thanks for posting your query.
From your symptoms it seems that both of your knee joints have undergone osteoarthritic changes. These are basically age related degenerative changes in the weight bearing joints like knee and is characterized by joint stiffness. The sound that you hear on movement is due to a decrease in the joint lubricants.
The treatment options include hot fomentation, lubricating agents like glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin , dycerin, etc. You can get these prescribed from your physician.
You must continue with the brisk walking and jogging to retard the progression of these age related changes. Using an elastic knee brace will be most helpful.
A few blood tests, X-rays of the knee, CT / MRI scans of the knee will help us diagnose the condition and help us in choosing the best approach of treatment.
I hope this answers your query.
In case you have additional questions or doubts, you can forward them to me, and I shall be glad to help you out.
Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.
Wishing you good health.
Dr. Praveen Tayal.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Knee makes squishing sound when descending stairs or squatting, no pain, jogging. What is wrong? 19 hours later
Thank you, Dr. Tayal. This is helpful, though I am confused by your reply a little since I am only having trouble with my right knee - my left knee is fine. Neither one feels stiff, but only the right knee makes the squishy noise and it's ONLY when I am descending the stairs (not ascending), or similarly moving as when I make any squat-like movement.

I have been a vegetarian for 20 years and have supplemented with a glucosamine-chondroitin complex since 1997. In the past week I am now adding 1 Tbsp of gelatin to my diet knowing that this is good for joint health too. Would a body-builder protein formula be something else I should consider to improve the health of my connective tissue?

It has occurred to me that I have mild scoliosis with an 11 degree curve in my upper back and 13 degree curve in my lower back, both curves to the left so that my right shoulder is lower than my left. I was diagnosed with this at age 15. Could this uneven structural frame cause the additional stress on my right knee when I try to exercise?

Would it be better for me to do gentle weight lifting with my legs - like leg extension exercises - to strengthen the muscles that support the knees? Would doing slow squats in place several times a day help also?

I will definitely get the elastic knee brace. Thank you.
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 4 hours later
Thanks for writing again.
The affection of your right knee joint more than the left could be due to your uneven structural frame. Also, it is not necessary that both the knee joints will regress at the same rate.
The glucosamine you are taking might not be in a sufficient dosage. You can get the appropriate doses prescribed from your orthopedician. Taking protein supplements will not help you much. It is better to add fresh milk and yogurt in your daily diet.
The quadriceps strengthening will be helpful in increasing the muscle strength. Lifting weights and mild aerobics will also be helpful. Do not start with squatting right away.
Hope my answer is helpful.
Do accept my answer in case there are no further queries.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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