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Should i be concerned about the clicking sound from the knee in the absence of ache?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 2586 Questions
For the past 6 weeks, I have been observing a clicking in my left knee whenever (and only when) I climb stairs. Initially, this used to only be palpable, but eventually became loud enough to be heard. I consulted with a doctor who took an X-Ray and confirmed nothing was wrong with the knee, but the problem was with weak quadriceps/thigh muscles. I was asked to apply hot compress and ointment thrice a day along with quadriceps exercises. After a week, when I started getting mild pain in the knee, I consulted with another doctor (for a second opinion). He also said there was no problem in the knee, and that the ligament moving over the kneecap was causing the clicking noise. He advised me to avoid full bending of the knee (like squatting, cross-legged, etc) and avoid taking the stairs for a few weeks. He also gave me some thigh muscles exercises, and told me to monitor for 6 weeks. He did not think any ointment or hot compress would help. It has been 1 week since this last consultation. One of my friends told me that her husband had a similar (if not same) problem, and he was told about the lack of sufficient liquid/lubricant in the joints and was given medication apart from physiotherapy for the same. While I will continue the quadriceps exercises, I wanted to be sure I'm not wasting time and worsening the situation by not doing anything else that may be required. Yes, I have a desk job, but I usually do not sit in the same place for hours. I keep walking around the office and taking breaks at least once every hour or couple of hours. I do not follow any regular exercise routine but I normally used to walk briskly and more frequently than a lot of my peers. Therefore, I am concerned that I am facing a situation with 'weak thigh muscles'. Please advise.
Posted Sun, 9 Mar 2014 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Prasad 1 hour later
Brief Answer: Do not be concerned... Detailed Answer: Hi, Clicking sound from the knee in the absence of ache is not very concerning. Further if you haven't hurt then chances of serious knee damages are less likely. Joint fluid insufficiency can be interpreted on X-rays. Now since two orthopedician have concluded your X-rays are normal, I don't think you should be worried about fluid insufficiency and serious knee problems. Muscle weakness should improve gradually with specific physiotherapy and exercise. Follow up with your orthopedician with the given schedule of treatment. Topical ointments and antiinflammatory drugs are not very essential in the absence of pain and swelling. To sum up, do not be concerned. Without pain, the clicking sound is not clinically significant. Please feel good that your X-rays are normal and stop reading and researching about this particular issue - you may get to hear or read things that can disturb you. Follow up with your orthopedician. Regards
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