Hear grating, cracking or popping sounds when you bend your knees? You may be at an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis, a new study suggests. Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that occurs when flexible tissue at the ends of bones wears down. Researchers from Baylor College of Medicine in the US analysed data from about 3,500 participants who were at high risk for developing knee osteoarthritis. They found that people who heard grating, cracking, or popping sounds in or around their knee joint may be at an increased risk of developing knee osteoarthritis.
Researchers also found that people who developed osteoarthritis within a year, more than 75 per cent had signs of osteoarthritis on radiographic images but no frequent knee pain at the start of the study. “This study suggests that if these people have noisy knees, they are at higher risk for developing pain within the next year compared with the people who do not have noisy knees,” said Grace Lo, assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine.
“Many people who have signs of osteoarthritis on x-rays do not necessarily complain of pain, and there are no known strategies for preventing the development of pain in this group of people,” Lo said. Future studies that target people who have x-ray signs of osteoarthritis, and who do not complain of pain but do report noisy knees, hold the promise of identifying interventions that can prevent knee pain, researchers said.