The Case of the Clicking Knee

Did anybody else read The Three Investigators book series when they were a kid?

Anyway, my right knee has been clicking when I ride my bike. Or maybe it’s popping. Whatever you want to call it, it makes a noise and feels weird, but it doesn’t hurt. Just the same, it’s the type of thing I worry about, because it certainly isn’t normal and seems like it could be a bad thing.

My memory could be faulty, but I don’t think it’s ever happened before. Ok, my memory is coming back quickly, actually I think it has happened before. But if I remember correctly, it would click 2-3 times when I started biking, and then would go away for the rest of the ride. And it wouldn’t always happen when I biked, just occasionally. But now it happens virtually ever time I bike, and it’s not just as the beginning, but happens several times during each ride. I’ll be riding along and all of a sudden my right knee will start popping/clicking as it reaches the top of the rotation and I start pressing down.

I’ve experimented a few times, and although I haven’t been as scientifically observant as I could be (don’t blame me, it’s the ADD), I think the degree to which I allow my knee to stray away from the bike affects it. That is, if I keep my knee tucked close to the bike frame throughout the rotation, it seems to pop less, although it still does sometimes. If I let my knee get lazy and stray away from the bike it pops more. If so, this seems to be a good thing since my knee should be close to the frame, but since it still happens occasionally regardless of my knee’s horizontal position, I would still like to figure out what’s going on.

Once again, there is absolutely no pain. I wouldn’t even say it’s uncomfortable. It’s only concerning, because it’s hard for me to believe I could be making so much noise and feel such a powerful pop in my knee and have it not be a bad thing for it to be happening repeatedly.

I found this answer on Trifuel.com to a similar query:

The most likely cause of these symptoms is ‘snapping’ of your hamstrings tendon. There are several which run to the lateral (outside) and medial (inside) aspects of the knee. Occasionally these will snap over the tibia medially or the fibula laterally and cause a mechanical snap. Usually this is not painful but can be annoying. If it occurs over many repetitions it can cause inflammation over the tendon fat pads behind the knee. Often if you “rotate’ your knee slightly, ie turn the foot in or out the feeling will go away. Stretching helps.

I have wondered if my saddle was too low, but I adjusted it upwards and that didn’t fix it. But perhaps a slight adjustment of my shoe would do the trick. Perhaps more experimentation is in order…or, let’s call the physical therapist…one sec…

Ok, here’s what Jonathan at Orrock-Mendenhall in Lehi had to say–the bottom line was there’s no urgent need for me to check myself into immediate care. He said I should make sure my knee cap is nice and loose, meaning I should be doing plenty of quad and IT band stretches. He said to keep an eye on it and if it doesn’t improve over time, then I should come in and have it checked out so that they can see where my muscles/ligaments/tendons/etc. are tight and what may be causing it. So I’m going to keep on doing and expect different results in the future. Insanity? I think not.

  • Rob

    Hi there, did you have any luck in getting rid of these symptoms? I too have developed a painless click/catching feeling behind my knee, once on every pedal revolution.

    Hope you’ve fixed yours, if so can you tell me how : )

  • personL experience

    liberate and stretch your rectus femoris, psoas,
    strenghten your psoas