Popping Joints Associated With Knee Osteoarthritis

HealthDay News — Patients who report frequent grating, cracking, or popping sounds in or around the knees may be at higher risk for impending arthritis, according to a study published online May 4 in Arthritis Care & Research.

Researchers analyzed 3495 study participants ranging in age from 45 to 79. Some were at risk of knee arthritis simply because of old age, while others had risk factors such as obesity or a history of a significant knee injury.

Of those who complained their knees were “always” noisy, 11.2% developed knee arthritis symptoms within a year. That compared with 4.5% of people who said their knees “never” popped or cracked. Everyone else fell into the middle. Of people who said their knees “sometimes” or “often” made noise, 7.6% and 8.3%, respectively, developed knee arthritis symptoms in the next year.

“Subjective crepitus offers utility for identification of at-risk individuals, predictive modeling, and future research,” the authors wrote.

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Lo GH, Strayhorn MT, Driban JB, Price LL, Eaton CB, McAlindon TE. Subjective crepitus as a risk factor for incident symptomatic knee osteoarthritis: data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative [published online May 4, 2017]. Arthritis Care Res. doi:10.1002/acr.23246