Knee crepitus in women with patellofemoral pain (PFP)

...what are the clinical implications?

This study demonstrated that women with knee crepitus are at 4 times greater odds of having patellofemoral pain (PFP) compared to those who do not present with knee crepitus.

However, no significant relationships were found between the presence of crepitus and self-reported function, physical activity level, worst pain or pain during squat and stair climbing.

It has previously been reported that many people do not understand what the noise in their knees means. Patients may assume innacurate negative beliefs such as "it's a symbol of aging", which can result in avoiding physical activity.

The results of this study could be useful for health professionals in order to educate people with PFP that the sounds they hear have no relationship with pain, function or physical activities they may be involved in.

> From: de Oliveira Silva et al., Phys Ther Sport 33 (2018) 7-11 (Epub ahead of print). All rights reserved to Elsevier Ltd. Click here for the online summary.

Expert opinion

Patients are frequently discouraged by noisy knees to engage in physical activity such as squatting, lunging and running. As clinicians, we need to educate women that knee crepitus is a common finding in people with PFP as well as asymptomatic people and it does not need to cause concern. More research is required to investigate whether knee crepitus is a risk factor for the development of PFP. 

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