Knee Cracking When Squatting

Knee Cracking When Squatting & Exercising – Ultimate Guide 2022

Have you ever heard a cracking noise when bending your knee? Maybe you have felt your knee cracking when squatting or during an exercise.

Either way, the sound of your knee cracking is common, and there are many causes and reasons behind it.

In this article, we discuss:

Why your knees crack
Causes and reasons for your knees cracking
Knees cracking when squatting
knees cracking when exercising

So let’s get started!

Why Do My Knees Crack?

There are many reasons why your knees crack. However, one of the most common reasons is the quadricep muscle being too tight. When the muscle is tense and tight it ends up pulling the kneecap out of alignment. Thus affecting its free gliding movement. This can then result in a cracking sound when bending and flexing the knee.

However, if the sound turns into a more crunching feeling or sound, it can be from the cartilage. When the cartilage becomes rough, it prevents the bones from sliding correctly in the joint.

Other causes of knee cracking are:

– A large kneecap that doesn’t fit well into the groove.
– Degeneration of soft tissues, such as cartilage or meniscus

Degenerative changes can also cause locking or cracking of the knee. However, these degenerative changes usually happen as we get older.

The good news if your knee cracks and doesn’t cause you pain, there is usually nothing to worry about.

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Knee Cracking When Squatting

During squats or exercises like running, knee cracking is rather common. However, in this article, we are going to mainly focus on knee cracking when squatting.

So what causes knee cracking when squatting?

When doing an exercise like squatting, the force propelled through the knee joint can squish carbon dioxide gas out of the synovial fluid surrounding the knee (Synovial fluid is what helps lubricate your joints). This can cause popping, or cracking sound when lowering yourself down during a squat, and sometimes when you straighten your legs on the way up.

If there is any pain when you feel your knees cracking, it is wise to replace squatting with another form of exercise, until you know the cause of the problem.

It may end up being caused by degeneration of the soft tissue, cartilage, or even meniscus. If this is the case it is wise to stop doing squats and speak to a healthcare professional, as they can help diagnose the problem.

Knee Cracking When Straightening During A Squat

Knee Cracking When Straightening During a Squat

Generally, most people have knees that crack during a squat, so it is not uncommon. So, if you feel your knees cracking when straightening during a squat, it shouldn’t be of major concern.

The cause behind this is the same as when you bend your knees during a squat.

However, if you are constantly dealing with cracking knees it is wise to loosen up the quadricep muscles through massage, stretching, and foam rolling. This will help keep your knee in alignment when straightening your knees during a squat.

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There are also a few exercises you should focus on to help strengthen the knees. These include doing:

– Straight Leg Raises
– Hamstring Curls
– Prone Straight Leg Raises
– Calf Raises
– Step-Ups
– Side Leg Raises
– Leg Presses

These exercises will help to strengthen the muscles around the knee. Helping them to keep the knee aligned during exercise.

How To Stop Knees From Cracking

How To Stop Knees From Cracking

Even though most of the time knees cracking during a squat isn’t painful, it can be often annoying. Luckily there are some ways to stop the knees from cracking, this can include:

– Resting the knees
– Compression
– Elevation
– Icing of the knee and surrounding muscles
– Physical therapy exercises
– Strengthening of the knees and surrounding muscles

Some of the best stretches to help relieve the cracking include:

– Deep Squat Stretch
– Stretching Quads with Rope
– Knee Flexion Gapping Stretch
– Hamstring stretching

Alternatively, regular intake of Omega 3 fish oil will help to relieve any inflammation you may have. Then in worst cases over the counter, anti-inflammatory medication can help too.

If none of the above ends up helping, and you have pain in the knee, splinting or surgery may be required.


Usually, knee cracking when squatting or exercising isn’t a cause for concern. However, it is wise to keep a check that it doesn’t get worse or becomes painful. However, if it starts to cause you pain stop squatting or exercising immediately. Seek medical advice from a doctor or visit your physiotherapist.

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