Some trainees say that they hear a mild cracking noise while they perform exercises such as squats or leg presses. Some people experience a ‘popping’ or ‘grinding’ feeling when they bend their knees while climbing stairs or rising up from a squat position. Why does it happen?
According to orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist Nick Evans, this indicates softening or thinning of the cartilage behind the kneecap. This condition is known as ‘patella chondromalacia.’ It occurs owing to age-related wear and tear or hereditary factors.
As long as the person does not experience any pain, adopting certain measures will help him or her to minimise the noise during workouts.
If the person experiences any pain, it’s time he or she did an MRI and checked for arthritis or ‘torn meniscus’ (torn cartilage).
Suggestions to minimise noise
1. Warm up the knees for at least 10 minutes on the stationary bike.
2. Perform an isolation exercise such as leg extension at the beginning of the workout in a smooth, controlled manner.
3. Do not bend the knees beyond 90 degrees during squats or leg press. This will minimise the range of motion of the knee.
4. Do not use elastic knee wraps. They compress the kneecap against the femur bone, which may aggravate the problem.
_ C. Lakshmi Kumar