Many of us notice a little noise in the knees when going up or down stairs, or when bending to pick up something we’ve dropped. If there is no pain associated with the noise, it’s probably just a harmless condition the medical community calls “crepitus.” It could signal a little wear and tear on the smooth surface under the kneecap that is standard for many of us as we get older. If there is pain under the kneecap along with the noise, you may have a knee tracking problem. This is very common among those of us who sit a lot (and who doesn’t these days?) A great exercise to improve knee tracking is the Terminal Knee Extension or TKE.) Don’t let the name worry you; it’s a simple exercise that helps the quadriceps keep the kneecap tracking in its assigned groove. See the image and description below:
Terminal Knee Extension: Perform this activity with a light- medium strength exercise band or tubing. Stand with your feet staggered. Wrap your band around the back of your back knee, and fix it to a stationary object (like a post.) Begin with your back knee slightly bent, no slack in the band, and the heel down. Squeeze your knee straight, using your quads (front thigh muscles). You may also find that you squeeze your butt—that’s a good thing! Return to the start position by keeping the heel down and allowing the knee to slightly bend. Practice a set of 10-20, or until you begin to feel fatigue in the quads of the working leg.
If the discomfort persists, more muscle and soft tissue are likely involved, and this exercise alone will not relieve it. For more information, email me at [email protected]. If we can’t help, we’re happy to point you to a professional who can.