During my visits with knee replacement patients whether they had their knee recently replaced or had the surgery several years ago, I will get asked often about their knee making “clicking and clunking noises”.
I know the feeling very well as my knee also will make the same noises or sensations that others feel from time to time. Rest assured, this is not uncommon. Many individuals that have been through the surgery will experience this from time to time some, more often than others.
The noises or sensations you are feeling can be a number of different things it can either be the knee replacement components, where you have friction though very minimal taking place, also possible, tendons, and scar tissue that has built up around the area or, that was there prior to surgery.
It is not uncommon after you have had recent knee replacement surgery to experience this as you still have an accumulation of fluid inside your knee capsule which is a combination of water, blood, and synovial fluid which will have a little combination of all three. This fluid accumulation is what causes you knee to swell in the first place.
When you have an accumulation of fluid inside your knee or any joint for that matter, you will get a sensation as if things are floating around or are not secure. In the case of a knee or hip replacement, you will hear the clicking sounds from time to time or that infamous clunking as if your joint is going to fall apart.
This is something all joint replacement recipients will experience form time to time, again some more than others. This is also something your surgeon will not mention to you before you have joint replacement surgery as it really is not that important at the time and is not dealt with unless we as patients come in during our initial visit after surgery or through follow up visits bring the issue up.
This is also something your surgeon will not mention to you before you have joint replacement surgery as it really is not that important at the time and is not dealt with unless we as patients come in during our initial visit after surgery or through follow up visits bring the issue up.
It can cause some concern though if you are the patient and have not experienced it before. If the noise is there yet it is painless than there is no concern. However, if there is pain associated with the clicking or clunking sensation than by all means contact your orthopedic surgeon and have it checked out immediately.
My knee replacement is approximately 18 years old now and it has been through years of exercises and weight training, I also feel the” clunking ” more than anything else now however it is not painful.
It also is just a part of wear and tear inside the knee as the initial space tolerances have increased by now. In other words, things are not as tight and precise as they once were after surgery.
Scar tissue that builds up in these replacements is also a part of the different sensations and noise you will experience from time to time.
The bottom line is this is just a small price you pay for having to undergo the total joint replacement surgery in the first place. As technology and new prosthetic components are developed, wear will be decreased and with the new computer assisted surgeries now, clearances inside the joint will be diminished giving you a tighter and higher quality knee, hip or shoulder components.
This may help reduce the noises and sensations we hear as patients but it may never totally abolish them.
In time you learn to live with them and understand there is nothing wrong.
Remember, if no pain is associated with the noises than you are fine, if new noises or sensations develop associated with pain or swelling, get to your orthopedic surgeon for an evaluation as soon as possible to avoid possible further damage.
Richard Haynes PTA,CPT
Total Joint Fitness LLC