My knee has been clicking a lot recently and so to reassure myself I had a quick google and thankfully this time I got a more detailed answer than I expected with key new research that built on the myths we all know of bubbles popping and other things.
I titled this article joints and not knees because I feel it is important to highlight how similar many parts of our body are and to learn with this in mind. While the knee is a specific joint which has specific injuries you will also find that as a joint it consists of bones, muscles, cartilage and other body components which all work together in a similar way. The variation comes from the structure of the particular joint and its use but many explanations such as why a knee clicks will be the same for fingers and other joints where muscles and bones work together.
This way it becomes easier to understand the body by its principles instead of having to remember the specifics of each item or situation because that is just too much for anyone.
So the specific article I found is Why do your knees click and should you worry? and it links to a unique study Real-time visualization of joint cavitation which as you will see actually studies the finger joints and applies the explanation to general joints.
This is the first iteration of this post because while the current content gives background about what is happening it does not actually explain how to prevent it or fix it. You see I have noticed how I get a lot of these issues in different joints after or during certain situations. Sometimes it’s because I have been very active and other times it is because I am not so active and recovering. Currently I have a slight injury so I am in a recovery phase and I feel my knee is clicking more than it usually would which is why I started to research.
While writing this post I am thinking about the impact of sitting so much with my joints in specific angles and situations and what I have learnt is that like many other things that are left in the same place for a long time the connective surfaces of joints can start to stick together and settle. Then when they are moved the surfaces and components are not aligned as they normally would be so they may click back into place partly due to over coming the force of being stuck together and also because of the connecting tissue particularly tendons being pulled back into alignment in their relevant grooves. This is similar to a string or wire that connects to surfaces can rub against surfaces it touches when the two surfaces are pulled apart. An example if can think of is like like a brake cable on a bike but I think there must be a better example so if you can think of one then please let me know in the comments.
The idea of joints sticking is not my own it is from other research where physiotherapists and otherr body specialists explained that our cells and boyd systems suffer from the same problems of settlement and gravity which affect things like a hot chocolate where the cream and milk may rise to the top and the chocolate separate and falls to the bottom. Like any chemistry experiment really. Over time the tissues of the body suffer from this fate if they are not regularly used properly and this in itself often causes more injuries and problems than movement itself.
So I will add to this post over time as joint clicking is a common problem and more research is always useful particulary because but for now I wanted to share the general point and research in the hope it helps you.