What can I do about my "crunchy knees?"

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 16, 2013 at 7:43 PM

I've been doing Crossfit and all of the running and deep squatting has made my knees make kind of a crunchy sound when I bend them all the way. No pain but a little fluid like swelling on the outer underside of my left kneecap.

I already take fish oil. Anything else to take to help this or any exercises? Thanks.

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6 Answers



on April 17, 2013
at 12:36 AM

I have bad joints and I've enjoyed amazing improvement with beef bone broth.

It needs to be gooey, chunky and fatty. I made some today, starting with both marrow and joint bones for maximum collagen, marrow and gelatin.

I make mine into stews*--not filtered or strained, just with the clean bones removed--and for maximum relief I have at least 3 large bowls of the stew per week.

I don't have to eat it every week, but if I go more than 30 days without my joints start to get noisy and sore again and I either make another batch or pull some from the freezer.

*The base stew is just the chunky bone broth plus onion, celery and carrots. Each time I reheat or recook it I add whatever vegetable I most feel like.


on April 16, 2013
at 11:44 PM

I also do Crossfit and am cautious about my knees because I have arthritis in my family and both of my brothers have had knee surgery (one of them 3 times).

Squats shouldn't put undue pressure on your knees if you are doing them correctly. I would pay close attention to your form, make sure that your feet are spread enough, feet slightly splayed, weight on your heels, knees tracking over your feet, and that you are going deep enough. Going down past horizontal activates your large squat muscles and takes strain off of your knees. With good form there should be no strain on your knees.

Running in my opinion puts a lot of stress on the knees and I am very cautious about how much I run and how. At Crossfit we usually never run more than 400-800m at a time and usually not more than 2000m in a workout. I have stopped running further than that except very rarely.

Of all activities at Crossfit I have found that lateral jumps are the worst on my knees, followed by box jumps. I still do the box jumps just because they are in so many workouts but am cautious about it.

If you are getting "crunchy" knees I would definitely be cautious and maybe get x-rayed and make sure that you aren't developing inflammation or arthritis. The Paleo diet is generally a low-inflammation diet but you might take it a step further and identify and eliminate any foods that are inflammatory, and consider eating turmeric and other foods that are specifically anti-inflammatory. I mix it into my yogurt occasionally.


on April 16, 2013
at 10:56 PM

Bone broth, collagen, MSM, vitamin C, and maybe more fish oil could all help. Massage those areas too. They are working harder than they used to and may need a little extra love. Anything that helps bone and cartilage repair without addiing further stress...

Back off a bit on any exercises that stress that particular body area until the muscles become stronger and can help the joints more.

Crunchy sounds are a first warning signal, IMO.

You made a really good call, paying attention to the crunchy sound.



on April 19, 2013
at 01:35 AM

All great answers. Thank you very much for everyone's help!


on April 17, 2013
at 02:47 AM

I have had 3 knee surgeries and I am only 46, I used to run marathons. Crunching of my knees was my first warning but I failed to take any notice until many years later I ended up with no cartilage. Take care of your knees! I now exercise without putting stress on my knees i.e. no running and lots of swimming and biking.

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on April 17, 2013
at 01:39 AM

I developed crunchy knees 30 years ago. I blamed it on running a lot on crowned roads, which caused me to put uneven stress on my knees. I was also overweight which made it worse.

So that ended my 10K days. Walking and biking are less knee-stressful than the pavement pounding your knees get from running.

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