Ever hear grating, cracking, or popping sounds around the knee joints? They may be early signs of the development of knee osteoarthritis, according to an observational study of more than 3,500 participants.

The study, from the Osteoarthritis Initiative, appeared in Arthritis Care & Research, and participants were at high risk for developing knee osteoarthritis.

Among those who developed it within a year, more than 75% had signs of osteoarthritis on radiographic images but no frequent knee pain at the start of the study, per a media release from Wiley.

“Many people who have signs of osteoarthritis on x-rays do not necessarily complain of pain, and there are no known strategies for preventing the development of pain in this group of people,” says Dr Grace Lo, assistant professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and the study’s lead author.

“This study suggests that if these people have noisy knees, they are at higher risk for developing pain within the next year compared with the people who do not have noisy knees. Future studies that target people who have x-ray signs of osteoarthritis, and who do not complain of pain but do report noisy knees, hold the promise of identifying interventions that can prevent knee pain,” she adds, per the release.

[Source(s): Wiley, Science Daily]