Do your knees often make cracking sound, or popping sound whenever they bend. Then you need to take special care of them, as this incidence may be a sign of early osteoarthritis, according to the researchers.
Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis in which flexible tissue at the ends of bones wears down and the cartilage in the knee joint wears away with time.
The crackle or crunch is heard when there is a movement in the damaged knee joints. These are known as knee crepitus. These crackle noises in the knee are quite common and do not hurt.
"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," said Grace Lo, assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, US.
Lo says people whose knees often make sounds are at higher risk of developing pain within the next year compared with the people who do not have noisy knees.
Pain accompanied with crackling sound could indicate a problem.
Knee crepitus can also be related to rheumatoid or infectious arthritis, and may accompany several different types of knee injuries.
A total of 3,500 participants were enrolled for the study who were at higher risk of developing osteoarthritis.
Among those who developed the disease within a year, more than 75 per cent had signs of osteoarthritis on radiographic images but no frequent knee pain at the start of the study.