Clicking/clunking knee joint after surgery


Administrative Staff
Jun 11, 2013
United States United States
Revised March 9, 2021 by Jamie

Many patients who undergo knee replacement surgery will describe noises that come from their replaced joint. People commonly mention a clicking or clunking coming from their knee replacement when they walk, and they often worry that something is wrong with their knee replacement.

Is it a problem to hear clicking after knee replacement surgery?
Most often, no, it is not a problem. It is not unusual for people to be able to hear or feel their knee replacement after they have surgery. Noises can come from a number of possible sources, including the metal and plastic implants, tendons, and fluid around the knee.

total knee in place.jpg

The reason for clicking is because the nice soft, impact absorbing cartilage in a natural knee joint has been replaced with hard metal and plastic. In addition, your muscles and ligaments may be a bit slack after the surgery and can take weeks to tighten up. In the meantime, your bone ends (with their implants) have a tendency to make a noise when they come into contact with each other. Just tap a spoon on your table top - it's the same thing.

So take comfort in that fact that many patients describe clicks and other noises that come from their knee replacement. Know that the noises will disappear or at least lessen with time.

Is there anything that can be done to help stop the clicking noise?
Once you are through the initial stages of healing, you can engage in swimming and bicycling exercise that may lessen the noise coming from your joint. Be prepared that it can take several months to a year to see significant improvements. Patience is key!

Is there ever a time when I should see my surgeon because of the clicking?
There are times where noises coming from a replaced knee should be evaluated by your surgeon. When the noise is accompanied by pain, deformity or swelling it is a good idea to contact your surgeon as soon as possible and discuss it.

Here is a fairly recent article regarding this topic:
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