Joint noises (crepitus), such as creaks and clicks, are common among many people without any joint disorders, but they can occur with specific problems of the joints. For example, the base of the knee cap may creak when it is damaged by osteoarthritis Osteoarthritis (OA) Osteoarthritis is a chronic disorder that causes damage to the cartilage and surrounding tissues and is characterized by pain, stiffness, and loss of function. Arthritis due to damage of joint... read more , and the jaw may click in a person who has temporomandibular joint disorder Temporomandibular Disorders The temporomandibular joints are the connections between the temporal bones of the skull and the lower jawbone (mandible). There are two temporomandibular joints, one on each side of the face... read more .
Doctors ask about the person's symptoms and do an examination to determine whether a joint noise is a symptom of a certain disorder. Further evaluation and treatment are needed only if the examination results suggest a significant joint problem. Joint noises themselves do not necessarily indicate a serious problem and do not require treatment.