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The under foot knocking could be the sway bar end links, that's fairly common and they can be replaced altogether or you can press new bushings in the existing end links. The brake issue sounds unrelated. The hubs will start chirping when they begin to go before they "feel" like their gone.
Or it could be a u-joint up front or possibly the needle bearings in the unit hub that the stub shaft rides in. If the outer dust shield is shot those needle bearings are exposed to the elements and wear the race on the shaft.
Those are a few things to look for that could be your issue. When you have the suspension loaded it is difficult to find some of these loose components. If you can take the weight off the suspension and then go over all the bushings and tie rods you have a far better chance of finding things like this, just my $0.02