Should I see an orthopedic doctor for my knee pain?

It’s hard to know when to see a doctor about knee pain, and even harder, sometimes to know what type of doctor to see. If you suffer from knee pain, one of the best things to do is start with the standard treatment for knee pain or injury: over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain meds like ibuprofen along with PRICE therapy (which stands for protection, rest, ice, compression, and elevation).

Your knee should begin to heal and your pain should decrease after a week of this treatment. If you’re still having significant pain after a week, you should get in touch with an orthopedic doctor. As a specialist in bone, joint and soft tissue injuries, orthopedic specialists know how to track down what’s causing your pain and treat it.

Whatever you do, don’t just “tough it out.” The inflammation that’s causing your pain can spread to surrounding tissue, which can make healing take even longer.

What are some common causes of knee pain that won’t go away?

Osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is caused by degeneration of cartilage in the knee. It can become so severe that the cartilage will be completely eroded, with bone rubbing on bone. The good news is that osteoarthritis is usually treatable without surgery. An orthopedic physician can definitely help you with this condition.

Ligament Injury. Ligaments hold your leg bones together and keep your knee steady when you move it. Ligament injuries are especially common in athletes and can cause severe pain. Such injuries may require surgery to repair.

Cartilage Tears. The areas of cartilage in your knee are called menisci. When you tear the cartilage in your knee, you are experiencing a meniscus tear. Like a ligament tear, this common condition usually requires surgery.

Tendonitis. Overuse can cause the tendons in the knee to swell. One type of tendonitis is called “jumper’s knee,” where repetitive strain from too much running or jumping causes inflammation or degeneration of the patella tendon.

Bursitis. Each knee has several bursa sacs filled with fluid that cushion and protect the knee joint. Trauma, infection or crystalline deposits from gout can inflame the various bursae in your knee, causing pain and swelling.

Referred pain. The nerves that provide sensation to the knee come from the lower back and also serve your hip, leg, and ankle. Knee pain can result from conditions in your hip, ankle or lower back, so it’s important to see a doctor for diagnostic work before you assume your knee pain is a result of a knee problem.

Some knee pain requires immediate action.

If you’ve fallen and find you can’t put weight on your knee, you may have a fracture. If you feel sick, have a fever, or if your knee is red and hot, you may have an infection. These conditions are serious enough that you should go to the ER to be evaluated by a doctor immediately. Here are some other indications of an emergency:

  • Unbearable pain
  • Pain that does not improve with rest
  • Pain that wakes you
  • If you are on a blood thinner (such as Warfarin or Coumadin) or have a bleeding disorder (such as hemophilia), swelling can indicate a serious problem

Coastal Orthopedics has the answers you need.

An untreated or improperly treated knee injury can result in permanent damage. If you are experiencing severe or persistent knee pain, it’s best to visit a doctor right away. At Coastal Orthopedics, our experienced specialists can quickly diagnose and effectively treat your condition to get you back on your feet in no time! Call 941-792-1404 or request an appointment here today. We’ll help you get a leg up on knee pain.