Did you know that knee pain is a common problem for many individuals? Whether an active athlete or someone who is aging, knee pain can strike at any time. However, not all knee pain is the same, and some cases require medical attention. Knowing when to see a doctor about knee pain is crucial for proper diagnosis and treatment. Discuss with your doctor the symptoms of your knee pain to get the best treatment plan specifically for you.
If you experience any of these symptoms, it might be time to see your doctor:
- Persistent Pain - If you have been experiencing knee pain for over a few days, it's time to see a doctor. Persistent pain can be a sign of an underlying issue that requires medical attention. Arthritis is a common underlying condition that can cause your knee to ache with pain from inflammation and stiffness. Your doctor can assess your pain, determine the cause, and provide appropriate treatment.
- Redness or Warmth - Redness or warmth around the knee joint can indicate inflammation or infection. A serious cause of warmth and redness to look out for is Bursitis. Bursitis occurs when painful inflammation or infection is present in the Bursa, the small fluid-filled sac that helps lubricate the knee joints. If you notice warmth or redness of the knee, seeking medical attention is essential.
- Inability to Bear Weight - If you are unable to bear weight on your knee, it could be a sign of a severe injury or condition. If your joint feels weak and numb and starts to buckle when pressure is applied, a torn ligament could be the cause. Poor circulation can also be the cause of weakness in the legs and knee joints.
- Popping or Cracking Sounds - A popping sound is usually normal if it is not occurring often. The sounds are typically from gas bubbles within the joint forming and bursting. If you experience an injury or direct impact on the knee and hear a popping or cracking sound, this could indicate a ligament or cartilage injury. These types of injuries can be severe and require medical attention.
- Unexplained Swelling - Sudden onset swelling of the knee is under a broad category. Many underlying causes can result in swelling, such as arthritis or infection. Systemic infections can cause fluid or blood to accumulate around the knee, causing warmth and redness. If swelling occurs after an injury or direct force to the knee, swelling and pain could indicate a ligament or cartilage tear. If you have swelling of the knee of known or unknown origin, be prompt and contact your doctor.
Knee pain is a common problem, but not all cases require medical attention. Knowing when to seek medical help is crucial for recovery and the future health of your knee joint. If you experience persistent pain that affects your daily activities, swelling, redness or warmth, popping or cracking sounds, or an inability to bear weight, it's time to see a doctor. Please schedule an appointment with Dr. Chandra and his team at The Center for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine for a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment to relieve your pain and improve your quality of life.
Dr. Ramesh Chandra has been practicing orthopaedic surgery in the Washington DC Metropolitan area since 1984. The Center for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine is easily accessed from anywhere in the Washington DC metropolitan area, with offices located in Falls Church, Reston/Herndon, and Tysons Corner.