The knee is a large and complex joint vital to movement. It is also one of the most vulnerable to injury. It’s possible to treat minor knee injuries at home and with self-care. However, persistent and severe injuries will require a visit to an orthopedic doctor. Treatments for knee pain can range from simple rehabilitation exercises to surgery.
Knowing when to book an appointment is key to avoiding further injury, disability, and chronic pain.
Where You May Experience Knee Pain
Our knees are essential to our everyday lives. Outside of sports and exercise, we use them to walk, jump, sit, and stand. Pain in the knees is, therefore, a significant problem that may indicate a serious problem. Knee pain usually results from a problem in the ligaments, cartilage, or kneecap. Understanding potential conditions can help you actively protect yourself and know when to seek treatment.
Ligaments are tissues that keep bones connected and stabilize a joint. Sprains and tears in ligaments cause pain, discomfort, and an inability to move. Sprains and partial tears have the potential to heal on their own. More severe cases may require surgery.
The two types of cartilage in the knee help absorb impacts and prevent bones from grinding against each other. Injury to cartilage causes pain and potentially permanent joint problems. Normal wear and tear or arthritis also cause pain and damage that may require surgery and long-term treatment plans.
The kneecap, or patella, is the bone covering the knee. There are many causes of knee pain associated with the kneecap. It is prone to dislocation and fracturing as a result of injuries. Other conditions include knee bursitis, patellar tendonitis, and chondromalacia patella. All of these injuries may need treatment from a knee specialist.
Signs and Symptoms For When to Seek a Doctor
Pain in the knee can occur due to injury, overuse, or an underlying health condition in the areas discussed. It often comes slowly and can gradually affect daily life if allowed to persist. If the pain is minor, undergoing the RICE protocol for a few days may be sufficient for home treatment. Otherwise, here are some signs to look for that indicate the need for medical attention.
Persisting Pain and Discomfort
Knee pain that lasts more than a few days despite the RICE protocol is deemed irregular. If the pain persists for more than two weeks, an underlying condition may be causing it. Have your knee diagnosed by a specialist to find the cause of discomfort and treat it.
Limited Range of Motion
Knee injuries typically cause swelling around the knee joint. Swelling will reduce the range of motion in your knee, preventing you from bending or straightening your leg. Some swelling from an injury is normal, but chronic swelling indicates a severe problem if it lasts longer than two days. Seek a specialist if you experience a limited range of motion for over two days.
Aside from injuries, other underlying conditions can cause swelling or deformity in the joints, too. If one knee is significantly more swollen than the other when put side-by-side, there may be a problem. Similarly, if both knees are noticeably different in size compared to previous examinations, make an appointment with a specialist.
Inability to Walk or Bear Weight on Knees
If walking leads to discomfort or pain in the knees and you are noticeably limping, an underlying condition may be causing the pain. This may also be the case if you cannot bear weight on your knees when standing up without discomfort or pain. Seek medical attention as soon as possible in either of these situations.
Severe Pain, Fractures, and Dislocations
Intense and intolerable pain is a sign you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. If you experience sudden trauma to the knee, severe pain could mean a fracture that requires immediate care. Similarly, a popping noise and knee deformities indicate that you should seek medical attention.
Knee Doctor Near You In Farmington Hills, MI
Pain in the knee isn’t unusual, given how many small and moving parts are in it. Issues ranging from injuries to natural wear and tear can lead to pain and even permanent damage. It’s best to seek professional help when you experience any of the signs above. Not only will it help you treat the pain, but you may also prevent any further complications or permanent damage.
For knee complaints, contact the health providers at Tri-County Orthopedics in Farmington Hills, Michigan. Call our office at (248) 474-5575. You can also request an appointment online with the best orthopedic surgeon near you. With half a century of experience serving the community with quality orthopedic care, we are confident that we can help you feel better, too. We look forward to being your healthcare provider!