When It's Time to See a Doctor About Your Knee Pain

Jan 06, 2023

When It's Time to See a Doctor About Your Knee Pain
Your knee hurts, and you’re of a mind to simply grin and bear it in the hopes that the discomfort will go away. It might, or the problem can become much larger, which always makes seeing an expert a good idea.

You’re hobbling around because of a painful knee and you figure the problem will just clear up on its own, given enough time. While the human body is a marvel when it comes to repairing and rebuilding itself, ignoring a problem in a major joint like your knee is ill-advised.

While every pain and ache in your knees may not be worth a visit, the experienced team of orthopedic experts here at Los Angeles Orthopedic Surgery Specialists wants to provide you with a few excellent rules of thumb when it comes to your all-important knees.

Signs of potentially problematic knee pain

Knee pain occurs in one of two ways — gradually or acutely — so we’re going to discuss both scenarios.

Degenerative knee pain

Your knees are the largest joints in your body and among the hardest working. Day in and day out, they support your body, provide mobility, and allow range of motion. Since these joints are working hard all day, every day, they are among the first to succumb to wear-and-tear diseases like osteoarthritis (OA). 

The prevalence of knee OA has doubled in the United States since the mid-20th century, largely due to people carrying extra weight.

Knee OA starts out small — your knees ache a little at the end of the day or after sitting for a while. All too soon, however, the joint pain and inflammation become constant companions and limit your ability to move around. The persistent pain and stiffness can greatly affect your life, preventing you from climbing stairs or getting out of a chair.

Our goal is to step in long before your knee pain becomes a serious functional issue. While there may be no cure for OA, with early intervention and lifestyle changes, we can slow the progress of the degeneration in your joints.

So, if you’re experiencing painful knees and you suspect arthritis, come see us sooner rather than later so we can help slow the disease.

Acute knee pain

You land badly after jumping or you twist your knee and you feel pain. These types of acute injuries to the connective tissues inside your knee, such as your ligaments and menisci, are fairly common.

Your first steps after this type of injury should include the RICE method:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation

If your knee is still painful after 24 hours of RICE, or the discomfort worsens, we strongly recommend that you come see us. Gritting your teeth through a knee injury is a terrible idea and may leave you with ongoing knee problems that are far more difficult to treat down the road.

With prompt intervention, we can quickly diagnose the injury and get you on the road to healing.

Your treatment options for relieving knee pain

Once we identify what’s causing your knee pain, we prefer to start out conservatively. We might try a corticosteroid injection to relieve the pain and inflammation, at which point we recommend physical therapy to strengthen your knee.

If these conservative measures aren’t working, we can turn to knee arthroscopy, a minimally invasive technique that allows us to repair damaged tissues in your knee. As examples, we perform anterior cruciate ligament reconstructions and meniscus repairs arthroscopically.

If OA has wreaked too much havoc in your knees, it might be time to consider knee replacement surgery. Each year in the US, surgeons perform about more than 750,000 total knee replacement surgeries, with great success. 

If you’re hampered by knee pain, please call one of our offices today. We’re located in Los Angeles, including Glendale, Wilshire, and East LA, Santa Fe Springs, Pico Rivera, Encino, Newhall, Montebello, and Tarzana, California. You can also schedule an appointment for a consultation online.