Which Symptoms Indicate You Should See a Knee Doctor?

The knee is made up of three bones (femur, tibia, and patella), two types of cartilage (articular and meniscal), four ligaments (two collateral and two cruciate), and numerous tendons. All of these significant parts make up the largest joint in the body. Disease or injury can disturb the regular harmony with which these parts move and function. How can you tell what the exact cause of your knee pain is?

Leave that question to an expert knee doctor from Rothman Orthopaedics.

Learn more below about some common sources of knee pain and when to see a knee specialist.

Common Knee Conditions

  • Fractures. The patella is the most commonly fractured knee bone. Fractures are normally caused by high-energy trauma, such as falls directly on the knee, sports collisions, or motor vehicle accidents.
  • Ligament Injuries. The four ligaments in the knee are the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), the lateral collateral ligament (LCL), and the medial collateral ligament (MCL). The cause of and treatment for each ligament injury varies. For example, while an athlete with an ACL tear might require surgery to continue playing his or her sport, a patient with an MCL injury will heal without surgery (although some cases do require surgical intervention and therefore should be evaluated by a specialist).
  • Arthritis. Knee arthritis refers to the breakdown of cartilage in the joint. Without enough cartilage, pain, swelling, stiffness, and instability can impact the patient. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of knee arthritis; this condition results from the cartilage wearing away over time, leaving bones to rub against each other painfully. Inflammatory arthritis, caused by the inflammation of the joint lining, may also affect the knee.
  • Dislocations. Partial or complete knee dislocations occur when the femur and tibia are forced out of alignment or the patella slips out of place. This might occur from overuse or repetitive pressures on the knees, instability, or high-energy trauma.

Five Situations in Which You Need The Expertise of a Knee Doctor from Rothman Orthopaedics

If any of the following five points apply to your current situation, consider scheduling an appointment with a specialist near you.

  1. You cannot walk or bend your knees without experiencing pain. Difficulty moving? When your regular range of motion decreases, interpret this as a sign that something in your body is off and your knees may require medical attention.
  2. You experience discomfort when you are not moving (i.e., at night when you are trying to sleep). Even if you can still get around throughout the day, pain in the evening or when you are inactive is also a sign of injury and should be addressed.
  3. You have reason to believe your symptoms are getting worse. Increased swelling? Sharper pain? Do not wait until the pain is unbearable; call your doctor when your symptoms begin worsening.
  4. Your at-home treatment methods have not worked. Has the R.I.C.E. method not made a significant difference in your pain? If treating the knee yourself with rest, ice, compression, and elevation has not improved your condition, you may need a more advanced treatment plan.
  5. Your knee condition is negatively impacting your quality of life. Perhaps you have a knee injury that can be fully healed with the right kind of care. Perhaps you have a chronic condition that must be carefully managed. Regardless of your specific case, a knee doctor can provide you with expert instructions and a plan of action to reduce your pain and provide you with the best quality of life.

The knee specialists at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute understand the frustrations that accompany joint pain. We encourage our patients to communicate their needs clearly and honestly and to put their trust in our highly professional and compassionate doctors. As worldwide leaders of orthopedic innovation and research, you can rest assured that we will work to address your knee pain and get you back to living your life.

To ask a question or schedule an appointment with a knee doctor from Rothman Orthopaedics, fill out the form below.