If there’s an unusual pain bound to get your prompt attention, it’s an aching knee. That’s because your knee houses the largest, most sturdy and reliable joint in your body, supporting a great deal of your upper body weight.
Most of the time, knee pain is just a temporary inconvenience brought on by a minor injury or overuse. When that’s the case, it can easily be alleviated with self-care methods such as rest, ice, compression and elevation, or with over-the counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) or naproxen sodium (Aleve).
But when knee pain is intense, persistent, or caused by trauma, it is not something you should take lightly or assume will eventually go away. When should you be concerned about knee pain and seek medical attention?
Knee Pain Causes
Many causes of knee pain warrant a trip to your doctor or orthopedic specialist. Some are from injuries, while others are from underlying medical conditions.
You should definitely schedule a doctor’s appointment if your knee pain was caused by a forceful impact (such as a fall, sports injury, or vehicular accident). Types of knee injuries may include:
- Sprains and strains
- ACL injury (anterior cruciate ligament)
- PCL injury (posterior cruciate ligament)
- Dislocation or fracture that you’re not aware of
- Patellar tendinitis (inflammation or injury in tendon connecting kneecap to shinbone)
If you have not sustained an injury but have knee pain – especially if it’s been minor for some time but has worsened and interferes with your normal activities or sleep – don’t wait to see your doctor.
It could indicate an underlying degenerative or chronic condition, such as:
- Knee bursitis (inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs in your knee joint)
- Avascular necrosis (death of bone tissue caused by limited blood flow)
- Osteomyelitis (bone infection)
- Torn meniscus (cartilage)
Other Symptoms With Knee Pain
You should also get to a doctor immediately if your knee has significant pain accompanied by:
- Major swelling
- Tenderness and/or warmth around the knee joint
- Deformed appearance of joint or popping sound at time of injury
- Inability of knee to bear weight
Knee Pain Diagnosis and Treatment
A qualified primary care provider can promptly diagnose the cause of your knee pain and recommend effective treatment. Depending on the severity of your condition, numerous interventional pain management options may be used to provide relief, including: prescription medication, physical therapy, corticosteroid and hyaluronic acid injections, or platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy. More severe cases could require procedures such as arthroscopic surgery, and partial or total knee replacement.
Northwest Knee Care
Lynx Healthcare is an accredited facility of Osteoarthritis Centers of America, offering proven non-surgical approaches to knee problems that relieve pain, promote healing, and increase mobility.
To make an appointment at one of our Lynx Healthcare clinics in Oregon, Yakima, Tri-Cities, or Goldendale, call us at (509) 591-0070, or contact our Spokane clinic at (509) 321-4575. You may also contact us online. We look forward to helping you stay active and enjoy life.