Knee Pain: Who Can Diagnose It and Who Can Treat It?

Chronic medical conditions can cause hip problems that occur on a regular basis. Knowing what is causing these symptoms helps determine the best course of treatment.

Knee pain can occur due to injuries, inflammatory conditions, underlying diseases, or wear and tear that affects the structures in the joint. Having this type of pain diagnosed is essential to ensure that you receive proper treatment for it. Knowing who can diagnose knee pain and who can treat it can help you understand what to expect from your knee-related medical appointments.

Diagnosing Knee Pain

Determining the cause of knee pain typically begins with your primary care doctor or you can schedule an appointment directly with one of Arkansas Surgical Hospital’s orthopedic surgeons. A physical exam is conducted. The exam will help determine the origin and severity of your pain.

If you are evaluated by your primary care physician and your knee pain requires more detailed evaluation, your doctor might refer you to an orthopedic surgeon, who specializes in diagnosing and treating problems with the musculoskeletal system.. Your orthopedic surgeon will most likely take imaging tests to see your knee joint in greater detail, including X-rays to check the bones in the knee joint or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to check the cartilage and ligaments in the knee. Depending on the results of these imaging tests, your orthopedic surgeon may prescribe a conservative treatment plan which could include medication, exercise, joint injections or a supervised therapy program.  A surgical procedure might be also be recommended if warranted.

Treating Knee Pain

Knowing who can treat knee pain can help ensure that you receive proper care for your injury or condition. Primary care doctors can treat minor knee injuries, which usually involves resting the knee, icing it, compressing it and elevating it. Your doctor might also prescribe pain medications if you have severe pain or recommend taking over-the-counter pain relievers for milder pain.

If you have a more serious cause of knee pain, such as a torn ligament, your orthopedic surgeon might recommend undergoing a surgical procedure to repair the problem, reposition certain structures within the knee or replace the knee joint with an artificial one, such as total knee replacement. Your orthopedic surgeon will go over all of your surgical options and help you determine which procedure offers the best chance at relieving knee pain and restoring normal knee joint function.

When you meet with your orthopedic surgeon, ask questions about these procedures, such as their success rates, the steps involved in performing them, the recovery process, and the risks associated with each procedure. Knowing these answers helps you weigh the pros and cons of each procedure to decide which one will be most beneficial and comfortable to you.

If you have knee pain that is not improving, please contact Arkansas Surgical Hospital at 501-748-8000 to make an appointment with a knee pain specialist. We offer effective treatments to relieve knee pain and lower the risk of reoccurrence.

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