Knee Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery
January 7, 2015
What Types of Knee Problems Are Common, and When to Call Your Doctor
There are many types of knee problems, but certain symptoms and injuries warrant a call to your doctor. If you experience pain, swelling, instability, or the inability to walk, it’s time to seek medical attention.
Some types of knee problems and knee pain are easy to treat and relieve at home. But symptoms such as continuous knee pain and swelling, or significant changes in your range of motion and serious injuries like cartilage tears and kneecap dislocations, require professional medical care. If you experience acute knee pain with no apparent cause, or have problems stemming from a knee injury, you need to have this vital joint examined immediately. Contact your doctor now if any of the following types of knee problems apply to you:
Pain Lasting More than Two Days
It’s important to monitor any stiffness and pain in your knee for up to 48 hours after it begins. Try to rest your knee, and ice the area several times a day. Use anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen to reduce your pain. If rest and ice don’t take away the stiffness and pain in your knee, consult a physician to see if you have torn your meniscus or cartilage. The most common chronic knee pain stems from arthritis, but this type of pain will generally increase over time rather than arising suddenly (as with many knee injuries).
Swelling Untreatable with Rest and Ice
Swelling is a direct response to an acute injury, which could be as simple as a sprained knee ligament or an indication of tendonitis. If you hear your knee make clicking sounds when you try to move your knee, this means the tendons are snapping against each other due to the strain placed on them after swelling into a new position. If at home measures haven’t reduced the swelling on your knee after two days of rest, it’s time to call your doctor.
Inability to Bear Weight
Test your ability to put weight on your knee by standing on your uninjured leg first. If you are not able to bear weight on each leg equally, it’s time to seek treatment. If you can’t stand up straight or are unable to put weight on your injured knee without pain, you need to see your doctor as quickly as possible to assess the damage to your knee.
Decreased Range of Motion
A decrease in your range of motion can be due to meniscus tears, bones spurs, knee joint misalignments, and more. If you have a tear in your meniscus that is causing problems, there are both surgical and non-surgical interventions available. If the tear is small, your physician may prescribe rest, reduced activity, and physical therapy. If the tear is more significant, your doctor may recommend knee surgery.
Weakness or Instability in Your Knee Joint
An unstable or weak knee joint that feels as though it is going to give out, but maybe isn’t very painful, indicates that you have a ligament injury. Depending on the stage and location of the injury, treatment recommendations will vary. It is important to seek treatment if you experience this symptom or you may cause further damage to your knee joint and continue to lose function.
Altered Knee Appearance
Subtle changes may be difficult to notice, but if your injured knee looks different than your healthy knee, it’s time to consult a physician. Whether you have a kneecap fracture or dislocation, you need a medical assessment to determine and treat the cause of this type of knee problem.
Whether you notice that your chronic knee pain has changed, or you have suffered an acute injury accompanied by 48 hours of pain, swelling, and discomfort, you need to be examined by a doctor. Only severe conditions and injuries will require major surgical intervention like a knee replacement surgery, so you should take comfort in the fact that there are many treatments that can address your knee pain.
If you have questions about your type of knee problem or the possibility of knee surgery, Contact Arkansas Surgical Hospital at (877)-918-7020. We can schedule an appointment with a specialist who can evaluate your treatment options and help you find relief from your symptoms.