Should I See An Orthopedic Doctor For My Knee Pain
Its hard to know when to see a doctor about knee pain, and even harder, sometimes to know what type of doctor to see. If you suffer from knee pain, one of the best things to do is start with the standard treatment for knee pain or injury: over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain meds like ibuprofen along with PRICE therapy .
Your knee should begin to heal and your pain should decrease after a week of this treatment. If youre still having significant pain after a week, you should get in touch with an orthopedic doctor. As a specialist in bone, joint and soft tissue injuries, orthopedic specialists know how to track down whats causing your pain and treat it.
Whatever you do, dont just tough it out. The inflammation thats causing your pain can spread to surrounding tissue, which can make healing take even longer.
What are some common causes of knee pain that wont go away?
Osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is caused by degeneration of cartilage in the knee. It can become so severe that the cartilage will be completely eroded, with bone rubbing on bone. The good news is that osteoarthritis is usually treatable without surgery. An orthopedic physician can definitely help you with this condition.
Ligament Injury. Ligaments hold your leg bones together and keep your knee steady when you move it. Ligament injuries are especially common in athletes and can cause severe pain. Such injuries may require surgery to repair.
Some knee pain requires immediate action.
- Unbearable pain
How Does An Orthopedic Doctor Treat Knee Pain
The knee is made up of the tibia, patella, and femur, and has a supporting system of soft tissues such as cartilage, ligament, and muscle. When the knee joint gets damaged, it can impact function significantly. Without functional knees, you cant stand, walk, or run.
Throughout your life, you may experience knee pain due to injuries or in your more advanced years, due to a degenerative disease called osteoarthritis. Knee pain can have many causes and a proper diagnosis is a critical step before receiving treatment. Acute knee pain can be addressed with rest and painkillers. Chronic knee pain has to be addressed with other treatments.
While a primary care doctor can examine your knee and prescribe medication to ease pain, an orthopedic doctor is a specialist on the musculoskeletal system and can provide options for treating knee pain more effectively.
Here are some ways orthopedic doctors treat knee pain.
Do I Need To Go To A Rheumatologist Or An Orthopedist
With so much overlap between medical disciplines and specializations, it is often difficult for an individual to discern which type of doctor to see for their problem.
This is especially true for orthopedics and rheumatology, as both of these types of physicians treat joint pain.
Orthopedists are surgeons who address bone and joint diseases and injuries, such as arthritis, osteoarthritis, and body trauma. Rheumatologists are internal medicine physicians who focus on autoimmune conditions and the non-surgical treatment of such diseases, such as arthritis, where medications and/or physical therapy can provide the proper treatment.
It is important to understand the areas these two specialties cover in order to make an informed decision.
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What Kind Of Doctor Should You See For Knee Pain
The bottom line is, if you have any reason to think you have suffered a serious injury, that’s enough reason to go see a specialist. And speaking of who to visit…
Look for an orthopaedic specialist in your area to give you an accurate diagnosis. The knee is a very intricate, very important part of the body. As such, there are many talented and experienced doctors who specialize solely in the field of knee surgery.
If you are an athlete, I also recommend visiting an Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Specialist who has experience with the specific needs of athletes and what it takes to successfully get them back on the field performing at a high level.
What Type Of Doctor Should I See For My Knee Injury
If you suffer a knee injury, should you go to an emergency room or urgent care center, your primary care doctor, or to an orthopedic surgeon? In this Ask Dr. Geier video, I discuss your options if youre dealing with a nagging knee problem that isnt getting better.
Bridget asks:A few days ago, as I was walking in the street, my left leg locked on me twice. At that time, I experienced excruciating pain in my knee. Since then my leg has locked a few times while walking, and the pain is constant at the top of my knee when I try to straighten it out. When it is bent, I do not have pain. I do not have any swelling, just pain and locking. I also feel off balance. Do you think that I should see my GP first instead of an orthopedic surgeon? Or should I just go to see the surgeon for an evaluation?
There are many benefits to seeing your primary care doctor first, even if it is for a bone or joint injury. First, many insurance companies require patients to see their doctor and get a referral. Plus they know you, and you have a long relationship with you. And you might be able to see your personal doctor very quickly.
On the other hand, they are not as familiar with evaluation of musculoskeletal injuries as orthopedic surgeons. In this video, I discuss some of the potential drawbacks of seeing your primary care doctor first and when you might consider trying to see an orthopedic surgeon first.
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When To See A Doctor For Knee Pain
Unfortunately, knee pain is a common problem for many Americans of all ages. While younger people tend to experience knee pain after an injury, knee pain can also be caused by a number of medical conditions, obesity and arthritis.
If youre experiencing acute or chronic knee pain, you may need to see a knee specialist for treatment.
When Should I See An Orthopedic Doctor For Knee Pain
Seeking out professional medical opinion is usually the best option for pain that does not respond to painkillers, lasts a few days, swelling, reduced motion, deformity in the joint, lack of flexibility, and impact your ability to walk. These are factors that should send you immediately to the doctors office
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Pain For More Than 48 Hours
If you have pain in the knee joint that prevents you from walking normally for more than a day or two you should get checked by a healthcare provider.
The meniscus is referred to as the shock absorber of the knee. It consists of articular cartilage that covers the ends of the leg bones to allow smooth flexion and extension of the knee during walking and running.
Abnormalities of either the meniscus or cartilage can not only limit the smooth range of motion of the joint, but it may contribute to a feeling of deep knee pain.
Beyond the pain itself, a meniscus tear will often cause a popping sensation and may make it feel as if your knee is locked in place when you try to move it.
What Type Of Doctor Treats Leg Pain Behind The Knee
There is more than one type of doctor that treats pain in the leg or knee area including an orthopedist, an internist, a rheumatologist or a pain management specialist, notes HealthPages. Knee pain that must be treated with surgery requires an orthopedic surgeon for knee replacement or knee arthroscopy.
An orthopedist treats many conditions that affect the skeletal system and most often specializes in a certain part of the body, such as the foot or knee, states HealthPages. An internist focuses on diagnosing and treating health problems that do not require surgical intervention. A rheumatologist focuses on treating diseases of the joints such as arthritis, fibromyalgia and some sports injuries. A pain management specialist helps treat pain that lasts more than three months. This may include massage, medications and physical therapy.
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Orthopedic Doctor Vs Neurologist
Both an Atlanta neurologist and an orthopedic doctor have training equipped to deal with spinal injuries. Both are also considered spine specialists and can provide excellent care.
If you suffer from a spinal condition such as disc herniation or degeneration, spinal fractures, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, or other types of spinal injuries or pain, both a neurologist and an orthopedic doctor are equipped to treat these spinal conditions.
While in recent years the lines may have blurred between what exactly a neurologist and an orthopedic doctor do, there are still some evident differences between the two that can be the difference between who you need to schedule an appointment with.
What Do Rheumatology Doctors Do
Rheumatologists are experts in the treatment of inflammatory autoimmune disorders. These conditions, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, involve the patients immune system attacking its own healthy body tissue rather than invading external disease agents. Your primary care provider may refer you to a rheumatologist if you experience joint pain, especially if there was no prior injury. If your joint pain is accompanied by fatigue, fever, rash, or stiffness, it could also indicate an inflammatory disorder. Sometimes abnormal blood test results can also indicate a rheumatic illness.
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When Should I Seek Medical Advice
You should seek further medical assistance if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Severe pain in or around the knee, especially during walking. Or especially if you are unable to walk at all.
- Severe swelling in the knee. Acute knee injuries often swell up quickly and feel hotter than normal.
- If you heard an audible pop or crack in your knee joint that is painful.
- If your knee gives way or you are not confident and feel it might give way when walking, especially going up/downstairs.
- If your knee locks whilst bending or straightening it.
- Any altered sensation in your knee, or lower leg. For example a feeling of pins and needles or a loss of feeling/numbness .
- If you are unable to complete your normal daily activities 72 hours after injury.
When Should You Go To A Doctor After A Knee Injury
After you hurt your knee, should you see a doctor right away, or can you wait a few days or a few weeks and see if it improves? In this Ask Dr. Geier video, I discuss when you might go to a doctor after a knee injury.
Should I go to the doctor if someone fell right on top of my knee? Its been almost 3 weeks, and it has been getting worse. It hurts on top of my left knee and the right side of the left knee. I couldnt walk at the time of the injury. Sometimes it hurts so bad that I have to hop in school. Sometimes I can limp but barely put any weight on it.
In my opinion as an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports medicine, I dont think there is a right amount of time to wait to see if your knee improves. I dont know that there is anything special about 48 hours, 1 week or 6 weeks.
As I discuss in this video, there are some signs and symptoms of serious knee injuries. But I think there is one way and one question to ask yourself to decide if you should go to a doctor after a knee injury.
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What Can An Orthopedic Surgeon Do For Your Knee
Depending on the severity of the knee injury, an orthopedic doctor will often explore other, non-surgical options for solving your knee pain before suggesting surgery. These options can include knee braces, physical therapy, weight loss recommendations, standard pain medication, and certain exercises to strengthen the knee.
Knee replacement surgery is an option if severe enough damage to the joint occurred. This major surgery, also called Knee Arthroplasty, involves a resurfacing of the affected joint, capping the bones with metal or plastic parts, and similarly replacing the kneecap. This surgery often requires rehabilitation therapy and has a long recovery time, this is not often the first option.
The Differences In Treatment With Orthopedic Doctors Vs Neurologists
There are a few prominent procedures only each specialty doctor is trained to perform. For instance, only a neurologist is trained to perform surgery inside the dura, the lining of the spinal canal.
For this reason, a neurologist is the best option for treating conditions such as a tethered spinal cord or spinal cord tumor. Conditions such as syringomyelia and Chiari malformation also still fall under the neurologist specialty. On the other hand, such conditions like pediatric and adult scoliosis, spinal deformities, or kyphosis still fall under the realm of an orthopedic doctor.
Today, both types of doctors have developed a friendly working relationship and can work together to provide comprehensive care. Together, they want you to receive treatment for the best end results. But if there are subtle differences in your injuries such as the ones listed above, they would be better addressed by either a neurologist or an orthopedic doctor to achieve the desired outcome and recovery.
AICA Orthopedics employs highly trained, skilled neurologists and orthopedic doctors. Our team strives to provide accurate diagnoses and quality treatment for the source of your injuries or pain.
With knowledge, expertise, and experience, our specialists place patient needs at the top of the priority list in order to provide you specific and individualized care. To learn more about our neurologists and orthopedic doctors, please dont hesitate to .
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Should I See An Orthopedic Doctor For Knee Pain
Choosing the whether to see an orthopedic doctor for your knee pain should depend on the severity. I you have been in an accident or took a blow to the knee and you cannot put weight on it, the emergency department is the usually the first stop. The ER doctor will likely take X-rays and consult an orthopedic surgeon if needed. If the knee injury is not an immediate emergency, you may make an appointment to see a knee doctor at their office.
If you have knee pain that is not from trauma, your primary care doctor may be able to manage the knee pain.
Board Certification And Strong Educational Background
Consider the doctors board certification. The best knee pain doctors are board-certified in the field of pain management. This denotes that theyve gone through advanced residencies and fellowships, which makes them far more experienced than regular knee pain doctors. You should also consider the knee pain doctors education background and go for doctors who have graduated from Ivy League universities or those of equivalent stature.
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When Home Treatment Methods Do Not Work
You may first try to treat your knee pain via the traditional RICE method:
You may also use heat therapy and cold therapy to try to bring relief to your knee. However, if these methods are not resolving your pain, see an orthopedist.
Orthopedists are specialized medical doctors who focus their practice on the musculoskeletal system. This includes health conditions and injuries involving the joints, bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and all of the ancillary tissues. Common ailments they treat include arthritis and inflammation due to overuse, such as from playing tennis or basketball.
When It’s Time To See A Knee Doctor
Being aware of certain symptoms is important because if a knee issue can be diagnosed and treated early on, it will help to avoid further knee damage and pain in the future. Sharing this information with your doctor allows them to provide you with the best knee care. If any of the following symptoms sound familiar, you may have damaged your knee joint or the surrounding tissues:
- Knee is unable to support your weight and buckles when you attempt to use it
- Knee locks up
- Knee looks misshapen or deformed
- Knee pain or swelling that gets worse after an injury
- Popping sound at the time of the knee injury
- Range of motion decreases over time
- Tingling or numbness in the lower leg
- Unable to bend or straighten the knee without pain
These symptoms often correspond to a more serious knee condition, such as:
- Anterior cruciate ligament tears
- Posterior cruciate ligament trauma
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Our orthopedic doctors understand that knee pain can have a major effect on your lifestyle and keep you from performing routine, everyday activities. To schedule an appointment with one of our knee doctors, please call 788-9220 or request an appointment online.
Our knee specialists also understand that some injuries occurs when least expected, which is why we are proud to offer our Orthopedic Urgent Care to treat patients who are suffering from acute orthopedic injuries and conditions. Walk-ins are welcome, and no appointment is necessary.
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/ Signs You Need A Knee Doctor’s Strength Of Experience
If you are suffering from any of the following symptoms, you may have a knee injury or condition:
- Ankle or hip pain in addition to knee pain
- Pain behind the knee
- Swelling or tenderness in your knee or calf
- Unable to bend or move your knee
- Walking is hard or uncomfortable
Knee pain, as well as any of the above symptoms, can have a significant impact on your daily life. If you are experiencing any of those symptoms for more than a few days or if your knee pain worsens, you should schedule an appointment with a surgeon or doctor specializing in the knee, joint replacement, or sports medicine. The surgeon or doctor may diagnose you with one of the following injuries or conditions:
- A type of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis
- Anterior cruciate ligament tear
- Sports-related injury
No matter what the cause of your knee pain is, our knee doctors at North Texas Orthopedics & Spine Center have the strength of experience to get you back to the activities you love.