When to See a Specialist about Knee Pain

You likely don’t think about your knees much until they begin to hurt. If your ability to walk becomes compromised, knee pain can become a big deal quickly. Your knees handle stress and strain as a matter of course, and when they do hurt, it’s often enough to simply rest and recover. 

However, the strength and stability you count on sometimes needs the attention of specialists, like the team at Ani Medical Group Orthopaedic & Spine Institute of New Jersey. They have the knowledge and experience to relieve your pain and restore your mobility. Here’s when you should make an appointment. 

Causes of knee pain

The knee is a complex structure composed of bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles. An injury to any of these may result in knee pain. Often, injuries respond to rest and home care, but sometimes they won’t be enough. Understanding what’s happening in your knee may help you know when it’s time to see a specialist. 

Knee pain is either chronic or acute. Acute knee pain develops rapidly, usually as the result of a fall, overextension, or twist of the knee joint. Your pain typically starts with the injury event. Chronic pain symptoms tend to develop slowly, but you’ll have them over a period of time and they’ll often get worse. Most chronic pain is due to wear-and-tear inside the joint.

Osteoarthritis is a common cause of chronic knee pain, resulting from long-term wear-and-tear. Primarily affecting older people, you may accelerate its progression if you’re overweight or obese, or if you participate in activities that put a lot of repetitive strain on the knees. With osteoarthritis, cartilage deterioration inside the joint increases inflammation, resulting in pain, stiffness, and swelling. 

Acute knee pain usually follows a direct injury to the joint. Causes of acute knee pain include:

Generally speaking, chronic knee pain requires less urgent care than acute pain, since the latter so often accompanies an injury event. However, some injuries may respond to rest and home care. You may need to consider the symptoms you’re experiencing to make a decision on medical care. 

When to seek a knee specialist

Regardless if your knee pain is chronic or acute, you might decide to care for it at home if the pain is manageable. Some types of knee pain, like pain from a minor muscle strain, respond well to RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) therapy. If pain and swelling aren’t reduced in 24 to 48 hours, then it may be time to contact Ani Medical Group. 

Some symptoms that accompany knee pain suggest more urgent care. You may want to prioritize specialist care if you experience: 

Since your knees are central to your mobility, any pain or other symptoms that affect your ability to move may need professional care, even if you can manage the pain. When your knees need attention, contact Ani Medical Group Orthopaedic & Spine Institute of New Jersey by phone at either of their two offices, or by using their online form.

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