There are a number of physical issues where people often debate between seeing a doctor and just managing the concern themselves, and a good example here is knee pain. And while there may be some limited situations where at-home care is advisable for limited knee pain, it’s much more common that seeing a knee specialist is the way to go – but knowing the right course of action here is helpful for many people.
At The Orthopaedic Center, we’re happy to offer knee and hip specialist services for a variety of Tulsa patient needs, in addition to numerous other parts of the body we help treat. What are some of the situations where knee pain should definitely lead to an appointment with a knee specialist? Here are several to keep in mind, plus a note on what to do while you wait for your appointment date.
Pain Caused by Major Impact
Firstly, many cases of knee pain can be caused by major impact, such as a fall or a sports-related injury. It’s important to your long-term health and mobility that you have a knee specialist check for any bone chip fragments, cartilage damage, ligament tears, joint misalignments, or other potential issues.
For instance, if you suffer a fall and experience any knee pain, it’s wise to schedule an appointment with a knee specialist as soon as you can. Even if the initial pain subsides somewhat, but is still present, it’s a good idea to get checked out and ensure that there is no long-term damage or issues.
Pain Caused by Overuse
Secondly, if you experience recurring knee pain due to overuse, such as from running or other activities, this should also be looked at by a qualified knee specialist. The same applies for any pain that is caused by gradual wear and tear over time.
It’s important to remember that knee pain can be debilitating, and it should never be taken lightly. The sooner you can get checked out by a professional, the better off you’ll be in terms of avoiding any long-term issues or further damage.
Major Swelling Issues
In other cases, swelling in the knee can be a major concern, and this should definitely lead to scheduling an appointment with a knee specialist. Swelling is often caused by excess fluid buildup around the joints, and this can cause severe pain as well.
If you experience swelling or joint tenderness that doesn’t subside quickly, then it’s time to schedule an appointment. A knee specialist will be able to diagnose the cause of the swelling and provide you with appropriate treatment.
Another common reason to see a knee specialist is if you experience significant pain that does not dissipate with rest and over-the-counter medications. Severe knee pain can be caused by infection, inflammation, arthritis, or other conditions that are best seen and treated by a professional.
In some cases, this pain can become so significant that it can interfere with your everyday activities, and in this situation, it’s important to get checked out as soon as possible.
Situations Where Immediate Medical Attention is Needed
In certain situations, it’s important to see a knee specialist as soon as possible. These include:
- Clear deformity to the joint: If a collision or fall results in a visible deformity to the knee, such as a dislocated kneecap or a fracture, medical attention is needed right away.
- Unable to straighten the knee: If the direct result of an injury or wear and tear means that you’re unable to fully extend your leg, then medical help should be sought immediately.
- Popping noise upon injury: If you hear a popping noise when the knee is injured, it could indicate that a ligament is torn and medical attention is necessary.
- Fever: If a fever develops in conjunction with knee pain, this could indicate an infection and must be treated by a doctor.
What to Do While Waiting for Your Appointment
In the meantime before your appointment, the key theme for home treatment of knee pain is the “RICE” method: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.
First of all, avoid stressing your knee as much as possible. If you have to move or walk around, try to use crutches if available. Secondly, use an ice pack on the knee for 15-20 minutes at a time several times throughout the day to reduce swelling.
Thirdly, compression with elastic bandages or special wraps can also be beneficial to reduce swelling and inflammation. Finally, elevate the knee above your heart whenever possible to further reduce swelling.
Using the RICE method in combination with seeing a knee specialist as soon as possible will help you manage your knee pain effectively and get back to your normal activities.
For more on when to see a knee specialist for your pain issues, or to learn about any of our orthopedic clinic services in Tulsa, speak to our team at The Orthopaedic Center today.