Do you suffer from knee pain? The experience can differ from person to person. Some feel a dull pain, others actually endure stabbing or searing sensations. The pain can happen suddenly, or show a pattern, emerging after physical activity or at night. Some go through it constantly, others have ‘episodes’ that come and go. Some pain is localized at the knee, while others feel it spread to the hips and back.
There are many causes of knee pain. However, most people dismiss it as a problem of age or strain from sports, and very few actually bother with a trip to the doctor. However, knee pain can be a sign of something more serious. Here are some things you need to know.
The first thing to do is to look at your knee joint. Does it look deformed or out of shape? Is it swollen? Do you notice any discoloration below the knee area?
Another thing to consider is the pain itself. Is it accompanied by numbness? Does it interfere with movement? If you are no longer able to put your weight on the leg, or even to straighten or bend the knee, you need to see a doctor immediately. Also be on the lookout for pain that seems to intensify, despite any efforts to rest or to take medication and other treatment.
Since knee pain can be caused by a number of things, you need to see a doctor and give him enough information on the history of your symptoms. Tell him when the pain started, where you usually feel it, the intensity of the pain (on a scale of 1 to 10), and the type of pain (throbbing or searing? Intermittent or constant? Does it stay the same or intensify and radiate to other parts of the body?). Also tell him about other medical conditions you have.
Your doctor will examine your knee and the way you walk, and probably examine other joints (such as ankles or wrists) for similar problems. You may need to get tests like x-rays, MRI scans, and CT scans. This will help look for any hidden fractures, dislocations, and torn ligaments or cartilage. You may also need to take urine and blood tests to find out if you have any infections or inflammatory diseases.
Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor questions and raise any concerns about your knee pain. Read our article on how to get the most out of your doctor’s visit—it will help you prepare for your appointment and get the information you need and deserve.