When to Discuss Knee Pain with Your Doctor

Mentioning your knee pain to your doctor can be scary. It’s common to second-guess whether our symptoms are worth mentioning. Here are a few indicators that it may be time to start a conversation.

It’s common for us to second-guess whether or not it’s time to talk to our doctor about something that’s bothering us. Joint pain is no different. For some, our ‘I can deal with it’ mantra overpowers our concern for the increasing pain. For others, our knee only aches when it rains so we might dismiss it. Other times, the pain is completely debilitating, leaving us no choice but to seek help.

Whether you’ve suffered from knee pain for years or just days, here are a few signs that it may be time to start a conversation with your doctor:

  • Your pain persists, gets worse, or recurs over time
  • Your knee aches during and after exercise
  • Your knee hurts when bent
  • You’re no longer as mobile as you’d like to be
  • Medication and walking aids (like a cane) aren’t delivering enough relief
  • Your knee stiffens after sitting too long
  • You feel pain in rainy weather
  • The pain prevents you from sleeping
  • You feel a decrease in your ability to move and flex your foot or ankle
  • Your knee is stiff or swollen
  • You have knee pain when walking or climbing stairs
  • You have difficulty getting in and out of chairs and bathtubs
  • You’ve had a previous injury to your knee

If you’re experiencing one or more of these symptoms, talk to your doctor about your options. Your primary care doctor may refer you to an orthopedic surgeon who will help you determine if you’re a candidate for knee replacement surgery and can discuss any associated risks. They may first suggest alternative, less invasive treatments depending on the condition of your joint. Knee replacement surgery may not be appropriate if you have an infection, do not have enough bone, do not have a bone disease or bone injury for which joint replacement is indicated, or the bone is not strong enough to support an artificial joint.

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