It's not unusual for people to suffer from knee pain now and then. Maybe your knees feel a little sore after you spend a day gardening, or perhaps they get stiff and tight after a long run. These symptoms are not that worrisome and are generally just a temporary sign of overuse and muscle stiffness. However, there are some other, more severe knee issues that should prompt you to see an orthopedic physician because they indicate something more serious might be going on.
Pain Behind the Knee Cap
If the pain in your knee is centralized behind the knee cap and lasts for more than a day or two, you should bring this to the attention of an orthopedic doctor. Pain behind the knee cap can be caused by a Baker's cyst, which is swelling of the bursa that cushions the knee. It could also be caused by a torn or damaged meniscus or by a ligament injury, such as a strain of the ACL. All of these issues are likely to get worse without treatment.
A Feeling of Instability or Weakness
When you take a step, does it sometimes feel like your knee is about to give out? Do you feel like you can't straighten your leg and stand on your knee without it buckling? Maybe the feeling is just one of overall weakness. In any case, there is a good chance this sensation is caused by damage to one or more tendons or ligaments in the joint.
It's quite normal for the knees to make a bit of a cracking noise as you bend them on occasion. But if that noise is more of a pop that you can both feel and hear, it can be a sign of a torn meniscus or worn cartilage. Arthritis patients often feel like their knees grind and then pop.
Persistent Redness and Swelling
Again, it's not unusual for your knee to be a little red and swollen if you worked out really hard the day before or somehow ended up walking 15 miles around a city. But if the swelling and redness are persistent, and especially if they seem to worsen over time, you may have an injury, arthritis, or even gout.
An orthopedic doctor should be your go-to for any knee-related concerns. If you are suffering from any of the symptoms above, it's time to call and make an appointment. Reach out to an orthopedic physician today for more information.