When Should You Go To The Doctor For Knee Problems?

When Should You Go To The Doctor For Knee Problems?
When Should You Go To The Doctor For Knee Problems?

In many cases, when the knee pain occurs, it is quite acceptable to live with the degree of discomfort it is causing you. According to the director of sports rehabilitation and orthopedic, Dr. Robert Gotlin working at Beth Israel Medical center located in New York City, “Almost eighty percent of the patients having knee problems resolve the problems by themselves in a certain period of time without seeking medical help.” Although in some cases of knee problems, it is better to get medical advice than to wait for the problem to go away on its own. Any pain that disappears in a few days or does not respond to resting needs medical evaluation immediately. [1]

In addition, there are certain signs and symptoms which directly point out towards seeking of immediate medical attention for people having knee problems. The most commonly occurring symptoms which need medical assistance from a specialist include the inability to walk, swelling, immense pain, deformity, difficulty to bend, fever, and discomfort in walking. You might deal with slight pains and aches, particularly if you work throughout the day or you are living an active life. You will put off visiting a doctor for your knee problem and tough it out by living with discomfort. Most of the people decide to postpone the visit to a doctor because they want to wait for the pain or discomfort to subside on its own. [2]

If you are suffering from a knee problem, but unsure whether to go to a doctor or wait for the pain to go away, you might watch out the following is the list of warning signs which require immediate professional help to treat the knee problem:

Difficulty while walking

When the knee pain advances enough to cause inability to walk or give you a limp while walking, then you must visit a doctor. The knee problem which is avoiding you to walk might indicate a degenerative condition or a bone injury which needs a thorough medical assistance to resolve.

Knee joint instability

If you observe that your knee starts to feel like it will break or seems wobbling, then you definitely need to go to a doctor. The instability of the knee joint might become worse if you use your knee as usual as it indicate a severe ligament problem.

Deformity of the knee joint

If you notice your knees are sticking out in a way like never before then there is an obvious deformity of the knee joint. A fractured or dislocated kneecap or patella might cause such deformity of the knee joint and requires medical assistance from a professional. Some deformities might happen over time while the deformity resulting from an injury indicates a chronic wear or fracture of the knee joint. If a person is having any type of misalignments in their lower extremities, then they could be more likely to go through deformity of the knee joint. The doctors recommend seeking medical assistance from an orthopedic doctor if you are noticing a joint deformity especially after an injury.

Inability to bear weight

You definitely need to see a doctor if you are unable to hold or bear any weight on your knee. A fracture, cartilage injury, ligament tear, or bone contusion might result in immense pain to even stand by putting your body weight on your knees. The doctors advise to seek orthopedic evaluation as soon as possible, especially if you are older just to minimize any additional damage to the knee. It is better to visit the doctor the dame day you experience the inability to hold weight and particularly when you are unable to recover after a few minutes of injury. You must watch out for the excruciating pain whenever you are trying to put pressure on your knees and the numbness resulting after the injury, these could be the result of damaged blood vessels or pinched nerves.

Long-term discomfort or pain

If you are waiting for the pain to subside, but it is not going away, then you might need doctor’s help. Generally, the adults suffering from the knee pain for a few days must visit a doctor while the athletes must seek medical help if the pain lasts for more than 48 hours.

Pain that disturbs sleep

If your sleep is getting disturbed and wakes you up at night then you must seek medical help from a professional to treat the knee problem.

Pain that is paralyzing

Normally, the professionals suggest that you must visit a doctor as soon as you notice your symptoms affecting the daily activities of your life. A pain that is almost paralyzing you by avoiding you to perform routine work needs immediate help from an orthopedic doctor. If your knee pain is making your job more frustrating and your commute more difficult then you must let a professional evaluate your knee.

Slight sensation in the knee

While most of the knee problems cause immense pain but less sensation in knee can also be a great health risk. If the knee pain does not grow when you strain the knee, then you might be suffering from sciatica and need to seek medical help.

Reduced range of motion

There is internal swelling when the knees suffer from an injury and this swelling might reduce the range of motion, thus making it harder for you to bend or straighten your leg. If the knee problem is limiting your range of motion for more than 24 hours, then you must need to pay a visit to the doctor. [3]

Moreover, if you are experiencing a combination of multiple symptoms of knee problems like high fever, swelling along with reduced range of motion, then do not wait it out to resolve on its own. You need to schedule an appointment with an orthopedic doctor if you are experiencing infrequent symptoms of your knee problem.

Swelling or redness around the knee joint

The change in the color and shape of the knee along with deformity of your knee joint can point out serious problems. Swelling or redness around the knee joint might be symptoms of an infection. The infected joint might feel warmer or tender on touch than the normal skin.

In some case, the knee problem might resolve on its own but if you are experiencing the above mentioned symptoms then you might need an orthopedic specialist. Referring to a specialist will provide you with more information about your treatment and condition. While it is important to acknowledge the severity of your condition so you can get the best treatment for your knee problems and do not hesitate to go for a second opinion.


  1. https://www.everydayhealth.com/knee-pain/knee-pain-doctors-care.aspx
  2. https://www.medicinenet.com/knee_pain_facts/article.htm
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/jointrom/index.html