Knee pain is really common and tends to affect us all at some point. If the pain doesn't settle after a few days it's absolutely worth consulting with a health professional, such as a consultant orthopaedic surgeon, who has a specialist interest in knees. The reason it's important to see a doctor as soon as possible is for an early diagnosis of what's wrong with the knee. We can then advise you of the things that you can do, the things you can't do in the coming weeks, and when you might get better.
We can also tell you about what treatment might be needed, which may include simple things like resting up, wearing a knee support, avoiding certain activities, trying certain exercises and also new therapies like seeing a physiotherapy for a new exercise regime. In some rare instances, it may mean that you need surgery. If you do need surgery, which would be really unfortunate, at least we've caught an early diagnosis to give you sort of the best treatment for the best chance of a great recovery.
Why do I have knee pain?
Broadly speaking you may have knee pain because you injured your knee. You may have injured it by playing sports or from having a fall, or fractured a bone, injured a ligament, or because of some padding of cartilage within the knee. These are known as traumatic injuries, which is just one category of what is causing the pain.
The next main category is repetitive injury. It may be that you're doing a lot of work and you're on your feet more than normal. It may be that you're quite sporty and training for a park run or a marathon, or it may be that you haven't been active for a long time and in the process of trying to get fit, the new exercises cause your knee to ache. Repetitive strain injury can often cause your knee to hurt.
The other main category might be because the knee joint itself is starting to wear out. It's a bit like if we drive our cars for a long time and we need to replace the tyres or the brake pad. Sometimes our knees can start to wear out and that's often associated with age but now even young people are starting to get osteoarthritis or wear and tear in their knees. You might get knee pain, stiffness and swelling.
Can I treat knee pain myself?
Diagnosis is key and you need to know what's caused your knee pain. Once you've seen your specialist and figured out what the cause is we can then talk about the treatment options. With many of the treatments you can absolutely start doing them yourself and essentially you can ‘own’ the treatment plan and be in charge of leading it. A lot of this involves resting, modifying your activities, maybe wearing a special knee support and looking after your diet.
You may be able to take certain supplements or medications that can help with the knee pain. You can also start your own gentle rehabilitation regime, which is best performed under the guidance of a chartered physiotherapist. Sometimes a recognised osteopath can work out a rehabilitation plan to help strengthen the knee again, to get the muscles and the knee moving really well. Absolutely you can treat things yourself, but its best under professional guidance.
Obviously, if you're in the unfortunate position where you need an operation, you will need a surgeon and following surgery, you're again in charge of getting yourself back to full fitness under the guidance of the physiotherapy. A key to successful treatment is a good surgeon, a good physiotherapist, and a motivated, positive patient.
If you're experiencing knee pain and would like to see a specialist, do not hesitate to book an appointment with Mr Imbuldeniya.