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What Doctor to See for Knee Pain: A Comprehensive Guide



If you’re experiencing knee discomfort, you may be wondering what doctor to see for knee pain. There are several different specialties that can treat knee pain, so it can be tricky to decide who to go to for help.

Good news! In this blog post, we will discuss the different types of doctors who can treat knee pain and what each one specializes in. We will also provide a comprehensive guide on how to choose the right doctor for you and your specific needs. Let’s get started!

What is the Knee Joint?

Before we get into what doctor to see for knee pain, it’s important to understand a little bit about the knee joint itself. The knee joint is a hinge joint that allows the leg to move back and forth. It is made up of three bones: the femur (thighbone), tibia (shinbone), and patella (knee cap). The knee joint is held together by several ligaments and tendons, which provide stability and allow the knee to move.

Common Causes of Knee Pain

Several different things can cause knee pain. It is important to see a doctor to get an accurate diagnosis so that you can receive the proper treatment. Some common causes of knee pain include:

Sports injuries

-Rheumatoid arthritis




Ligament tear or rupture

Symptoms of Knee Injuries

The symptoms of a knee injury will vary depending on the type and severity of the injury. The following symptoms are common with knee injuries:






-Difficulty walking or bearing weight on the affected leg

Types of Knee Conditions

There are many types of causes, like the ones above, that can cause knee injuries, but what types of knee issues are there? Here are some common knee conditions that you may have heard of:

Patellar tendonitis: Inflammation of the tendon that connects the kneecap to the shinbone

Ligament injuries: Sprains or tears of the knee’s ligaments, which provide stability

Cartilage injuries: Injuries to the cartilage that covers the knee joint and allows it to move smoothly

ACL tear: A tear in the anterior cruciate ligament, which is one of the main ligaments that stabilize the knee joint

Inflammation of the tendons: This can be caused by overuse or injury and is often seen in athletes

Meniscus tear: A tear in the rubbery, C-shaped discs that act as cushions between the bones in the knee joint

Arthritis: Inflammation of the joints, which can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling

These common conditions are routinely referred to medical personnel to diagnose, treat, and later prevent further injury or damage being inflicted on the knee joint.


Types of Pain With Knee Injuries

There are two main types of pain: acute and chronic. Acute pain is sudden and sharp, often caused by a minor injury or illness. It usually goes away within a few days or weeks with rest, ice, heat, and over-the-counter pain relievers.

Chronic knee pain is ongoing and persistent, lasting for months or even years. With chronic pain, severe pain, or intense pain, you may want to see an orthopedic doctor to discuss further medical care.

How to Find the Cause of Your Knee Pain

You don’t (typically) have to be seen by knee doctors to get an accurate diagnosis of knee pain. Your primary care doctor can see it during your physical exam and ask you questions about your pain, such as when it started, what makes it worse, and what makes it better.

In addition to a physical exam, your doctor may order imaging tests to take a closer look at your knee joint. These tests can include X-rays, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), or CT (computed tomography) scans. These imaging tests can help your doctor identify the cause of your knee pain and rule out other conditions.

However, depending on the severity of your knee pain and what’s causing it, you may need to be referred to a specialist. An orthopedic surgeon is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating problems with the bones, joints, muscles, and ligaments.

Your primary care doctor will likely refer you to an orthopedic surgeon if you have a complex knee injury or if your pain is not improving with nonsurgical treatments.

What All Does Knee Pain Affect?

Knee pain can affect everything, from your daily activities to your ability to participate in sports or other physical activities. It can also affect the other joints in the body. Hip problems, ankle problems, and back pain can all stem from a knee injury. It can also cause emotional distress and anxiety.

So while it may initially just present as an annoyance, it is imperative to get these issues addressed as soon as possible so they do not affect your entire life.

What Doctor to See for Knee Pain

Now that we have discussed some of the common causes of knee pain, let’s talk about what type of doctor to see for knee pain. Several different specialists can treat knee pain, including:

-Orthopedic surgeon


-Sports medicine doctor

-Primary care physician

While there may be others you deal with for these issues, these will be the core group of medical personnel that will be guiding the treatment plans for your recovery.

First Thing to do When Having Knee pain

If you’re experiencing knee problems, the first step is to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. They will likely perform a physical examination and order some imaging tests, such as an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI, to determine the cause of your knee pain. Blood tests are not often used to diagnose knee problems.


Treatment Plan

There are many treatment options for knee pain in the acute stage. The type of treatment you receive will depend on the underlying cause of your knee pain. Conservative treatment options include:





-Anti-inflammatory medication

Physical therapy and Occupational Therapy

Types of Surgery

If you and your doctor determine that surgery is the best course of treatment for your knee pain, several different types of surgeries can be performed. These surgeries include:

-Arthroscopic surgery


-Joint replacement surgery

-Total knee replacement surgery


Knee pain is a common problem that can be caused by several different factors. It’s important to see a doctor if you’re experiencing knee pain, as they will be able to properly diagnose the underlying cause of your pain and recommend the best course of treatment.

There are several different specialists that can treat knee pain, including orthopedic surgeons, rheumatologists, sports medicine doctors, and primary care physicians.

There are many treatment options for knee pain, including conservative treatments such as rest, ice, compression, elevation, anti-inflammatory medication, and physical therapy or occupational therapy. Surgery is also an option for treating knee pain, although it’s typically only recommended if other nonsurgical treatments have failed.

If you’re experiencing knee pain, the first step is to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician to discuss what may be occurring and your best treatment options.