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Treating knee pain: Don't wait to seek medical care if swelling, pain get worse

Don't wait to seek medical care if swelling, pain get worse (WKRC)

MONTGOMERY, Ohio (WKRC) - With so many things that can contribute to knee pain, it is tough to know when to just let it go and when you might need to make sure it's not something serious.

Sports medicine specialists at Orthocincy in Montgomery say that it is one of their chief complaints this time of year and that getting treatment sometimes sooner rather than letting it go can keep you from sitting on the sidelines all season.

It's that time of year when kids are getting their kicks out of sports or other activities. That means, in both kids and adults, it's the time of year for knee pain, too. Sometimes for no obvious reason.

Bernie Uchtman had that kind of knee pain recently.

“It would wake me up at night, different times and I would be like ‘ah that hurts,'” said Bernie.

Images showed he had a torn meniscus, but didn't know it.

“The meniscus is a pad that cushions and stabilized the knee,” said Dr. Kevin Shaw, an OrthoCincy Orthopaedic Surgeon.

But many others have knee pain that's hard to explain.

So how long do you sort of just ride it out and hope it will heal on its own and when do you start to reach out and perhaps look for some medical attention?

Dr. Shaw says there's no specific guidelines, every person is different. But there are a few indicators that can tell you to go and have somebody check it out.

“I usually tell parents and friends who have kids with knee pain, give it a week or two if there's no swelling,” said Dr. Shaw.

When there's pain and no swelling, Dr. Shaw says athletes can play.

“As long as they are not limping, or really hindering how fast they run or coordination problems, then I am okay with playing in some pain,” said Dr. Shaw.

But if you are playing and hear or feel a pop…

“Pops can be lots of things of things, it can be a kneecap clicking, and if it’s not real painful and it goes away quickly it's probably nothing more of a traumatic twist… was playing a sport, came down funny and there was swelling, usually means something is torn, like a torn meniscus,” said Dr. Shaw.

Bernie’s torn meniscus is now healed. Dr. Shaw removed the surface layer to enhance healing and the pain went away.

“Range of motions good, I pretty much can do everything I did before,” said Bernie.

If you are limping, that's a key that there may be something more serious going on that won't get better without treatment.

Sometimes you can get steroid shots to ease the pain, but the best remedy is to fix the problem.

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