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Ask your doctor about knee pain

An older man talks with a smiling doctor.

To make sure you understand your condition, it’s important to ask the right questions. This guide will get you started.

The first step to tackling chronic knee pain is to talk to your doctor. Your primary care physician can help set you on the right path, whether that involves simple home treatments or talking to a specialist about long-term treatment options.

Before you go to your first appointment, make a list of questions to bring with you. That can help you make sure you talk about all of your concerns and that you understand your options.

Understanding your knee pain

First, find out what you need to know about your condition or injury. You might consider asking questions like:

  • What condition is causing my knee pain?
  • If I have osteoarthritis, what is my prognosis?
  • If I have other joint issues, what should I know about them?

Coping with knee soreness

Your doctor can offer suggestions on how to help ease your pain. Think about asking the following questions to help understand what you can do to manage knee pain yourself:

  • Are there over-the-counter medications that can relieve my knee pain?
  • What can I do at home to reduce swelling, soreness or stiffness in my knee?
  • Are there lifestyle changes that could reduce my pain?

Finding the right treatment

There are a variety of medications and procedures that can be used to treat knee pain. You might want to ask your doctor questions like:

  • Would you recommend seeing a physical or occupational therapist?
  • Are there medications that you can prescribe to reduce my knee pain?
  • How long does this particular treatment take to work?
Considering knee surgery

If you aren't seeing relief from other treatments, your doctor may recommend you see an orthopedic surgeon. If you're considering surgery, it's important to get answers to all your questions. These may include:

  • What are the risks or possible complications of knee surgery?
  • What does the recovery process look like?
  • How long will a knee replacement last?

Making the most of your appointment

When talking to your doctor about knee pain, it helps to be prepared. Keeping a journal of your symptoms can help your doctor understand your knee pain. Find out what to track.

Reviewed 8/16/2023

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