Joint Pain Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore

knee pain

As you swing your legs to get out of bed in the morning, you feel an ache in your knee, as usual. You’re determined to tough it out … but should you?

Brett Crist, MD, a surgeon at MU Health Care’s Missouri Orthopaedic Institute, said many people suffer unnecessarily from joint pain.

Brett Crist, MD
Brett Crist, MD

“People should be evaluated earlier rather than later if they have consistent joint pain, or feel like their joint gets stuck with a feeling of catching or locking,” Crist said. “If you feel like you are going to fall or you can’t move your joint, it’s time to come in.”

In a case where you have already fallen or injured yourself, monitor your symptoms.

“If you can’t put pressure on your leg immediately after an injury, then you should go to the ER because you may have broken something,” Crist said. “At least consult your doctor to determine a plan.”

Your doctor will evaluate your symptoms to determine a plan. Nonsurgical options such as physical therapy will be suggested for symptom relief. In some cases, surgery will be recommended for a better quality of life.

“After I perform a surgery, such as a hip replacement, I always ask patients how they feel,” Crist said. “They always say that their nagging toothache-like pain is significantly better. They still have some recovery pain after surgery, but over time, with doing their recovery exercises, it goes away.”

Starting a new exercise routine can cause soreness and aches initially, but they shouldn’t persist. If you’re experiencing hip and knee pain with swelling that won’t go down after a day or two of rest, ice and ibuprofen, call your doctor to determine next steps. If the pain is not interfering with your daily life and goes away with rest, Crist suggested taking more time to see how the pain progresses before acting.

Quick Checklist

Visit your doctor if you feel any of the following pain symptoms:

  • Feeling of catching or locking in a joint
  • Pain doesn’t go away with rest
  • Pain gets progressively worse
  • Unable to put pressure on your leg after an injury
Learn More

Read more stories like this