Back to Blog

Achy Knees? Maybe it’s Time to See a Doctor

January 18, 2022

Most of us experience achy or stiff knees occasionally, especially if we work out a lot or work physical jobs.

But some causes of knee pain can be serious, such as ligament or tendon tears, fractures, gout, and infections. If over-the-counter analgesics aren’t alleviating the pain, you seriously consider seeing a doctor. Here are 10 warning signs that justify making an appointment:

  1. The joint is deformed. Look at your knees next to each other. If your painful knee looks misshapen compared to your healthy knee, you may have a fracture, dislocated knee cap, or patella injury.
  2. Difficulty walking. When your knee pain is bad enough to give you a limp, you may have a bone injury or degenerative condition.
  3. Inability to carry weight. If you feel the need to shift your weight away from your bad knee or it cannot hold your weight, you may be suffering from one of several knee conditions that require medical care.
  4. Knee instability. If you notice that your knee wobbles or feels like it will collapse, you may be suffering from a ligament problem, which could worsen if you ignore it.
  5. Numbness in the knee. Many knee issues cause pain, but a lack of pain can indicate a serious health concern. If you have leg or knee pain that doesn’t increase when you press on the knee, the discomfort may stem from sciatica or another non-knee condition.
  6. Long-term discomfort. If you try to wait out your pain and it doesn’t get better, a doctor can help. A rule of thumb is that athletes should see a doctor for pain that lasts longer than 48 hours. Other adults should see a doctor if pain persists for three weeks.
  7. Pain affects your daily routine. If knee pain makes your drive more frustrating, your afternoon stroll or run uncomfortable, or your job more difficult, have a doctor examine the joint.
  8. Pain affects your sleep. If your knee pain makes it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep, a doctor may be able to help.
  9. Redness or swelling. Changes in the shape and color of your knee may indicate serious problems. If you notice redness or swelling, touch the area to see if you feel any tenderness or warmth. You may be suffering from some kind of infection.
  10. Limited range of motion. When your knee is injured, it may swell, reducing your range of motion. This can make it difficult to straighten or bend your leg completely. If a decreased range of motion lasts for more than 24 hours, see a doctor.

Get the Care You Need

Ready to take the next step for a healthier life? Grady can help.  If you need a primary care physician, give us a call at (404) 616-1000. We’ll arrange an appointment at a Primary Care Center near you. Doctors there can treat most conditions and provide access to Grady’s unparalleled medical specialty expertise.

Achy Knees


Related articles