When to See a Specialist About Your Chronic Knee Pain

When to See a Specialist About Your Chronic Knee Pain

Chronic knee pain is, unfortunately, on the rise. A 2019 Washington Post article on knee pain reported that about 1 in 4 adults suffer from chronic knee pain. This is an increase of 65% over the last four decades, a troubling trend that can't be directly traced to an aging population or the sharp rise in obesity. 

As any older adult will tell you, a little bit of pain is often just a fact of life. Your knees play a central role in your movement, and all that wear and tear, the most common cause of general knee pain, can catch up to you. But there is a difference between pain that requires a couple of over-the-counter painkillers and pain that affects your quality of life. At what point do you need to see a specialist for your knee pain? 

Do you suffer from chronic knee pain that you think may need the attention of a specialist? If so, come see our team at Steven E. Nolan, MD. Dr. Nolan, our board-certified orthopedic surgeon with over 20 years of experience, has received numerous top-surgeon awards. 

Here, he discusses the causes of chronic knee pain, common symptoms, and when it’s time to see a specialist for your pain. 

What’s behind chronic knee pain?

The most common cause of chronic knee pain is osteoarthritis. This degenerative tissue disorder occurs as the cartilage in the knee joint gradually wears away. Eventually, the cartilage may totally disappear, leaving your bones to rub together and cause tremendous pain. Osteoarthritis worsens with excessive stress on the knee joint, often caused by repeated injuries or obesity. Other common causes of chronic knee pain include: 

Infections and obesity can also be direct causes of chronic knee pain. Referred pain — pain you feel in one part of your body that’s actually caused by pain or injury in another part of your body — may also be a source of chronic knee pain. 


Everyone experiences knee pain in slightly different ways, but common symptoms include:

Beyond these symptoms, knee pain can also cause redness around the knee joint and may make your skin hot to the touch. 

When it’s time to see a specialist

The common symptoms of knee pain are serious on their own, and you shouldn’t hesitate to reach out if any of them become unbearable. However, you should absolutely make an appointment with Dr. Nolan if you experience any of the following: 

Dr. Nolan diagnoses the source of your knee pain, and if necessary, he may recommend knee arthroscopy to repair damage to your knee joint. Knee arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical technique that causes less trauma and has shortened healing times when compared to traditional open surgery. 

To learn more about chronic knee pain and get a specialist’s opinion, request an appointment online or over the phone with Steven E. Nolan, MD, today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Does My Rotator Cuff Tear Require Surgery?

If you’re having shoulder pain, you may wonder if you’ve torn your rotator cuff and if your injury will require surgery. Read on to find out the signs and symptoms — and if surgery will be necessary.

When Is ACL Reconstruction Necessary?

ACL injuries and the reconstruction surgeries that repair them are famous for their long healing times. Some ACL injuries, however, may not need reconstruction.

6 Common Signs of Shoulder Impingement

Pain in your shoulder? It could result from injury or arthritis, or it could be one of the most common shoulder problems — shoulder Impingement. Here are six telltale symptoms that point to a pinched tendon in your shoulder.