Knee pain is incredibly common. If you’re not dealing with knee pain, odds are a close friend or family member has been hampered by knee discomfort. In fact, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians, knee pain affects roughly 25 percent of all adults, and that percentage is expected to continue climbing as obesity rates remain elevated. In all, knee issues account for roughly four million primary care visits each year.
Since knee pain is so common, there are a number of different specialists who can help you manage or treat your individual condition. But who should you visit if you’ve developed new or chronic knee discomfort? In today’s blog, we take a look at some of the different medical professionals you should consider visiting based on your specific knee issue.
Who Can Treat My Knee Pain?
If you are looking for someone to assist with your knee issue, you may connect with any of the following professionals. Here’s some more information about what types of knee issues these providers are best at treating:
- Primary Care Physician – Your primary care physician can be a helpful resource if you have new issues that develop in your knee. Your PCP is a jack of all trades, meaning they have a wide breadth of knowledge and can be helpful at providing a physical exam and conducting imaging tests to determine what’s going on in your knee. They can provide you with some basic treatments for minor or mild issues, but there’s a good chance they will refer you to another professional for additional care.
- Orthopedic Specialist – An orthopedic specialist has an advanced understanding of the musculoskeletal system, and many have a particular focus in larger joints in the lower body, like the hip, knee and ankle. Oftentimes they can provide a more in-depth assessment or conduct more hands-on treatments, including surgeries to address an underlying issue with your knee. From minor debridements to total knee replacements, an orthopedic specialist can handle a wide range of knee issues.
- Rheumatologist – If you’ve been told that your knee issue is related to an arthritic condition, you may be referred to a rheumatologist. A rheumatologist focuses on autoimmune diseases and chronic conditions that lead to degeneration in the knee joint.
- Sports Medicine Specialist – The knee is a commonly injured area during athletic activity, and many athletes look for care from a sports medicine specialist following a knee injury. However, they also work with the uninjured athlete to help improve their athletic performance or to help reduce their risk of suffering a knee injury in the first place.
- Physical Therapist – One final specialist that you should consider visiting if you are dealing with a knee injury is a physical therapist. While we can’t perform a surgical procedure, we can do many of the same things mentioned by the other professionals on this list. We can help you manage your arthritic knee or help you maintain flexibility in your aging knee joint. We can ensure you recover after a sports injury or develop an individualized training routine to strengthen your knee and improve your athletic performance. We can even diagnose and assess the health of your knee using a number of diagnostic tests like gait analysis or biometric feedback training.
Perhaps best of all, you do not need a referral in order to connect with a physical therapist. Instead of visiting your primary care physician or an orthopedic specialist just to be referred to physical therapy, cut out the middleman and head straight to a physical therapy clinic for assessment and treatment. This can save you time and money, and it will help your knee recover sooner.
Even if knee surgery is in the cards, connecting with a physical therapist may be your best move. Prior to surgery, we can help strengthen the joint and make sure it is as strong as possible, which can make recovery a bit easier. After surgery, we can gradually introduce you to a training program that will help you regain as much functional performance in your knee as possible. We can’t perform the surgery, but we can help with all aspects of your care prior to and after your knee procedure.
So if you are dealing with a joint problem, a meniscus issue or balance problems due to knee weakness, consider syncing up with a specialist who can correct the issue in short order. In the greater Twin Cities area, your best resource for knee pain can be the team at OrthoRehab Specialists. For more information, or for help with a different physical issue, give our team a call today at (612) 339-2041.