When to See an Orthopedic Knee Doctor

February 17, 2021 | By: Raleigh Orthopaedic Team

The knee is one of the few joints in the body that allows for a wide range of motion. It uses a complex system of bones, ligaments, cartilage, muscles, and tendons to perform specific movements. We place a significant amount of force and impact on our knees every time we take a step – making us prone to knee injuries more often than other types of injuries. In many cases, knee pain will go away on its own, but there are certain scenarios in which you should see an orthopedic specialist. At Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic, our board-certified and fellowship-trained knee surgeons diagnose and treat all manner of knee conditions and injuries. If you are experiencing any of the following issues, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with us today.

Chronic Knee Pain

If your knee pain persists for more than a few days and is not improving, you should consider visiting an orthopedic doctor. Chronic knee pain can be a sign of more serious underlying injuries, such as a fracture or ACL tear. If left untreated, these injuries could lead to permanent damage.

Severe Knee Pain

Many cases of minor knee pain are frustrating to deal with, but they usually allow the patient to continue with everyday activities such as walking or playing recreational sports. However, if you find yourself unable to take a few steps without feeling excruciating pain, contact your doctor right away. Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic has multiple urgent care centers which accept walk-ins for patients who require immediate medical attention.

Swelling of the Knee

Swelling in the knee is usually a symptom of a fracture, torn ligament, torn tendon, or infection in the knee. Although you may be able to deal with the discomfort, do not ignore swelling in your knee. Your doctor can drain the fluid causing the swelling and help relieve some of the pressure.

Worsening Knee Pain

Pain in the knee that increases or worsens over time can be indicative of a degenerative disease. For example, osteoarthritis is caused by the degeneration of cartilage in the knee. The surrounding tissues and bone become progressively inflamed and may eventually require surgery to heal. Early intervention can make treatment for knee pain more effective and reduce the likelihood of long-term complications.

When to Visit an Urgent Care Center for Knee Pain

If you’ve recently suffered a serious knee injury from playing sports or daily activities which has impacted your mobility, you may have a fracture. If you feel sick or feverish, or if your knee is red or hot, you may have an infection. Some other indications of an emergency include:


  • Intolerable pain
  • Pain that does not improve with rest
  • Pain that wakes you
  • If you are on a blood thinner or have a bleeding disorder (such as hemophilia), swelling can indicate a serious problem


In these cases, you should consider visiting one of our urgent care centers at Raleigh Orthopaedic for prompt, comprehensive orthopedic care. We are here to help – whenever you need it.

Leading Orthopedic Specialists at Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic

Your well-being is important to us. Raleigh Orthopaedic is Wake County’s oldest and most experienced orthopedic practice, serving the Triangle and surrounding regions of central North Carolina since 1919. Raleigh Orthopaedic offers online scheduling so click the button below or call us at (919) 781-5600 to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists. If your injury or condition is recent, you can walk right into one of our Raleigh Orthopaedic Urgent Care locations for immediate care. For rehabilitation and physical therapy, no referral is needed to see one of our physical therapists.