Knee Pain – When To See A Doctor

Knee doctor assessment

The majority of knee injuries, especially minor ones can be treated at home. However, there are situations where you should seek professional medical advice.


Medically reviewed by Dr Chaminda Goonetilleke, 22nd Dec. 2021

When should I seek medical advice?

You should seek further medical assistance if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Severe pain in or around the knee, especially during walking. Or especially if you are unable to walk at all.
  • Severe swelling (oedema) in the knee. Acute knee injuries often swell up quickly and feel hotter than normal.
  • If you heard an audible ‘pop’ or ‘crack’ in your knee joint that is painful.
  • If your knee gives way or you are not confident and feel it might give way when walking, especially going up/downstairs.
  • If your knee ‘locks’ whilst bending or straightening it.
  • Any altered sensation in your knee, or lower leg. For example a feeling of ‘pins and needles’ (paresthesia) or a ‘loss of feeling/numbness’ (anaesthesia).
  • If you are unable to complete your normal daily activities 72 hours after injury.

Where to seek advice

Further medical assistance can be sought through either your local doctor or a private clinician such as a physiotherapist, sports therapist, osteopath, or chiropractor. In the first instance, if you have followed the P.R.I.C.E principles and are still unable to walk after 72 hours, or still have severe pain that is not subsiding you should visit your local A&E department for further assessment.

Also, if your knee gives way whilst walking, feels loose, unstable, or locks. If this happens you will be unable to move your knee due to pain. If this happens then you should consult your doctor or visit A&E.

Secondly, if you have applied the P.R.I.C.E principles and still have weakness or knee pain that lasts a long time (more than 2 weeks), or have ongoing discomfort in your knee, you are highly recommended to seek advice from a specialist expert.

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