Should I go to the emergency room for knee pain?

Community First Emergency Room | Should I go to the emergency room for knee pain?

Knee pain is a common complaint, especially in today’s active society. It can be a severe problem like a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear or something as simple as bumping your knee against the corner of a coffee table. Either way, knee pain is a painful experience.

How can you prevent knee pain in the first place? When you do hurt your knee, how do you determine when you can relieve your knee pain at home or when you need to seek emergency care?

Preventing knee pain 

Because the knee is such a complicated joint, it’s difficult to prevent all knee injuries, but you can keep knee pain at bay with simple lifestyle adjustments, including:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight: Carrying additional pounds can put extra stress on your joints, including your knees increasing the likelihood of pain and injury.
  • Keeping fit: Sometimes, knee issues can arise as a result of tight muscles. Always take time to stretch before working out or beginning any other strenuous physical activity.
  • Doing suitable types of exercises: If you suffer from chronic knee pain or sustain an injury, swimming or water aerobics are a great way to keep moving while at the same time taking some weight off your knees. If you’re not able to engage in some type of water-based activity, avoid sports like basketball, tennis, or jogging and opt for an activity that doesn’t put as much pressure on your knees as walking or elliptical training.

Home care

Before you determine if you can manage your knee pain at home or if you need to seek medical attention, a good first step is to determine the source of your pain.

Community First Emergency Room | Should I go to the emergency room for knee pain?
  • Is it sudden pain as a result of an impact or movement?
  • How long have you felt pain?
  • Is it a sharp pain, or is it a dull ache?  

At-home-care measures can usually do the trick if your pain is minor, and your knee can support your body weight.

Here are some ways you can nurse your knee back to health at home:

  • REST: Resting gives the knee time to heal and prevent further injury
  • ICE: Icing reduces swelling
  • ELEVATE: Elevating your joint reduces swelling and helps improve circulation. Elevation works best when the knee is raised above the heart.

In addition, taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen can help control pain.

If your pain is an ache that you’ve felt for days, weeks, or months, it may be the result of everyday use or repetitive movements. If home care measures don’t work and your knee pain persists, schedule an appointment with your physician.

When to seek emergency care

The knee is the most complex joint in the body. It is composed of ligaments, bones, and cartilage. There’s a lot that can go wrong with your knee, especially if you land hard while playing a sport or feel some sort of popping sensation after slipping, tripping, or falling. 

If you cannot put any weight on your knee, you’re feeling sick, running a fever, or if your knee is red and hot to the touch, seeking emergency care is probably the best course of action. Your knee pain may be the result of a fracture or some sort of infection, and you shouldn’t delay seeking help.

Obviously, if you have a broken or protruding bone, your knee is swollen, bruised, or is bleeding uncontrollably, you more than likely require immediate medical attention. Not all knee pain is visible, though; just because you don’t see an injury doesn’t mean you don’t have something wrong that needs to be addressed, and an emergency room physician will be able to help find problems that you can’t see. 

CONDITIONHOME-CAREEMERGENCY ROOM
Able to bear weightX 
Minor ache/painX 
Bruising X
Swelling X
Protruding or broken bone X
Uncontrollable bleeding X
Fever present along with knee pain X
The knee is red and warm to the touch X

Emergency room vs. urgent care

If you decide it’s time to see emergency care treatment, an emergency room can offer more extensive services than an urgent care facility. Our emergency room has the equipment on-site for imaging and running labs to quickly diagnosing your injury.

While an urgent care facility might be the first step for relief from your knee pain emergency, an emergency room can offer better insight into your injury. Emergency room staff, nurses, and doctors can also provide more thorough treatment options.

Should I go to the emergency room for knee pain? In many cases, yes!

If you’ve hurt your knee, don’t spend too much time wondering, “should I go to the emergency room for knee pain?” In many cases, the emergency room is the best place to diagnose and treat a knee injury effectively.

Don’t let a knee injury get worse before you decide to see treatment! Contact us with questions to let us know you’re on the way.

Community First ER is Here for You 

Should you need emergency care for your knee, Community First ER is here for you. We have access to sophisticated imaging equipment, including X-rays, and ultrasound with fast/same-day results.

No appointment is necessary, and walk-ins are accepted. With both adult and pediatric care available, you will experience little to no wait times to receive our personalized, compassionate, and concierge-level services. Our board-certified physicians and registered nurses will treat you like family, making your health a top priority. We are here for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. 

About Community First ER 

Emergency health care is a critical resource. Our commitment is to provide a personal, transparent, and concierge-driven emergency health care experience to our community members. Locally owned and operated by health care providers and partners we trust, we strive to support and create meaningful relationships with those around us. We exist to put your health and wellness first. For more information, visit our website at https://communityfirster.com/  and engage with us on social media.

Tip: Trying to walk on an injured knee, can increase the damage and prolong your recovery time.

The knee is the most complicated joint in the body.

Fast fact

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