Knee pain, stiffness, and swelling that causes you to limp or hampers your ability to move should not be ignored, as it could signal a serious knee problem that requires medical attention. Duke knee specialists are experts in diagnosing the cause of your knee pain. We use proven treatment advances to ease your pain, repair any damage that may have occurred, and return you to your normal activities as soon as possible.
Duke Health orthopaedic clinics are located throughout the Triangle. In-person and virtual appointments are available.
When to See a Knee Specialist
Chronic Medical Conditions
Knee pain can also result from gout, rheumatoid arthritis, or osteoarthritis. Knee arthritis is common in aging adults and results from wear and tear of the knee joint.
Chronic knee pain from sports or physical activity should also be assessed by a knee specialist, who can recommend the best course of treatment. Common overuse injuries include:
- Patellar tendonitis -- injury to the tendon connecting your kneecap to your shinbone; common among runners and cyclists
- IT band pain -- an inflamed tendon that runs down the outside of the thigh; also common among runners
- Knee bursitis -- inflammation of a fluid-filled sac called the bursa near your knee joint
Sudden Knee Injuries
Sudden knee pain that prevents you from walking requires medical attention. Examples include a broken bone, sprained or torn ligament (such as anterior cruciate ligament ACL), meniscus tear, or knee dislocation. You should also seek medical care if your knee begins to show signs of redness, heat, or swelling, as it could be a sign of infection.
Visit Duke Orthopaedic Urgent Care
Our convenient orthopaedic urgent care clinic is open seven days a week. Get fast service with no long waits and no unnecessary exposure to illness. No appointment needed; walk-ins are welcome.
Diagnosing Your Knee Pain
After a thorough examination of how your knee moves, Duke knee specialists may use one or more of these tests to pinpoint the cause of your knee pain.
- X-rays identify breaks
- Blood tests identify infection
- Arthrocentesis is used to analyze the fluid in your knee joint
- MRI creates images of the soft tissues and surrounding areas of your knee
Nonsurgical Options vs. Knee Surgery
The results of these tests guide Duke knee experts’ treatment recommendations. Nonsurgical treatments such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medication, bracing, injections, and physical therapy may be all you need to achieve pain relief. If you have osteoarthritis of the knee, you may benefit from our Joint Health Program. If your knee pain or injury is more severe, knee surgery may be recommended.
Choose an Experienced Knee Surgeon
Sports Medicine Specialists
Our sports medicine experts are trained to care for sports-related injuries and specialize in treating athletes of all levels. They include primary care doctors, physiatrists, physical therapists, and orthopaedic surgeons. They can help you recover from a knee injury, prevent injury, and work with you to improve your sports performance. They help active individuals return to the activities they love.
Experienced Knee Surgeons
Our orthopaedic surgeons, many of whom are fellowship-trained, perform more than 1,300 knee arthroscopies for painful knee injuries and conditions each year, in addition to fixing knee surgeries done elsewhere that require revisions.
History of Surgical Success
Our knee replacement specialists are experienced in the most advanced knee replacement surgeries. Our surgical success is based on decades of ongoing research at Duke. We use sophisticated tools to study patient outcomes, measure surgical success, and fine-tune our techniques to ensure you have the most options and experience the best outcomes.
Safer Anesthesia, Less Pain
Most of our knee surgeries are performed using regional nerve blocks. This means you don't need to be intubated to receive general anesthesia. This major advance is safer, speeds your recovery, and ensures you experience less pain.
Where you receive your care matters. Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why our orthopaedics program is nationally ranked, and the highest ranked program in North Carolina, according to U.S. News & World Report for 2021–2022.