As you become older, you may start to experience small aches and pains. Some are minor — you slept in the wrong position, you sat too long in one spot, you worked out a little too hard — and others can be more serious. While most minor aches and pains can be ignored, some may be indications of more serious matters. But, how do you know which pains are too serious to ignore? And, how can you identify their symptoms?

4 Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore Your Knee Pain

1. Your Knee is Clicking or Popping

Whether your knee is clicking, locking, or popping, these are all indications that something is not quite right. In some cases, popping may be an indication of a ligament injury — such as an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), or medial collateral ligament (MCL) tear. Knee ligament injuries are common sports injuries, but can also occur from high-energy accidents. In addition to popping or clicking, symptoms often include:

  • Sudden, severe pain in the knee
  • Pain that persists while walking
  • The knee abruptly gives out, causing you to fall and feel unstable while walking
  • Swelling within 24 hours after the initial injury

Another reason your knee may be popping is because of a meniscus tear. This can often occur along with a knee ligament injury and occurs when the medial meniscus tears. Similar to ACL, PCL, or MCL tears, a meniscus tear occurs from a single, sudden movement — such as sports injuries or twisting suddenly. In addition to popping, other symptoms include:

  • Knee pain
  • Initial pain and discomfort — but still able to walk
  • Worsening pain and stiffness
  • Your knee giving out
  • Knee catching or locking

2. Your Knee is Swelling

Swelling — especially without an incident — can be alarming. Why is your knee swelling? Did you injure yourself and not notice? While bumping into the furniture and not noticing can sometimes happen, that’s rarely the reason for your knee swelling. The most common cause is arthritis in the knee. From rheumatoid arthritis to osteoarthritis, arthritis is a chronic condition that worsens over time. Along with swelling in the knee, you may also experience:

  • Difficulty bending your knee fully
  • Knee pain
  • Stiffness
  • Limited range of motion
  • Knee tenderness
  • Deformity and weakness

3. It Hurts to Walk Up Stairs

After a strenuous workout, it can be difficult to move around. Your legs may be sore, and even simple tasks like walking may feel like a challenge. Knee injuries are a little different, though. Instead of soreness, it may feel like dull to sharp pain — especially when taking the stairs. This often happens when the cartilage underneath your kneecap is damaged. While osteoarthritis can be the leading cause of this, chondromalacia patellae (also known as runner’s knee) also plays a role. In addition to your knee hurting while taking the stairs, other signs of runner’s knee include:

  • Knee pain
  • Grinding or cracking sensations when bending or extending your knee
  • Pain that worsens after prolonged periods of sitting, standing, or exercising
  • Swelling or tenderness

4. Your Knee is Moving or Shifting

Changing direction suddenly while your foot is planted on the ground can result in a dislocated knee. While this typically isn’t considered a serious injury, some rare cases are. A dislocated knee can often include torn ligaments, broken blood vessels, and damaged nerves. When this happens, your knee may feel like it’s moving or shifting when you walk. You may also experience:

  • Swelling
  • Severe knee pain
  • Hearing a popping sound at the time of the injury
  • Deformity around the knee joint
  • Instability and feeling like your knee will give out
  • Limited range of motion
  • Inability to continue with day-to-day activities

Schedule an Appointment at The Orthopedic Clinic Today

At The Orthopedic Clinic, we want you to live your life in full motion. If you suffer from knee pain and it’s making your life uncomfortable, let us help you. We’ll tailor a treatment plan that’s best for your lifestyle and get you back to doing the things you love. With six convenient locations, we provide quality orthopedic care and interventional pain management services to patients in Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach, Port Orange, Palm Coast, and New Smyrna Beach.

Call us at (386) 255-4596 to schedule an appointment.