Knee pain is categorized as any type of tenderness or discomfort in the joint where your lower leg bones and upper leg bone meet. It can come on suddenly or build gradually over months or years.
If knee pain is interrupting your life, come to one of our Dignity Health hospitals in the Bay Area for complete care and treatment.
Symptoms of Knee Pain
You may notice that you experience these symptoms along with your knee pain:
- A tingling, burning or prickling sensation
- Knee joint buckling, locking, grinding or stiffness
- Localized redness, warmth or swelling
- Muscle spasms around the knee
- Pain in your calf, shin, ankle or thigh
You should seek urgent (same-day) care for:
- Inability to walk or put weight on your leg
- Knee injury with a popping sound, which is often a sign of a torn meniscus
- Sudden, severe pain, or swelling or deformity of the knee, lower leg or thigh
When to Seek Emergency Care
In rare cases, knee pain can be a sign a life-threatening condition, such as deep vein thrombosis, which is a blood clot that can travel from your leg to your lung. Call 9-1-1 if you are experiencing chest pain, have difficulty breathing or are wheezing.
Common Causes of Knee Pain
Your knee pain may be caused by one of the following common knee issues:
- Arthritis, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
- Baker’s cyst, a fluid-filled cyst behind the knee
- Bursitis, an inflammation of the sacs that cushion the knee
- Ligament sprains and tears, including ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and MCL (medial collateral ligament) tears
- Meniscus tear, a tear in the shock-absorbing cartilage of the knee
- Patellofemoral pain syndrome (“runner’s knee”), due to loss of cartilage behind the kneecap
- Tendinitis, inflammation or irritation of tendons due to overuse or injury
Specialized Care for Knee Pain in CA
At Dignity Health, our orthopedic specialists will diagnose the cause of your knee pain by using your symptoms, medical history and recent physical activity. They may also examine your knee and watch as you walk, run and squat.
Other tests that we may use to diagnose your knee pain include:
- Arthroscopy: minimally invasive surgery to see inside the knee joint
- Imaging tests: X-ray, bone scan, CT scan and MRI
- Joint aspiration: the withdrawal of fluid from the knee for analysis
Your knee pain treatment may include physical therapy, medication and surgery.
Get compassionate and effective treatment for knee pain in the Bay Area through Dignity Health’s network of hospitals. Use our Find a Doctor tool to locate a specialist near you. Dignity Health in the Bay Area offers patients a network of orthopedic care for knee pain in San Francisco, Santa Cruz and Redwood City.