What You Need to Know About Knee and Hip Pain:
- Don't be alarmed by the word "tear." If an MRI shows you have a tear in your knee cartilage, don't always think surgery is the only option, Dr. Grelsamer says. He says only in very severe cartilage tears is surgery necessary. "There is no question that many people can live with a tear in the knee like they can with a little cuff tear in the shoulder or a little disc bulge in the back," he says.
- Try other medical options before getting surgery. Dr. Grelsamer says bracing the knee, avoiding the activities that hurt, taking anti-inflammatory medication and getting physical therapy are all options you should try instead of surgery.
- Give yourself three weeks or so of nonsurgical treatments. "[If] you realize you're not getting anywhere [after three weeks] and you still have the same pain—it hurts in the same spot every time your knee twists a certain way you've got the pain—then it is not unreasonable to have an orthopedic surgery procedure," Dr. Grelsamer says.
- Weight management can alleviate knee and hip pain. "Your knees and your hips see many times your body weight," he says. "If you lose or gain 10 pounds, your knee and hip will think you lost or gained 30 pounds—40 pounds or 50 pounds if you are running or jumping," he says.
- Surgery should always be the last resort. "Once you are an informed consumer and you know exactly what the deal is and you can't stand the pain anymore, then the time is right [for surgery]," Dr. Grelsamer says.