Are you experiencing knee pain, but haven’t yet seen a doctor? If so, you’re not alone. In fact, most patients unnecessarily delay a trip to the doctor’s office due to fear of the unknown, fear of surgery, fear of pain, or even fear that they’ll end up feeling worse.
While it’s normal to be nervous about seeking treatment, the truth is there are risks for waiting too long. If you’ve determined your knee pain warrants the attention of a physician (see our blog post on 6 Reasons to See a Doctor for Knee Pain), here are four reasons you shouldn’t wait to make an appointment:
- Better surgical outcomes
A recent study by the University of Toronto found that if knee surgery can be performed early, it may be more successful. Continued use of your damaged knee can lead to further damage, making a future procedure more complex. In addition, longer procedures require more time under anesthesia, which further increases risk.
- The potential for alternative therapies
Knee pain does not always require surgery. Depending on the severity of the injury, your doctor may recommend less invasive, non-surgical methods of treatment such as anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone injections or physical therapy. However, if your injury remains untreated for too long, surgery may become your only option.
- Risk of additional injury
By not caring for a damaged or injured knee, you are running the risk of surrounding muscles, ligaments and other structures in the body becoming weak and losing function. In addition, you may end up compensating in other areas of your life, such as avoiding driving or the stairs and even becoming sedentary – which can put you at risk for obesity, heart disease and other serious conditions.
- Your happiness and quality of life
By postponing treatment, you may be reducing your ability to engage in normal daily activities due to chronic pain and loss of functionality. Trouble walking, driving, bathing, or sleeping can take its toll on your happiness and emotional well-being – and possibly making it even more difficult to find the motivation to seek treatment.
Sure, seeing a doctor about knee pain is never fun. But the longer you wait, the more stressful it becomes and the higher your risk for additional injury. Do yourself a favor and make an appointment today – your future self will thank you.