Talking to Your Doctor about Knee Pain

It is important to make the most of time spent with the doctor/surgeon. It may be a good idea to keep a detailed list of a) questions to ask and b) all the symptoms felt. This list should be made ahead of time and not in the doctor’s chamber to ensure that nothing is missed out.  The website has a knee pain assessment test, which covers some of the major symptoms that may be faced by the patient. One can also use this as a reference point.

The Patient and Caregiver may want to ask the Doctor:

  • What is the cause of the knee pain?
  • Is it alright to walk without support or is an assistive device recommended? 
  • What are the tests that need to be done to diagnose the knee pain?
  • Is it ok to exercise with the knee pain?
  • What are the activities that should be reduced because of the knee pain?
  • What is the treatment pathway you are recommending? Medicines? Physiotherapy?
  • Is surgery a good option? How active is one post-surgery?
  • What does surgery involve and what are the risks associated with it?
  • How long does it take to recover after surgery?
  • How many procedures have you performed?
  • How rigorous is the post-surgery rehab physiotherapy?
  • How long does an artificial implant last?

The Doctor may ask the Patient and the Caregiver:

  • When was the pain felt first?
  • What time of the day does the knee usually hurt? Under what circumstances?
  • What are the exact areas where the pain is felt? Describe and elaborate the nature of the pain?
  • Has daily living been affected , if so how (the patient may show the ratings in the above list or the results of the pain assessment tool to help a doctor understand this fully)
  • Has the condition deteriorated over time?
  • What is the treatment option that is currently being used? How effective is it?
  • Is there pain elsewhere?

Understanding the Degree of Pain

It is important to take note of the level of pain the patient feels doing different activities on a day to day basis and track and monitor the same closely. It may be useful to keep the chart handy to show the doctor. An example of such a chart may be:

On a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being the least painful; 5 being the most) what is the level of pain felt by the patient while doing the list of activities:

  • Squatting
  • Kneeling
  • Climbing stairs
  • Getting up and down from a bed/ getting up and sitting down on a chair 
  • Exercising
  • Getting in or out of a car/driving
  • Standing
  • Bending 
  • Gardening
  • Sexual activity
  • Sleeping
  • Sitting (sitting for over an hour)