Dr. Leighton: When You Should See an Orthopedic Specialist
November 11, 2020
Dr. Michael Leighton
Ask the General Orthopaedics DoctorQuestion: I am a 75-year-old tennis player and I twisted my knee while lunging for a ball last week. The knee was very swollen and is still painful. Is it arthritis? Torn cartilage? Should I get an MRI?
Answer: Knee injuries are very common in tennis players and “older” athletes. Many people have arthritic knees and are able to function and play golf and tennis without any problems or pain.In general, you should be evaluated by an orthopaedic surgeon if the knee is swollen. After a thorough history and physical exam, the first diagnostic study to be done is an X-ray, which reveal the bones and, in cases of arthritis (loss or breakdown of cartilage), narrowing of the joint space.The swelling is a reaction to the injury inside your knee. Ice and anti-inflammatories will help the swelling in the short term; it is possible that your orthopaedic surgeon will drain the fluid from the knee.An MRI is indicated if you have no or minimal arthritis on the X-ray and continued pain, locking or catching. The MRI will help diagnose a meniscus (cartilage) tear. If the knee has no or minimal arthritis and you have a meniscus tear, arthroscopy may be indicated.Dr. Michael Leighton specializes in treating Sports Injuries & Total Joint Replacement and is available in the Palm Beach Gardens and Jupiter locations.