Knee Pain: What Are Signs That Knee Surgery May Be Needed?

Michelle Hopkins

Have you been experiencing knee pain? If so, you may be like many other people who are trying to manage their pain on their own. Ignoring knee pain and trying to self-medicate it with home remedies could result in a worsened condition. This is why it is important to include a doctor in any treatments.

Some people wait to go to the doctor until their pain becomes unbearable. This can result in them needing to have a more aggressive approach to correcting their knee pain. The outcome is often knee surgery. Perhaps you are aware of what is causing your pain. For example, your pain may be due to an old injury. However, there are certain signs that are indicative that you may need knee surgery even if you were told in the past that you did not need it. The following points represent signals your body may be giving you that your knee pain needs medical attention and possibly knee surgery.

Unresponsive to Medications

Some people can initially use NSAIDs to manage their knee pain. However, if you start to notice that the pain medications that used to provide relief no longer work, you may need a stronger prescription. Some doctors use caution when increasing dosages of pain medications, but they also will likely want to reserve surgery as a last resort. Reporting any changes in pain or how your body responds to medications is an important part of your healthcare.


Perhaps you have noticed that your knee is functioning differently than in the past. You may be experiencing stiffness or issues with a reduction in range of motion. For example, you might find it more difficult to kneel down or squat. 

Pain During Inactivity

Many people with knee problems experience pain during physical activity or afterward. Pain that occurs when there has been inactivity, such as upon awakening or during long periods of sitting down, could be a sign that knee surgery or preventative care is needed. 


Changes in the appearance of your knee could be a sign of a new knee issue. For example, osteoarthritis of the can cause knee deformities. It is also possible for fluid formation in the knee area to cause it to appear deformed. 

An orthopedic office like Omaha Orthopedic Clinic & Sports Medicine PC is a good resource to use to determine how damaged your knee is. Sometimes orthotics and physical therapy can be used to treat knee pain. If knee surgery is needed, you will likely be referred to an orthopedic surgeon.