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When Your Knee Pain Needs Surgery

When Your Knee Pain Needs Surgery

Day in and day out, your knees work tirelessly to get you where you want to go. All of that work and stress takes its toll, making knee pain a common complaint.

Knee pain can occur from many causes, and not all causes require surgery. At Orthopedic & Wellness in Frederick, Waldorf, and Germantown, Maryland, our orthopedic surgeon and pain management physicians, Dr. Ojedapo Ojeyemi and Dr. Matthew Roh, work together to develop the most effective plan when treating knee pain. 

If we can, we treat you with medical interventions before surgery. However, there are times when your knee pain needs surgery.

About knee pain

The cause of knee pain often determines the best treatment, including whether you need surgery. Knee pain can occur from an acute injury such as a ligament tear or a fracture, causing sudden and excruciating pain. Or you can have knee pain from overuse like tendonitis or bursitis, inflammation causing pain that gradually worsens.

Osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease, is another common cause of knee pain. This type of pain occurs from the gradual wearing away of the cartilage that separates the bones in the knee. Arthritis knee pain may start as an occasional ache that becomes more persistent and severe over time.

When you need surgery

Surgery is rarely the first recommended treatment for any type of knee pain. However, you may need surgery if you have structural damage to the joint that can’t heal on its own. 

For example, we may recommend surgery early on for an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear because the ligament can’t repair itself. However, we may not recommend surgery for an ACL tear if you live a relatively sedentary life. 

Our orthopedic surgeon may also suggest surgery when conservative interventions no longer provide relief from the pain and it’s affecting your quality of life, as with debilitating osteoarthritis.

Types of knee surgery

The type of knee surgery depends on the reason you need the procedure. For acute injuries, we may perform arthroscopic surgery; for chronic pain conditions with severe knee damage, we may do a knee replacement.

Arthroscopic surgery

Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive surgical technique that uses a tiny camera and small surgical instruments to evaluate and repair structural damage in the knee. You may have arthroscopic surgery for an ACL tear repair.

Knee replacement

Knee replacement surgery involves removing the damaged components of the knee joint and replacing them with prosthetic parts. You may need joint replacement if you have unrepairable joint damage.

Open knee surgery

If you have a complex fracture of the knee, you may need open surgery to realign the bones and secure them with pins, screws, or plates. 

Recovery from knee surgery varies, but it may take several weeks or more and require physical therapy. For those who need surgery for knee pain, the results are worth the recovery time.


We only recommend surgery for knee pain when it provides the best possible outcomes. If you have knee pain and want to talk about your treatment options, call or book an appointment online today at the Orthopedic & Wellness office most convenient to you.

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