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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Do I need surgery on my kneecap?

    my kneecap started hurting last week and makes crunching / popping sounds.

    It wont stop it hurts to bend or move.

    It is very swollen.
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 5


    Christopher Dillon


    Crunching and popping with pain and swelling usually indicates a reasonable degree of degenerative change going on in the knee. If you have a lot of swelling, the degenerative changes may not be confined only to the back of the knee cap but also to some of the other weight bearing portions. Your first goal is to settle the pain and swelling with anti inflammatories, compression and most likely, some physio. Imaging will assist with determining the extent of the damage and the decision to perform any operative procedure will be largely guided by those results as well as your ability to settle it or not with conservative measures

  • 3


    Dr Christian Barton


    Hi, I am Dr Christian Barton and I have pleasure of being the chief editor of the La Trobe Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Blog. … View Profile

    I would disagree that imaging will determine the need for surgery. Unless there was trauma, the findings of any imaging are likely similar to what they would have been 2 weeks ago

    Here are some sensible evidence based resources

  • 4


    Ali treats people from all walks of life and a variety of complaints. His interests lie in treating and rehabilitating sports injuries, treating headaches and … View Profile

    Did you do anything in particular to hurt your knee?

    Is it red and/or hot?

    Your problem is common however if there is no reason for the onset of pain it would be best to get a thorough physical assessment by an osteopath/physiotherapist or chiropractor. Your knee pain can be a result of a problem elsewhere i.e. your low back, hip or foot. 

  • 3


    Mr Ilan Freedman

    Orthopaedic Surgeon

    Mr Ilan Freedman is an experienced Melbourne Orthopaedic Surgeon with specialist experience in Direct Anterior Minimally Invasive Hip Replacement, Patient-Specific Knee Replacement, Robotic Hip and … View Profile

    You "may" eventually need surgery but surgery should be something to look into only if the symptoms can't me managed through non-surgical means first.

    See your preferred physio/osteo/chiro first.
    See your GP to discuss combining this with some simple painkiller and antiinflammatories.

    If still not settling, you would then be advised get scans and to see a surgeon.

    Ilan Freedman - Orthopaedic Surgeon

  • 3


    John Croxson


    80% of the population will suffer from what is called retro patella pain at some time in their life. Of these most will get better unaided but some will need help. If there has been no history of injury then patellofemoral pain is the most common suspect. My suggestion is to see a Physiotherapist ASAP towards the correct diagnosis and tretment/management. If its is something else underlying that is causing the problem then the Physiotherapist should be able to detect and refer. If it only the patellofemora ljoint that is involved then the Physiotherapist should be able to treat sucsessfully.

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