Knee Doctor's Guide - What You Should Know

Doctor performing a physical exam on the knee


Knee pain can take a toll on your everyday activities, especially if you are an athlete. Learn conditions, symptoms, causes, treatment, signs to look for, and more in our all-encompassing guide from a knee doctor.


3 Common Conditions That Cause Knee Pain

Meniscus Tear



A meniscus tear can be caused by an intense knee twist. This can be seen in sports when athletes pivot or make a sudden movement.

In addition, aging can cause degeneration of the knee and weakened cartilage, leading to higher risk for a tear.  


Treatment for a meniscus tear will depend on the severity of your tear. Your knee doctor may recommend more conservative treatment such as rest, ice, over the counter medication, or physical therapy.

Surgical treatment may include meniscal repair surgery, or in more severe cases, knee replacement.


MCL Tear



An MCL Tear typically occurs due to the knee being hit on the outside. Athletes are most likely to experience this type of injury, especially those who play contact sports.


Treatment options depend on the grade of MCL Tear. Grades 1 and 2 tears are treated more conservatively, and grade 3 will need surgical intervention.


ACL Tear



ACL tears can be caused by sudden movements such as changing direction or stopping quickly. Additionally, it can be caused from the knee being hit.


The severity of your ACL tear will determine the treatment needed. After your tear, you should follow R.I.C.E to reduce swelling. Your knee doctor may also recommend physical therapy.

If surgery is necessary, your knee specialist may recommend ACL reconstruction surgery.



ACL Tear vs. MCL Tear

ACL tears and MCL tears can have similar signs and symptoms, which is why it is important to understand the differences between the two conditions.

To understand these injuries, we must first understand the location of the ACL and MCL. The ACL is in the center of the knee, while the MCL runs along the inner side of the knee.

ACL injuries are typically caused from quick movements such as stopping or turning quick while playing sports. MCL injuries are caused from a direct hit to the inside of the knee, which can occur in contact sports like football.  

Your knee specialist will be able to diagnosis your condition, but the main difference is the location of your pain. With an ACL tear, the pain will be in the center of the knee. With an MCL tear, the pain with be on the inner side of the knee, and it will be more swollen on that side.



5 Signs You Need to See a Knee Doctor

If you are experiencing knee pain, you may need to see an orthopedic surgeon specializing in surgery of the knee. Here are 5 typical signs that you may need to see a knee doctor near you:

1. It is Difficult to Walk

If you are experiencing pain, weakness, or difficulty walking, you may need to see a knee specialist. This can often be related to a knee conditions like ACL tears, MCL tears, and meniscus tears.

2. Your Knee is Swollen

If your knee is swollen, tender to the touch, or red, you may be experiencing symptoms from an injury. If you have not recently injured yourself, this can be a sign of infection, and you should seek help the swelling does not go away or worsens.

3. You Have Limited Range of Motion

If it is difficult to bend your knee or move your leg, this can be a sign of internal swelling due to injury. Be sure to see a knee doctor if your range of motion continues to decrease or does not get better after a few days.

4. It is Hard for You to Hold Weight on Your Knee

If it is hard to put weight on one knee, this may be a sign of knee injury. If limited range of motion does not go away or worsens, seek help from a knee specialist near you.

5. Your Knee Pain Will Not Go Away

If you are experiencing knee pain that will not go away, you should seek help from a knee doctor.



Treatment Options for Knee Pain

There are many knee conditions and injuries that can be treated through nonsurgical treatment. Once your physician provides a diagnosis, there are several nonsurgical and surgical treatment options they may recommend:

Nonsurgical Treatment

Depending on the severity of your condition, your condition may be treated conservatively.

Non-Surgical Treatment for Knee Pain:

Surgical Treatment

At Elite Sports Medicine + Orthopedics, our knee surgeons consider more conservative forms of treatment first. If surgery is needed, they will use minimally invasive arthroscopic techniques whenever possible to perform surgery.

Surgeries Your Knee Doctor May Recommend:

What Kind of Doctor Do You See for Knee Pain?

If you are experiencing knee pain, swelling, locking, popping, or are having difficulty walking, you should visit an orthopedic knee doctor.

Our orthopedic knee doctors in Nashville, TN have undergone additional training in their subspecialty, making them extremely knowledgeable when it comes to knee pain.



How Gender Can Affect Knee Biomechanics

Women tend to have more knee injuries than men due to the biomechanics of their bodies. Orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Amanda Martin says, “I see all day long, young women, female athletes, adolescent athletes, biological females, who have problems with patellofemoral, hip flexor, hip impingement, and they are all wondering why this is happening.”

Females are more vulnerable to knee injuries due to their slightly wider hip and more flexible ligaments. Even if you have a hip issue such as hip impingement, many hip conditions can lead to knee pain and knee issues.

Although women are more susceptible to knee injuries, there are things you can do to lower your risk by changing your neuromuscular control. Female athletes tend to have more strength in their quads and less strength in the glutes and the hamstring, which leads to knee and hip injuries.  Add exercises into your routine that target the glutes and the hamstring to help prevent knee injuries.



Our Knee Doctors in Nashville, TN

Dr. Burton Elrod               

Dr. Elrod is an orthopedic surgeon specializing surgery of the knee, shoulder, and elbow.

He was an NFL physician for 19 years and has been recognized as Castle Connolly top doctor six consecutive years.

Dr. David Moore

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Moore specializes in surgery of the knee, shoulder, and elbow.

Dr. Moore attended the American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, Alabama to complete a fellowship in sports medicine. Dr. Moore has been recognized as Castle Connolly top doctor five consecutive years.

Here is what Dr. Moore told us patients can expect when working with him:

I take care of patients of all ages and that have issues with shoulder pain, knee pain, and elbow pain. Many of my patients prefer minimally invasive procedures, which I can offer through arthroscopic surgery. About 95% of my procedures are done arthroscopically.

Dr. Chad Price

Dr. Price is an orthopedic surgeon specializing surgery of the knee, hip, and shoulder.

He completed his fellowship in sports medicine and shoulder reconstruction at Steadman Hawkins Clinic. Dr. Price served as an affiliate team physician in the NFL from 2009-2012.

Here is what Dr. Price told us patients can expect when working with him: 

As an orthopedic surgeon, the successes I’m most proud of are ones where I can take a patient and get them back to whatever they want to do. It can be playing with their kids, getting back on the ski slopes, or playing their last high school basketball game. Whatever it is, we want to help them reach their goals in a way that we think is achievable and safe for them.

Dr. Gregory Raab

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Raab specializes in total joint replacement and revisions of the knee and hip.

His knee related specialties include total knee revisions, total knee replacement, osteoarthritis, and avascular necrosis.

Dr. Amanda Martin

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Martin specializes in surgery of the knee, hip, shoulder, and elbow. She sees both children and adult patients.

Dr. Martin completed a fellowship in trauma and a fellowship in orthopedic surgery and sports medicine. Her knee-related specialties include arthroscopic surgery of the knee, multiple ligament injuries in the knee, patellofemoral disorders, and articular injuries.

Here is what Dr. Martin told us patients can expect when working with her:

I put my mom glasses on sometimes to talk to patients. I think there’s a certain empathy that comes with it, whether it’s self-directed empathy or years of people talking to you.

 Dr. Brian Dierckman

Orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Dierckman specializes in surgery of the knee, shoulder, and hip.

He completed his fellowship in sports medicine at Southern California Orthopedic Institute. Dr. Deckman’s knee-related specialties include arthritis of the knee, meniscus and cartilage repair, ACL surgery, and knee ligament tears.

Here is what Dr. Dierckman told us patients can expect when working with him:

People who are more knowledgeable and understanding about their diagnosis are more involved in their care. It is a partnership between the surgeon and the patient, and I truly mean that. It is a huge part of what I do, and I think it’s what separates me from a lot of other people.



Success Stories from Our Patients

Farrah Castleman – Dr. Moore Patient

Farrah Castleman suffered two ACL tears during her time as a high school basketball player. Both times, she came to see Dr. Moore for ACL reconstruction surgery.

After her second surgery, she went through weeks of physical therapy.

From the help of Dr. Moore and Farrah’s hard work in physical therapy, she was able to make it back to playing the sport she loves her senior year. Additionally, she was the first female to receive the Kam Chumbler Leadership award and scholarship.

To learn more about Farrah’s story and her experience with Dr. Moore, click here.


Wayne Rosatino – Dr. Raab Patient

After suffering constant knee pain, Wayne Rosatino came to see Dr. Raab, who specializes in knee replacement surgery.

Wayne said that Dr. Raab answered all of his questions and more, and he had an amazing experience at the hospital. He states, “Surgery couldn’t have gone any better.”

After surgery, Wayne went to MPower for physical therapy which helped immensely, and he is thankful for the care that Elite and MPower provided him.

To learn more about Wayne’s experience with Elite and MPower, click here.



Who Is the Best Knee Doctor Near Me?

If you are experiencing knee pain, swelling, stiffness, or are having difficulty walking, book an appointment with a knee specialist near you.

Our knee doctors treat patients in Nashville, TN and Franklin, TN.





Heiden Orthopedics . (2020, February 25). ACL vs. MCL Tears: What Are the Differences?

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2021, March 10). ACL injury. ACL Injury .

OrthoInfo. (2014, March). Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injuries - OrthoInfo - AAOS. Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries .

Marina von Rutenberg Marina is the Marketing Coordinator for Elite Sports Medicine + Orthopedics. She has been writing and reviewing medical content since 2021.

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