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Hip, Knee and Shoulder Pain: When to See a Doctor
9/1/2017 7:20:34 PM
From exercise to aging, there are many ways our joints tell us to slow down, take it easy or even stop.

Hip, Knee and Shoulder Pain: When to See a Doctor

Corewell Health

Hip, Knee and Shoulder Pain: When to See a Doctor


Our bodies are always in motion, and to maintain our everyday pace, we need healthy joints. From exercise to aging, there are many ways our joints tell us to slow down, take it easy or even stop.

While there are numerous at-home treatments for aches and pains in our hips, shoulders and knees, there are times when a visit to a physician is recommended, and even medically necessary.


As the largest joint in our bodies, the hip is prone to injury as well as wear and tear.

When it comes to the hips, watch for any obvious deformation, especially after an injury or fall. You should also see a physician if you can’t move your leg or put weight on it without hip pain – especially in your groin area. Be aware of any sudden pain, intense swelling or redness/fever, too.

However, going to the doctor isn’t just for severe hip pain. If you’ve been aching for a while and over-the-counter pain relievers worked for a bit, but have since stopped working, give your physician a call. A good rule of thumb is to give the pain two weeks. If ice, heat and pain relievers aren’t cutting it, make an appointment.


How do you know when your knees are telling you to go to the doctor? Don’t wait to be seen by a medical professional if you fall or get hit by something with a lot of force. Immediate medical attention is also recommended if you felt a “pop,” are unable to put weight on your leg, or if your knee appears to be deformed.

You should also see a doctor if you have redness/fever, intense pain and swelling, or tenderness around the joint.

While these are just guidelines, you should always listen to what your body is telling you. Ice, heat and over-the-counter pain relievers can help with many aches and pains in our joints, but don’t wait until there is permanent damage to your joints to talk to a doctor.


Shoulders can be tricky. There’s a lot of opportunity for “referred pain,” which means something else is happening in your body that really has nothing to do with your shoulder joint. The pain just shows up there. For example, if you have intense pain in your shoulder that can come with chest tightness or shortness of breath, call 911. That could be a sign of a heart attack. Neck issues can also refer pain to the shoulder area.

For shoulder joint pain, head to an emergency center if you experience any of the following:

  • sudden pain
  • your shoulder looks deformed
  • you can’t lift your arm away from your body
  • you have intense swelling
  • if you feel a “pop” after an injury or fall

Many people dealing with shoulder pain finally decide to see their doctor when the pain affects their sleep. But you don’t have to wait that long. You should make an appointment if your shoulder is swollen or red, or if it feels warm or tender when you touch it.

The future of orthopedics begins today at Beaumont

With specialists knowledgeable in both surgical and non-surgical treatments for hip, knee and shoulder pain, Beaumont’s orthopedic and sports medicine experts can give you a multitude of options to meet your specific needs. If you’re considering surgery, trust the specialists who patients in Michigan prefer over any other health system.

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