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Johns Hopkins Bayview News - Ask the Expert: Joint Pain

Winter 2014

Ask the Expert: Joint Pain

Date: February 3, 2014

Harpal “Paul” Khanuja, M.D., orthopaedic surgeon
Harpal “Paul” Khanuja, M.D., orthopaedic surgeon

Orthopaedic surgeon Harpal “Paul” Khanuja, M.D., has joined the Department of Orthopaedics. He specializes in hip and knee joint replacement and reconstructive surgery. Below, he answers common questions about joint pain and advises on when to schedule an appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon.

What causes knee and hip pain?
Joint injuries and problems vary based on a person’s age. For example, younger, athletic patients may experience sports injuries, while older patients may suffer from pain due to arthritis (the degeneration of cartilage around a joint). Knee and hip pain also can be caused by a number of other factors: pulled or strained muscles around the joints, stretched or sprained ligaments, or tendon injuries.

What are common joint injuries and problems?
A torn meniscus is one of the most common knee injuries and can cause severe knee pain. Any activity that causes you to forcefully twist or rotate your knee, especially when putting the pressure of your full weight on it, can lead to a torn meniscus.

Bone abnormalities around the hip socket can cause hip pain. The most common problem I see is arthritis. While it used to be most prevalent in older patients, more and more younger patients are presenting with it.

When should I schedule an appointment with an orthopaedic doctor?
Simple sprains and strains can be treated by your primary care doctor, and usually heal with rest and anti-inflammatory medicine. However, if you have pain that lasts for an extended period of time or seems to get worse, it may be a good idea to see an orthopaedic provider. At Johns Hopkins Bayview, we have a great team of physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants who treat orthopaedic problems both surgically and non-surgically.

At what point should I consider joint replacement surgery?
Joint replacement surgery is an excellent procedure to treat advanced arthritis pain that prevents you from being active. However, as a joint replacement surgeon, I would suggest surgery only after you have tried everything else. Weight loss, exercise, anti-inflammatory medications and injections are all non-surgical options that can treat or decrease joint pain. Our goal is to keep you as active as possible.

To schedule an appointment with a Johns Hopkins orthopaedic surgeon, call 410-997-2663.