Hip and Knee Pain: Advice from Portneuf Medical Center Orthopedic Surgeon, Richard Wathne, M.D.

Pain in the knees and hips is very common, especially as we age. The reasons for pain are varied and may require different treatments to find relief. Most commonly, pain in the hips or joints is due to normal wear and tear on the body, as these areas bear a lot of weight and stress during daily activity. However, the risk of injury is amplified in athletes and exceptionally active individuals.

We spoke with Richard Wathne, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon at Portneuf Medical Center, to help us understand these issues, how to manage the pain and what to do next.

Knee pain may affect daily tasks by limiting your mobility. When this happens, figuring out how to manage the pain is often the priority. Dr. Wathne explains a few methods of quick relief.

“Initially I would apply ice and take over-the-counter (OTC) non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medication such as Motrin or Aleve,” Dr. Wathne said. “You could also consider Tylenol. Following initial inflammation, I would implement quadriceps and hamstring strengthening exercises. If the knee pain persists, then consult a musculoskeletal specialist.”

After you mask the pain, the larger question becomes, what’s causing the pain?

“Often, knee inflammation can develop without injury,” Dr. Wathne said. “This could be due to overuse, muscle weakness or joint malalignment. Sometimes joint inflammation can develop as a post-viral symptom.”

It is important to talk to a trained specialist as there are exercises to help target and strengthen the knees and hips separately to prevent injury and future pain.

“When you’re experiencing hip pain, the primary muscles to strengthen are the hip flexors and hip abductors,” Dr. Wathne said. “These exercises can be found on the Internet or by consulting a physical therapist. What exercises you should do all depends on the location of the pain. Most lateral hip pain can be improved with hip abductor exercises. Groin pain may also respond to hip flexor exercises as long as there is no underlying arthritis.”

If you’re experiencing pain in the knees or hips, visit https://www.portneuf.org/surgery, or call 208-239-1000 to make an appointment.