For more information on our recent data notice, please click here


Knee Care

Knee pain and problems can have many causes, and can greatly impact daily life.

Look to UC San Diego Health orthopedists to find the source of your knee problem and to personalize your treatment plan to your knee condition and lifestyle preferences. We are repeatedly ranked among the nation's best in orthopedic care by U.S. News & World Report. 

UC San Diego Health is the Official Health Care Provider of the San Diego Padres. We are also a designated Center of Excellence for orthopedic care by Optum, which means you'll receive expert, safe and cost-effective care.

When to See a Doctor

If you have knee pain that lasts more than a week, you should see a doctor. An early diagnosis and the right treatment can prevent more serious or permanent damage to the knee joint and surrounding soft tissue. 

Do I Need a Referral for Orthopedic Care?

You can make an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists directly without a referral. If you have an HMO, however, your insurance plan may require a referral from your primary care physician.

Knee Conditions Treated

UC San Diego Health treats all types of knee conditions, including:

Evaluation and Diagnosis

At UC San Diego Health, you receive a complete workup of your knee condition. This includes a careful review of your health history and current symptoms, a physical exam of your knee and X-rays. Your doctor may also recommend an injection or MRI (or both) if there are inconsistencies in your diagnosis, symptoms or response to treatment. In some cases, your doctor may recommend knee arthroscopy to look inside your joint. Once you have a diagnosis, you and your doctor will discuss your treatment options and goals.

Nonsurgical Care

Your UC San Diego Health care team may be able to treat your knee condition without surgery. 

Lifestyle Modifications

Because the knee is a weight-bearing joint, you may find relief with low-impact exercises such as swimming or biking, instead of running, as well as weight loss when appropriate.

See Weight Management Program for expert weight loss help.

Physical Therapy and Injections

Targeted exercises to strengthen the muscles that support your knee can also help. If physical therapy doesn't resolve your condition, your doctor may recommend a corticosteroid injection to reduce painful joint inflammation.

See Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation for more information on our comprehensive non-surgical care for orthopedic injuries and conditions.

Knee Surgery

UC San Diego Health orthopedic surgeons offer advanced surgical techniques for treating knee conditions that have not responded to conservative treatment.

Knee Arthroscopy

Knee arthroscopy, also known as a "knee scope," is a minimally invasive approach for treating a range of knee problems, including meniscus, ligament and cartilage injuries. Minimally invasive knee surgery involves smaller incisions and leads to a faster recovery and better outcomes. You can usually go home the same day as your surgery. In many cases, you can return to sports at the same level of intensity or higher safely after completing your rehab.

Knee Replacement

If you have severe joint damage or degeneration, you may be a candidate for a total or partial knee replacement. UC San Diego Health surgeons offer a range of surgical approaches and are sought out for their expertise in complex revision surgeries as well.

See Hip and Knee Replacement for more information on our surgical expertise in total and partial joint replacement.

More About Knee Conditions and Care

For more general information about knee conditions and treatments, visit our Health Library:

Orthopedics Appointments & Referrals

Knee Surgeons

Non-Surgical Orthopedic Care

Sports Medicine in Primary Care

Many knee conditions can be diagnosed and treated by one of our primary care physicians (PCPs) with expertise in sports medicine. 

UC San Diego Health and UC San Diego Triton logo

UC San Diego Health - Official Health Care Provider of San Diego Seals