Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

While you may first consult with your family doctor, he or she may refer you to a doctor who specializes in sports medicine or orthopedic surgery.

What you can do

Before your appointment, you may want to write a list that answers the following questions:

  • What joint symptoms are you experiencing?
  • When did this problem begin?
  • Does anything make your symptoms better or worse?
  • Have you injured that joint? If so, when did the injury occur?
  • Do you play any sports? If so, which ones?

What to expect from your doctor

During the physical exam, your doctor will press on the affected joint, checking for areas of swelling or tenderness. In some cases, you or your doctor may be able to feel a loose fragment floating around inside your joint. Your doctor will also assess the status of other structures around the joint, such as the ligaments.

Your doctor will also ask you to move your joint in a variety of different directions, to see if the joint can move smoothly through its normal range of motion.

Sept. 21, 2012