When to See a Doctor
Consult a doctor if: You're in acute pain, your injury doesn't feel better within two to three weeks, or you develop new symptoms. Your doctor might refer you to a physiatrist, a sports-medicine doctor, or an orthopedic surgeon specializing in your type of injury.
Bring records that pertain to your injury to the first visit. The doctor will conduct a thorough exam, but be sure to describe the history of your injury, including when it hurts and when it doesn't.
Ultimately you want to leave with a diagnosis, and an idea of what the next steps will be: Do you need further tests? Should you do certain types of exercise and avoid others? Would physical therapy help?
"Go over your options for different types of treatments," says Margot Putukian, M.D., director of athletic medicine at Princeton University. "By the end of the visit, you want to have a plan of action"―and a sense of when you'll begin to feel better.