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What could be causing my knee pain?

I am a 20 female fairly active in good health. I have had problems with knee pain in the past and have told my doctors. They have always said that there was nothing wrong so I have ignored it. Recently I have noticed my knee locking(painfully almost like pinching a nerve) while I'm walking. I'm now having more moderate pain and more so in the morning or after sitting for long periods of time mostly with bending my knee and walking. I work about 20 hours a week on my feet. What could be causing this? What would be the consequences of leaving it untreated?
I am sorry to hear about your knee pain. It sounds like it is having a significant impact on your quality of life. In order to determine the specific cause of your symptoms, it will be necessary to fully review your medical history and perform a detailed physical exam. You may also need additional tests, such as an x-ray or MRI. Therefore, I strongly encourage you to schedule an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon. After reviewing this additional information, the surgeon can make recommendations on the next most appropriate steps. There are multiple structures in the knee that can cause pain. You may have suffered damage to the meniscus, or piece of cartilage that cushions the joint. There are multiple bursa, or fluid filled sacs that provide cushioning, in the joint, and inflammation of any one of these can cause pain. Damage to one of the knee's ligaments, including the ACL, MCL, or PCL, can cause pain. You may be suffering from early osteoarthritis. Other syndromes such as iliotibial band syndrome and patellofemoral syndrome can cause knee pain. It is not possible to determine the cause of your pain without a detailed physical exam. I strongly encourage you to raise these concerns with an orthopedic surgeon.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.

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