Welcome to JA and thanks for this question. I'm sorry to hear about your symptoms. Actually from what you are describing you SHOULD get this evaluated, now it is not necessary that you will require surgery in this case as the likely cause for your pain is either a tendon sprain or tear in one of the tendons of the knee joint. Now while a tear sounds scary, it is usually not. There are many types of tears ranging from a mild one of grade I to a more severe one of grade IV in which the tendon comes off the bone completely. However in your case, since there is no swelling etc, the likely grade would be either grade I or II. In these types of tears, it would be best to manage the problem conservatively with the help of topical application of OTC capsaicin gel as well as using OTC anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen at a dose of 600 mg thrice daily. Also applying a compression bandage to the area would be useful as well. Physiotherapy would help heal the area faster and if necessary your doctor can use steroid injections or injections of PRP to help with the healing process. Surgery is usually reserved for grade III or higher tears
The other possibility is that of a minor tear inside the knee joint of the meniscii which are the shock absorbers of the knee joint. This would be diagnosed with the help of an MRI of the knee joint and it would be managed conservatively as well in most cases.
Now the first step here is to start using the above modalities and see if they help and at the same time schedule an MRI of the knee joint which would help diagnose the problem. But given your symptoms, it is not likely that you will need surgery to solve the problem.
Do you have any more questions?
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