Knee pain is the second most common type of chronic pain in America today and more than one in three people today are affected by long lasting knee problems such as arthritis. 1 & 2 If left unchecked, this knee pain can progress further and further until it become a major hindrance to everyday activities of life. Eventually this can spiral down to the point where patients are in such discomfort and have lost so much function they have to take drastic measures to alleviate the pain such as prescription medication, assistive devices to walk (such as canes or walkers) or even invasive surgery such as a knee replacement.
Fortunately studies have shown there is a way to help slow down the progression and even help reduce or reverse pain, discomfort and impairments caused by this debilitating condition. With physical therapy intervention (the sooner the better as the longer a condition is left untreated, the more damage is done to the joints), patients can help stabilize and normalize muscles responsible for protecting the knee, ensure the joint is not being irritated and help improve balance, walking and pain. 3 & 4 Furthermore, recent research has shown that conservative treatment of knee problems such as meniscus injuries or osteoarthritis is just as effective as surgical procedures at a much lower cost to both the patient and their insurance, making for savings both in time as well as money as therapeutic treatment would be required post operation, meaning there is a low risk-high reward benefit to attempting physical therapy treatment prior to attempting surgery. 5
- American Osteopathic Association. Chronic Knee Pain. Retrieved from http://www.osteopathic.org/osteopathic-health/about-your-health/health-conditions-library/pain/Pages/chronic-knee-pain.aspx.
- Lawrence RC, Felson DT, Helmick CG, et al. Estimates of the prevalence of arthritis and other rheumatic conditions in the United States. Part II. Arthritis Rheum. 2008; 58(1):26-35.
- Deyle GD, Henderson NE, Matekel RL, Ryder MG, Garber MB, and Allison SC. Effectiveness of manual physical therapy and exercise in osteoarthritis of the knee, a randomized, controlled trial.Annals of Internal Medicine. 2000 Feb 1; 132(3): 173-81.
- Crossley K, Bennell K, Green S, Cowan S, and McConnell J. Physicla therapy for patellofemoral pain: a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial. American Journal of Sports Medicine. 2002 Nov-Dec; 30(6): 857-65.
- Katz JN, Brophy RH, Chaisson CE, et al. Surgery versus physical therapy for a meniscal tear and osteoarthritis. The New England Journal of Medicine. 2013; 368: 1675-84.