Knee Injuries – PT or Surgery?

Knee Injuries – PT or Surgery?

According to latest news, patients who experience knee osteoarthritis are best treated by physical therapy rather than knee surgery. Studies show that physical therapy with comprehensive medical management has the same effect in relieving the pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis as knee surgery.

APTA President R. Scott Ward, PT, PhD said that “This study offers hope and encouragement to persons with osteoarthritis who would like to avoid the pain and emotional toll of surgery. Too often, the first line of defense is surgery when it need not always be. Physical therapy can be equally effective and should be considered not only by patients themselves, but also the primary care doctors and orthopedists that are treating them.”

Physical therapist Christopher M. Powers, PhD, PT, director of the Biokinesiology program and co-director of the Musculoskeletal Biomechanics Research Lab at the University of Southern California Division of Biokinesiology & Physical Therapy, said “Many times knee pain is associated with abnormal movement patterns that cause increased stress on the joint. Arthroscopic surgery does little to correct the dynamic factors that may be contributing to knee pain and pathology. These findings reinforce the need for a comprehensive treatment approach for such patients.”

The study adds that other evidence has been discovered supporting the notion that physical therapy is a better treatment for knee osteoarthritis because of “high-quality evidence that exercise and weight reduction reduce pain and improve physical function,” and that “a combination of manual physical therapy and supervised exercise yields functional benefits for patients with osteoarthritis of the knee and may delay or prevent the need for surgical intervention.”

Exercises designed to help improve motion, and exercise sequences such as simulation of knee stresses are just some of a physical therapist’s possible plan to treat this kind of condition.  There are also certain steps to help prevent injury and continue the fun with exercise and sports.

Evaluation of the patient by the physical therapist is the very first step to determine what type of exercise or treatment is suited to him/her.  Once the exercise program has been decided and planned appropriately, this can be the best defense against injury.

Treating and rehabilitating the knee is one of the major functions of physical therapy.  Patients who have the right attitude and mindset toward their recovery also often achieve a successful outcome. For more information on how to treat your knee or other parts of the body needing physical therapy, contact us today. We’re looking forward to serving you.