Good News! Physical therapy is proven to reduce pain and the need for surgery.
Knee pain hits just about everyone at some point. Many knee pain sufferers dread the possibility of their pain getting worse, possibly leading to a need for prescription pain medication or even surgery, so they suffer in silence for as long as they can, hoping their knees will just get better on their own. Sound familiar? Well, we have some good news for you! If you have knee arthritis, physical therapy could be just what you need to improve your mobility and reduce your pain.
Knee arthritis is a common problem affecting about 16 percent of people 45 and older and 34 percent of those 65 and older, according to the American Physical Therapy Association.
What is osteoarthritis of the knee?
Inflammation and degeneration of the bones that form the knee joint can occur due to weight, age or injury. This may be felt as pain, swelling and stiffness.
How do you know if you have osteoarthritis of the knee?
The diagnosis is based on evidence of changes in bone health as seen by imaging, such as an X-ray or MRI, as well as how you feel.
What does osteoarthritis of the knee feel like?
You may experience pain or swelling, especially during or after an activity like climbing stairs, and you may feel a grinding, popping or cracking sensation when you move your knee. Moving from a sitting to a standing position may also hurt. Your knee may feel tender to the touch. All these symptoms may worsen gradually over time.
What treatments are available for osteoarthritis of the knee?
Your physical therapist may help you perform exercises and activities designed to strengthen the muscles supporting the knee. If you have abnormal range of motion, this can be corrected. Manual therapy may involve the therapist manipulating the tissues directly in order to improve the motion, flexibility and strength of the affected joints. Your therapist may also recommend the specific use of ice and heat. Braces and other devices may help support the knee or subtly shift the way the parts of the knee move against each other. PTS also offers another therapy option: the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill.
Is there wide-spread agreement in the medical field of the value of physical therapy for knee pain treatment?
Absolutely, health care professionals in a number of fields agree on the benefits of physical therapy. Some patients are able to manage their arthritis with physical therapy alone. A New England Journal of Medicine study found “there were no significant differences in the magnitude of improvement in functional status and pain after 6 and 12 months between patients assigned to arthroscopic partial meniscectomy with postoperative physical therapy and patients assigned to a standardized physical-therapy regimen.”
A study of surgery versus physical therapy for meniscal tear and osteoarthritis showed that a majority of the patients who participated in a physical therapy program instead of surgery did not go on to have surgery. The study suggests that physical therapy may be an effective alternative for patients who would like to avoid surgery. The Arthritis Foundation notes the advantage of having a physical therapist lead patients with exercise and advice on biomechanical devices, if needed, such as braces and orthoses. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons recommends physical therapy to strengthen the leg muscles and increase your range of motion and flexibility as one of the non-surgical treatments to attempt first.
How do I get started?
Call us! Please be aware that although no physician referral is needed to see a physical therapist, some insurance companies may require a referral for coverage.