Approximately 25% of people older than 50 will experience knee pain from degenerative knee disease. Degenerative knee disease is an inclusive term that describes patients with knee pain who are over 35 years old, have imaging evidence of osteoarthritis/meniscus tears, and/or mechanical symptoms (clicking or locking). Management of this condition can range from conservative care (medications, injections, physical therapy) to surgical procedures (arthroscopic or joint replacement). Arthroscopic knee surgery for degenerative knee disease is the most common orthopedic procedure and is performed more than 2 million times each year. According to a recent study from the British Medical Journal, it was found that arthroscopic surgery was no better than exercise therapy for treating degenerative medial meniscus tears. In addition, the authors recommended against the use of arthroscopy for degenerative joint disease of the knee and instead, recommended physical therapy as a safer and more effective alternative for this condition.
Based on this evidence, many people can benefit from physical therapy as a conservative treatment of degenerative knee pain. Physical therapists will evaluate a patient with knee pain as well as other areas of the body for changes in range of motion, strength, gait, and flexibility. Based on these findings, they will develop a treatment plan that includes exercises to improve strength and flexibility. Additionally, physical therapists can use a variety of manual therapy techniques that can help reduce pain and muscular tightness, and improve joint mobility and function.
Choose physical therapy first to eliminate pain, optimize your function, and be one step closer to living pain free. The Northern Rehab Physical Therapists provide hands-on care combined with specific corrective therapeutic exercises that will correct physical impairments to allow a healthier, more active daily life. Illinois law no longer requires a physician prescription to receive physical therapy first, which means you can be treated right away. Choose Northern Rehab today, and stop letting pain control your life. For more information about physical therapy for knee pain or to make an appointment, please call us at 815.756.8524.
Authored by Brandon Clement, PT, DPT, OCS