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Got knee pain? Think Twice Before Going for Surgery

 Got knee pain?  Think Twice Before Going for Surgery

 Written By: Dr. Paul Kochoa, PT, DPT, OCS, CGFI

Last week, a whole bunch of media outlets were picking up on a study that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.  The study was entitled, Surgery versus physical therapy for a meniscal tear and osteoarthritis.  The results were eye-opening.  The researchers found that physical therapy was just as effective as surgery for patients with meniscal tears and osteoarthritis.  

Osteoarthritis is a common, degenerative joint disorder when cartilage and bone basically break down.  A meniscal tear is a structural tear in themeniscus, a fibrocartilaginous structure that sits inside the knee joint and makes the knee joint more congruent and helps it move smoothly.  When someone has both problems, it can be difficult to determine which one is causing the pain and disability.  

For patients with knee pain, the study found that those who went for surgery and those who just did physical therapy had the same functional outcomes and pain levels at 6 and 12 months after surgery.  This can reinforce what physiotherapists have been saying all along:  physical therapy is a valid and proven alternative to having surgery.  The problem is with the way most people think about medicine.  Most are searching for the quick fix to their problem, that easy pill to take or that quick arthroscopic surgery that all the athletes are getting.  This study can change the way surgeons will look at patients, perhaps making them less quick to recommend a patient to go under the knife.

Physical therapy is less invasive and cheaper than having surgery.  It would be very reasonable to try physical therapy first if you’re having knee pain and contemplating surgery.  The physiotherapists at Professional Physical Therapy and Training can perform a thorough evaluation and address your knee issues and help you achieve your goals.

If you would like more information, please call Professional Physical Therapy and Training at 973-270-7417.  Our offices our located within the YMCA locations in Madison and Summit, NJ.  You do not need to be a member of the YMCA to visit with us.

Image courtesy of scottchan /

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