Arthroscopic knee surgery for the degenerative knee: is it worth it?

A recent article looked at the harms and benefits of arthroscopic surgery for those middle aged and older with knee pain and degeneration.  Interestingly, they found that post surgery there were only mild short term benefits in pain lasting less than 2 years and no benefits in terms of physical function.  There were also harms such as deep venous thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, infection, and death associated with surgery.  In conclusion they did not support arthroscopic knee surgery to treat knee pain and degeneration in middle aged or older patients.

Read the full article here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/26080045/#fft

Physical therapy, on the other hand, has been found to be effective in treating knee pain secondary to osteoarthritis.  Those who kept up with exercises were also found to have better results.  Adverse events were uncommon and not severe enough to stop any patients from continuing treatments.

Read more on the benefits of physical therapy for knee osteoarthritis here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0050150/

Osteoarthritis – Joint Disease

With the return of colder weather, those with arthritis are suffering. Osteoarthritis is the most common joint disease and it is possible to have arthritis in any synovial joint; however the typical areas affected are the hips, knees, hands, low back and neck.

knee-osteoarthritis

Knee Osteoarthritis – source: canadadrugstop.com

Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage in a joint begins wearing down; this results in pain, swelling and stiffness. Sometimes the wear and tear can continue until the cartilage is gone, resulting in “bone-on-bone”. At that stage, osteoarthritis is very painful and many people opt for a joint replacement or other surgical intervention.

Before surgery becomes desirable there are many other options for treatment. You can and should consult with your physician to discuss options for pain management. 

Physical therapists can help too! Your Physical Therapist can make a plan to help manage the pain, and provide you with an exercise program to manage the swelling and stiffness. Your therapist can also assist you with options such as custom bracing. 

Unfortunately there is no cure for osteoarthritis but with proper management you can continue to lead an active and healthy lifestyle!

 

Alissa Hemsley is a physical therapist at our Callingwood location. To schedule an appointment to be assessed or if you have further questions on this condition, please feel free to contact the clinic.