Physical Therapy better than Injections for Osteoarthritis of the Knee

Knee Osteoarthritis

By Dr. John R. Mishock, PT, DPT, DC

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common disease of aging frequently treated in physical therapy. OA of the knee joint occurs when the cartilage that separates the thigh and leg bone wears out or breaks down. Twenty-five percent of people over 55 years demonstrate persistent episode of knee pain related to OA. The development of knee OA can be a result of advancing age, genetics, trauma, obesity, previous knee injury, and reduced bone density. Occupations involving squatting or kneeling led to a two-fold increase in moderate to severe OA. Sixty-nine percent of knee OA can be attributed to obesity. Having a previous meniscal surgery (knee surgery of the meniscus) increases the risk of future knee OA by 2.6 times. (Caspian J Intern Med)

A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine randomized and compared the use of physical therapy versus steroid (glucocorticoid) injections. At one year, the physical therapy group had less, improved function, and fewer knee replacements than the injection group. ( number, NCT01427153. opens in new tab.)

Common symptoms of severe arthritis of the knee joint include:

  • * Swelling of the joint
  • * Knee pain
  • * Bow-legged or knock-kneed deformity
  • * Loss of motion
  • * Feeling of the knee ‘giving-way’

A study in the Journal of Arthritis and Rheumatology showed that those individuals with knee OA who developed greater leg strength in the knee muscles had significantly less knee pain and improved quality of life.

The best evidence for the treatment of knee OA involves therapeutic exercise and manual therapy. Therapeutic exercise intervention helps to address the strength, power, and inflexibility in the muscles around the knees and hips. Manual therapy involves the use of the hands in specific therapeutic ways to normalize soft tissues, increase the flexibility of tight muscles, and improve dysfunctional joints.

We can help!

If you have pain or limited function limiting you from doing the activities you enjoy, give Mishock Physical Therapy a call for a Free Phone Consultation at (610)327-2600. Dr. Mishock is one of only a few clinicians with doctorate-level degrees in both physical therapy and chiropractic in the state of Pennsylvania. Mishock Physical Therapy & Associates has 7 convenient locations in Gilbertsville, Skippack, Phoenixville, Barto, Limerick, Pottstown, Steiner Medical.

New patient scheduling: 610-327-2600