Guest written by Dr. Howard J. Levy, MD, MBA Orthopedic Surgeon, Sports Medicine as commentary to The New York Times article titled “What I Wish I’d Known About My Knees” released on July 3, 2017
An article in The New York Times, “What I Wish I’d Known About My Knees”, reviews the treatment options for knee pain secondary to arthritis. These include: steroid injections, hyaluronic acid injections, arthroscopic surgery, weight loss, activity modification, over-the-counter medications and physical therapy. The goal is to delay or even avoid knee replacement surgery. In my orthopedic practice of over 20 years, I’ve prescribed all of these treatments with mixed results. While most treatments can provide temporary improvement, weight loss, activity modification and physical therapy, provide the most consistent results. Weight loss takes undue pressure off the joints and may improve stamina and cardiovascular status. Activity modification and avoidance of high impact activities may help avoid painful exacerbations due to arthritis. Working with a physical therapist strengthens and stretches weak and tight muscles, improves gait and overall function. In addition, they can evaluate and treat secondary problems such as back, hip and ankle pain. Physical therapists can document and follow your progress as well as setbacks, and provide guidance on a home exercise program and overall physical health. If you ultimately require a knee replacement, physical therapy will help you recover quicker and return to your desired activities safely.
Orthopedic Surgeon, Sports Medicine