It is uncertain whether having surgery results in a better outcome than the more conservative option of physical therapy. The New England Journal of Medicine recently featured a study which involved 330 participants who were similar in age, gender, race or ethnic group and divided into two groups. Half of the participants had surgery followed by a course of physical therapy treatment and the other half had physical therapy treatment alone. The groups were mixed in with each other and followed the same physical therapy program. At the conclusion of the study, only 30% of participants who started with physical therapy had arthroscopic knee surgery after 6 months. The study states, “we did not find significant differences between the study groups in functional improvement 6 mos. after randomization; however 30% of patients who were assigned to physical therapy alone underwent surgery within 6 months.” According to this study 70% of patients who went the conservative route and chose NOT to have surgery as their first option saw improvement with physical therapy alone and NO SURGICAL INTERVENTION.
If you have a meniscal tear or osteoarthritis, don’t think surgery is your only option! Physical therapy can help you and I’m going to outline a beginner exercise program to help with knee pain.
Make sure to start your beginner routine with a nice hamstring stretch:
If you feel unsteady, you can use a chair or table for support.
After you stretch, begin with Fire Hydrants– Do 2 sets of 15.
Make sure to rest for 30 seconds between reps and 1 minutes between sets!
Next, do 2 sets of Side Step Ups:
You can hold a light weight in each hand, I recommend 2-3lbs. Make sure to rest 30 seconds between sets!
Then move on to Side Leg Lifts:
Lay on your side, slowly lift your leg up and hold, lower your leg. Repeat 15 times each leg for 2 sets.
Lastly, Bridge to Squat:
Using a ball for support, slowly lower yourself in the squat position. Make sure to do 2 sets of 15!