Here’s why Dr. Adam Cramer, of MyoFit, says physical therapy is the best option to avoid orthopedic surgery for knee pain

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If you’re having difficulty with walking because of pain, consult with a specialist who focuses on improving walking and reducing pain themselves—such as an independent physical therapy provider at MyoFit. (Dr. Andrea Hulls, DPT, is pictured above.)

By Dr. Adam Cramer, PT, DPT; MyoFit Clinic

The knee is one of the most used joints in the body that can easily take the repetitive stress of day-to-day use. When the knee is pushed beyond its limits, or turned in a direction it isn’t meant to, pain and injury can occur. When this happens, physical therapy is the best first option for treatment.

What Can be Done About Knee Pain?
For many, the first step following a knee injury is to consult with a surgeon, even though most people with knee pain prefer not to have surgery. But because an orthopedic surgeon’s specialty is surgery, and they have never helped anyone to walk again themselves, there is limited appreciation for the process of helping someone walk again conservatively without pain.

If you’re having difficulty with walking because of pain, consult with a specialist who focuses on improving walking and reducing pain themselves—such as an independent physical therapy provider, which should be the first point of contact for pain and especially knee pain.

By consulting with an independent physical therapy provider, there is no conflict of interest. Orthopedic surgical groups and hospital systems have their “own” physical therapy clinics, where there is an ethical dilemma of referral for profit—prioritizing high-cost surgery versus low-cost effective physical therapy. You will not have success in this environment, because its model is designed in a way that you ultimately end up having orthopedic surgery.

Independent physical therapists focus only on low-cost, low-risk physical therapy treatment and not high-cost, high-risk surgical procedures. No referral is needed for physical therapy in the state of Ohio, and your medial insurance will cover the cost of treatment. This is your best option to fully avoid orthopedic surgery.

MRIs and X-rays are not needed to diagnose injuries, especially knee pain. We all have abnormalities within our joints, and imaging can produce false positives resulting in unnecessary surgeries. Steroid injections and other injections offered by orthopedic surgeons have demonstrated ineffectiveness by not properly addressing the functional limitations (lack of motion and strength) that an individual with knee pain has. Based on available evidence, steroid injections can actually deteriorate tendons, promote cartilage loss and create bone fractures under the cartilage in your joint.

Physical Therapy for Knee Pain
All of the invasive procedures mentioned above do absolutely nothing to correct the underlying problem in the first place. They’re just treating the symptoms. The underlying problem with most joint pain is lack of motion and strength. It’s quite simple. If you work at improving how well you move, you will move better, plain and simple. Cartilage in joints is like a sponge. When it is used it will soak up all the nutrients around it while getting rid of waste products in the joint that can degenerate cartilage further if the joint is not exercised. Movement is the key. By focusing on the structures that make us move, such as muscles, you will undoubtedly move better with fewer symptoms. When the knee is stressed through exercise, it promotes the strength of it, blood flow increases, oxygenation happens, and, ultimately, healing.

Physical therapy treatment for knee pain includes hands-on treatment to promote blood-flow, healing and range of motion. Dry needling helps reduce pain while promoting healing and muscle contraction. Therapeutic exercise promotes strengthening and stabilization of the knee joint to reduce excessive shearing/rotational forces that can lead to further damage of the joint. You will have a thorough understanding of how to maintain and treat your symptoms independently.

By first seeing an independent Doctor of Physical Therapy, who is not affiliated with a hospital or surgeon, you will reach your goals fast and avoid surgery all together.

Adam M Cramer, PT, DPT, is a licensed Doctor of Physical Therapy and the founder of MyoFit Clinics in Chardon (440-286-1007), Middlefield (440-632-1007) and Ashtabula (440-993-1004). To learn more visit or on Facebook or Instagram @ MyoFitClinic.

Categories: Health & Wellness