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Degenerative Knee Disease

Did you know that physical therapy can help with knee pain from things like arthritis and meniscus tears? Sometimes, it may even help avoid the need for a surgery. Here are some things to consider:

Patients over the age of 35 with knee pain with or without arthritis, meniscus tears, and other symptoms such as catching (as long as it’s not blocking full knee motion) may not need surgery. A recent clinical practice guideline for arthritic knee pain was created by an international panel of medical professionals and people with personal experience of arthritis in their knees (including those who had undergone and those who had not undergone arthroscopic surgery) met to discuss the evidence. The panel members were most concerned about pain, function, and quality of life as the outcomes for those with arthritic knees. Recent literature findings show that conservative treatment such as exercise therapy may help patients with arthritis, meniscus tears, and other knee symptoms.

In fact, “The panel is confident that arthroscopic knee surgery does not, on average, result in an improvement in long term pain or function.” Most patients will experience an improvement in pain and function with exercise therapy without arthroscopic surgery in this specific patient population. The recommendation made by the panel includes all or almost all patients with arthritic  knee disease. Additionally, this evidence applies to patients with any severity of symptoms (ranging from mild to severe). However, the only exception would be patients who are unable to fully extend (straighten out) their knee.

Exercise therapy may consist of strengthening, stretching, and endurance training to improve your mobility, function, and quality of life. If you are having knee pain and would like to be examined by a physical therapist to see if it is appropriate for you to attend therapy services, please contact us at 402-939-7939.



A special thank you to our wonderful therapist, Justin Blatchford, DPT for putting the research together for this blog.

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