Manual therapy and exercise remain the key conservative treatment interventions for patients with knee arthritis. In our Boulder Physical Therapy and Lafayette Physical Therapy clinics we successfully treat knee pain and lost function associated with knee arthritis. In some individuals conservative interventions are not enough to improve function and they may elect to undergo a total knee replacement. Consistent with many orthopedic surgeries, stronger, higher functioning patients have accelerated outcomes compared to their weaker and lower functioning peers. Patients in our Boulder Physical Therapy and Lafayette Physical Therapy clinics who elect for working with a Physical Therapist prior to total knee replacement surgery have improved surgical outcomes. A recent review of the medical research documents the impact of these pre surgery Physical Therapy appointments.
Granicher and colleagues published their findings on the impact of prehabilitation Physical Therapy on post surgical outcomes at 1 year (JOSPT. 2022). Authors included 14 studies of close to 1000 participants on the effects of Physical Therapy prior to knee replacement surgery compared to no interventions. Authors found these Physical Therapy interventions before surgery accelerated patients recovery through the hardest part of the recovery up to 12 weeks post operatively. Preliminary data showed both groups of patients reached similar outcomes at 1 year, but participants receiving Physical Therapy before surgery showed accelerated functional recoveries over the first 3 months.