How Physical Therapy May Help You Avoid Knee Surgery

physical therapy, avoid, knee surgery, carolinas center for advanced management of pain

After back pain, knee pain is the second-most common site of pain reported in adults. Whether from injury or degenerative conditions like arthritis, knee pain can impact not only your mobility, but also your overall quality of life.

In some cases, your doctor may recommend surgery to correct damage or replace a deteriorated knee joint. However, before deciding on knee surgery, it’s best to try less invasive ways to relieve pain and inflammation in your knee. In addition to lifestyle modifications to avoid aggravating your knee — such as weight loss or refraining from activities that place stress on your knee, like running — physical therapy can help you avoid knee surgery.

The highly trained team at the Carolinas Center for Advanced Management of Pain specializes in diagnosing and managing knee pain. Accurate diagnosis is key to providing the appropriate treatment to relieve your knee pain.

What causes knee pain?

Millions of adults live with knee pain, and nearly 25% of adults suffer from chronic knee pain. In addition, the risk rises as you get older. Knee pain has various causes.

Overuse and ligament strains and sprains commonly cause knee pain. Injuries from sports, recreational activities, and accidents cause inflammation and pain. Being overweight puts stress on your knees and increases the chances of developing knee pain. In adults over age 50, osteoarthritis is the most common reason for knee pain.

To help your physician understand what is causing your knee pain, be prepared to describe your pain and its location. For instance, bursitis and arthritis commonly cause pain at the front of the knee, while pain on the side of the knee is commonly due to injury.

Treating knee problems

The licensed specialists at the Carolinas Center for Advanced Management of Pain are trained to restore maximum movement and function to your knees and legs. Surgery is reserved as a last resort when conservative treatments fail to relieve knee pain and inflammation or when the damage to your knee is severe.

Alternative treatments like physical therapy are designed to reduce inflammation and pain and improve knee function so you can delay knee surgery or avoid it altogether.

What physical therapy can do for your knees

Strengthening the muscles that support your knee joint is the first line of defense for avoiding knee surgery and is the main component of an effective physical therapy program. The quadriceps located at the front of the thigh and the hamstrings in the back are key muscles that support your knee joint.

Your physical therapist creates a rehabilitation program designed to strengthen these supporting muscles. This reduces stress and load on the knee joint when you walk and move, acting as a shock absorber. Reducing joint stress is the cornerstone to alleviating pain and inflammation and helping you avoid knee surgery. Your physical therapy program may include:

Other therapy approaches can include:

Ice: Cold therapy helps reduce swelling and improve joint mobility.

Heat: Heat therapy improves blood flow to the knee joint and surrounding muscles and can help reduce stiffness.

Electrical stimulation: Various forms of electrical stimulation can reach deep tissues in order to reduce pain, making it easier for you to move and strengthen your weakened knee joint.

Your entire rehabilitation program is individualized to address your specific knee problem. In addition to in-office sessions with a physical therapist, your provider may prescribe a program to perform at home, with exercises designed to ease pain and discomfort.


Physical therapy can be effective at rehabilitating your knee and managing pain. For information on how the team at the Carolinas Center for Advanced Management of Pain can help your knee pain, call the nearest office to schedule an appointment or send your booking request online.

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