U.S. Senior Citizens Might Require More Effective Knee Arthritis Treatment

U.S. Senior Citizens Might Require More Effective Knee Arthritis Treatment

According to a recent study, just a small percentage of older Americans with arthritic knees consider physical therapy, pain-relieving injections, or other more conservative methods before undergoing knee replacement surgery.

U.S. Senior Citizens Might Require More Effective Knee Arthritis Treatment

According to the study findings, this may be influenced by the sort of doctor people see to treat their achy knees, as well as where they live.

Knee osteoarthritis develops when the cartilage between your bones deteriorates, resulting in pain, stiffness, and swelling. According to the Arthritis Foundation, the risk of knee arthritis increases with age, excess weight, and the existence of previous knee injuries, among other variables.

U.S. Senior Citizens Might Require More Effective Knee Arthritis Treatment

According to a recent study, just a small percentage of older Americans with arthritic knees consider physical therapy, pain-relieving injections, or other more conservative methods before undergoing knee replacement surgery.

According to the study findings, this may be influenced by the sort of doctor people see to treat their achy knees, as well as where they live.

Knee osteoarthritis develops when the cartilage between the bones deteriorates, resulting in pain, stiffness, and swelling. According to the Arthritis Foundation, the risk of knee arthritis increases with age, excess weight, and the existence of previous knee injuries, among other variables.

According to research author Dr. Michael Ward, most persons over the age of 65 with knee osteoarthritis get a knee replacement without first undergoing physical therapy or seeing a nonsurgical expert, such as a rheumatologist. He works as a rheumatologist at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases in the United States.

Ward believes that in most circumstances, conservative care should be applied first. Exercise and weight loss can be highly beneficial in reducing knee discomfort and improving mobility in persons who are overweight.

Nonsurgical experts may also be able to administer steroid injections to reduce pain and swelling, as well as hyaluronic acid injections to lubricate the knee joint, lowering discomfort and enhancing mobility, he noted.

Surgery should always be used as a last resort because it has its own set of problems, including infection. Ward says that if a doctor proposes surgery early on, you should always inquire whether any alternative therapies should be attempted first.

Dr. David Pisetsky concurred. He is a medical professor at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina.

The focus is usually on surgery, but much may be done before surgery to lessen the need for surgery, according to Pisetsky, who was not involved in the current study. He emphasized that if people lose weight, not only does their knee discomfort improves, but if or when they do undergo surgery, the outcomes are also frequently better.

Many folks are also pleased with joint injections. They don’t want surgery and can obtain comfort from these injections, according to Pisetsky.

Ward examined insurance claims from nearly 988,000 Medicare patients in the United States who had knee osteoarthritis from 2005 to 2010. He looked at data on medical visits, physical therapy, knee injections, and/or other treatments until the patients underwent knee replacement surgery or the research concluded in 2015.

During the research period, slightly more than 33% of the patients underwent knee replacement surgery. Ward discovered that some regions of the United States, such as the upper Midwest and Mountain West, had greater rates of knee replacement surgery than others.

People who frequently complained to their doctor about knee discomfort were more likely to get surgery. The study discovered that those who underwent physical therapy saw nonsurgical experts such as physiatrists, rheumatologists, or pain specialists, or got injections were less likely to have knee replacement surgery. Ward speculated that this may be related to a desire to avoid surgery rather than pain relief.

The study was just published online in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology.

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