There is evidence to suggest that approximately one-third of total knee replacements in the United States were inappropriate and there was a need for the development of criteria for patient selection among doctors to ensure appropriate patient selection (Riddle, Jiranek and Hayes, 2014).
According to the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery there will be a 670% increase in total knee replacements by 2030 (Ayers, Franklin and Ring, 2013).
For those who need total knee replacement, physical activity can significantly improve the outcome of the knee replacement operation. Research suggests that patients that follow a program of exercise and rehabilitation, both before and after surgery, fare better than those who don’t.
A recent study has also shown physiotherapy is just as effective as surgery when it came to improving knee function and reducing pain from a torn meniscus (Katz et al 2013). It was recommended that a person with knee arthritis or a torn meniscus undergo three months of physiotherapy prior to considering surgery.
Other measures can also be complementary to physiotherapy. The force you place on your joints can be up to six times your body weight; therefore a small amount of weight loss can make a huge difference to the amount of weight you place through your joints with every step. Strengthening the lower limb muscles can also be effective in supporting your joints. The quadriceps and hamstrings are key to knee strength, the stronger these muscles are, the less load that gets transferred into the hip and knee joints.
Exercise can also be beneficial in building cartilage and starving off arthritis, both casual and vigorous exercise are associated with an increase in cartilage volume and this effect increases with the frequency and duration of exercise.
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