A new study has concluded that mild knee osteoarthritis is not help by surgery.
So why was one of my new readers told by their Doctor he would organise a knee wash out for her just last week?
Don’t Doctors keep up to date with the news on the most common condition the over 55 age group have?
The study into arthroscopic surgery for mild knee osteoarthritis was published in CAMJ and was a review of 7 other studies.
This gives a good subject number of 805 people and investigated both the short and long term outcomes.
Among the 4 trials that evaluated short-term pain, there was no significant improvement in pain scores (mean difference, 0.20; 95% CI, −0.67 to 0.26) when compared with nonoperative management. Results were similar among the 3 trials that evaluated long-term pain (mean difference, −0.06; 95% CI, −0.28 to 0.15) when compared with nonoperative management.
Why are Doctors Still Recommending Surgery for Mild Knee Osteoarthritis?
I am not sure it is the GPs but rather the surgeons. A surgeon performs surgery (funnily enough!) so if you consult a surgeon he will recommend the only form of treatment he has at his disposal. Yup you’ve got it-surgery!
Let’s face it that is how he makes his living and the medical insurance companies won’t go against his recommendation. After all he is a surgeon!
I think the onus goes back on the poor old GPs again. They shouldn’t refer somone with mild knee osteoarthritis. They should wait until it gets to a surgical need and the joint needs replacing- maybe they need more training with that I am not sure?
The trouble is they seem to have little to offer the patient. Mild knee osteoarthritis can be very painful but the long term use of most of the drugs they have at their disposal carries high risks.
I have found GPs very reluctant to refer for physical therapy. I don’t really understand why but when one of my recent clients asked why not she was told “Well it won’t cure you!”
Well neither will a never ending supply of pills but that might actually kill you!
For me surgery definitely has it’s place. Hip and knee replacements are highly successful nowadays and shoulders, big toes and thumbs are following on fast.
Every person will get progressively worse over the years but the rate they degenerate will differ. In the mean time it is vital Doctors do what they can to help without actually harming the patient. I agree it is a balancing act but it is about time the medical doctors and alternative practitioners started working together for the good of the patient rather than slagging each other off.
Using drugs sensibly alongside natural treatments seems to be the best way to manage mild knee osteoarthritis for the moment (or for that matter any other joint). Click here to find out how to do this.