Only a minority of US Medicare beneficiaries with knee osteoarthritis in 2005-2010 used non-surgical care such as physical therapy and knee injections, and few were treated by rheumatologists, physiatrists, or pain specialists, new research reveals.

The study, published in Arthritis & Rheumatology, also suggests that non-surgical care was more common in regions with low rates of knee replacement surgery.

It will be important to examine whether the use of conservative therapies was limited by capacity constraints or underappreciation of their role in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis, researchers note, in a media release from Wiley.

“In addition to its low use overall, conservative care was less commonly used in regions of the country with high rates of knee replacements, suggesting that surgery may more often be substituted for conservative care in these regions.”

— study author Michael Ward, MD, MPH, of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

[Source(s): Wiley, MedicalXPress]

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