Try Low Impact Exercise for Your Knee Pain Because Surgery May Not Help

Arthroscopic knee surgery is a very common surgery that hopefully will decrease knee pain.  However, medical research does not demonstrate that this is the case. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (Moseley et al 2002) demonstrated that patients who had arthroscopic surgery of the knee did no better than patients that received a sham surgery (incisions were made at the knee but no debridement of the knee occurred).  Another study indicated that conservative treatment  with physical therapy had similar results as to patients who had arthroscopic surgery of the knee (Kirkley et al 2008).

If you are having knee pain, consider conservative treatment over surgery.  Often there is restricted range of motion at the knee joint, decreased flexibility in the muscles surrounding the knee joint and weakness at the knee and often also at the hip girdle.  

The pilates exercise Single Leg Kick (done slowly and without a pulse) can be a great exercise to increase the strength in the hamstrings and the gluteus maximus without placing weight bearing pressures on the knee.  The client should only flex the knee as far as the spine remains neutral.  Thus, if there is tightness in the quadriceps the amount of knee flexion will be minimized.  

The picture below is Single Leg Kick being done on the Hooked on Pilates MINIMAX.  Doing Single Leg Kick on an arc barrel makes maintaining a neutral spine easier than doing the exercise on the mat, up on the elbows .  On the mat, strong cueing of the abdominals needs to occur so that the spine does not extend as the knee bends.