APTA Responds to The Washington Post on Joint Replacement Surgeries

January 5, 2011

Dear Editor:

I am writing in response to your January 3 article "As joint replacements grow more popular, younger patients face repeat surgeries" by Eric Niiler.

Physical therapists do not advise a "grin and bear it" approach to pain. Nor do we advocate surgery as a "first choice." For instance, research shows that physical therapy, combined with comprehensive medical management, is just as effective as surgery for relieving pain and stiffness of moderate to severe osteoarthritis of the knee. Your article points out the many risks of surgery. There is no health care provider better equipped than a physical therapist to help a patient heal and improve mobility and thereby avoid or delay surgery, in many cases.

Physical therapists provide effective, affordable, and conservative care, and help the patient manage his or her health over the long term. In most states, individuals can make an appointment with a physical therapist without a physician referral.

Pursuing an exercise program designed by a physical therapist can be one of the best protections from injury or surgery. To find a physical therapist near you, go to www.moveforwardpt.com.

Yours sincerely,

Emilio J. Rouco
Director, Public Relations
American Physical Therapy Association

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