Cost-effectiveness of Physical Therapy vs Intra-articular Glucocorticoid Injection for Knee Osteoarthritis

Knee osteoarthritis affects many individuals who are looking to find the most cost-effective route to deliver relief and success.  The two most common non-surgical treatments include glucocorticoid injection and/or physical therapy.  New research has found that after a year, physical therapy may be the better choice.

Many patients who receive an injection to combat OA related knee pain end up requiring additional injections, physical therapy, or even surgery, which drive up average knee-related costs.  Recent research has shown significant improvement in quality of life after one year in patients who receive physical therapy vs. those who receive a corticosteroid injection as the first line of treatment.

“Patients should consider both short- and longer-term outcomes, treatment risks and adverse effects”, authors write.  “Some interventions with lower initial costs may not carry that cost-effectiveness into the long term.”

It is important to look at the value of different approaches to knee OA, both financially and functionally.  Physical therapy treatment is individualized to improve quality of life through hands-on care, patient education, and prescribed movement and should be considered as the first line of treatment for knee OA.

Reference:

Cost-effectiveness of Physical Therapy vs Intra-articular Glucocorticoid Injection for Knee Osteoarthritis: A Secondary Analysis From a Randomized Clinical Trial | Geriatrics | JAMA Network Open | JAMA Network