Clinical Conversations

Quadriceps Strengthening Exercise Routine Decreases Pain Associated With Osteoarthritis and Meniscus Injury

Quick Answers Are Never a Guarantee

Picture of woman running wearing RinardPT logo

We live in a culture that seeks immediate results and quick answers to solutions. Most of the time, unfortunately, we also want what requires the least amount of effort on our part. In the medical community, this boils down to people deciding to have surgery to fix the problem. Unfortunately, surgery is never a guarantee. Time and time again I treat patients here at Nick Rinard Physical Therapy who were advised to have surgery and, after the procedure was performed, their pain remained. This happens because of both the general public and medical practitioners’ lack of understanding about how the body moves and heals. Recently, there was a man referred to our Portland airport (PDX) clinic by his friend for knee pain. He was scheduled to have knee surgery the next week, but wanted to have a second opinion. My colleague diagnosed him with a very simple problem: knee capsulosis, and he was reporting decreased pain and improved range of motion by his 2nd visit. He cancelled his surgery and is expected to have a great outcome with conservative care.

Regimented Exercise Can Decrease Knee Pain without Surgery

I recently came across a study that found simple regimented exercise routine focusing on quadriceps strengthening and cardiovascular endurance decreases knee pain associated with osteoarthritis. What a great concept: exercise can decrease pain and improve function and avoid surgery! The authors of the study concluded: “Optimal exercise programs for knee OA should have one aim and focus on improving aerobic capacity, quadriceps muscle strength, or lower extremity performance,” the authors concluded. “For best results, the program should be supervised and carried out three times a week. Such programs have a similar effect regardless of patient characteristics, including radiographic severity and baseline pain.”

Physical Inactivity is THE Major Public Health Problem of the 21st Century

I came across a quote that really resonates with these findings: “…most medical schools only allocate a perfunctory hour to the fact that physical activity is medicine. This is a major failing of medical education when physical inactivity is the major public health problem of the 21st century.”


Meta-analysis: Quadriceps exercise best reduces knee OA pain:
Accessed on May 1st, 2014
Mechanotherapy: how physical therapists’ prescription of exercise promotes tissue repair. K M Khan, A Scott. Br J Sports Med 2009;43:247-252