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Osteoarthritis of the knee is the most common type of osteoarthritis, or OA, in the United States. People with OA experience pain, stiffness, and limited function. 

Our independent economic analysis examined the cost-effectiveness of physical therapist services compared with steroid injections to manage knee OA*. We discovered physical therapy provides downstream cost savings by helping patients with osteoarthritis of the knee avoid invasive steroid injections and surgery.  

What does this mean?

If you consider the dollar value assigned to the quality-of-life benefits from receiving treatment, minus the costs to the health care system, for treatment and compare the net result for each, physical therapy comes out ahead by nearly $14,000.  

Physical therapy also provides patients with:

  • Knowledge to reduce the risk of opioid addiction. 
  • Downstream cost savings by avoiding invasive steroid injections and surgery. 
  • Long-term benefits of increased mobility, balance, strength, and flexibility, ultimately contributing to better health and lower risk of having conditions that could require additional health care services down the road. 

Learn more about the economic value of physical therapy. 

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*The analysis is based on the 2022 study "Cost-Effectiveness of Physical Therapy vs Intra-Articular Glucocorticoid Injection for Knee Osteoarthritis," by Rhon and colleagues and published in JAMA Network Open. 

Osteoarthritis of the Knee Infographic

Explore this infographic that illustrates how physical therapy provides downstream cost savings and long-term health benefits for patients with osteoarthritis of the knee.

View the Infographic