Response to landmark study of osteoarthritis of the knee: The health care system needs to respond and take advantage of lower cost interventions like physiotherapy

    TORONTO, Sept. 11 /CNW/ - The Canadian Physiotherapy Association welcomes
the results of a randomized controlled study showing that patient focused
physiotherapy treatment yields the same result as arthroscopic surgery for
osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. The results published today in the New
England Journal of Medicine offer compelling reasons to re-examine standard
care.(1) "When the less expensive, hands-on care of the physiotherapist is
proven equally effective to arthroscopic surgery, we expect the health system
to take notice and respond", says Michael Brennan, Chief Executive Officer of
the Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA).
    "Here's an excellent example of the potential for physiotherapy to
contribute to the health, well-being and mobility of Canadians while also
reducing surgical wait times for necessary procedures", adds CPA President
Michel Landry BSc (PT), PhD. "As autonomous primary health care professionals,
physiotherapists are ideally positioned to help improve the quality of life
for people with knee OA, in conjunction with the pharmacological intervention
provided by family physicians".
    According to Rob Werstine HBA, BSc PT, Dip Manip, Dip Sport, FCAMT, a
member of the Fowler-Kennedy research team involved in this study and CPA
Board of Director Member, "This study confirms some of the observational data
that we have seen over the decades where by we see patients one to two years
following knee arthroscopy for a 'clean-up'."
    Concurrently, one of the most visible problems in the Canadian health
care environment is wait list times for orthopaedic problems. "Either people
have to wait months to get an appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon or they
have to wait months for a surgery date," says Werstine. "This study confirms
that people with knee OA should consider seeking out the care of a
    The Canadian Physiotherapy Assocation supports wider use of
physiotherapist services in the management of OA of the knee and encourages
all ministries of health to use physiotherapy more often to improve health
outcomes at reduced cost versus standard care.

    About CPA

    The Canadian Physiotherapy Association is the national voluntary
professional association, representing more than 10,000 members across the
country. CPA's mission is to provide leadership and direction to the
physiotherapy profession, foster excellence in practice, education and
research, and promote high standards of health in Canada. Additional
information can be found on our website.

    (1) Kirkley A et al. A randomized trial of arthroscopic surgery for
        osteoarthritis of the knee. NEJM. 2008;359:1097-1107.

For further information:

For further information: Media Contact: For information and spokesperson
interview, contact Virginia Bawlf, National Media Liaison, (416) 932-1888
(x222), (647) 379-4145 (cell),; or Natalie Bovair,
Director of Communications, (416) 436-8999 (cell),

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