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Ask the PT: Knee pain after at-home PT

Knee Pain in Westchester, New York

Hi WSPT!

I’ve lived near your facility in the Bronx for many years and am currently doing at home physical therapy on my knee. It has been 3 months at 3X a week. I can feel strength and muscle building, but the pain has gotten worse and more frequent. The knee brace doesn’t even help anymore. Of course when I call my Dr (this one already being the second opinion) they won’t tell me anything over the phone. They want to charge me for each visit at $35. My only question I asked is how long before physical therapy starts helping. Months? A year? Is it normal for the pain to get worse? Thank you for taking the time to help.

Thank you,
Virginia

Virginia, thanks for your question!

You’ve provided a lot of information and raised several key issues that Physical Therapists face regularly.

Here are a few questions I have for you:

Why have you been doing physical therapy at home for the past 3 months? Are you homebound?
Do have multiple comorbidities or illnesses?
Did you have surgery?
How did you injure your knee?
How old are you?
Were you mobile prior to the complications with your knee?
Do you walk with an assistive device? Are you in a wheelchair?
What kind of knee brace do you wear? Was it custom-fitted for you and what was it designed to do?
How is your mobility? Do you have full range of motion? How strong is your other leg and the joints above and below your injured knee?

The answers to all of these questions are relevant in answering your question about how long it should take for physical therapy to help.

As far as your doctor not answering your questions over the phone, that’s another issue. Most doctors these days are extremely busy. Some will take the time to speak with patients over the phone. Some insurers will even reimburse them for their time providing “telemedicine.” They are obviously not obligated to provide this service to their patients, but some still do.

As with any medical complication, it’s always a decent idea to seek a second opinion. So, my suggestion to you is to ask your Physical Therapist the question you have posed to me – “When is it going to begin helping?” If they can’t answer this question sufficiently then ask if they know of another Physical Therapist who may be more helpful to you. Physical therapy is different everywhere you go. There are a variety of techniques and each individual practitioner has their own level of talent and skills. Since you live in the Bronx, New York area, I encourage you to give us a call so we can set you up with an evaluation. Our various treatment options I think can be helpful to your condition.

Thanks for asking,

Daniel Seidler, PT

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