1. Denninger, Thomas R. PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT
  2. Lingerfelt, Walter P. PT, DPT, OCS


Knee pain is a prevalent condition in the aging and older adult populations. Osteoarthritis is frequently cited as being a source of pain and disability in these groups. Although various pharmacologic and surgical approaches are utilized as treatment options for this condition, there are significant cost and safety concerns both to the patient and the health care system. Physical therapy may offer a safer, more cost-effective approach, although it is often underutilized in the management of patients with knee osteoarthritis. Traditionally, exercise has been thought of as the primary means to improve knee joint function and pain. However, increasing evidence suggests that manual therapy can have significant hypoalgesic and pain-inhibitory effects, which in turn may play a role in reducing disability and improving function in this population. Given these potential conservative benefits, this article discusses some of the current interventions and evidence for manual therapy in physical therapy practice for knee pain in the aging and older adult and the implications for patient outcomes.