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Everything You Need to Know About Knee Manipulation: Pros and Cons Explained!

If you are pondering knee manipulation surgery, don’t jump right away! You’ll need to know the positives and negatives of the procedure. Interested in a bit of research? You have stumbled upon the right article!

Finding the knee manipulation pros and cons on the internet can be a hassle. I am aware that there aren’t many websites with the details you are looking for.

However, this article is different. Here you will get to know everything about the process. From what it is to how it is done. Finally, you will learn the advantages and the downsides of the surgery.

In a nutshell, within the next 5 minutes, you’ll be able to weigh everything on a simple scale. This piece will equip you with necessary know-how. Feel free to decide whether you NEED the procedure or not!

One of the biggest reasons for preferring knee manipulation is its success rate. It’s high above the 80’s. 85% to be exact.

Table of Content

What Is Knee Manipulation?

In layman’s terms, knee manipulation is the process of treating stiff knees.

Scar tissues can form in the joint after knee surgery or trauma. These newly formed scar tissues decrease the range of motion by making the knee stiff. As a result, it becomes difficult to bend the leg properly and even to fully straighten the leg.


Knee manipulation improves the range of motion by breaking up the scar tissues formed in the joint.

If your knee has stiffened up after a trauma or surgery, this is the procedure to go for. Sounds scary? Don’t worry, it’s completely painless. General anesthesia will put you to sleep.

But don’t expect to wake up and see your knees all ready to move. There CAN be a bit of swelling and pain in the knee for a few days. At max, it can take several weeks before you can move around freely.

How Does Knee Manipulation Procedure Work?

Only an expert physician or surgeon can perform knee manipulation because of its intricacies and the risks associated with it. There’s no machine or anything involved. Wondering how bare hands can take the scalpel through the internal scar tissues and fix the knee? Check it out below,

Step 1: Lie Down

The surgeon will ask you to lie down on your back on a flat surface. You will have to stretch out your legs and relax all the muscles of your body.

Step 2: He’ll Put You to Sleep or Give You a Dose of Anesthetic Drug

Knee manipulation is supposed to be a painful procedure. But thanks to anesthesia, the treatment can be completed with zero discomfort. 

The surgeon will put you under anesthesia before starting with the knee manipulation procedure. 

Step 3: Pushing The knee

At the very beginning, the surgeon will bend your knee for about 5 to 10 seconds. Then they will grab your leg and put the palm of their hand on your knee to gradually push the leg into deeper flexion. 

The gradual and progressive push will slowly release the scar tissues from the knee. 

Step 4: Adjusting the Joint

At this point, the surgeon will bring your knees into full extension. In other words, you will again have to slowly stretch your leg. 

Once your leg is fully extended, the surgeon will start working on the patella-femoral joint (the point where the kneecap and the femur meet at the front of the knee). 

They will just push the joint around to make sure that the lateral and the medial patellofemoral retinaculum (fibrous tissues connected to the inner and the outer side of the kneecap) are completely released. 

Here, the surgeon is basically trying to glide the patella in relative to the skin. 

Step 5: The Final Touch

Once the patella is at the precise point, the surgeon will apply shearing force on your knees. 

Your knee will be good as new after bending and stretching the knee once or twice more.

That’s all. I know it doesn’t sound like much of a “medical procedure” per se. But this actually is not something you can do at home. So don’t think of trying to do it by yourself no matter how simple it may seem. Consult your physician instead.

Knee Manipulation Pros Explained!

A statistic from 2010 shows, a whopping 1.52% of the US population goes through knee surgery at least once in their lifetime. 

Most patients consult a surgeon to sustain a healthy knee in future. One of the biggest reasons for preferring knee manipulation is its success rate. It’s high above the 80’s. 85% to be exact. However, there are many more benefits of knee manipulation. Check a few of them out below. 

Drastic Improvement in Knee Movement

Knee manipulation clears excessive scar tissues which obstruct the kneecap’s mobility. The kneecap can glide freely after the procedure of knee manipulation. Above all, the result is quick and promises further improvement. 

Patients treated with this surgery can feel the immediate change it brings to their movement. A controlled study showed that the patients with an average of 60.2° arc of motion were able to gain a 91.9° arc of motion after the knee manipulation procedure. 

It means, after the knee manipulation process, the patients gained a better knee movement angle than they had ever before. 

Full Recovery

As I have already mentioned, knee manipulation promises full recovery 85% of the time. Your knees will be naturally restored if the procedure is handled correctly. 

However, you must patiently wait until the knee cap heals and attaches properly to the joint. This usually takes a week to 10 days. But it can take longer depending on the condition. 


A Safer Option

Physiotherapy is the primary treatment most patients opt for. But it doesn’t always promise success. However, when physiotherapy doesn’t work, knee manipulation is the safest option available. 

It is safe as there is no medicine or any complicated procedures involved.

It’s a Money Saving Option

An average surgery in the USA can cost between $30,000 to $100,000. Knee replacement surgery is much cheaper compared to this number. The procedure will cost you only $2,196 to $3,300. 

Just so you know, this is one of the least expensive surgeries you can get in the US.

What Are the Disadvantages of Knee Manipulation?

So far, you have only learned about the bright side of getting diagnosed with knee manipulation. Unfortunately, it’s not the perfect medical treatment out there. There are some downsides to knee manipulation. Knowing about them can help you finalize your decision. 

Check them out here below.

Possible Fracture Issues

I am aware that many of the patients opting for knee manipulation are those who had recent knee surgery. Mainly that’s why the risk of being diagnosed with another fracture is high.

As you have already seen, the knee manipulation procedure includes applying significant force on the bones. Only a skillful surgeon can use the pressure without causing an accident. 

Don’t get me wrong. The chances of having your bone broken are low. But it’s not improbable at all. The risk factor increases for patients with weak bones or osteoporosis. Old age is also a matter of concern here.

However, the process should go perfectly well if the surgeon is adequately trained.

There Can Be Side Effects of Anesthesia

Anesthesia is a mandatory part of knee manipulation. But it is not the safest option for everyone. For example, anesthesia is probably not ideal for you if you are diagnosed with diabetes, obesity, or high blood pressure.

Even if you don’t have any secondary conditions, you may experience dizziness, headache, itchiness, bruises, and difficulty urinating as side effects of anesthesia.

But it’s not always a big issue. Talk to your doctor if you have a terrible history with anesthesia; they will take care of everything.

It’s Not Effective on Tougher Complications

Knee manipulation is a relatively simple procedure. This process is straightforward because the problem is not that complicated either.

However, the knee manipulation process cannot treat complex issues that come from technical surgical errors. In fact, knee manipulation can worsen the condition in such cases.

Risk of Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is the condition where your bone becomes weak with time. The bones of osteoporosis patients eventually get fragile.


Knee manipulation can be deadly for patients diagnosed with osteoporosis as it involves putting force on bones. However, knee manipulation, in turn, can bring the problem of osteoporosis in excellent bones as well.

This is why getting a thorough checkup before settling for a knee manipulation is wise.

My Last Two Cents on Knee Manipulation

Whether you just had knee surgery or trauma, knee manipulation can offer you a full recovery. In fact, it can improve your leg’s range of movement within a short duration. Another good news is its affordability. But the process comes with some downsides as well.

However, you shouldn’t have to worry about any of them as long as you are in the hands of a well-trained surgeon. A 2011 study found that 73 out of 78 patients fully recovered from knee manipulation procedures. Chances are, you will be in this majority.

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