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Majority of costly knee replacements could be avoided with physiotherapy

Knee and hip replacement surgeries were the most expensive claim items in 2018 for Bupa, but experts warn most surgeries could be avoided if patients explored physiotherapy as a first line of care. Source: Shutterstock

While hip and knee replacements get thousands of Australians back on their feet and help to relieve them of debilitating pain each year, new research claims that the number of people undergoing these surgeries could be drastically lowered by physiotherapy.

A report released on Tuesday by healthcare company Bupa shows health insurance claims for knee and hip replacement surgeries totalled more than $420 million in 2018, making them the most expensive items paid out for over the year.

However, according to the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA), a physiotherapy prescribed exercise and education program and weight management support could actually avert more than 70 per cent of knee replacement surgeries alone which could result in savings of $300 million annually.

“Physio research has highlighted the enormous costs of knee and hip replacement surgeries and the subsequent cost saving that could be made by having consumers see a physiotherapist for review before surgery is scheduled,” APA National President Phil Calvert said in a statement.

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