If you have knee pain there are two major arguments grounded in medical research as to why you should see a PT to avoid unnecessary surgery and save you $$$:
1. Just as many “issues” are seen on knee MRIs in those without pain as compared to those with pain: http://www.bmj.com/content/345/bmj.e5339?view=long&pmid=22932918
2.“Fake” knee surgery as good as the real procedure: http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/26/health/knee-surgery-study/index.html | http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1305189?query=featured_home&
Keep in mind these studies have their limitations and do not apply to all people and to all knee injuries. That being said, the most common knee surgery, a partial menisectomy, is what was highlighted in the second study as being over-utilized and equally as effective as a sham procedure. Also note on the image from the first noted study above the incidence of meniscal tears on MRI. It is no wonder the surgery is unlikely to help! Oftentimes I see patients jump to imaging and surgery all too soon, hoping it will provide a quick fix. Sometimes it pans out, sometimes it does not and costs them. And this is true not just for knee pain. Fortunately skilled PT likely can how you move and lessen or eliminate the pain you are in -- all with less risk and for much cheaper than imaging and surgery.