January 30, 2023

Should I get surgery on my torn meniscus?

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A meniscus tear is a common cause of knee pain that occurs when the cartilage that cushions the joint between the thighbone and the shinbone is damaged. If your MRI has revealed a meniscus tear, you may be wondering whether or not surgery is the best path forward to returning to the activities that you […]

A meniscus tear is a common cause of knee pain that occurs when the cartilage that cushions the joint between the thighbone and the shinbone is damaged. If your MRI has revealed a meniscus tear, you may be wondering whether or not surgery is the best path forward to returning to the activities that you enjoy.

The decision to get surgery should be based on several factors, including the severity of the tear, whether it happened suddenly or over time, your age, and your lifestyle. However, it may be beneficial to consider Kamloops physiotherapy as an alternative.

In fact, a study assessing the results of surgery vs 12-week physical therapy on 140 adults ranging from 35-60 years old with MRI-diagnosed meniscus tears found no difference in overall pain, function and quality of life between the two groups after two years. These findings indicate that physiotherapy may be just as effective as surgery for a torn meniscus (1). Another study examining the outcomes of surgery versus physiotherapy management of meniscus tears in adults over 45 years old over a five year period found that those who received physiotherapy alone were significantly less likely to have a total knee replacement over that five year period (2).

In conclusion, making a decision about whether to move forward with surgery for your meniscus tear should be based on several factors. But if you are interested in working with a Kamloops Physiotherapist to help get back to doing the things you enjoy without surgery and getting your knees healthy for the long run, book with one of our Movement Mechanics for an initial assessment.

  1. Kise NJ, Risberg MA, Stensrud S, Ranstam J, Engebretsen L, Roos EM. Exercise therapy versus arthroscopic partial meniscectomy for degenerative meniscal tear in middle aged patients: randomised controlled trial with two year follow-up. BMJ. 2016 Jul 20;354.
  2. Katz JN, Shrestha S, Losina E, Jones MH, Marx RG, Mandl LA, Levy BA, MacFarlane LA, Spindler KP, Silva GS, MeTeOR Investigators. Five‐year outcome of operative and nonoperative management of meniscal tear in persons older than forty‐five years. Arthritis & Rheumatology. 2020 Feb;72(2):273-81.
Article written by Kent Aitchison

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