One of the most common ways to cure torn knee cartilage over the years has been with surgery. However, experts now agree that physical therapy may be just as effective. Everybody’s knees are basically cushioned with small shock absorbers known as a meniscus. However, a meniscus can sometimes tear or simply wear out over time. A torn meniscus can cause pain is some people and it may also result in other symptoms such as a locked knee. But in some cases, a person may not feel anything and won’t realize they have a torn meniscus.
However, a meniscus can sometimes tear or simply wear out over time. A torn meniscus can cause pain is some people and it may also result in other symptoms such as a locked knee. But in some cases, a person may not feel anything and won’t realize they have a torn meniscus.
Osteoarthritis And Your Meniscus
Most young people tear a meniscus while engaging in a physical activity such as sports or when their knee is suddenly jolted, twisted, or wrenched. But when it comes to older patients, they often suffer from a torn meniscus as a result of osteoarthritis in their knee. When a meniscus tears because of osteoarthritis many medical experts believe that physical therapy may be as effective as surgery when treating the condition.
Surgery vs Physiotherapy
According to a recent study, surgeons at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the U.S. and six other hospitals treated approximately 350 patients who had meniscal tears due to osteoarthritis. Half of the patients underwent a six-week long physiotherapy program which was designed strengthen the knee-supporting muscles, reduce swelling and improve the range of motion in their knees. The remainder of the patients underwent arthroscopic surgery called a partial meniscectomy. In this procedure, unstable parts of a meniscus are taken out and the edges that remain are then smoothed out by the surgeon.
After the operation, the patients then underwent the same physiotherapy program as the other patients. Patients in both of the groups said they felt their knee functions had improved at about the same level after six and 12 months. In addition, their level of pain was approximately the same. However, about 33 per cent of those who underwent physiotherapy only decided to opt for surgery before the experimental trial had been completed.
Dr. Jeffrey Katz of Harvard Medical School said the surgeons experimented with surgery and therapy-only as a treatment for the meniscal tears because they weren’t exactly sure what the best way to treat the problem was for those who suffer from osteoarthritis. Kaatz stated after the trial that he and other medical experts feel that physiotherapy is just as good as surgery when it comes to treating these patients.
If you suffer from osteoarthritis and have been diagnosed with a meniscus tear, the general consensus is that visiting a physiotherapist is the best place to start since it may be effectively treated without the need for surgery. Since a meniscus can tear in an older patient without an injury to it, it’s a good idea to try and strengthen the knee muscles if possible. There are certain symptoms of a torn meniscus and if you have any of these you may want to visit a physiotherapist to have your knee diagnosed.
The most common symptoms include a stiff and swollen knee and or surrounding area, pain and tenderness, and frequent locking or catching of the knee. Just remember that some meniscal tears don’t need to be surgically repaired since a torn meniscus may still be able to function as a shock absorber for the knee. In many cases the best option is to undergo physiotherapy to strengthen the area. If you believe you have a torn meniscus or are suffering from any other type of discomfort, feel free to visit us at Fit Physiotherapy to have one of our licensed, experienced therapists provide you with an expert diagnosis.
FIT Physiotherapy is a physiotherapy and wellness clinic located in Newmarket, Ontario. If you have questions about osteoarthritis and other joint related issues, feel free to contact us and speak to one of our physio experts.