Exercise 'may be as effective as surgery for meniscal tears in middle-aged people'

22 July 2016

A new study has indicated that exercise therapy could be just as effective as surgery for middle-aged people who have experienced meniscal tears.

Published in the British Medical Journal, the research saw a team from Denmark and Norway comparing exercise therapy with arthroscopic surgery in middle-aged patients with degenerative meniscal tears, a common form of knee injury.

A group of 140 adults of an average age of 50 were enrolled, with the vast majority showing no signs of osteoarthritis. Half of the patients received a supervised exercise programme over 12 weeks, while the rest underwent arthroscopic surgery followed by simple daily exercises.

No clinically relevant differences were seen between the two groups in terms of pain, function in sport and recreation, and knee-related quality of life, while no serious adverse events occurred for any of the patients.

Meanwhile, of the 13 participants in the exercise group who crossed over to surgery during the follow-up period, none saw any additional benefit, suggesting knee arthroscopy may be unnecessary for these patients.

The researchers concluded: "Our results should encourage clinicians and middle-aged patients with degenerative meniscal tear and no radiographic evidence of osteoarthritis to consider supervised structured exercise therapy as a treatment option."

Posted by Edward Bartel

 


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