New Study Shows Some Meniscus Tears May Not Require Surgery


What is A Meniscus Tear?

The meniscus is a small, “c” shaped piece of cartilage in the knee and each knee consists of two menisci, medial meniscus on the inner aspect of the knee and the lateral meniscus on the outer aspect of the knee. Meniscal tears often occur during sports and these tears are usually caused by twisting motion or over flexing of the knee joint.

However, smaller tears in the meniscus can be a result of the aging process as well as arthritis in the knee and these are known as “degenerative meniscal tears”.

The Study

According to the study:

A team led by Nina Jullum Kise, an orthopedic surgeon at Martina Hansens Hospital in Sandvika, Norway, tracked outcomes for 140 patients.

These patients averaged 50 years of age and had degenerative meniscal tears, largely without any signs of arthritis.

Half of the patients performed two to three supervised exercise sessions a week for three months, while the other half underwent arthroscopic (keyhole) surgery, followed by simple daily exercises at home.

After two years, pain, sports and recreation function, and knee-related quality of life were similar for both groups, the findings showed.

Key Points

Although the study showed that the function of the knee was similar for those who underwent surgery and those who performed an exercise regimen, this study is only relevant for those with smaller degenerative tears.  In many cases, the discomfort associated with smaller degenerative tears in managed with Physical Therapy.

However, the study did not include those with larger tears in the meniscus or those who sustained a meniscus tear due to sports injury or trauma to the knee.

Our Advice

A tear in the meniscus can often be a complex and painful injury that limits mobility and quality of life. If you are experiencing symptoms of a meniscus tear, it is best to consult with an orthopedic specialist to determine the most effective course of treatment.

Treatment is based on the size of the tear as well as which area of the meniscus has been damaged (red zone or white zone). In many cases, ignoring or self-managing this injury can lead to further damage to the meniscus which may then require surgery.

NY Bone and Joint Specialists is a top rated, private Orthopedic and Sports Medicine practice in with locations in New York City, Hoboken and Englewood, NJ. The Orthopedic SurgeryPhysical Medicine & Rehabilitation, and Pain Management specialists routinely perform surgical and non-surgical treatments for professional athletes from across the United States and various other countries.

Dr. Leon Popovitz and Dr. Michael Mizhiritsky, along with their team of best in class orthopedic physicians, are known for their exemplary orthopedic surgical skill and best rated physical medicine and rehabilitation program. This, along with their top in-office physical therapy and long-term sports rehabilitation processes, leads to athletes of all levels returning to their top physical potential. Contact us today to schedule a consult!

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