Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

Physical Therapy versus Surgery for Meniscal Tears

February 26, 2018


In our previous blog posts we have written on the inability of arthroscopic surgery to outperform Physical Therapy or placebo surgery for the treatment of degenerative meniscal tears.  A recent review and statement paper was released in the British Journal of Sports Medicine highlighting evidence regarding the management of meniscal tears (Thorlund et al. 2018). 

The authors highlighted the trials comparing surgery to Physical Therapy and reported exercise interventions improved pain and function to the same extent as surgery.  As expected, greater strength gains were found among the exercise therapy vs. surgical groups.  In addition, the authors found no clinically relevant effect of surgery in addition to exercise therapy on pain or functional outcomes for degenerative meniscal tears.  To date, no randomized trials have been performed including patients under 40 or including patients with traumatic meniscal tears.  

The authors concluded Physical Therapy should be recommend as the treatment of choice for middle aged and older patients with degenerative meniscal tears.  To schedule your first visit with the experts at MEND click here.