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Arthroscopy or Physiotherapy for knees?

In the over 35 years age group, degenerative tears of the cartilage of the knee joint are common. A BMJ article in 2016 compared the use of a physiotherapy programme with the use of arthroscopy.

At the three months, twelve months and two year marks the patients in the two groups reported how their symptoms  were going, and how the knee injury was affecting their activity and lifestyle. It was found that the group who had an arthroscopy were no better off than those who had a 12 week programme supervised by a Physiotherapist.

Thigh muscle strength at three months was used as another outcome measure. Those who had physio were stronger at three months compared to those who had arthroscopy.

The researchers concluded that “results should encourage clinicians and middle aged patients with degenerative meniscal tear and no definitive radiographic evidence of osteoarthritis to consider supervised exercise therapy as a treatment option.”

 

BMJ 2016;354:i3740