Exercise as Effective as Surgery for a Torn Meniscus in Young People

Researchers have conducted a study comparing exercise in combination with patient education as opposed to meniscal injury surgery in 121 young individuals between the ages of 18 and 40. The study revealed that surgery and exercise are just as effective for young individuals with meniscal tears.

The study compared surgical and non-surgical treatments for meniscal tears in young individuals and revealed that exercise together with patient education provides similar outcomes as surgery.1✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
DOI: 10.1056/EVIDoa2100038

A million procedures are carried out in the US alone every year on knee injuries, and surgery is the recommended treatment worldwide for young individuals with knee injuries. This study shows that young individuals with a meniscal tear who initially undergo surgery don't achieve a superior outcome in comparison to those starting with an exercise and education combination, with the option of surgery later.

A meniscal tear is a fairly common knee injury and so far the effects of surgery compared to exercise in young individuals have been unknown. Knee injuries can have significant consequences both in the short and long term, so it's important to know there are a number of effective treatments from which to choose.

A meniscal injury usually means being absent from study or work in the short term. Research also shows that if you've had a meniscal tear or an anterior cruciate ligament, you have a 50% risk of osteoarthritis 10-15 years later, and only 50% of individuals can go back to playing sports at the same level as before the injury.

For the study, the 121 participants were randomized to either surgery or supervised exercise with education twice a week for 12 weeks, with the option of surgery later. 25% of individuals in the exercise group also ended up having surgery.

Pain, function, and quality of life were evaluated 12 months later, and the results showed that the surgery group didn't improve more than the exercise and education group with a surgery option later.

Knee Injuries Chart

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About the author

Adrian has been writing on health and fitness for 18 years. He is the founder of several health related websites and the current owner of AHealthBlog, which regularly publishes evidence based health and fitness news and information. When he isn’t writing, you can find him mountain biking or surfing.



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