Are there any non-surgical alternatives for the meniscus repair procedure?

According to a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), physical therapy was proved to be as effective as surgical treatment in patients with meniscal tears and osteoarthritis of the knee.

Alternatives to meniscus repair procedure

An article published in the Journal of Orthopedics and Traumatology discusses the non-surgical treatment options for meniscal tears, which include the following:

  • Physical therapy - Physical therapy can help you regain normal motion in your knee and improve your overall strength and mobility. This will not completely heal your meniscus but could be a promising treatment option depending on your lifestyle and goals. There are specific exercises to strengthen the muscles around your knee; these can help support your joint and keep excessive pressure off your injured meniscus. Physical therapy exercises such as quadriceps strengthening exercises are recommended as they help reduce swelling and speed up the rehabilitation of the injured knee.
  • Maintain a healthy weight - Extra weight can damage cartilage causing joint stiffness and swelling. Extra pressure can cause tendinitis and bursitis, which are both painful and potentially disabling. Subtracting pounds diminishes pain and promotes healing.
  • Medications - Oral anti-inflammatory medications or those that are injected directly into the knee joint can reduce symptoms such as pain and swelling associated with meniscal tear but is not likely to help with healing. However, any drug therapy program is likely to have side effects which should be taken into consideration.

The meniscal tear may not heal by itself without surgical intervention

The meniscal tear may not heal by itself without surgical intervention; in fact, if the surgical intervention is delayed, the meniscus may further tear-off making it unrepairable. The above-mentioned methods can delay knee surgery by providing short-term relief. Non-surgical procedures may also have limited results compared to the long-term results of knee surgery.

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