Here’s What You Should Know…
- The meniscus is a cartilage cushion between your femur (big leg bone) and tibia (smaller leg bone)
- The meniscus can get damaged or torn in traumatic and sports related injuries or it can get “worn down” resulting in a tear from chronic degeneration
- Surgery is a typical course of action to repair the damage
- New research suggests that this popular surgery “may increase the risk of osteoarthritis and cartilage loss” for some people
The very short summary is that the researchers “found that patients without knee osteoarthritis who underwent meniscal surgery had a highly increased risk for developing osteoarthritis and cartilage loss in the following year compared to those that did not have surgery, regardless of presence or absence of a meniscal tear in the year before,” Dr. Roemer said.
Note the language: “Highly Increased Risk”
Having a meniscus repair surgery does not necessarily CAUSE osteoarthritis.
It does however apparently increase your risk of developing arthritis and cartilage loss.
All surgeries have risks associated with them.
This research simply points out another one to be aware of.
Deciding your course of action is best done when you have good information.
Read on to find out how to decide what to do…
The Cost-Benefit Analysis of Meniscus Surgery
Meniscus tears come in all shapes and sizes.
And as is true with most injuries the amount of pain and disability associated with the problem varies from person to person.
So what should YOU do if your meniscus is torn?
I’d highly suggest you work with an orthopedic surgeon that specializes in your type of injury and that you trust.
Find out what YOUR options are. Discuss the pros and cons of each.
Then decide (together with your doctor) on the best course of action based on YOUR situation and needs.
And then – just as importantly – follow through with your plan.
If you – for example – decide to have physical therapy for your meniscus tear and knee pain… Then make sure you:
Make sure that they are skilled at treating this injury PRE-SURGICALLY.
Many physical therapists have a lot of experience with post-surgical care for a meniscus repair…
But this is NOT the same as treating a torn meniscus that has been surgically repaired.
Commit to the physical therapy treatment plan.
That means both going to your scheduled physical therapy office visits AND doing what is prescribed for you at home.
It is VERY common for me to prescribe exercises (to help decrease pain and inflammation) that should be done 3 to 5 times per day.
Each mini-session of physical therapy exercise takes 5-15 minutes and is designed to help you heal as fast as possible.
Be consistent and Be patient.
Proper healing takes time and diligence.
Invest your resources (time and money) so that your knee injury can fully heal.
This will ensure the best outcome – and possibly help you avoid surgery.