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Do I need surgery for a meniscal tear?

Degenerative meniscal tears typically occur in middle-to-older age adults & can occur after a specific traumatic incident or gradually over time. This is something we see very routinely in clinic, so naturally, our clients want to know if this will require surgery or whether a combination of time, rehab & exercise will enable the desired outcome.

Anecdotally, we have seen hundreds of clients with a diagnosis of meniscal tear on MRI or physical testing that have made a full recovery to sport & activity through rehabilitation. Physiotherapy for this problem typically involves a combination of specific & general exercise, advice, activity modification, hydrotherapy & taping.

But what does the evidence say? A recent systematic review paper from Jan 23 examined several high quality studies comparing arthroscopic partial meniscectomy (surgery) with Physiotherapy rehabilitation/exercise. They looked at outcome measures related to pain & function at 6 months & 2 years post-intervention.

The conclusion of the evidence from all of the papers pooled together was that Physiotherapy provides comparable pain & functional outcomes to partial meniscectomy surgery, with pain scores significantly better in the Physio group at the 6 month stage.

So if your MRI or physical examination indicates that you have a degenerative meniscal tear, don’t despair! It certainly doesn’t indicate that you have to undergo surgery. Unfortunately, this does sometimes have to be the case, but more typically, Physiotherapy can facilitate a full recovery & it should be the first course of treatment with this injury.

Call Harbourside today on 01736 366224 or email us at to find out more about the services we offer & to get booked in with one of our experienced team.

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