Physical Therapy Not Inferior to Surgery for Degenerative Meniscal Tears

An RCT compared knee function and osteoarthritis progression five years after physical therapy or arthroscopic partial meniscectomy.

In this review: Effect of Physical Therapy vs Arthroscopic Partial Meniscectomy in People With Degenerative Meniscal Tears (JAMA Network Open)  

The Message

Previous studies have shown that there is no clinically meaningful benefit of arthroscopic partial meniscectomy compared with physical therapy for patients with a degenerative meniscal tear. However, research was unclear on if there was a difference between these groups in the progression of knee osteoarthritis in the long term. Collecting data as a follow-up to a randomized clinical trial, authors of this study wanted to compare knee function five years after surgery or physical therapy to assess knee function and evidence of OA in both of these groups. They found that physical therapy is not inferior to surgery for this population and should be the preferred treatment option.

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