Knee injuries are one of the most common medical complaints, with most people rushing to get surgery to get relief. Many injuries involve a torn meniscus – one of the two pads of cartilage tissue on the knee joint that provides support when the knee experiences tension or friction. An injury to this tissue can be very painful, so it is no wonder that patients seek immediate relief through arthroscopic surgery. However, studies show that consistent physical therapy can provide the same amount of relief and at a much lower cost and with less risk. Less than a dozen physical therapy sessions, plus at-home exercises, produced the same results in improved function and pain levels within six months as the results from surgery. Physical therapy also provides a long-term solution that can help patients maintain a high level of function and low level of pain. Orthopaedic surgeons involved in this particular study encourage people to try physical therapy first, and view surgery as a last resort for those who do not improve.
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