Physical Therapist Rockville, MD

Treating a Torn Meniscus

Physical Therapist Rockville, MDSuffering from a knee injury is not only painful but also terribly inconvenient. This type of injury can affect every aspect of your life — from walking, running, and exercising, to everyday activities we all take for granted, such as going up and down stairs, or even getting in and out of bed.

If you suspect you have a serious knee injury, your first step should be to have a knee doctor evaluate your injury. This doctor in Rockville MD should be able to determine the type of injury and the steps you need to take to recover from your injury.

Some of the most common knee injuries are connected to a torn meniscus. This part of the body performs a very important function: A healthy meniscus is a shock absorber and stabilizer to the knee. When it tears or is damaged, there is pain and instability, which can lead to osteoarthritis down the road.

If you haven’t experienced a torn meniscus before, you’re probably wondering if it can heal on its own or if surgery is required. You might not know that most meniscal tears are degenerative, meaning that they not require surgery. In fact, some studies have shown that you could increase the risk of requiring knee replacement surgery if you have surgery to repair a torn meniscus.

Here are some facts to consider:

  • Several scientific studies illustrate that whether you choose surgery or you choose physical therapy to treat a degenerative meniscus tear, you have the chance for the same result — your pain is reduced.
  • Some people have falsely believed that having surgery will lower the risk of arthritis in that knee.
  • The most recent studies show that a real surgery and a “sham surgery” produced the same results for repairing a torn meniscus. Sham surgery works the same as a placebo does in medication except that they put the patient under anesthesia and make two cuts in the skin but do nothing to treat the meniscus. The results were the same in both groups, thanks to the placebo effect.

This is not to say that surgery will not help meniscus tears, particularly tears that don’t heal and continue to cause pain. At this point, surgery may become a viable choice. But, statistically speaking, surgery to repair a torn meniscus is not as necessary as most think. Your doctor can look at the cause of the tear to determine whether the tear can be repaired or if it will heal on its own.

Either way, the focus should be on healing or preserving the meniscus. For meniscus tears that are caused by degeneration in older patients, treatment usually does not include surgery. Physical therapy and the use of a compression sleeve, along with manageable exercises in Rockville MD, are often successful in controlling the pain and instability.

Meniscus tears not caused by degeneration are more likely to be repaired by surgery. The majority of meniscus issues are, indeed, a result of degeneration in older adults in Rockville MD, and can and should be treated with physical therapy and other non-surgical means. These treatments are often as successful at minimizing pain while allowing for normal function as surgery.

It is important to discuss your options with your doctor to determine the most effective treatment for your situation. If you determine that physical therapy may be the right way to heal your meniscus tear, please contact the Pain & Arthritis Relief Center to set up an appointment with a physical therapist Rockville, MD residents trust.