Don’t Want That Knee Operation? Try Exercise
If you have a torn meniscus in middle age, you may think that your only option is surgery. In fact, this kind of knee operation happens around 700,000 times a year.
But a new study says that skipping the surgery and instead doing certain exercises will work just as well.
Meniscus repair is not a crazy surgery. Repairing the meniscus is usually out-patient and many people are happy with the results. The problem is that a Finnish study actually found a strong placebo effect. Most patients who thought they had the surgery, but in fact were just made to feel like they did, reported satisfaction with the fake operation a year later. We wonder how this was an ethical procedure. And – we’re certainly going to be wary of doctors offering us deep discounts on quickie $100 knee “surgeries.”
The meniscus is something that wears out with age and, as we get older, the surgery seems like a quick fix. But researchers think that the post surgical exercises might be having a big positive impact.
This new study looked at 140 patients broken into two groups: Those who had surgery and those who just did exercises to strengthen muscles around the knee. And the results were pretty much the same a year and even two years later.
So if you are worried about going under the knife, you may first want to see if exercise can do more than another trip to the doctor.