21 February 2019

We're looking at 'Prehab' this month (rehab style work done before surgery) but to start with, we want to ask is that surgery really necessary? Perhaps it's not.

Considering surgery for that knee pain of yours? Got a damaged meniscus? Some arthritis in the knee that needs cleaning out?

A 2002 study of 180 people looked to compare the difference in some form of surgical intervention for knee osteoarthritis via arthroscopy (a 'clean out') versus a placebo sham arthroscopy group (incisions were made in the skin while they were under general anaesthetic, but nothing was done to the knee joint itself).

At no point did the intervention group report less pain or better function than the placebo group in the two years after the trial.

A similar trial in 2013 looking at 146 people with meniscus damage but no osteoarthritis concluded that 'in this trial involving patients without knee osteoarthritis but with symptoms of a degenerative medial meniscus tear, the outcomes after arthroscopic partial meniscectomy were no better than those after a sham surgical procedure.'

Even better is losing some weight if you've got it to lose. A 2018 study showed that a 10% loss of body weight accounted for a 50% reduction in pain and disability in a 240 person trial conducted over 18 months.

It's not to say that these surgeries are always ineffective, but we're really starting to question the need for them when we can often manage these clients conservatively with strength work or other modifications to their life and lifestyle.



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