Exercise therapy is as effective as surgery for middle aged patients with a common type of knee injury known as meniscal tear (damage to the rubbery discs that cushion the knee joint), finds a study in The BMJ this week.

The researchers suggest that supervised exercise therapy should be considered as a treatment option for middle aged patients with this type of knee damage.

Every year, an estimated two million people worldwide undergo knee arthroscopy (keyhole surgery to relieve pain and improve movement) at a cost of several billion US dollars. Yet current evidence suggests that arthroscopic knee surgery offers little benefit for most patients.

So researchers based in Denmark and Norway carried out a randomised controlled trial to compare exercise therapy alone with arthroscopic surgery alone in middle aged patients with degenerative meniscal tears.

Read more from the BMJ at EurekAlert

Learn more from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: Common Knee Problems Act Now