Do we always need surgery or will exercise alone be enough to improve an injury? In recent years research has been looking at the benefit of surgery over exercise based programs in various injuries. Studies have shown that in a lot of cases surgery will not necessarily lead to greater improvement than exercise alone.
For example, people with a meniscus tear might think that taking the torn part of the meniscus away will fix the problem. Unfortunately, research has shown that taking part of the meniscus away will lead to early onset osteoarthritis in the affected part of the knee. One study assessed people after meniscus surgery and compared them to a group that used exercise to improve stability and strength. A year after surgery outcomes show that there was no difference between surgical management and conservative treatment.
An orthopedic surgeon will often refer patients to physiotherapy in order to strengthen or work on improving stability before considering surgery.