Meniscus Surgery or Physiotherapy? – Meniscal Injury Guide

Meniscus Surgery or Physiotherapy? – Meniscal Injury Guide

Article by Zoe Russell

Meniscus Surgery or Physiotherapy?

Choosing the Right Path for Meniscal Injury Recovery


The menisci, two C-shaped cartilages in the knee, play a crucial role in joint force distribution. Understanding the nature of meniscal injuries, which can be acute or degenerative, is vital in determining the best course of treatment. Recent debates have stirred confusion regarding the necessity of surgery for these injuries. However, it’s essential to remember that each case is unique.

Types of Meniscal Injuries

  • Acute Injuries: Often caused by a twisting motion, resulting in a sudden and memorable injury.
  • Degenerative Injuries: Develop gradually over time due to wear and tear.
meniscus surgery vs physiotherapy
Meniscus Surgery? Physiotherapy?

Symptoms and Diagnosis

A thorough evaluation by a PhysioWorks physiotherapist or knee surgeon is key in diagnosing a meniscal injury. MRI is the gold standard to investigate meniscal injuries.

Symptoms and factors considered include:

  • Swelling: Frequency, intensity, and location.
  • Mechanism of Injury: Whether it was a sudden event or a gradual onset.
  • Range of Motion: Assessing if movement is restricted.
  • Mechanical Symptoms: Including locking (indicative of a loose body or meniscal fragment) and clicking or catching.

Latest Research and Treatment Options

Recent studies suggest that for degenerative meniscal injuries, non-surgical treatments, such as exercise therapy, are as effective as surgery. These non-surgical approaches include:

  • Tailored exercise programs
  • Activity modification
  • Medication management for symptom flare-ups

For acute injuries, particularly in cases where the knee is locked, prompt referral to an orthopaedic specialist is crucial. PhysioWorks assists in this referral process and provides guidance on activities and exercises to aid in recovery.

PhysioWorks Approach

PhysioWorks offers same-day appointments to ensure prompt diagnosis and creation of a rehabilitation plan. Our physiotherapists specialize in knee injuries and are dedicated to guiding patients through their recovery process.


Deciding between surgery and physiotherapy for a meniscal injury depends on the specific nature and symptoms of the injury. PhysioWorks is committed to providing personalised care and expert guidance.

What to Do?

If you suspect a meniscal injury, consult a PhysioWorks physiotherapist for a professional assessment and tailored treatment plan.

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