Is postoperative exercise therapy necessary in patients with degenerative meniscus? A randomized controlled trial with one year follow-up
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There is no consensus on a postoperative rehabilitation regimen for patients who have undergone surgery for medial meniscus damage. The aim of this investigation was to evaluate two rehabilitation approaches after arthroscopic surgery in patients with degenerative meniscus: supervised medical exercise therapy versus no treatment.
A prospective randomized controlled clinical trial. Over 4 months, 70 participants were randomly assigned into either a medical exercise therapy group (n = 36) or a control group (n = 34). Pain was a composite score of a visual analogue scale (VAS), and function was measured with a functional assessment questionnaire (KOOS), while anxiety and depression were measured with the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Function was also measured with tests of quadriceps femoris strength and a one-leg jump test.
Prognostic variables were similar between the groups at baseline, with five (7 %) patients dropping out during the treatment period and another six (8 %) before the one-year follow-up. After 3 months, the medical exercise therapy group achieved significantly better outcome effects than the control group for pain and function. The results after the 12-month follow-up indicated the same results as at posttest, whereas Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, fiveRM and the one-leg hop test also demonstrated a significant difference between the groups from pre- to posttest to follow-up.
In patients with surgery for degenerative meniscus damage, postoperative medical exercise therapy is an efficient treatment alternative compared to no treatment.
Level of evidence
KeywordsKnee function Rehabilitation Physical therapy Knee pain
The physical therapists Lasse Haugerud and Eivind Selven deserve recognition for their important contribution in completing the tests and interventions.
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