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Knee pain and swelling is relatively common in middle aged and older people. Many of these people are then sent for a MRI which shows degenerative changes in the knee meniscus (the shock absorbing cartilage).
With the advent of scans, we can easily see degenerative changes in the body. People can assume these changes are responsible for the pain and then conclude surgically fixing the structure will fix the pain. Increasingly these assumptions are being questioned. Just because we see something on a scan doesn’t mean that it is the cause of pain.
A recent study of 140 people aged 35 to 60 with degenerative meniscal tears verified by MRI divided people into a surgical group and a 12 week supervised exercise group. At 3 months the exercise group were stronger and at 2 years there was no significant difference in pain between the 2 groups. 19% of the exercise group later elected to have surgery. This did not change their pain.
At Burns Bay Physiotherapy we understand pain. We will assess the factors contributing to your pain then treat and strengthen as appropriate to get you moving well as soon as possible.

Published in “The Village Observer”, September, 2106. Written by Burns Bay Physiotherapy.