(March 19, 2013)--Physical therapy can be just as good for a common knee injury as surgery and the cost and the risks are lower, a new medical study says.
Dr. Jeffrey Katz of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School headed the study published online by the New England Journal of Medicine.
He says for people with a torn meniscus, which is a tear in cartilage that cushions the knee, those who stuck with therapy had improved as much at six months and one year later as those who underwent arthroscopic surgery right away.
And he says surgery costs about $5,000 while physical therapy is typically $1,000 to $2,000.
But the study also says therapy didn't always help and some people wound up having surgery for the problem.
About one-third of those older than 50 have a tear in a meniscus, which arthritis makes more likely.