Recently a patient brought me a newspaper article that talked about the difference between doing surgery and physical therapy for a mensicus tear in the knee. Not surprisingly, she was in this predicament herself as she had been diagnosed with a meniscus tear and was wondering if PT was going to help or if she should have surgery done.
This is a common question that we address here. Meniscal injuries are quite a regular occurrence in sports due to the cutting and pivoting demands of the activity. Physical therapy is often prescribed prior to doing surgery, and sometimes people are upset as they figure if there is a tear, then just go in and fix it. The recently published study referenced in the newspaper article found that there was not a big difference in outcomes at 6 and 12 months for patients who had surgery or those who only did a comprehensive PT program.
If you look only at those results, it would make sense that doing PT is a good option at a significantly decreased cost to the patient and insurance companies. As a PT, I like these results. It will help me to answer my patients' questions and be able to justify what I do.
However, it is important to note that this study does have some flaws to it, and we can't make too many generalizations from it. If we do, then some patients may not get the appropriate care that they need. There are many factors to consider and because of this, a team approach with an orthopaedic surgeon, physical therapists and the patient, should guide the decision, rather than basing it solely on the public opinion from a newspaper article.
Posted 5:33 PM
Ware Where You?
Naturally, at this time of the year, there is a lot of discussion in the clinic related to sports. Conversations about March Madness basketball and the beginning of the Brewers' season are everywhere this week.
As a Marquette fan, I have enjoyed the run they made in the tournament and spent a good amount of time talking about their surprising run to the Elite 8. However, the thing most people wanted to talk about was the injury to Kevin Ware, the Louisville player whose leg exploded during their game against Duke over the weekend, resulting in a compound fracture.
I was driving and listening to the game on the radio, and even without seeing it, I could tell from the commentators it was pretty serious. The fact that the arena fell silent and even the Duke players and coaches began to cry meant that it was not good.
They started speculating on the radio that his career may be done. My wife felt terrible and couldn't stop saying how horrible it was. I agreed with her for a moment, but then I let my medical background and experience as a PT take over. Then I started to feel a little callous to the situation because I know he'll be able to come back.
I know this because we get to see it every day here at the Sports Medicine Center. We see horrible injuries where people come in distraught that they won't be able to return to their favorite activities, but after going through rehab, life starts to return to normal. It's long and hard at times (like it will be for Kevin Ware), but ultimately our clients can achieve their goals. It's the part of the job that we all love.
Posted 3:50 PM