New clinical practice guidelines developed by the American Physical Therapy Association ( APTA ) to review the recent peer-reviewed literature and make recommendations related to the meniscus and articular cartilage lesions.

The Orthopedic Section of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) has an ongoing effort to create evidence-based practice guidelines for orthopedic physical therapy management patients with musculoskeletal impairments.

The guidelines are intended to be used by orthopedic physical therapists, clinical instructors, clinical instructors, students, and patients regarding the best current practice of orthopedic physical therapy for meniscal and articular cartilage lesions.

More than two million people around the world suffer from musculoskeletal impairments such as meniscus and articular cartilage lesions so any improvements in treatment could have far-reaching benefits.

The guide includes new recommendations for physical therapy management after knee cartilage surgery, including:

  1. early progressive knee movement
  2. for patients with meniscal repairs, early progressive weight bearing
  3. for patients after articular cartilage surgery, weight bearing is progressed in small steps gradually increasing to full weight bearing
  4. progressive strength and coordination training of the knee and hip muscles
  5. Use of information from patients on how their knee feels and functions
  6. clinical or field tests to compare  knee function before and after surgery and help to determine if that patient is ready to return to more challenging activities

For their update, Dr. Karen Hambly, a chartered physiotherapist, and member of the University of Kent's School of Sports and Exercise Sciences (SSES) and colleagues from the USA and Australia focused on finding the best existing evidence.

They reviewed more than 7,500 published articles for diagnosis/classification, differential diagnosis, examination, and treatment options to decrease pain, improve mobility and function, and return patients to previous activities.

Knee Pain and Mobility Impairments: Meniscal and Articular Cartilage Lesions Revision 2018 is published in the  Journal of Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy  (JOSPT).