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The purpose of this research and systematic literature review is to determine the effectiveness of conservative versus surgical intervention following anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) or meniscus injuries. Short and long term studies were evaluated to compare the prevalence and progression of osteoarthritis after joint injury. Sources included for review had research on ACL or meniscus injuries specifically. Other knee injuries, non-knee injuries and non-human subjects were excluded. After inclusion and exclusion criteria were implemented, 11 articles remained. Patients with ACL and meniscus injuries have a high prevalence of post-traumatic osteoarthritis (PTOA). Studies have shown that trialing physical therapy, specifically neuromuscular strengthening exercises, prior to surgical intervention greatly reduces the need for surgery, and that surgical intervention of ACL or meniscus injuries may increase PTOA prevalence due to additional joint injury. In other studies, surgical intervention of ACL injuries with or without formal physical therapy shows advantages in functional outcomes over physical therapy alone. However, patients with meniscus injuries are shown to have better functional and osteoarthritis outcomes when avoiding surgical intervention and opting for physical therapy instead. Keywords: Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score, post-traumatic osteoarthritis, knee injury, osteoarthritis, outcomes, conservative treatment, and surgical intervention


Physician Assistant Studies

Degree Name

Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)

First Advisor

Solberg, Julie

Publication Date

Spring 2023


Medicine and Health Sciences

Effectiveness of Knee Joint Injury Treatments in the Prevention of Post-Traumatic Osteoarthritis