Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Renee Mabey


Conservative Treatment; Exercise Therapy; Knee Injuries -- therapy; Meniscus -- injuries; Osteoarthritis -- therapy; Case Reports


Background & purpose: Meniscus tears are commonly considered to be associated with a traumatic event, but the degenerative nature of osteoarthritis can also damage the cartilage. As meniscal tears are a common orthopedic pathology, choosing the correct treatment can be difficult and involve several factors. Current treatment options include partial or total meniscectomy, meniscal repair, or conservative management. There is growing research supporting the effectiveness in non-operative management of degenerative meniscal tears (DMT). The purpose of this case report was to investigate the non-operative management of a 47-year-old male with a unilateral DMT combined with osteoarthritis.

Case description: The subject was a 47-year-old male who presented to physical therapy with right-sided medial and posterior knee pain in combination with pre-existing osteoarthritis. The patient also presented with mild to moderate tenderness over the joint line, swelling around the knee, limited knee range of motion (ROM) and decreased strength.

Outcomes: Following a 6-week intervention program, the patient presented with improved strength and active knee ROM, improved posture, decreased pain, improved score on Lower Extremity Functional Scale (LEFS), and an improved activity tolerance during walking, squatting, and stair climbing.

Discussion and Conclusion: This case report shows the effectiveness of conservative physical therapy to improve physical function in middle-aged male patients with a degenerative meniscal tear and osteoarthritis.