Many thousands of arthroscopic knee procedures are still being done, even though research shows they provide little benefit and indeed often make knee pain worse.

This was proven from a large study of more than 1200 patients with knee osteoarthritis or tears of the cartilage (meniscus) in the knee joint. These patients had arthroscopy and it had only a very small benefit on knee pain.

This study was reported in the British Medical Journal 2015; online, and suggested that the increased demand for the surgical procedure of arthroscopy had been stimulated by the results of the MRI type of X-rays done on knee joints. Interestingly abnormalities of knee joints are often seen in knee MRIs in patients who do not have any knee pain. Thus it could be a matter of “let sleeping dogs lie” or why go and “shake a hornet’s nest”.

The best indication for an MRI of the knee is in younger people with rupture of cruciate ligaments and acute severe cartilage (meniscal tears) as these can be treated. However according to the study results “in people over the age of 40 with knee pain, osteoarthritis or degenerative tears of cartilage, the majority of arthroscopies are unnecessary and are probably causing more harm than good”.

Of course if the knee is badly destroyed a knee replacement can work wonders.

If you have chronic knee pain due to osteoarthritis or degenerative changes better alternatives include:


The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.