Physiotherapy VS Orthopaedic Surgery

Whenever someone suffers an injury to his musculoskeletal system such as muscle strains, sprains, ligament tears, broken bones or dislocations, he will have to make some difficult decisions on whether to go for physiotherapy or undergo orthopaedic surgery. For example in the case of an Anterior Cruciate tear, the patient will need to ask himself whether he still intends to continue with the sports in future or he will stop playing it forever. Often if he decides not to continue with the sports in future, he will not need to undergo surgery and physiotherapy is sufficient. If he still wishes to get back to his sporting lifestyle, an orthopaedic surgery is definitely required. Most surgeon will recommend patients to go for the fastest option available – surgery. They believe that a quick response will prevent any possible long term complications such as osteoarthritis or damages to the meniscus. Some however will recommend physiotherapy to allow patients to be able to stand on their own and strengthen the surrounding muscles.


Physiotherapy aims to help free patients from any pain that he is currently experiencing and prevents them from coming back again, allowing patients to lead a better quality lifestyle. Through physiotherapy, patients are able to build up their muscle strength and endurance, restore their range of motion and improve their hand and feet coordination, decrease any pain and reduce the swelling and inflammation of joints. Physiotherapy is effective in helping heal any injured joints and muscles. However, they must be conducted under the guide of a professional therapist.

Orthopaedic surgery

However, when tissues and muscles are injured to an extent where physiotherapy is no longer effective and the injured areas must be stitched back together, orthopaedic surgery is required. In the case of a serious fracture, surgery is also required to allow proper healing. Physiotherapy can help to strengthen the muscles, tendons and tissues surrounding the injury so that they can support and help compensate for the injured part. The chances of someone suffering the same injury is higher if surgery is not performed. As such, most surgeon will tell patients to undergo surgery if they really wish to participate in the sports in future.

Depending on the extent of the injury, certain treatment is more effective as each has its own pros and cons. For example, physiotherapy can help in muscle strains and sprains. Orthopaedic surgery is required for a complete ACL or meniscus tear. Surgery is often the last thing on a doctor’s mind and he will recommend for physiotherapy to see if it helps.

One comment on “Physiotherapy VS Orthopaedic Surgery

  1. I was diagnosed with a Herniated Disc L5-S1 and a Piriformis syndrome last June 22. Also had a car accident at that time too. Was wondering if how long does it take for the healing process to take place? I am being injected every week with a anaesthetic and dextrose solution on the affected nerves and I am also undergoing rehab. I just wanted to know if I could still get to restore my normal walking and get to walk at a longer distance considering the pain I experience in my hamstring every time I walk.

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