Post Knee Arthroscopy

Knee arthroscopic surgery is keyhole surgery used to repair ligaments, cartilage or bone of the knee joint. It is common to have pain, swelling and weakness of knee muscles after arthroscopy. To help recovery, you need to ice your knee, maintain its movement and strengthen your muscles.


What is an Arthroscopy?

Is a minimally invasive method of surgery, also known as keyhole surgery. It is performed via small incisions or cuts in the skin, using narrow telescopes or arthroscopes that are attached to a video camera. It may be done to examine the internal structure of a joint for diagnosis and/or treatment.

What Happens After Knee Arthroscopy?

You may experience the following:
Pain with knee movement, walking etc
Stiffness or loss of range of movement of the joint
Effusion or swelling in the joint 
Weakness and/or inhibition of the quadricep muscles
Atrophy or wasting of the quadricep muscles after prolonged disuse
Difficulty putting weight on the leg
Difficulty walking

To help reduce swelling, you can:
Ice for 15 to 20 minutes, every two to three hours
Apply light compression — but do not tourniquet!
Keep your leg elevated
Relative rest, i.e. walk less than usual, but do not spend all day in bed/chair

If you need to reduce the pain, you may want to:
Take painkillers
Apply ice to numb the pain and to reduce swelling
Undergo physiotherapy for pain relief

Acute Phase (Days 1–14) Post Knee Arthroscopy

Increase range of motion
Strengthening exercises such as inner range quads and single leg raises
Use crutches to get from place to place, rather than limping about
Place as much weight on the leg as you can tolerate, i.e. with minimal pain, unless told otherwise
Progress exercises to further your rehabilitation. Check with your physiotherapist about your rehabilitation programme
Check with your physiotherapist regarding your rehabilitation programme and/ or any pain that you experience, especially while doing exercises

Apply heat or massage to the area because this may increase your effusion/swelling
Start exercise or sports because your muscles are currently not strong enough to cope with these demands
Squat or kneel because this is likely to place excessive stress on the injured tissues and the knee, impeding recovery

Post Knee Arthroscopy FAQs

1. When can I walk without my crutches?
Depending on what has been done during the arthroscope, the time frame ranges from one to four weeks. Factors that determine when you may walk without your crutches are muscle strength, amount of pain and swelling, and the nature of the knee damage.

2. When can I return to sports?
This may vary depending on the nature of the injury and procedures: 
Debridement or diagnostic (two to three months)
Meniscectomy (three to four months)
ACL-reconstruction (six to 12 months)

This may also depend on rehabilitation progress:
Recovery of range of movement
Recovery of strength


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