Recovering from Knee Arthroscopy

By:Micha Boettiger

Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive type of surgery that’s used to examine and treat a variety of injuries. Knee arthroscopy can be used to remove foreign objects, repair torn ligaments, remove problematic parts, repair a torn meniscus, and much more. It’s popular because it can usually be done as an outpatient procedure, making it inexpensive and easy to recover from.

If you’ve had knee arthroscopy done, and are recovering, there are a few things to know as you get back on your feet.

 

Elevate and Ice

Swelling in the joint will cause increased scarring, which can impact joint function in the future. Because of this, it’s important to avoid irritating the tender knee as much as possible for the first few days after surgery.

Whenever possible, elevate your leg and put a pack of ice on it to reduce the swelling as much as possible. You can do (very) light no-impact exercise, but stop immediately if there’s pain. This stage lasts only a few days.

 

Use Crutches

Walk with the aid of crutches for the first week, even if bearing weight on your knee feels okay. Reducing the amount of weight it has to take will reduce the stress on it and helps to keep swelling under control.

 

Driving

Depending on which knee was injured, how quickly you recover, and what pain medications you are on, you’ll be able to drive again within 1-3 weeks after surgery. It's important to remember that being able to move your leg doesn't mean you can drive safely. Always talk to your doctor before getting back behind the wheel.

 

Exercising

After about a week, or when you can walk unaided without a limp or significant pain, you can ditch the crutches and resume walking normally. Despite this, you shouldn’t consider yourself fully healed for several more weeks or when your doctor clears you. Avoid sports, running, jumping, and any other activities that put a lot of stress on the limb.

 

What to Watch Out For

Arthroscopy comes with risks, like any surgery, and it’s important to be able to recognize warning signs of any complications that might occur. These include:

  • Significant swelling
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Increasing Pain
  • Muscle Pain

If you experience any of these symptoms after your procedure, you should call your doctor immediately, because they could be signs of serious side effects that require immediate treatment.

Are you a medical student or professional who wants to learn more about arthroscopy? Take our introduction to arthroscopy course!

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