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What precautions do I need to take after arthroscopic knee surgery?

Thursday, 02 December 2004
Answered by: Dr. Hansa Kanuga
Consultant Physiotherapist,

Mumbai
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Q. I had undergone arthroscopic surgery for the knee due to tear in the medial meniscus and lateral meniscus as per MRI. As per the doctor reports they had done a partial removal of the medial meniscus and light repair in lateral meniscus. After surgery I am now following physiotherapy exercises and I am able to bend my knee 0 to 135 degrees and cycling in free load and CPM machine, but as per the doctor's advice, I am still walking with non-weight bearing crutches. Please advise me when will I be able to walk as before? As I am working in a steel industry, I have to work on standing and walking and sometimes climbing steps; is it ok for me after surgery? Will it affect the knee joint? Is it possible to have a normal meniscus after this surgery? In future what are the precautions I have to take? How many days do I need to take rest after surgery? Now after surgery I am not facing any pain in the joint, but can this recur in future?

A.  1. You are good with your knee bending and cycling. Your surgeon must have not allowed you to walk because he must not have been happy with your knee strength. You could have been having Extensor lag, Hamstring tightness, insufficient Quadriceps and Hamstring Power. I suggest, you discuss it out with him. 2. Your surgeon will tell you when to start that, but, to avoid any damage to your knee, you can wear a hinged knee brace. 3. Once you are strong enough, you should not worry about that. Make sure you do not get back to strenuous exercises and strain your knee before it is ready to take the strain. You can take Electrical Stimulation to build up your muscle power. Learn proper standing, balancing, weight transfers and gait training. 4. Precautions you need to take:
  • Do not add extra weight.
  • Wear sensible shoes.
  • Avoid standing for long duration.
  • Be careful while descending stairs. The compressive load across the joint is 5 times the weight of your body while descending stairs. This may accelerate degenerative changes in your joint.
  • Do not rush to drive till your doctor allows it. This may take quite a few months.
  • Visit your doctor regularly.5. To avoid future problems, at least for a year or so, try doing swimming to avoid putting on weight and any extra strain on the joint. This will also strengthen your muscles around the knee. If you do get any extra pain, do inform your doctor. Your full recovery is a lengthy process, so be in touch with your doctor for your progress.
  • A.  1. You are good with your knee bending and cycling. Your surgeon must have not allowed you to walk because he must not have been happy with your knee strength. You could have been having Extensor lag, Hamstring tightness, insufficient Quadriceps and Hamstring Power. I suggest, you discuss it out with him. 2. Your surgeon will tell you when to start that, but, to avoid any damage to your knee, you can wear a hinged knee brace. 3. Once you are strong enough, you should not worry about that. Make sure you do not get back to strenuous exercises and strain your knee before it is ready to take the strain. You can take Electrical Stimulation to build up your muscle power. Learn proper standing, balancing, weight transfers and gait training. 4. Precautions you need to take:
  • Do not add extra weight.
  • Wear sensible shoes.
  • Avoid standing for long duration.
  • Be careful while descending stairs. The compressive load across the joint is 5 times the weight of your body while descending stairs. This may accelerate degenerative changes in your joint.
  • Do not rush to drive till your doctor allows it. This may take quite a few months.
  • Visit your doctor regularly.5. To avoid future problems, at least for a year or so, try doing swimming to avoid putting on weight and any extra strain on the joint. This will also strengthen your muscles around the knee. If you do get any extra pain, do inform your doctor. Your full recovery is a lengthy process, so be in touch with your doctor for your progress.
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