Knee Arthroscopy

Knee Arthroscopy

John Miller Physiotherapist

Article by John Miller

What is a Knee Arthroscopy?

Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive operation to repair a damaged joint. The surgeon examines the joint with an arthroscope (joint camera) while making repairs through a small incision.

You may have a knee arthroscopy to investigate or repair knee joint problems such as meniscus tears, some ligament repairs and joint injuries (e.g. mild arthritis). Compared with open surgery, arthroscopy has a faster recovery time.

What to Expect Post-Arthroscopy

Initially, you will experience some swelling and pain in the knee for a few days post-operatively. You will most likely be given a prescription for pain medication and an anti-inflammatory drug to help alleviate these symptoms.

If you need pain relief, you may be able to take over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. Always read the patient information that comes with your medicine and if you have any questions, ask your pharmacist or doctor for advice.

Ice packs applied for 20 minutes every 2 to 4 hours will assist your pain and swelling. You should apply a cold compress such as ice or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel to help reduce swelling and bruising. Don’t apply ice directly to your skin, as it can damage your skin.

If possible, keep your foot and knee elevated above your heart to allow gravity to assist your swelling reduction.

Depending on your specific surgery, most post-arthroscopic patients are permitted to weight-bear. It is important to avoid aggravating your knee by too much weight-bearing or walking during the initial healing phase.

Your physiotherapist or surgeon will guide you. Follow your surgeon’s or physiotherapist’s advice about driving. It would be best if you didn’t drive until you’re confident that you could perform an emergency stop without discomfort. This is usually about one to three weeks after your operation.

Your recovery time will depend on what, if any, treatment your surgeon performs on your knee joint. You should be able to resume your usual activities after six to eight weeks, depending on the severity of your knee problems and your level of fitness.

What are the Risks?

Knee arthroscopy is commonly performed and generally safe. However, you need to be aware of the possible side effects and the risk of complications of this procedure.

Fortunately, most people aren’t affected. The possible complications of any operation include an unexpected reaction to the anaesthetic, a wound infection, excessive bleeding or developing a blood clot, usually in a vein in the leg (DVT).

Arthroscopy complications can include:

  • accidental damage to the inside of your joint
  • infection
  • loss of feeling in the skin over your knee
  • bleeding into your joint
  • the surgery may not be successful, or it may have to be repeated.

Why is Post-Arthroscopy Physiotherapy Important?

After undergoing knee arthroscopy, it is important to begin exercising your knee immediately to restore strength and a full range of motion.

Initial exercises should be non-weight bearing in nature and should focus on gentle strengthening of the muscles surrounding the knee and increasing joint range of motion.

You should expect to feel a gentle stretch while performing your beginning exercises, but you should not experience any pain. Any activity that causes significant discomfort should be stopped immediately. It is also a good idea to ice and elevates your leg after performing these exercises to decrease any increase in swelling.

Your physiotherapist aims to safely return you to the best function possible for your knee in the shortest time. They will guide you through their professional expertise to maximise your surgical outcome. If you have any questions, please ask your physiotherapist.

What are the Goals of Physiotherapy Treatment?

The general aims of your post-operative physiotherapy include the following:

  • Control pain, swelling, and hemarthrosis (bleeding into your knee joint).
  • Regain normal knee joint range of motion.
  • Progress your function from non-weight bear to full-weight bear.
  • Activate your Vastus Medialis muscle (inner quads) & correct any patella (kneecap) malalignment to avoid future patellofemoral joint syndrome or arthritis.
  • Regain a normal walking pattern (gait).
  • Regain normal lower extremity strength. Regain full lower limb muscle length.
  • Regain normal proprioception, balance, and coordination for daily activities.
  • Restore any work or sport-specific function, e.g. squatting, kneeling, running or jumping/landing.
  • Achieve the maximum level of function based on the orthopaedic and your goals.

If you have any questions, please ask your knee surgeon or physiotherapist.

Knee Pain Causes

A Comprehensive Guide

Knee pain is often a symptom of underlying issues ranging from acute injuries to systemic health conditions. Identifying knee pain causes is essential for effective treatment. This guide offers an overview of potential culprits, providing a pathway to understanding and addressing your knee discomfort.

Knee Pain Causes
Knee Pain Causes

Knee Ligament Injuries

Ligament injuries, such as ACL and PCL tears, are significant knee pain causes. They can lead to instability and severe discomfort, requiring prompt medical evaluation.

ACL Injuries

An ACL injury is a common sports-related knee injury that can lead to long-term knee pain and require surgical intervention.

Knee Meniscus Injuries

Meniscus tears, often caused by twisting or turning quickly, are prevalent knee pain causes, with treatment options varying based on severity.

Kneecap Pain

Pain in the kneecap can arise from various conditions, affecting your ability to engage in daily activities comfortably.

Knee Arthritis

Arthritis is a leading cause of knee pain, particularly in older adults, with symptoms that can significantly impair quality of life.

Knee Tendon Injuries

Tendon injuries can result from overuse or sudden, high-impact activities, contributing to ongoing knee pain.

Muscle Injuries

Muscle strains and related conditions are common knee pain causes, especially among athletes and active individuals.

Knee Bursitis

Inflammation of the bursae can cause significant knee pain, often requiring targeted treatment to reduce symptoms.

Children’s Knee Conditions

Young athletes can experience specific knee conditions related to growth and activity levels.

Other Knee-Related Conditions

Various other conditions can lead to knee pain, necessitating a broad understanding of potential knee pain causes.

Knee Surgery

In some cases, surgical intervention may be the best option to address certain knee pain causes effectively.

Seek Professional Advice

For tailored information regarding your knee pain, consult a healthcare professional with experience in knee conditions, such as a knee physiotherapist, sports physician or knee surgeon. They can provide a personalised assessment and treatment plan to address your specific needs.

Knee Pain Products & FAQs

A variety of products can support knee pain management. Browse our selection and read our FAQs to learn more about how to alleviate knee discomfort. More info: Knee Pain Products & FAQs

With this guide, you’re better equipped to understand the various knee pain causes and take the first step towards recovery. Remember, early intervention by a skilled physiotherapist can significantly improve your outcomes and assist in returning you to a pain-free, active lifestyle.

Knee Pain FAQs

Knee pain is a widespread issue, impacting individuals of varying ages and lifestyles. Causes range from injuries and wear and tear to conditions like arthritis. This FAQ section aims to provide insights into knee pain, covering diagnosis, ligament issues, ACL injuries, meniscal injuries, age and arthritis concerns, and pain relief methods through exercise and treatment.

Feel free to click on the questions to for deeper discussions into each topic.

knee pain faqs
Knee Pain Faqs

Diagnosis Related

How Can I Determine If My Knee Injury Is Serious?

  • Learn to assess the severity of your knee injury based on symptoms and situations.

How Can I Identify The Type Of Knee Injury I Have?

  • Discover how different knee injuries manifest and what signs to look for.

When Should I Seek a Physiotherapist or Doctor for My Knee Injury?

  • Find out the right time to consult professionals for your knee concerns.

Is Knee Clicking a Sign of a Serious Condition?

  • Understand what knee clicking indicates about your joint health.

When Should I Consider Getting a MRI for My Knee?

  • Learn about the circumstances when an MRI becomes necessary.

Why Has My Knee Suddenly Started Hurting?

  • Explore potential reasons behind sudden knee pain.

Why Does My Knee Hurt On The Inner Side?

  • Identify causes of inner knee pain and when to seek help.

Knee Ligament Related

What Are The Common Symptoms of a Torn Ligament in the Knee?

  • Recognise the signs of a torn knee ligament.

Can I Walk With A Torn Ligament In My Knee?

  • Understand the feasibility and risks of walking with a torn ligament.

ACL Related

What are the Consequences of Not Getting Surgery for an ACL Injury?

  • Learn about the long-term effects of untreated ACL injuries.

What Are The Symptoms Of An ACL Tear?

  • Identify the key signs of an ACL tear.

Meniscus Related

Is Surgery Necessary for a Meniscal Injury?

  • Discover when surgery is essential for meniscal injuries.

Can a Torn Meniscus Heal Without Surgery?

  • Find out if meniscal tears can heal naturally.

Age & Arthritis Related

At What Age Do Knee Problems Typically Begin?

  • Learn about the onset age for common knee problems.

What are the Common Symptoms of Arthritis in the Knee?

  • Identify arthritis symptoms in the knee.

Running Related

What are Some Ways that Runners Can Reduce Knee Stress?

  • Explore methods for runners to minimise knee stress.

Knee Treatment & Exercise Related

Is Walking Good For Knee Pain?

  • Understand the benefits of walking for knee pain.

What are Some Effective Ways to Relieve Knee Pain?

  • Discover various methods to alleviate knee pain.

How Much Walking is Recommended for Individuals with Knee Pain?

  • Learn the ideal walking duration for those with knee pain.

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