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REHABILITATION AFTER ARTHROSCOPIC KNEE SURGERY

This protocol is a guideline for your rehabilitation after arthroscopic knee surgery.  You may vary in your ability to do these exercises and to progress to full resumption of your previous activity.  Please call Dr. Gill’s office or your physical therapist if you are having a problem with your knee or need clarification of the exercises.
 
Phase one:  The first week following surgery
 
Goals:
 
1. Control pain and swelling
2. Maintain knee motion
3. Activate the quadriceps muscles
 
Guidelines and Activities:
 
1. The novocaine that is put in your knee at the time of surgery lasts six to eight hours. Begin taking the pain medication when you start feeling sensation return.  The knee will be painful for several days after the arthroscopy.
 
2. You can bear full weight and walk on the leg unless otherwise instructed by Dr. Gill.  In some instances, crutches can be used for a period of time if walking is uncomfortable.
 
3. Gently move the knee (flexion and extension) as much as you can to prevent stiffness.
 
4. Apply cold to reduce pain and swelling. Use ice on the knee 20 minutes/on and 20 minutes/off for the first day when awake.  Then apply cold as often as needed for 15 to 20 minutes at a time for the next several days.  Place a towel or cloth between the skin and the ice to prevent skin injury.
 
5. You may shower and get your incision wet. Do not soak the incision in a bathtub or Jacuzzi until the stitches have been removed.
 
6. Take an aspirin each morning for 10 days unless there is a medical contraindication to do so (such as a history of ulcers or aspirin allergy), or unless you are taking other blood thinners (such as Coumadin).
 
7. You can wear an elastic stocking (TED) below the knee to prevent leg swelling, and do at least 10 ankle pump exercises each hour to control swelling and to help prevent phlebitis (blood clots in the veins).

 

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