Knee arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that allows doctors to examine or treat the inside of a knee joint without making a large incision. It's a common procedure to diagnose and treat knee problems such as torn cartilage, ACL reconstruction, and inflamed synovial tissue (synovitis).
Sumit Dewanjee, MD, at FXRX Inc. in Tempe and Phoenix, is one of Arizona’s top orthopedic surgeons. Dr. Dewanjee and his team favor knee arthroscopy because it offers excellent results with less tissue trauma than traditional surgery. This often means faster healing and a quicker return to your normal exercise routine.
Read what our FXRX team says about what to expect after knee arthroscopy and the factors that affect recovery time.
Nature of the procedure
Recovery time following knee arthroscopy depends on what we did during the procedure. For instance, simple diagnostic arthroscopies have faster recovery times than more complex surgeries like anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction.
Other conditions for which Dr. Dewanjee may recommend knee arthroscopy include:
- Knee infections (sepsis)
- Torn meniscus
- Removal of loose bone or cartilage fragments
- Meniscus transplant
- Posterior cruciate ligament repair
- Inflamed synovial tissue
Another benefit of knee arthroscopy is that Dr. Dewanjee can often diagnose and repair the damage causing your pain during a single procedure.
Other factors that affect recovery time after knee arthroscopy
Some factors to consider when planning a return to full activity following knee arthroscopy include:
Your age and overall health
Younger patients or those in good health generally recover faster following knee arthroscopy than older individuals with underlying health conditions.
Physical therapy and rehabilitation
Engaging in physical therapy can expedite the recovery process and improve the outcome of your procedure. Attending your scheduled appointments and participating in home exercise routines that your physical therapist provides based on Dr. Dewanjee’s recommendations can speed your return to normal activity.
Individual healing rates
Everyone’s body is unique, and recovery rates can differ from one individual to another.
So, when can I exercise normally after knee arthroscopy?
Dr. Dewanjee discusses details of the procedure and his expectations for recovery before scheduling a knee arthroscopy.
Generally, though, recovery and rehab is a step-by-step process designed to restore pain-free function and mobility. Carefully following post-surgical instructions can speed the process.
Depending on the condition under treatment, you can expect light activity several days after surgery. This typically includes gentle range-of-motion exercises to prevent joint stiffness and limited weight-bearing. You’ll likely need crutches to help protect the knee as you walk.
After a few days, you’ll likely increase weight-bearing as tolerated, shifting away from crutches when Dr. Dewanjee recommends. He may suggest low-impact activities such as stationary cycling or water exercises as part of your rehab.
Your physical therapy program includes exercise routines designed to strengthen the joint as you prepare to return to pre-surgical activity.
Many people return to full, unrestricted activities about 6-8 weeks after arthroscopy, sometimes much sooner. Issues such as ligament reconstruction, meniscus repair, or cartilage restoration may take longer.
Schedule an evaluation with Dr. Dewanjee at FXRX today for more information about knee arthroscopy or other services we offer. Call our office or request an appointment online.