When you awake from your surgery, you will find your knee bandaged and elevated. Ice is also generally applied to reduce swelling and pain. While you may feel groggy, the nurse will encourage you to begin drinking fluids, which will aide in your recovery.
After several hours, or once you begin to feel stable enough, you will be allowed to go home. Before you leave, your nurse will show you how to use your crutches to avoid placing weight on your injured knee. You will be requested to make an appointment within the next 7-10 days so that your surgeon can remove stitches and evaluate your wound.
Apply ice to your knee at least 2-3 times a day in 30 minute intervals to relieve swelling and ease pain. When you leave the surgery facility, you probably will be provided with an ice bag. If not, crushed ice in a sealed plastic bag will suffice.
Use your crutches, cane, or walker to relieve stress on your knee. These devices will absorb your weight and avoid placing unnecessary stress on your kneeYour physician will let you know how long to use the devices.
Use your prescribed pain medication as needed. Do not exceed the amount prescribed without first receiving approval from your physician. Exceeding the prescribed dosage is dangerous and can lead to numerous health hazards and even death.
If you take any other prescription/nonprescription drugs, let your physician know. Some medications have adverse effects when mixed with other drugs.
Rest! Rest! Rest!
Receiving the proper amount of rest is vital to good health and speedy recovery. Overexertion can lead to improper healing, additional damage, and even subsequent surgeries if you damage the repaired area. Ease in to normal activities!
Do not wash your wound
Keep the bandages clean and dry. Bacteria thrive on unclean, damp areas. Infections can be very dangerous, and can greatly extend and complicate recovery time.
Only do exercises that have been recommended by your physician.
Gently moving your legs can prevent stiffness. Again, don’t overdo it! Physical therapy and/or home exercise may be requested. These exercises are designed to slowly strengthen your knee, improve flexibility, and increase its range of motion. Your physician and/or physical therapist will give you handouts and brochures with instructions demonstrating how to perform the prescribed exercises.
The exercises prescribed by your physician are just the beginning of the healing process. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and continuing to strengthen your knee will be an ongoing process. You may be required to wear a brace while playing sports. If you have doubt about whether certain activities can be potentially damaging to your knee, please contact your physician.