ARTHROSCOPY OF THE KNEE
Arthroscopy of the knee may involve several structures of the knee: anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), removal of a fragment of the meniscus, suturing of the meniscus, removal or repair of cartilage fragments or lateral release of the patella. Each damage to one or more structures has an impact on the course of rehabilitation. The common denominator of all these treatments is the time when rehabilitation begins. Rehabilitation should start on the first day after the surgery. The intensity of treatments increases from the seventh day after surgery; rehabilitation should be carried out in close cooperation with a physiotherapist.
How to prepare for the procedure?
It is a good idea to discuss the process of rehabilitation with your physiotherapist before the procedure. Depending on the condition of the knee, the therapy performed before the surgery should be focused on improving the range of motion and strengthening the muscles of the lower limbs, so that after arthroscopy the normal function of the joint can be restored faster. Another important element is to acquire basic equipment for rehabilitation, such as: a ball, elastic band and a stationary bicycle, in order to continue exercises at home. In addition to practicing in the physiotherapist’s office, rehabilitation must be continued at home, and therefore the auxiliary equipment is very important. You should also have elbow crutches because they are necessary in the first weeks after the procedure. In some cases, a knee orthosis will be needed. The last element is to reduce swelling of the knee with gel compresses.
How long does rehabilitation take?
The duration of rehabilitation depends on the type of damaged structure and the method of repair. The shortest recovery time with minor damage to the knee is about six weeks. In ligament reconstructions, this time is at least 6-9 months. However, each person is different and requires an individual approach, therefore the recovery period may be different for each patient.
What will happen if I do not rehabilitate?
Knee arthroscopy is half the battle. The other half is good physical therapy. People who do not exercise at home and do not follow the instructions of the physiotherapist must be aware that they may not return to full fitness or the recovery time will be significantly longer.
The main goals of physiotherapy:
- reduction of pain and swelling, learning to walk with crutches;
- obtaining full mobility of the knee;
- developing the strength of the muscles of the operated limb and the stability of the knee so that the patient can move independently without orthopaedic aids;
- dexterity training with the elements allowing the patient to return to favourite sports activities;
In the Szpital Zakonu Bonifratrów, physiotherapy is performed by a team of specialists:
Rafał Trąbka, PhD
Łukasz Gregulski, MSc