Once a patient leaves after meniscal surgery they may feel anxious and own their own. It can seem scary. Up until now a doctor and nurse have been with you every step of the way. There are warm blankets and everyone is so nice and encouraging. But, what do I do now? Will my family be able to help? What if it hurts? What is too much? Hopefully we have explained everything and prepared you for the hours and days following your meniscal surgery. Here is a recap of what I tell most of my patients after knee arthroscopy:
First Steps at Home after Meniscal Surgery
- Once your are home you need to get somewhere comfortable. A couch or bed and elevate your knee above your heart to keep the swelling down. (Try to keep your toes as high as your nose)
- Ice is your friend! You should ice the knee for 20-30 minutes every couple of hours the first day or two.
- You may take the pain medicine you have been prescribed for discomfort or try over the counter pain medicines such as ibuprofen or Tylenol.
- You may remove any stockings from your non-operated leg if it is uncomfortable.
- I usually let most patients put as much weight on their operated leg as they are comfortable with right after meniscal surgery. You will be sore at first and possibly need a crutch or walker the first day or two but most people can walk with a little limp initially. After a few days you should get around pretty well.
- While resting keep your knee out straight. Maybe a pillow under your ankle not your knee. It is important to regain the straightening of your knee initially.
- Then, start bending your knee as much as possible unless instructed otherwise. You will be given a set of simple exercises when you leave to get you started until your first physical therapy session.
- After 48 hours you may remove your stocking and bandage from the operated knee and take a shower.
- You may get the stitches wet, just don’t submerge the knee underwater in the bath or pool until we remove them. After the shower dry your incision and cover each with a band-aid. You may shower daily.
- I encourage wearing the compressive stocking whenever you are sitting up or walking around for the first couple of weeks to keep the swelling down. (If you wear it under pants no one will know!)
- You can return to work and get out as soon as you are comfortable. For those that work sitting down it may be only a couple of days. If you work on your feet standing it may take a couple of weeks to get comfortable.
When do I get my stitches out?
- We will see you back in 10-14 days to check your recovery and remove your stitches.
- We will review your meniscal surgery photos and explain the findings again.
- Most discomfort should be resolving and often only Tylenol or ibuprofen is needed for occasional pain.
At this time most people are looking to resume more normal activities. Rehab with your physical therapist is important for a fast and full recovery and may last about 2-6 weeks with a couple of visits a week. You will have another follow-up visit 6 weeks after your meniscal surgery. At this time most patients are back to regular activities and work. We can usually agree to follow-up as needed unless there are any further planned treatments for your problems.
A lot of thoughts or question arise after you get home from meniscal surgery. Don’t be anxious! Understanding what to expect is the best way to have a good experience and outcome with your meniscal surgery. Let me know if you have tips from your experience with meniscal surgery. If you would like to know more about your options for meniscus tears, let’s talk!