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Physical Therapy After Arthroscopic Knee Surgery – Information, Exercises, and More

Arthroscopic knee surgery is the most common type of knee surgery, with nearly two million procedures performed in the U.S. each year.

The minimally invasive procedure is used to treat: 

  • ACL injuries
  • Meniscal tears
  • Patella (kneecap) injury
  • Fractures
  • Tendon tears; and
  • More

Whether you’ve had arthroscopic knee surgery or are considering it, recovery is sure to be at the forefront of your mind.

This guide will provide information about arthroscopic knee surgery and how physical therapy can help speed recovery and get you back on the track to everyday life.

Contentsarthroscopic knee surgery physical surgery

What Is Arthroscopic Knee Surgery?

Arthroscopic knee surgery is a common procedure that allows doctors to diagnose and treat a wide range of knee injuries.

The surgery involves a tiny camera that looks inside your knee. Small cuts are made to insert the camera, which projects pictures on a monitor. Your surgeon uses these images to guide tiny surgical instruments to complete any needed procedures. 

Because the doctor is using a small incision and tiny instruments, the surgery results in less pain and joint stiffness, as well as a shorter recovery time.

What Causes the Need for Arthroscopic Knee Surgery?

Your doctor may recommend arthroscopic knee surgery if you have knee pain that isn’t getting better with nonsurgical treatments, such as: 

  • Rest
  • Ice; and
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs 

Below are a few reasons why arthroscopic knee surgery may be recommended.

ACL Reconstruction

The anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, is one of the four major ligaments in your knee.

The ACL is critical to your knee’s stability, and if you injure it, you will probably notice your knee giving out from under you. 

Many patients who suffer from an ACL tear choose to have surgical treatment, and most ACL surgeries are performed arthroscopically.

Lateral Release

Lateral release is a knee surgery that’s done to realign the kneecap or patella. 

Your kneecap moves up and down along a groove of cartilage at the end of your thigh bone. Sometimes, the kneecap may become pulled to the outside of the grove and become dislocated, causing extreme pain each time the knee is bent.

An arthroscopic lateral release can be performed to loosen the ligaments that pull the kneecap toward the outside of the groove

Meniscus Repair

The meniscus is a C-shaped pad of cartilage between the bones in your knees that acts as a shock absorber. 

Meniscus tears are very common knee injuries, especially in athletes. Arthroscopic meniscus repair can restore the normal anatomy of your knee and relieve pain.

What Are Some Symptoms of a Knee Injury That Might Benefit from Arthroscopic Surgery?

The symptoms of knee injury can vary and may include: 

  • Popping 
  • Crunching noises
  • Weakness or instability
  • Swelling 
  • Stiffness
  • Redness and warmth to the touch
  • Inability to fully straighten the knee

2 Reasons to Have Arthroscopic Knee Surgery Physical Therapy

#1: Restore Range of Motion

Following arthroscopic knee surgery, you will lose some range of motion in your knee. This lack of movement means your leg will become stiff, and it may be difficult to do your normal daily activities.

The physical therapist will work with you to extend your ability to stand, walk, and bend your knee. 

Having physical therapy after arthroscopic knee surgery can help to maintain range of motion and prevent further injury to your knee.

#2: Education

Education is another critical component of physical therapy after arthroscopic knee surgery.

Much of the education component will focus on teaching you how to be aware of your posture throughout the day to place the proper amount of pressure on your knee.

Your physical therapist will work with you on maintaining proper posture as you …

  • Sit
  • Stand
  • Walk
  • Go up and down stairs

… and perform your favorite hobbies and recreational activities.

Arthroscopic Knee Surgery Physical Therapy – Will PT Help Me?

The answer is yes!

Physical therapy after arthroscopic knee surgery is essential to restoring strength and mobility — and achieving full recovery.

3 Post Arthroscopic Knee Surgery Physical Therapy Exercises

Physical therapy exercises after arthroscopic knee surgery can go a long way towards speeding recovery. Here are three exercises that your physical therapist may recommend. 

#1: Quadriceps Contraction

Here is how to do a quadriceps contraction:

  1. Lay flat on your back.
  2. Place a rolled towel under your ankle. 
  3. Tighten the muscles on the top of your thigh and try to push the back of your knee down toward the ground. Your knee will straighten as it moves toward the surface.
  4. Straighten your knee as much as you can, and hold the position for 5 seconds.
  5. Repeat 10 times.

#2: Gluteal Sets

Here is how to do gluteal sets:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent at a 10 to 15-degree angle.
  2. Squeeze your butt muscles together, like you are trying not to pass gas.
  3. Hold for 5 seconds.
  4. Repeat 10 times.

#3: Hamstring Contraction

Here is how to do a hamstring contraction:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent at a 10 to 15-degree angle.
  2. Without moving your leg, bend your heel into the floor, as if you are trying to bend your knee, but the floor is not allowing you to. 
  3. Hold for 5 seconds.
  4. Repeat 10 times.

 How In Motion O.C. Can Help With Arthroscopic Knee Surgery Recovery

Whether you are preparing for arthroscopic knee surgery or are healing from surgery, In Motion O.C.’s experienced physical therapists are here to help.

Rated as the number one physical therapy clinic in the entire United States on Yelp!, we’ve helped dozens, if not hundreds, of patients:

  • Regain their strength and range of motion
  • Build confidence; and
  • Get back to enjoying their normal lives — pain-free 

And we have testimonials and case studies to prove it!

Give In Motion O.C. a call today to schedule your consultation and let us help you on your road to recovery after knee surgery.

In Motion O.C.