The initial pain is usually managed well with drugs or even a nerve block (placed in the operating theatre by the anaesthetist), which keeps the knee numb for several hours after the operation.
A short stay of fewer than 2 days is usually required for this operation.
Weight-bearing is allowed from the outset but must be aided with crutches for 3 weeks. An articulated knee brace is used for 6 weeks to restrict posterior translation of the tibia.
During the first month after the operation, you must reduce your level of activity. A nurse will visit you at home for the first three weeks to change the dressings and administer the anticoagulant injections.
Rehabilitation begins early in the days following the operation. The initial aim is to wake up the muscles, help the swelling of the knee go down, and recover flexibility.
A check-up is scheduled one month after the procedure to assess recovery and progress made, as well as to adjust rehabilitation if progress is not as expected. Other check-ups are usually scheduled during the 3rd and 6th month after the operation.
You must remember that it is normal for your knee to remain swollen in the weeks following the operation. The pain will gradually fade over time and you will usually recover good knee function for daily life 6 weeks after the operation. However, this is an average and may take longer for some patients.
Resuming work and sport
The duration of medical leave depends on the patient’s profession and the type of operation but is usually between 1 and 3 months.
Sport can be resumed progressively. An exercise bike can be used soon after the operation. Running on flat ground (athletics track or treadmill) can be resumed from the 4th month and on any ground from the 6th month. Swimming with a flutter kick can also be resumed from the 3rd month. Most sports can be resumed from the 6th month; however, particular caution must be taken with pivoting sports (football, ski, judo) for which it is necessary to wait until the 9th month.
The return to sport may differ depending on the additional procedures performed on the meniscus or cartilage.