After Surgery

total knee replacement | total hip replacement | knee arthroscopy

Knee Arthroscopy (Keyhole Surgery)

After your Operation

When you come round from the anaesthetic, your knee may feel stiff and sore. The small Incisions that have been made will have stitches in or steri-strips over them. There will be a compressive wool and crepe bandage around your knee which should stay in place for the next 24 - 48 hours.


Getting up after your Operation

If you have just had an arthroscopy with no further procedures, you will be encouraged to get up and walk around the ward within an hour or two by the nursing staff. You will be advised to do the exercises as instructed in this leaflet. If you require physiotherapy after discharge, this will be arranged for you. If you have had further procedures carried out during your arthroscopy you may require crutches to help you get around. A physiotherapist will show you how to use crutches correctly and make sure you can get up and down steps and stairs. The physiotherapist will also advise you of the exercises in this leaflet and refer you for out-patient physiotherapy if necessary.


Advice on activities at Home

At home it is important to walk as normally as possible with or without crutches as instructed on the ward. Get lots of rest for the first two or three days, keeping your leg elevated. Keep moving your foot and ankle up and down to help your circulation. Walking short distances around the house is fine initially, then increase your walking distances as pain and swelling allows. It is normal for your knee to be swollen to some extent for 2 to 8 weeks after the procedure. As long as it gets better week by week it is nothing to worry about. Your exercises should be started straight after your operation and continued at home. Following that you should do the exercises twice a day for four weeks. If at any time your knee becomes acutely painful, take your painkillers and try applying ice to your knee. A bag of frozen peas works well as an ice pack. Wrap it in a damp towel and apply to your knee with compression for 10 minutes. You can do this every hour if necessary. It is normal to feel aching, discomfort and stretching around the knee when doing your exercises, however if you experience prolonged pain or Increased swelling not relieved by elevation and painkillers, or any acute pain in your calf, please consult Mr Emms.


Return to Work

For desk jobs this could be five to seven days depending on pain and swelling. For manual Jobs, this could be two to six weeks, depending on activities involved, and how your knee feels. Certain procedures such as menisectomy (removal of your cartilage) may require you to be off work for up to three months depending on your job. You should discuss this with your physiotherapist or Mr Emms.



Return to driving can vary considerably from person to person. Most people can drive one to four weeks after surgery. However it is advisable that the following are achieved before trying to drive. You should be walking without crutches.


If you drive an automatic car and it is your left leg that was operated on, you can drive once your wounds have healed.