What Should I do After Arthroscopic Knee Surgery?

by Steve A. Mora MD

Hello and thank you for allowing me to take care of your knee.  Now that the surgery is behind you its time to start thinking about recovery.  Before I get into the exercises you should be doing I would like to emphasize a few things.  First of all please rest and elevate your leg.  It is important the you do not walk or dangle your leg much.  The more you do, the more the leg gets swollen.  Swelling after surgery is not desireable for many reasons. First of all it will cause joint stiffness which will lead to a slower recovery.  Swelling can also create problems with wound healing and cause more post op pain.  Therefore, it is okay to walk and apply weight to your leg however limit the activity to the bare essentials.

What are some red-flags that something is wrong?  My biggest concern after surgery is dealing with a post operative infection.  After surgery I expect your knee to be swollen and bruised but it should not be red as though it was sun burned.  It your knee looks sun burned please call me right away.  You may need different antibiotics.

You can use 2 crutches, or a single crutch or a cane.  If you are using a single crutch or cane use it on the opposite side of the surgery.

You may take your pain medication anytime.  I usually prescribe hydrocodone.  You can also take a anti-inflammatory anytime.  I usually prescribe a antibiotic which you will take until the bottle is empty.

The exercises below are started 2 days after surgery.

All exercises are done 3 times a day.  The number one goal is to get your extension back.  You want to see your knee to straighten out fully in a identical way as the opposite non operated side.  Once your knee straightens out fully your limp will go away.

Quadriceps sets
quadriceps sets
Tighten muscles on top of your thigh by pushing knee down into floor or table.  You should be able to see and feel your quad muscle contract. Sometimes it takes a few days for the quad muscles to “wake up” after knee arthroscopy.

Hold 20 seconds.  Repeat 20 times.

Do 3 sessions per day

Straight Leg Raise 

straight leg raise phase i
Tighten muscle on front of thigh then lift leg 8-10 inches from floor, keeping knee locked and do not let it bend.

Hold 20 seconds.  Repeat 20 times.

Do 3 sessions per day.

Knee Flexion, Heel Slides

knee flexion
Withe towel around heel, gently pull knee upwards with towel until stretch is felt.  Once you reach point of maximal flexion hold it.

Hold 20 seconds.  Repeat 20 times.

Do 3 sessions/day

Please continue to do these exercises daily.  I am certain that by doing these exercises you will recover sooner.  See you a week after your surgery.

I look forward to seeing you fully recovered.  Please let me know if I can help.

About Steve A. Mora MD:

Steve Mora MD Small

Dr. Mora is a native of Orange County. He graduated from Anaheim High School in Orange County CA. He completed his training at the UC Irvine where he earned top of his class honors with his induction into the Alpha Omega Alapha Medical Society honors. He completed his Orthopedic Surgery training USC. He then completed a Sports Medicine, Cartilage, Shoulder, and Knee Fellowship at Santa Monica Orthopaedic and Sports Medical Group. He is currently practicing Orthopedic Surgery in Orange County.  Dr. Mora’s practice focus on sports related trauma, knee ligament and cartilage repair, shoulder rotator cuff and instability, hip arthroscopy and partial knee replacement and ACL reconsctruction. He sees athletes of all levels including professional soccer and UFC/MMA. He is team doctor for the Anaheim Bolts pro indoor soccer team and Foothill High School. Some of the procedures he performs include Cartilage transplantation (Genzyme), partial custom knee replacement, OATS, tibial osteotomies, meniscus transplant, knee ligament reconstruction, shoulder reconstruction, elbow arthroscopy, hip arthroscopy, platelet rich plasma and adult stem cell injections. Dr. Mora’s family heritage is Peruvian. He speaks fluent Spanish.


Steve A. Mora MD, Orange County ACL Surgeon.  You can request an appointment with me by calling 714 639-3750 or going to my web page www.MyOrthoDoc.com

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