Anyone who has had knee surgery can tell you that the road to recovery is long and arduous. It takes time, patience, and often a lot of hard work to get your body back in shape after an operation. How long it takes to make a full recovery depends on many factors, including the severity of your injury, how well you follow your doctor’s orders, and how motivated you are to regain your former strength and mobility. We will explore all aspects of recovering from knee surgery, from preparing for the operation to dealing with the aftermath. So read on for more info!
What Knee Surgery Might Include
There are many different types of knee surgeries, and the type you have will determine the extent of the procedure. Some common surgeries include arthroscopy, meniscectomy, and ligament reconstruction, including total knee replacement surgery. There are specific treatment timeframes that differ for each type of surgery, but in general, it takes around six to eight weeks for the majority of patients to recover from their procedure. Additionally, it is not uncommon for patients to experience some degree of discomfort and soreness for several months after surgery.
- Arthroscopy: This is a minimally invasive surgery that is used to repair damage to the cartilage or meniscus. It is often performed as day surgery and does not require an overnight stay in the hospital.
- Meniscectomy: This surgery involves removing all or part of the meniscus, which is the cushioning pad between the bones in your knee. It may be necessary if the meniscus is damaged beyond repair.
- Ligament reconstruction: This surgery is usually done to repair a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) or MCL (medial collateral ligament). It is a more complex surgery that may require an overnight stay in the hospital.
- Total knee replacement: This is a major surgery that is usually only done as a last resort when other treatments have failed. It involves replacing the entire knee joint with artificial parts.
Immediately after your surgery, you will be taken to a recovery room where you will be monitored for any complications. Once you are stable, you will be discharged to go home. You will likely be given pain medication and instructed to ice your knee to help with swelling and discomfort. You will also be given specific instructions on how to care for your incision and what activities you should and shouldn’t do. You must follow your doctor’s orders carefully to avoid any setbacks in your recovery. Most patients will need to use crutches or a walker for the first few weeks after surgery. You will probably be seen by your doctor several times during this time so that they can check on your progress and see how you are healing. Physical therapy will also be started during this time to help you regain strength and mobility.
The Road to Recovery
Assuming there are no complications, most people will make a full recovery within six months to a year after surgery. However, some people may continue to have minor symptoms such as pain and stiffness for the rest of their lives.
Knee Surgery Recovery Timeline
The following is a general timeline for recovering from knee surgery. Keep in mind that this will vary depending on the type of surgery you had and your healing process.
- Week 1-2: You will be on crutches or a walker and will likely need help with activities of daily living. You will have frequent follow-up appointments with your doctor to check on your progress and make sure there are no complications.
- Week 3-4: You should start to see some improvement in your symptoms at this point. You will continue to use crutches or a walker, but you may be able to put weight on your leg for short periods. Physical therapy will continue to help you regain strength and mobility.
- Week 5-6: You will likely be able to ditch the crutches or walker at this point and start walking without any assistance. You may still have some pain and stiffness, but it should be much less than it was in the early stages of your recovery. Physical therapy will continue to be an important part of your rehabilitation.
- 3-6 months: Most people will make a full recovery within this time frame. You should be back to your pre-surgery level of activity by this point.
- 6+ months: A small percentage of people may continue to have problems even after 6 months. These problems may include pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion.
It takes a different amount of time for different people to recover from knee surgery. However, most people will be back to their pre-surgery level of activity within 3-6 months. There is a small percentage of people who may continue to have minor symptoms such as pain and stiffness for the rest of their lives.
Photo via Unsplash