Use anything every day, and it will wear down. Your knees are no exception and are particularly susceptible to injury if you engage in sports. Severe knee injuries are often treated either through therapy or through surgical procedures, such as knee arthroscopy. Knee arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that aims to examine, diagnose, and many times, repair, damaged tissues in the knee.
For your recovery to be successful, you need to understand the process it takes for post-surgery knee cases. How can you get back to sports after a knee arthroscopy? Learn below.
What to Expect from a Knee Arthroscopy Procedure
Knee arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure. It is usually conducted as an outpatient operation and takes about an hour or two, depending on whether repairs are done during it.
The procedure involves making one or more small incisions near the joint. Your surgeon will then pour a sterile saline solution into the incision, giving them more room to work. Expanding the space helps them have a better view of the tissues and structures in your knee. Your surgeon will then insert an arthroscope, a thin tube with an attached camera, to examine the area. Thin surgical instruments will be passed through additional small incisions if repairs to damaged tissues are to be done.
Recovery After Arthroscopy
The primary advantage of knee arthroscopy is that it can help diagnose and treat joint issues for many people. It also requires less anesthesia, is less painful than other forms of surgery, and has less risk of exposing you to infection.
Most patients can immediately go back to doing light activities, like desk work. After a few weeks, most people can start driving and doing more strenuous activities. Doctors recommend physical therapy to mobilize and strengthen the joint after surgery.
Going Back to Sports After Knee Arthroscopy
The goal of undergoing and designing an appropriate therapy plan for patients is to achieve the following:
- Freedom from pain
- No signs of infection or any effusion
- Has restored sufficient range of motion and strength
Furthermore, your therapist will divide your rehabilitation process into phases depending on your condition and capabilities.
Immediate Postoperative Period
In this phase, your joint will likely be immobilized to prevent further damage. You and your doctor will focus on pain relief and managing effusion. At this point, if the arthroscopy found that you need further treatment (either surgical or nonsurgical), your doctor will work with you to design a treatment plan. If your doctor was able to diagnose and treat the problem during the arthroscopy, you can proceed to physical therapy after clearance from your doctor.
Early Protected Range of Motion (ROM)
After relieving post-surgical pain, you can now undergo exercises dedicated to improving range of motion painlessly. You can do these exercises at home if your therapist approves it, or they can supervise you in their office while you do them.
Exercise therapy comes in different forms, such as strength building, aerobic exercise, and stretching. The primary goal of exercise therapy is to maximize the body’s function without risking further strain and injury.
Your therapist will design your exercise plan with short-term and long-term goals in mind. You will be working closely with your providers to address any concerns or problems you may encounter. For the therapy to be successful, you must do the exercises as instructed by your therapist. Throughout the treatment, you can expect periodic reassessments and adjustments to the rehabilitation plan.
Return to Sports and Maintenance
After the rehabilitation process, you can now return to practicing your sport. However, you should maintain a slower, less intense pace until you are sure that your injury has healed completely. You can gradually increase the intensity of your practice over time.
Sports Medicine Physicians at Joint Replacement Institute
Sustaining a knee injury does not mean that you have to stop playing sports for good. Knee arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that can help diagnose and maybe even treat your injury. With proper treatment intervention and an appropriate therapy plan, you can quickly get back to your game.
At the Joint Replacement Institute, we want you to keep pursuing your dreams. Our team of experienced and friendly orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists will gladly help restore you to full functioning safely. To know more about our services, you can contact us at (239) 261-2663 or request an appointment now. We look forward to helping you get back on your feet!