Because fluid is used to expand the knee joint during arthroscopic procedures, the knee is frequently swollen for a few days following surgery.
Do not engage in prolonged periods of standing, walking, or sitting over the first 7 to 10 days following surgery. Use crutches for the first two weeks after surgery. You may bear up to 50% of your weight. You will be told how to gradually discontinue your crutches after your first physical therapy appointment.
Although you will have a large dressing around the knee, ice should be applied every 2 hours for about 20 minutes for the first 1-2 weeks after surgery. The cooling effect will not be optimal over the thicker gauze-covered areas, but can be helpful at cooling the area around the knee. Use a plastic barrier over the dressing to keep the dressing dry. A store-bought ice pack, crushed ice in a well-sealed bag, or a frozen bag of peas works nicely.
Carefully place an ace wrap for compression around the knee to control swelling. Be sure that the wrap is not so tight that it interferes with circulation to the lower leg.
Do not sit for long periods of time with you foot lower than the rest of your body. The ideal is for your knee to be higher than the level of your chest. Elevate the leg with a pillow under the calf or foot, NOT under the knee. For sleep, try propping the mattress with a pillow or two rather than attempting to sleep with the leg resting on several pillows.
Medications such as aspirin or butazolidin can assist in the reduction of inflammation.
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