Most people return home needing to walk with crutches or a stick.
You should be able to climb stairs but may want to avoid them in the first week after surgery if you live alone.
How much exercise do I need?
Exercise is aimed at increasing your knee’s strength. The amount and type of exercise needed varies from person to person. Your exercise program will last for around four weeks.
There are four main types of post-surgery exercise program available to get your knee working well. Your options depend on what’s available near your home and your health insurance cover.
- Independent exercise at home using an exercise program provided by the hospital physiotherapist.
- A program designed by a physiotherapist or exercise physiologist who may see you two or three times a week for up to six weeks, either on a one-on-one basis or in a group. Hydrotherapy is another option if your surgeon approves it.
- A rehabilitation program provided as a day patient at a rehabilitation facility – consisting of one-on-one therapy or a group exercise program that includes exercise, occupational therapy and hydrotherapy (if approved by your surgeon).
- A program involving therapists who come to your home (physiotherapists, nurses and/or occupational therapists). They can help you with exercises, practice on stairs and other aspects of your care such as home safety and community access.
Choose a program that includes measurement of how well your knee is responding. Your mobility and independence should improve in the weeks after surgery. Sometimes your mobility and abilities will be measured before and after a treatment program so it’s important to participate as fully as you can.
Before knee arthroscopy, think about the following to help you decide which follow-up is best for you and discuss the options with your treating team:
- What did you do to stay fit and healthy prior to surgery? Choosing exercises you’re familiar with and enjoy doing can be helpful. For example, if you’re a keen swimmer, hydrotherapy may be a good option (if your physiotherapist and surgeon agree).
- Can you travel to participate in therapy? You may need to arrange transport because you won’t be able to drive until your doctor approves it.
- Are you self-motivated? Can you return to your gym or follow an exercise program? If so, this is a good option.
- Does your private health insurance cover it? Check whether you’re covered for the hospital and rehab services.
What is a successful outcome?
Your doctor and physiotherapist will consider your rehab program successful when you’re able to return to normal function.
All being well, your surgeon will want to review your progress six weeks post-surgery. If you have any concerns about your knee, be sure to bring them up at this appointment. If there are any problems, the surgeon may ask to see you again to see how well they’ve resolved.