Slow recovery after knee arthroscopy


Can anyone offer me some advice, after injuring my knee at work I had a knee arthroscopy with meniscus repair. Now 5 weeks later I am still having to use a crutch, can not go up or down stairs, and my certainly does not bend to its previous movement. the consultant does not seem concerned but I am getting really frustrated and wonder if there is anything I should be doing to help?

I have not had any physiotherapy so far or any post op imaging and my knee is still the size of a small melon.


thank you for any advice


  • Surely a physio reviewed you post-op? Who gave you the crutches?

  • No review post op, crutches were given on the day before. I had to ask the sister in charge what they had actually done in survery. 


  • MartenkayMartenkay ✭✭✭

    Demand to see a physio asap! Your physiotherapy should have been arranged in your post operation recovery plan.

    If you cannot see a physio within two weeks say you will seek advice of your Member of Parliament.

    If your Consultant seriously "does not seem concerned" tell him/her you want second opinion of a Consultant with experience of more active individuals!

    Generally NHS aim is simply to repair you and get you on your feet eventually. There is no set time every patient is different. You may be getting the base standard for your local Trust (i.e. OAP child teenager or adult all get same). However you can ask that your treatment is more tailored towards your specific problem. They are rightly watching their budget so there will be a limit to what they can do and what you may eventually need to finance yourself i.e. private physio.

  • stutyrstutyr ✭✭✭

    Hi Amanda, is the knee heavily bruised?  I had a knee arthroscopy last year, after five weeks it was still very stiff and was a beatiful shade of yellow.  This surprised me as the healing time was to recover from the bruising caused by the surgical tools, rather than the trimming of the meniscus. Have you seen a steady improvement in knee movement?  Has the swelling been gradually reducing?  These might not be at the rather that you'd like, but it should be getting noticeably better as the weeks progress.

    My experience was that I wasn't given any physio (nor crutches).  I was seen privately - so there was no ulterior motive to save money.  I'd targetted eight weeks post-op to start running again, but this was optimistic and it turned out to be 12 weeks before I could run.  I do remember my recovery being frustratingly slow. 

    Whilst I didn't have any physio, I did follow my own routine based on advice I'd found on the internet (a fairly conservative approach as I ignored a lot of the more extreme internet "advice").  This mainly consisted of gentle bending and tensing of the thigh muscles etc, as there was no way I was capable of doing squats etc.

    Have a look here for some advice from an NHS Trust (NB note that they mention follow up physio is not normally provided for a menicus tear).


  • MartenkayMartenkay ✭✭✭


    Thanks stutyr.

    All the items under the heading "Treatment" are effectively designated physiotherapy.  All the items stated would benefit Amanda given her stated post-op condition.

    Later the document states "No further physiotherapy treatment should be necessary".

    Amanda's opening post suggested to me that she has not had  any guidelines or exercises which was why I suggested she demands some immediate attention.

    If on the other hand she has and has followed the guidelines, I would suggest she ask if her current state of recovery has been maximised and if not why not. Ask what more can she do barring "further physiotherapy treatment"   

    I am surprised you did not get some post operative attention having gone private. Clearly it was excluded from what you purchased. Hope all is now O.K.

  • I've not had surgery, but injured my knee about 5 months ago. I damaged the MCL and PCl. I'm still struggling to walk, running is a long way off, and cnn't bend it enough to sit comfortably. But my consultant still seems reasonably happy with my progress, even if I'm going crazy.

  • I also had an  NHS arthroscopy 5 weeks ago. I was able to walk out of the hospital and was driving and walking the following day, the knee was a bit sore and slightly swollen for a couple of days but now I can do slow jogs for about an hour at a time. Lucky me. I say this because I know that each arthroscopy is different: a friend also had the same op on the same day as me and she is still getting some pain  and is not nable to run yet. Having said this the post-operation booklet I was given at the hospital said that if the swelling had not gone down in the first week that I should get myself to my doctor a.s.a.p. and thats what you should do,  if your knee is still swollen after 5 weeks something is not right.



  • Hi Amanda, 

    I am currently off work after having knee arthroscopy (28-6-13) to repair/remove meniscal tear in left knee. Had it done last April and 10 weeks later, original tear re-opened.

    I received a letter yesterday which gave me a date to come and see to surgical team for a follow up appointment on 5-8-13. This happened last year as well. It's at the 5/6 week stage, post surgery. Have you recieved a letter to see your team?

    Agreeing with, John Stone 3, each surgery is different so recovery time/process will be different for everyone, Although I am only 1 week in to my recovery, I am becoming impatient. I know that my knee could be stiff for up to 3-4 weeks post surgery. 

    A physio ought to have been provided, along with an informative booklet, covering care/stitch removal/ exercises for the 1st week, and then, after. My experience of surgery, this time, was completely different to last time but I won't get into that on here. 

    Aside from doing the exercises provided in a booklet given to me by the physio, patience, ice, ibuprofen seem to be the way ahead for me. Oh, and patience again.

    I would certainly push the team to get immediate suport from them and inform them of your concerns. I'm not just saying this, just, as my opinion because I actually did email the team several months ago before I had surgery about my concerns after last years surgery and my injury happening again after some thing quite innocuos. I wasn't happy and I made it clear that I was not happy.

    Last year, a physio came after i had surgery but left within 20 seconds as he had been paged and said it was an emergency. This time, a physio came and spent 10-15 minutes with me. I said I'd be seeing my own physio to guage my progress as well but she said I would be entitled to support from a physio from this team as well.

    Like I said, totally different experience from last year yet I'm still with the same team. I didn't actually meet the surgeon last year nor was I told how it went until the 6 week follow up.

    I hope you get the support real soon.



  • I had a knee arthroscopy on 19th July to repair a meniscus tear but the damage was more than expected so an examination was completed but no repair was performed, I had moderate swelling, took  anti-inflammatories, was on 2 crutches for 3 days, then on 1 crutch for a week with a 2nd op planned less than 2 weeks after the first. I could walk almost normally on level ground on the day of the 2nd op (still difficult bending the knee on stairs) The 2nd arthroscopy on 31st July drilled into the knee to remove some bone defect and also a bilateral relase of the knee cap. This time there is considerable swelling and bruising although I have not needed the strong pain killers prescribed, just continued with the anti-inflammatories and ice packs. I have been on 2 crutches for 5 days, and now on 1 crutch, potentially for 4 weeks. Expecting to start physio after the stitches are removed next week but not asked how long before I can start running.

    I am concerned about loss of fitness, I am no great athlete but I do compete in 2 sprint Tri's each summer which I am going to miss, had hoped to be fit for a half marathon in Oct but think I better look to the new year now.

    How is everyone coping with getting back to training?

  • I know I am a bit late to reply to this topic but might be able to add something.  After a repair you should be in a knee brace for about 6 weeks then physio to regain range of movement.  For a meniscectomy, i.e. removal of part of the meniscus you would be in crutches and should be able to walk unaided withing a week or so, albeit with a bit of a limp for a while.


    If it is a repair and they didnt brace it then it wont heal, itll just keep tearing as there are essentially some stitches across the meniscus. 


    I had my op on 23rd July and was expecting a repair but it was too far gone and got some removed.  Im planning on my first test run on Sunday (just short of the 6 week point).  There was no physio planned, they did see me pre op but my knee seems to be OK with the normal post op exercises and I started further gym sork a couple of weeks ago to strengthen my legs.


    Please get a second opinion, I desperately hope they havent given you a repair with a removal post op routine.

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