Post Operation Care for Knee Arthroscopy


Diagram of a knee surgery

What is to be Expected

After knee arthroscopy, there is a variable amount of pain and swelling, often depending on how much surgery was done. This goes away after several days. It is helpful to keep the leg elevated above your heart and to apply ice regularly.

What Should be Reported Immediately

  • Persistent fever over 100.4
  • Sudden increase in pain or swelling
  • Wound redness, drainage, or increased skin temperature around the incision
  • Increasing numbness
  • Deep calf pain and/or swelling
  • Shortness of breath

Who to call

  • If you have any questions or concerns with the above; please call Triage Nursing at 916-453-2182.
  • For urgent problems after 5:00 PM and on the weekend or on Holidays, call 916-453-2000 and ask to have the Nursing Supervisor or Orthopedic Surgeon on-call paged.
  • You should have a post-op appointment scheduled in 10-14 days. If you do not, call 916-453-2180 to set this up.

Wound Care

  • You may remove the dressing in 3 days and apply band aids to cover stitches. Please leave steri-strips on (white tapes across wound). It is OK if they fall off. You may trim them as they roll up.
  • You may shower in 3 days with the incision and brace covered. Keep it clean and dry.
  • Do not get into a tub or pool until directed (usually 4 to 6 weeks).
  • Do not remove brace until instructed to do so.
  • You have dissolvable sutures and steri-strips.
  • Sutures will be removed in clinic 10 to 14 days.


It is recommended that ice packs be used for the first 24 to 48 hours to help with swelling. After the 48 hours, you may stop using. Apply 3 to 4 times a day,
30 minutes at a time.


You may walk weight-bearing as tolerated with crutches. Your crutches may be discontinued when you can walk comfortably without a limp. Time may vary, but usually 3 to 5 days.

Knee Immobilizer

The immobilizer is for comfort, you may remove within the first 24 to 48 hours.

Physical Therapy

You may begin isometric quad sets, straight leg raises, calf pumps and gentle range of motion exercises of the knee and ankle in the brace as tolerated. Let pain and swelling be your guide.

Ankle pumps: Quad sets:

Post Op knee exercises

  • Your goal for the first two weeks after surgery is to get your knee to go fully straight (0 degrees of extension).
  • Place a rolled towel under your heel to facilitate extension; do not place towel or pillow under your knee. The knee is to remain fully straight.

Pain Control

Talk to your doctor. There may be a medication your child can take to help.

Driving & Sports

  • You may not drive until your Physician and your Physical Therapist release you to do so.
  • No PE or sports for a minimum of 6 months, unless otherwise specified by your Physician.

Post Operation Care for Knee Arthroscopy