Advice After Knee Surgery From a White Plains Orthopedic Surgeon

How to treat your knee after surgery

You have been having pain in your knee for weeks or months and you finally had your White Plains orthopedic surgeon fix the problem.

The surgery could have been a simple arthroscopy or a more complicated ligament reconstruction or knee replacement. The surgery is done, now what?

Whether the incisions in your knee are tiny arthroscopy portals (1/4 inch) or a several inch large incision, there was a lot of work done inside the knee.

The soft tissue around your knee and the bone can and will bleed after surgery. This blood be trapped inside your knee and cause swelling or the blood can come out and get onto the dressing on your knee.

If you decrease this bleeding and prevent the swelling you will limit your knee pain and have a quicker recovery. The best way to slow bleeding is with ice. Cool down the knee as much as possible putting ice on the knee for 30 minutes every hour for the first 2-3 days.

You don’t have to do this all night when you are sleeping but the more you do, the better off you will be. Make sure you don’t freeze your skin and damage the skin but keep the skin cool.

 

Avoiding blood clots after knee surgery

One of the most devastating and life threatening problems after any surgery is developing a blood clot. This can be prevented by getting up and moving around.

Staying in bed for too long slows blood in your veins from moving and can raise the risk of a blood clot. I ask my patients starting on the day of the surgery to get up and move around.

If you cannot walk on the leg because of the surgery you had, you can use crutches or a walker to get around.

You also should pump both ankles up and down to help get the blood moving in your legs every hour for a few minutes.

 

Reducing pain

Pain after surgery should be well controlled. It is best to prevent the pain rather than have to fight it once it has kicked in.

I routinely use local pain medication directly injected into the knee or have nerve blocks done on my patients that prevent pain from 6-24 hours.

After that, once the pain starts, take the pain medications you were given. If you wait until the pain is severe, it will be much harder to eliminate it.

Don’t try to tough it out, take the pain pills you were given. It is very unlikely that you will become addicted to pain medication if you only take it for 2-3 days.

 

Follow your surgeon’s instructions

One of the most important bits of advice I can give after surgery is to follow your surgeon’s advice and read the instructions you were given.

If you have any questions or problems, call your surgeon immediately.

Dr. Rick Weinstein, MD, MBA is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine. He is the Director of Orthopedic Surgery at Westchester Sport and Spine and has subspecialty training in knee and shoulder surgery, including minimally invasive surgery and arthroscopy. Dr. Weinstein is a Board Examiner for the American Board of Orthopedic Surgeons, determining certification for other orthopedic surgeons.