Knee arthroscopy (physiotherapy)

print_iconLeaflet no: 227
Review date:  January 2017


After your operation

You will come back from the theatre with a padded bandage on your knee. This should be left undisturbed for 48 hours, although you can re-do it if it becomes loose. After 2 days you can take off the bandage. The steri-strips, stick-on dressings closing the wounds, should be left on for 10 days. If they fall off before this, replace with sticky plaster. If you have any worries about the wound, please make an appointment to see the practise nurse at your health centre.


If you have stitches rather than steri-strips, make an appointment with the practise nurse at your health centre to have your stitches removed in about 10 – 12 days or as advised by nursing staff. Keep the wound covered until then.


After surgery, you should be able to walk without a stick or crutches, although occasionally these might be needed. Do the exercises and walk short distances regularly, keeping your leg up when you are sitting. Gradually increase the amount you do, but don’t stand still for long periods or walk too far.


If available, use the bannister or rail. Going upstairs, lead with the unoperated or `good’ leg. Going downstairs, lead with the operated or `bad’ leg.


Do not drive until you are fully confident that you are in complete control of your vehicle. It is also advisable to check the terms of your car insurance, as some policies state that you must not drive for a specified period after an operation.


You may return to work when you feel able to do your job.


Start the exercises the day following your surgery, to maintain the strength of the knee muscles. The strength of the quadriceps (main thigh muscle) is vital to knee stability and the prevention of further injury. Try to do the exercises a minimum of 3 times a day until your clinic appointment at 6 weeks – you will benefit from doing them more often if you are able.

Exercise 1: Tensing the thigh muscles

Sit with your leg straight out in front of you. Tighten the muscles at the front of the thigh, pushing the knee down. Hold the contraction for 3 seconds. Repeat 10 times.



Exercise 2: Heel lifts

Sit or lie with a rolled-up towel under the knee. Keep the knee down on the towel and raise the heel. Straighten the knee completely and hold for 3 seconds. Repeat 10 times.


Exercise 3: Straight leg raise

Lie or sit back against a support. Tighten the thigh muscles, straighten the knee and lift the whole leg up 6 inches from the bed or floor. Hold for 3 seconds. Repeat 5 times.

Within 48 hours you can start to gently bend your knee. Do not force the bend, as this may make the knee swell. Your knee will bend naturally with time.

Exercise 4: Knee bends

Sit or lie with legs out straight. Bend your knee and hip by sliding your heel towards your bottom. Do not hold this exercise. Repeat 5 times.

Exercise 5

Sit on a chair. Move your foot back towards the chair to encourage your knee to bend. Repeat 5 times.

Further information

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact either

  • Day Surgery Unit on 01271 322455
  • The orthopaedic ward you were on


  • Telephone the hospital switchboard 01271 322577 and ask them to bleep the Orthopaedic Physiotherapist on Bleep 079


Posted in Patient Information Leaflets, Physiotherapy and tagged .

Last updated: June 17, 2016