After arthroscopic knee surgery, most patients can return to normal daily activities within a few days. However, people who undergo a knee arthroscopy may have a variety of diagnoses and preexisting conditions. As a result, each patient’s arthroscopic surgery is unique.
Knee arthroscopies are minimally-invasive operations with minimal complication risks; however, you may experience knee pain after the procedure. If you do, don’t worry! Read on to find out what might be causing your knee pain.
What Is Arthroscopic Knee Surgery?
Arthroscopic knee surgery is a procedure that enables doctors to examine the knee joint without having to make a large incision. It is also called keyhole surgery. Instead of opening your knee, your surgeon will instead insert tools and a camera (called an arthroscope) into a tiny incision in the knee.
Doctors use arthroscopy to assess, diagnose, and treat a variety of knee conditions. Because of the smaller surgical incision, patients experience less pain and stiffness in their joints. It also takes less time to heal, reducing downtime.
Reasons For Knee Pain After Arthroscopy
After arthroscopic knee surgery, you may experience aching, pain, and discomfort in the operated knee. The reasons for your discomfort can vary from minor to severe.
One of the most prevalent side effects after knee arthroscopy is persistent swelling. Swelling is a common symptom of various conditions, which can make it challenging to identify the cause. However, treating swelling itself is relatively straightforward:
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Compression wraps and braces
- Temperature therapy
- Physical therapy
If you experience swelling, it’s best to treat it and visit your orthopedic doctor as soon as possible to rule out any severe complications. While swelling is a minor symptom, it could have serious causes.
Arthroscopic knee surgery is a relatively major procedure, so you will need time to recover. After the procedure, your orthopedic surgeon should instruct you regarding what you can and cannot do while recovering. Typically, this means you shouldn’t do the following:
- Lifting heavy objects
- High-impact activities, like running or jumping
- Activities with prolonged leg use, like hiking
If you end up straining your knee too much too soon, you could damage the joint. It’s best to let your body heal itself before returning to regular activities.
Every wound carries the risk of infection, even surgical incisions. This is especially true for older patients or those with a weaker immune system. Infection symptoms include the following:
- Persistent swelling
- Warmth in the operated area
- Fluid discharge around the wound
- Sweats, chills, or fever
At the Bone and Joint Center, we take every precaution possible to minimize your risk of infection. However, it remains a possibility. It’s critical to see your doctor immediately if you experience any of the above symptoms. Infected surgical wounds are a problem that you should never ignore.
Tissue And Nerve Damage
It’s unlikely that you’ll experience any unnecessary damage to your knee tissues or nerves during arthroscopic knee surgery. The nerves in your knee are behind the joint, so your orthopedic surgeon is unlikely to damage them, as arthroscopy typically takes place in the front.
However, it’s still possible that the nerves and tissues behind your knee might take damage during the procedure due to unforeseeable circumstances. If you experience anything unusual in your knee, calf, or foot after arthroscopic knee surgery, it’s best to consult your doctor.
Avascular Necrosis or Spontaneous Osteonecrosis
After knee arthroscopy, you may experience spontaneous osteonecrosis. Also known as avascular necrosis, osteonecrosis is a painful disorder occurring when a bone doesn’t receive sufficient blood supply. It causes pain and degradation of bone tissue.
Spontaneous osteonecrosis is a rare complication. However, your risk for it increases if you:
- Drink alcohol excessively
- Take medication to increase bone density
- Have suffered severe physical trauma
- Are undergoing radiation therapy
Your doctor may propose surgery to correct the condition and avoid further damage to the knee.
Arthroscopic Knee Surgery in North Dakota
Arthroscopic knee surgery is a highly effective procedure that orthopedic surgeons utilize to treat various conditions and diseases. Although surgeons will do everything they can to ensure that the operation goes smoothly, it’s still possible to experience some problems afterward.
If you have knee problems, you can rest assured that our orthopedic surgeons at The Bone & Joint Center of North Dakota will take every measure to help you. Our healthcare providers are ready to assist you every step of the way, from diagnosis to recovery.
You can call our office at (800) 424-2663 if you have any questions about our knee arthroscopy procedure and other orthopedic services. To make an appointment, please call (701) 946-7400 / (866) 900-8650. Alternatively, visit our appointment request page.