After arthroscopy for a meniscus tear

Post Op Arthroscopy Instructions

Recovery after knee surgeryNow that your surgery is over, it’s time to start healing ! It is very common to come home feeling great, and then have your knee feel more sore the day following the procedure as the anesthetic medications begin to wear off completely. Take it easy the first day. Relax on the couch or in bed with your knee up and elevated. Leave the dressings on until the 2nd day after the surgery.


Movement is good for your knee no matter what was done. Begin working on gently bending and straightening your knee throughout the day – you can’t do this too much. Use a towel wrapped over your foot to help pull it up to bend if needed. Try to push your knee down into the bed and straighten. Use your crutches for the first few days.


Aspirin: I typically suggest 81mg of aspirin for the first 10 days to decrease the risk of blood clots. Symptoms to watch for are worsening calf pain, or leg swelling that seems unrelated to the swelling from the surgery. Let me know right away about this. I’ll send you for a simple painless ultrasound of the leg to check.

Ibuprofen: This medicine helps with pain and inflammation. It works in your knee. I typically will suggest 600-800mg three times a day unless it bothers your stomach. This will help reduce swelling, inflammation and pain.

Vicodin / Percocet: A strong narcotic. This does nothing for your knee, but tells your brain you don’t have pain. You are not required to take this, but may use it as needed. If it is not working, call me right away. You will not get addicted to a medication if taken for the right reasons.


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Ice your knee for about 20 minutes on, then give it a break for another 20-30 minutes. You can do this throughout the day to help keep the swelling to a minimum. Never put ice directly on your skin – it can give you frostbite. This is especially true if you have an ‘ice machine’ as they get extremely cold. Always keep a layer of material between you and the cold pad.


Leave the dressing in place until the 2nd day after surgery. On day 2, remove the ACE wrap, cotton wrap, gauze and non-stick dressing on the knee. Leave the steri-strips in place – these are used as the stitches. Don’t remove them. Recover your incisions with gauze and the ACE wrap.


You may shower, but keep the wounds covered until I see you back in the office in 7-10 days. After that visit, and if given the green light, you may get the wounds wet in the shower. No hot tubs, spas, bathtubs, or time in the ocean until the wounds are completely healed – usually by week 3.

Physical therapy

For many of you, physical therapy is a part of the recovery plan. Be sure this is set up with Pam, my assistant. We will set this up close to your home or work with someone that I trust.

If you have general questions about the immediate recovery after knee arthroscopy, you can contact me through Ask Dr. Hacker. If you need immediate assistance, check out my contact information here.