Arthroscopy for meniscus damage - post operative pain and stiffness

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Last Friday, I had an arthroscopy to repair damaged meniscus cartilage. I know it is very early days for me - it's only Tuesday - but I am alarmed at the amount of post-op discomfort. On the ward I was walking quite easily immediately afterwards and for the 24 hours they kept me in. As soon as I got home things started to worsen.

The front of my knee feels fine. It's the back that is troubling me. It's very stiff and swollen. It's feel like a hamstring injury or persistent cramp, pain running from my thigh to just below the back of my knee which feels very lumpy.

I'm taking 1000mg paracetomol every six hours and using ice to try to take down the swelling but neither are having much effect.

I'm probably worrying over nothing and just need some reassurance. Is this amount of pain and stiffness normal and how long does it take to abate? I've been sent home with a booklet about post-op care and a sheet of exercises but I'm finding them painful to do. The sheet clearly says not to force the knee but wondering if lack of exercise is contributing to the stiffness.

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  • Posted

    Oh it hurts for the first couple weeks. It's gonna be very swollen and sore. You should get stronger pain meds like hydrocodone. Rest, ice every 4 hours, elevate, and don't bear weight on it. Use your crutches! Don't do any exercises at all until the swelling goes down. You'll be amazed that after 2 weeks and no swelling how much range of motion you get back. If you push too early, you can retear it. That's what happened to me! I had 2 operations in 2 years! The second time I learned what I'm sharing with you. First get that pain under control and just chill on the sofa. Rest. Good luck.

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    • Posted

      Thanks Renee. That's reassuring.

      The hospital didn't give me crutches. The physio said it was the surgeon's preference - that his patients quickly learn to walk with an even gait without aids. 

      I think they must have loaded me with local anaesthetic in the knee as I was able to walk evenly straight away after the surgery without any pain at all. I did several circuits around the hospital corridors thinking it was a good thing, good for my circulation. The nurses didn't stop me and now I'm thinking I did too much too soon. As soon as I was home next day the pain and stiffness kicked in.

      With regard to pain meds, I can't take Nsaids due to another health condition. The anaesthetist said definitely no codeine only regular paracetomol. I'm managing without that today so things ARE improving a little. I'm resting more, icing regularly and trying to be a patient patient . Thank you for your good wishes.

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    • Posted

      What country are you in? They instruct you to bring your own crutches here in New York! Luckily my husband had some old ones. They won't let you leave without them! If you could borrow a pair, that would be good. Hopefully you haven't done any damage. The physio's don't always know what they're doing! My experience is to stay away from them. You can Google the exercises to do once the swelling goes down. Good luck and just relax and take your time.

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    • Posted

      Again, thank you Renee. I am in the UK.  I think this no crutch thing is very much this particular surgeon's way of dealing with post operative period. The physio kept repeating that Mr ... prefers it done this way, Mr ... likes it done that way ... as if his methods differ substantially from those of other surgeons. When I am well I am a keen hill walker so for now I am using a trekking pole for support and managed a short gentle walk today without too much discomfort. Other than that I'm resting, icing and trying to be patient.

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