Arthroscopy Post-Operative Instructions

  1. Keep your leg elevated above the level of your heart to minimize swelling.
  2. Keep the dressing clean and dry for 2-3 days; then you may remove and shower but do not soak your leg in water.
  3. Use your crutches if ordered. In most cases, you will be allowed to put full weight on your leg after surgery; however, the muscles may be weak and it is possible for you to fall. As your leg becomes stronger (usually 10-14 days) you may wean yourself off the crutches.
  4. Use an ice pack as much as possible. It will help reduce pain and swelling. Never place the ice pack directly on your skin, place a washcloth between the bag of ice and your skin.
  5. You will be given medication to help alleviate post-operative discomfort. Avoid taking these on an empty stomach.
  6. Expect blood-tinged drainage on the dressing. If the drainage is excessive or bright red blood, notify your doctor.
  7. Intermittent swelling is normal in your knees, lower leg, and foot for several week after surgery. If this occurs, apply an ice pack and keep the extremity elevated.
  8. Bruising is common after surgery. It is caused by bleeding into the soft tissue and will resolve on its own.
  9. Observe the skin color temperature and sensation of affected extremity every hour while awake. Always compare the extremity to the unaffected extremity. Notify your physician if you observe pale or blue nail beds or cold or numb toes.