Recovery from knee arthroscopy can take weeks; during that time, you will probably undergo physical therapy. Knee arthroscopy is done for several reasons, so your recovery and type of therapy you get will depend on the nature of the arthroscopy procedure. This is how physical therapy helps and some exercises you might do.
Why Physical Therapy Is Needed After Knee Surgery
You won't be able to bear weight on your knee after surgery. While walking on crutches gives you some exercise, the muscles in your affected leg aren't used since you don't bear weight. That causes the muscles to get weak, which can put you at risk of additional knee injuries.
Physical therapy is started soon after your procedure. You can do some exercises while sitting or while stretched out on a table, so you won't have to stress your knee. The therapist may even do some passive exercises and move your leg for you. Exercises during this phase of your recovery help you maintain good balance, especially when you have to walk on crutches.
As your condition improves and your knee gets stronger, your exercise regimen will change to include more intense exercises that build the muscle in your leg above and below the knee. Strong muscles create strong support for your knee to keep it stabilized.
In addition to creating strong muscles and improving balance, physical therapy works to increase your flexibility and range of motion when you're experiencing stiffness in your knee joint. The exercises and stretches you do work together to help your knee heal properly so you won't have any long-term complications from poor recovery.
The Kind of Exercises You Might Do
Your therapist will have you do different exercises that target your hip, thigh, and calf muscles to strengthen all the muscles in your leg. This might include leg lifts, hamstring stretches, isometric exercises, passive exercises, knee extensions, knee bends, and squats. You might also ride an exercise bike and walk up and down some stairs. You may also walk on a treadmill and be encouraged to walk in your spare time at home. However, you'll be restricted in some exercises such as running and playing sports so you're not at risk of twisting your knee and aggravating your injury.
By following the instructions of your physical therapist, you'll have a better chance of proper healing. This is important for your mobility, and it's especially important if you play sports and want to get active again as soon as possible.