The vast majority of knee pain does settle with time after an injury or operation and even if you have a degenerative condition pain levels at times can be very comfortable however it is normal for your knee to flare up from time to time. Managing these flare ups is key and this guide is devised to help you with this. If you are experiencing consistent pain that is difficult to manage, especially at night and your knee feels unstable after a recent injury with associated locking and loss of movement you may need some help. Please do not hesitate to contact your physiotherapist or GP for advice.
Following your injury or surgery it is important to keep moving but to do so in a safe way. You will be told how much weight you can put through the ankle.
If you have swelling in your knee it is important to try and manage this as best you can. Try and identify if there is something you are doing in your day to day life or exercise regime that could be making your knee swell. Your body may well be letting you know that at this time your knee is not quite ready that particular task. Ice can be useful for the first few days if an injury but after this we think regular elevation and compression is more beneficial throughout the day.
Sit with your leg up supported with pillows which will help to drain the fluid out of your knee.
You can use a knee brace or similar compression device to help with the swelling in the knee. In the early stages of your rehabilitation it may help you regain the confidence back in your knee and help you to be more active. Only use it when you really need it, for example a longer walk and can you use it whilst you are elevating the knee to help with reducing the swelling in your knee.
Improving the ability for your knee to straighten is very important for the functioning of your knee joint, we call this knee extension. It is quite hard to walk without a limp if your knee does not fully straighten. This may happen for a number of reasons; after surgery, after a knee injury or can just happen as your knee starts to develop age related changes such as osteoarthritis or a degenerative meniscal tear. It is important to work on the exercises as much as your symptoms allow. We recommend 5-10 minutes every waking hour.
Improving your knee bend is important to allow you to get back to your daily activities and other interests such as cycling or gardening. Your knee can stiffen up after surgery or an injury due to natural development of scar tissue. It is important to work on the exercises as much as you symptoms allow. We recommend 5-10 minutes every waking hour.
The quadriceps (thigh) muscle can lose muscle bulk rapidly following an injury or operation which is unfortunate as this is a very important important muscle which stabilises you knee. Below are some early strengthening and range of movement exercises which help to start strengthening your muscles around your knee. You can start these as soon you feel able.
You may experience some discomfort whilst performing some of the exercises and this may persist for some time after finishing them. The pain you may experience after the exercises does not mean you are damaging anything. How much and how long the pain lasts for is something you will discuss with your physiotherapist, but usually if the pain and the length of the time the pain lasts for is acceptable to you, then it’s fine.