Arthroscopic surgery is a modern, minimally invasive procedure that allows surgeons to both inspect the internal structure of your knee and correct any abnormalities at the same time. After arthroscopy, patients do not have extensive wounds. Recovery after arthroscopy is also usually faster than after the more traditional “open” surgery.
Nevertheless, some patients may continue to feel significant pain even after arthroscopy. Understanding the reason for your discomfort is crucial to detecting any problems and resolving the issue for good.
Reasons you may continue to have knee pain even after arthroscopic surgery include:
The risk of infection is present with every wound. Even under the strictest health standards, germs may manage to reach the injury area. Your body’s immune system protects itself from such threats, but sometimes bacteria and viruses manage to overcome this resistance. This is especially true for older patients or anyone with a weakened immune system.
Common signs of infection include persistent pain, redness, warmth, and swelling. Any off-color discharge, as well as foul smells, are also indicative of an ongoing infection.
If you notice any of these signs, consult your doctor immediately. Delayed interventions can allow the pathogen to spread throughout your body, causing an even more severe illness.
Improper Body Mechanics
After a knee arthroscopy, you will need to work with a physical therapist. Rehabilitation allows you to gradually once again rely on the use of your knee. Physical therapy is vital to rebuilding strength in and around the treated knee, as well as improve your mobility. The specific exercises you need will depend on the particular knee procedure you underwent.
Failure to carry out your PT exercises – or performing them incorrectly – can lead to more pain by unduly stressing an area of the knee that hasn’t sufficiently healed. Excess pain signals that your therapist might have to make adjustments to your rehabilitation program.
It’s normal to feel moderate discomfort during the first few weeks after a knee arthroscopy. However, as your knee heals, you should feel gradual improvement and an overall lessening of your pain.
If you are still in significant discomfort after several weeks, there might be obstacles hampering your recovery process. Your current diet may not meet your nutritional requirements. Or you may have an unrelated health condition that slows down the rate at which your body can recover from injuries. Consult your doctor for further investigation if you are experiencing slow healing.
In some cases, spontaneous osteonecrosis of the knee (also known as avascular necrosis) can develop after a knee arthroscopy. It is a painful condition in which blood supply to the joint becomes restricted, causing bone tissue death, which damages the structure of your knee and leads to debilitating arthritis. It is believed to result from microscopic fractures.
Spontaneous osteonecrosis appears more frequently in women over the age of 60. It can cause pain that rivals the discomfort patients felt before their knee arthroscopy. To properly address the problem, your doctor may recommend surgery to prevent further damage to the knee.
Arthroscopy Aftercare in Michigan
There are several causes of post-operative knee pain. These include complications of the surgery, such as infection or spontaneous osteonecrosis of the knee. Others, like a slow recovery, may indicate other medical problems. Check with your doctor if your post-op knee pain doesn’t improve. In each of the above examples of what might cause knee pain after arthroscopy, medical intervention is required.
Tri County Orthopedics provides comprehensive and proactive orthopedic healthcare for patients in or near Farmington Hills, Michigan. Our professionals work tirelessly to provide you with expert, compassionate, and complete care – including during recovery. To find out more, call us at (248) 474-5575 or use our online form to reserve an appointment.