Cartilage damage within a knee joint may necessitate microfracture surgery for the knee. Although microfracture surgery can be performed on other joints, it is more often performed on the knee. If you are facing microfracture surgery and wondering about rehab, there are 5 recovery tips after microfracture surgery for the knee you show know.
Microfracture Surgery and Why It Is Different
Microfracture surgery of the knee is an arthroscopic procedure used to stimulate blood flow in and around the area of the injury in order to speed up the body’s natural healing abilities. Our blood usually supplies everything that is necessary to help us heal, but there is no blood near cartilage, which makes this process much more difficult.
During surgery, holes are punched or drilled into the bone to create a bleeding response. The blood then forms a clot, which develops into tissue called fibrocartilage that is not as durable as normal cartilage, but is able to fill in the newly formed holes to relieve pain and sustain normal movement across the entire knee.
Follow Dr. Camille Clinton’s Protocol for Your Rehabilitation
The first recovery tip is that rehabilitation is the key to the success of any microfracture surgery. Each person who has microfracture surgery is subjected to several factors that may influence their recovery, such as their age and where the injury occurred. For this reason, every patient’s rehabilitation process can be slightly different. Follow the precise instructions given to you by Dr. Camille Clinton to optimize the success of your specific results.
Keep Your Knee Elevated
As much as you can, try to keep your knee elevated above heart level to reduce pain and swelling. Sleep with pillows under your ankle to maintain elevation during nighttime hours. Pain and swelling can also be controlled by applying ice to the knee for 20 minutes several times a day for the first couple of days following microfracture sugery.
Follow the Weight Restrictions
Individuals must limit the amount of weight they apply on the injured area so that the necessary cells have time to grow. The amount of weight the knee is able to support will gradually increase as time passes, but patients should always check with Dr. Camille Clinton before attempting to add any more weight in order to avoid further damage to the knee.
Patients will be advised to use crutches for 4 – 6 weeks when the injury is located at the top of their tibia or is sustained at the end of the femur. If the microfracture injury is on the patella (kneecap), then all motion must be limited with no bending of the knee for as long as Dr. Camille Clinton prescribes. This period typically lasts for approximately 4 – 6 weeks.
Start Range of Motion Exercises Immediately
Patients should begin practicing recommended range of motion exercises right away after microfracture surgery, except in cases that involve immobilization of the kneecap. Individuals might be prescribed a CPM, or a continuous passive motion machine. This device will continuously and slowly bend the knee for 6 – 8 hours a day for 6 weeks. Patients can also perform range of motion exercises with a physical therapist based on Dr. Camille Clinton recommendations or referrals.
Starting the range of motion exercises early on allows the healthy cartilage to grow and prevents atrophy. These movements will also help to reduce symptoms of pain and stiffness felt within the knee during the recovery period.
Do Not Rush Your Rehab
You most likely realize this is the most important recovery tip after microfracture surgery, but just in case, we want to repeat this warning. If you try to do too much too quickly, you can interfere with the results of the surgery and impede its success.
It can take 4 – 7 months before patients can return to regular activity levels, and up to a year for an athlete to return to intense training or competition. Take all the time you need.