Knee Arthroscopy Patient Leaflet

During an arthroscopy a camera is inserted into the knee through 2-3 small wounds. This allows the surgeon to see directly inside the knee and perform a procedure if required e.g.

  • Repair or trimming of cartilage
  • Changes to the knee cap and the joint surface can be assessed
  • Small holes (micro-fractures) can be made to stimulate cartilage growth
  • Removal of loose bodies such as bone cartilage or debris from the joint.


The 2-3 incisions will be closed with steri-strips or stitches, with a bandage around the knee. You can remove the outer-crepe bandage yourself 24-48 hours post-surgery (your nurse will advise you). Please leave the smaller dressings, however, if they are soiled or peeling off, replace them with the clean dressing supplied by your nurse. Your nurse will advise on removal and arrange any follow up appointments for you.

Pain and Swelling

The knee may ache or swell following surgery and you may need to take some medication to help. You will be advised about this on the ward. An ice pack placed over the knee for 20 minutes will help, used intermittently throughout the day. Make sure the leg is elevated when using ice packs to help control any swelling.


It is usually a period of 5-7 days before being able to drive. This may vary depending on your post-operative findings and your physiotherapist will advise further.

Exercises and mobility

The exercises should be performed 4 times a day leading up to your physiotherapist appointment – remember thigh muscles will waste quickly so these exercises are very important.

You may be provided with a pair of crutches (if needed). Your physio will advise on how to use these and for how long.

The Physiotherapists will be pleased to answer any questions that you may have during your stay or after your discharge.

1. Circulation exercises

  • Circulation exercises
  • Circulation exercises
  • Sit with your legs straight.
  • Move your ankle up and down slowly
  • Return and repeat 10 times

2. Knee extension

  • Knee extension
  • Knee extension
  • Straighten the knee fully by tensing the thigh muscle
  • Try to touch the back of your knee to the bed.
  • Hold for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat 10 times.

3. Flexion/Extension

  • Flexion/Extension
  • Flexion/Extension
  • Lie on your back with both legs straight.
  • Bend the knee up as far as you can within comfort and then straighten it out so it is flat on the bed.
  • Repeat 10 times

4. Strengthening

  • Strengthening
  • Strengthening
  • Lie on your back with one knee bent and the affected leg completely straight.
  • Lift your leg off the bed to 45 degrees keeping it straight
  • Hold 10 seconds
  • Repeat 10 times