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After Knee Arthroscopy: Recovering from Surgery

Your doctor may prescribe physical therapy before or after your surgery or both. This can help relieve pain, increase range of motion, and improve strength. Your physical therapist will design a program for you based on your knee problem and recovery goals. This program may include office visits and a home exercise program.

Woman lying on table. Physical therapist is bending woman's leg.

Working with your physical therapist

Your physical therapist can help you set goals and work toward them. But a successful recovery depends mostly on you. Follow instructions and keep your appointments.

Types of physical therapy

To help you heal, your physical therapist may use one or more of the following:

  • Manual therapy. This may include moving soft tissue and joints in a specific direction to regain movement and flexibility. It may also include working against the therapist's resistance to improve the way your muscle activates.

  • Weight machines. These machines work and strengthen specific muscle groups.

  • Closed kinetic chain exercises. These help make your joints stronger and more stable by keeping one part of the body still while the rest of the body is moving. Squats are an example of these exercises.

  • Aerobic exercises. These include biking and walking. They strengthen the leg muscles as well as the heart and lungs.

  • Electric stimulation (as needed). This uses a painless electric current to relieve pain, decrease swelling, and rebuild muscles.

  • Ultrasound (as needed). This uses sound waves to help heal injured tissue.


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