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Knee Injury FAQ's

Here are some frequently asked questions related to Bone - Patellar Tendon - Bone or Hamstring Tendon (semi-tendonosis) ACL repairs for Dr. Marks.

 

Call your Family Doctor or Surgeon (if you do not have a Family Doctor) immediately if you have any of the following symptions:

  • Fever (more than 38.5C or 102.3F)
  • Fluid or blood from the incision (more than 1 teaspoon)
  • Increasing redness, swelling or pain at the incision site
  • Pain not controlled with the prescription medications

 

What is pre-admission class?

Pre-admission class is an important step to take before the day of your surgery for the following reasons:

  • A physiotherapist will teach you exercises and how to manage swelling and pain in the early days after your operation
  • Using crutches for walking and doing stairs will be reviewed to ensure that you will be safe to go home after your operation
  • You will be given an exercise guide to pass on to your physiotherapist in the community

Attendance is essential as this is your opportunity to ask questions and ensure that you understand what you need to do in the early days of recovery before seeing your physiotherapist in the community. Please Note: you will not be seen by a Physiotherapist during your hospital stay.

How long will I be in hospital?

Typically, you will stay in hospital overnight and go home the morning after your surgery.

When can I start walking?

You will be walking with crutches and a splint/brace on your leg by the time you leave the hospital. You may put as much weight on your leg as is comfortable and slowly increase the weight over the first few days until you are fully weight bearing. If you do not have crutches the physiotherapist will be able to provide them to you during your visit to pre-op class at a cost of $40.00. This fee can be paid in cash on the day of your visit or can be billed to you through patient accounts. Please remember to bring your crutches to the hospital with you on the day of your surgery.

How long do I have to be on crutches?

Until you get permission to walk without them from Dr. Marks or when your community physiotherapist tells you that you have good quadriceps (muscle) control.

How long will I have to wear the brace/splint?

Dr. Marks will tell you when you can start walking without the brace. This is usually within six weeks of your surgery and is largely dependent upon muscle control and comfort. You do not need to sleep with the brace.

When should I go to see my physiotherapist?

As soon as you know the date of your surgery, you should book an appointment with the physiotherapist of your choice in the community within the first week after your surgery. Please provide the physiotherapist with the exercise guide given to you at your physiotherapy pre-admission class at the hospital. If you need to find a physiotherapist contact the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario at 1-800-583-5885 or the Canadian Physiotherapy Association at 1-800-387-8679 for clinics convenient to you.

Should I use ice?

Yes. You can apply ice for twenty minutes and then take it off for one hour while awake. Keep the knee elevated above your heart.

When can I drive?

You can drive as soon as you feel safe and comfortable. You should practice driving in a parking lot first. If you have a right knee surgery then driving will be delayed approximately six weeks.

When can I return to work/school?

You may return to a sedentary (desk) job or school as soon as you are comfortable. If your job is more physically demanding, you should discuss your return to work date with Dr. Marks.

When can I return to sports?

Once again, this should be discussed with Dr. Marks. Typically, you are looking at a timeline of six months before returning to vigorous sports or sports that require a lot of direction change, e.g., soccer, basketball. There are many sports that you can begin prior to this, e.g., jogging, cycling, ice skating. Dr. Marks and your physiotherapist can guide you on the specifics. A brace may be recommended for certain activities.

How big is the incision?

The incision varies depending on the procedure that you have. If your repair is done using your patellar tendon, the incision is approximately 5 centimeters (2 inches) long and slightly off centre of your leg below your kneecap. If the repair is done using your hamstring tendons, you will have one small incision, about 2-4 centimeters long on the inside of your leg below your knee. You will also have two small marks on either side of your knee just below the kneecap for the instruments involved in this repair.

Will I have a lot of pain?

Some discomfort after a surgical procedure is to be expected. The amount of discomfort varies widely from person to person. All attempts will be made to minimize discomfort both immediately after the procedure and for the first few days at home. While you are in the hospital, it is important that you inform staff if you are in pain. When you are discharged home, you will be given a prescription for pain medication that can be filled at any community pharmacy. While at home, please follow your pharmacist's instructions for use of the medication. Adequate pain control is necessary to be able to perform exercises in the early days post surgery so ensure that medication is taken as needed to allow successful adherence to your exercise program.

How long is the operation?

The operation itself takes 1-2 hours. Most patients will recover in the post anesthetic care unit (PACU) for up to 2 hours before returning to the same day surgery unit where you began your day.

How do I take care of the incision?

If you have steristrips on the incision, leave them in place until they fall off naturally or for a maximum of 10 days. You should make an appointment with your family doctor 7-10 days after your surgery for removal of any stitches. The blue stitch needs to be pulled out from one end. Do not cut the ends off, as the stitch below the skin is not absorbable.

When can I take a bath or shower?

You should shower/wash with mild soap and avoid soaking in a tub until the incision is closed, clean and dry. This is usually when the steristrips fall off and/or the stitches are out. Dry the incision carefully after exposure to water. If you take a shower, cover the incision with a plastic bag and tape. Be careful to take precautions so as not to slip in the shower or tub.

When do I to see Dr. Marks again?

You will be given a follow-up appointment with Dr. Marks when you are discharged from the hospital, usually within 4 to 6 weeks of your surgery.