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Why Does My Knee Hurt After Arthroscopy?

Why Does My Knee Hurt After Arthroscopy?

Without joints like your knee, you'd be stuck — literally. Your skeleton needs large, flexible joints to make movement possible. Unfortunately, these joints are also some of the most vulnerable to injury and degenerative conditions. 

In the past, you may have needed major surgery to repair the damage in your knee (and in some cases, those procedures are still warranted), but now there are more options, such as knee arthroscopy.

Knee arthroscopy is a procedure surgeons use to treat a range of knee conditions, including cartilage injuries, meniscus tears, and ligament problems. Arthroscopy is minimally invasive, which means that instead of creating one large incision, your surgeon only needs to make a few small incisions to access and work on the inside of your knee. 

As a result, recovery is typically shorter and less painful, but that's not true for everyone. Just because it's a minimally invasive procedure, that doesn't mean your body won't react to the trauma of the smaller incisions.

Here, Drs. Stephen Barrett and Sequioa DuCasse at US Neuropathy Centers examine a few reasons you might have persistent knee pain after this procedure. 

Knee pain following arthroscopy

Pain is often a normal and healthy response to injury and a hallmark of the surgery recovery process. You should expect some pain while recovering, but only for a few weeks. 

If you still have lingering pain long after you've left the operating room, it could be a sign of an underlying problem. Some causes of post-op pain include infection, inadequate rehabilitation, and scar tissue, but we also see many patients with nerve entrapment following their surgeries. 

Sometimes, the common peroneal nerve can become pinched or entrapped, through no fault of your surgeon. The knee is a fairly small space to operate on, and even with the more advanced technology, any manipulation of your bone, tendons, ligaments, and muscles opens the door for potential nerve problems. 

Add on post-surgery swelling, and you could be in serious pain following a procedure you thought was going to help you get rid of it. 

How we can help

If you've recently had knee arthroscopy and are still in pain, we can determine if nerve entrapment is to blame with a series of examinations and image tests. 

We use electromyography (EMG), nerve conduction studies, and MRIs to assess your nerve function and uncover signs of nerve entrapment. These tests also can help us determine if there's another problem, such as loose implants, kneecap problems, or even alignment issues. 

We work closely with you to determine exactly what is causing your pain and then take steps to address it. 

In the case of nerve entrapment, we typically recommend peripheral nerve stimulation, a minimally invasive treatment that uses controlled electrical pulses to block or disrupt pain signals. 

In more severe cases, we might also recommend a surgical procedure to release the affected nerve in more severe cases. Our team can perform this minimally invasive operation in our office in less than 20 minutes. Bonus: Many of our patients notice almost immediate pain relief and can walk around shortly after. 

Be patient with yourself and your body as you recover from knee arthroscopy, but you don't have to put up with chronic pain. 

Call or click to schedule an appointment at our Marietta, Georgia, office today, and finish your journey to a life free of knee pain.

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