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Knee Arthroscopy for Athletes: When Can You Return to Your Sport?

If you sit around a locker room for any length of time, you’ll invariably hear a war story or two about bad knees. To avoid having a tale of your own, knee arthroscopy can help you remain active and pain free, as it’s both a diagnostic and treatment tool.

The team of highly qualified orthopaedic surgeons here at Western Orthopaedics, collectively has considerable experience with sports medicine, and knees are a large part of this practice.

If you enjoy an active lifestyle, the odds are good that your knees play a central role. When you experience pain or weakness in these large joints, you’re understandably concerned, which is where our knee arthroscopy services can help.

The goal of knee arthroscopy

It would be no exaggeration to say that knee arthroscopy has changed the way we approach damaged knees. With this technique, we only need to make several tiny incisions, through which we thread a high-definition, 3D camera that gives us a better idea of what’s going on inside your knee, especially when diagnostic imaging has proved inconclusive.

If we find that we can correct the problem, we insert specialized instruments that translate the movements of our surgeons’ hands in very small spaces. Between the camera and the instruments, we can usually resolve most knee issues without resorting to open surgery, which carries far more risk and downtime.

What knee arthroscopy can accomplish

To give you an idea of the wide range of applications of knee arthroscopy, we can use this minimally invasive technique to:

Knee arthroscopy can also be used to treat certain kneecap problems.

Getting back into the game after arthroscopy

One of the first questions we’re asked when it comes to knee arthroscopy is when the patient can get back to their active lifestyle. The answer to this depends on the extent of the damage and the work we do, but you might be surprised at some overall results.

For example, in a scientific paper, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons reports that 62% of knee arthroscopy patients have no knee-related restrictions after just four weeks. 

Breaking these numbers down further, 88% of patients reported preoperative knee-related restrictions. By the second week after knee arthroscopy, this number dropped to 74%. By week four after the procedure the number fell to 38%, and at the 20-week mark, only 4% of patients reported knee-related restrictions.

Even more encouraging, 82% of patients returned to light activity after one week, and this number increased to 100% after four weeks.

What we’re trying to illustrate with this report is that knee arthroscopy is one of the most effective treatment options for knee problems, especially for athletes who dislike being benched for long periods because of injury.

If you have more questions about knee arthroscopy and your return to activity, please contact our office that’s nearest you, in either Denver or Arvada, Colorado, to set up a consultation.

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