View Full Version : Arthiscopic Knee Surgery

May 5th, 2005, 07:36 PM
Has anyone here had it done on their knee? I'm curious what the realistic time frame was before you were able to hop back in the pool and swim. I'm thinking once the wounds heal I might be able to do some nonkicking swimming, but I'd be interested to hear about anyone who has firsthand experience.

May 5th, 2005, 09:34 PM

I am a 21 year old former competitive high school swimmer. Here's my story:

In November of my junior year of high school (I was 16), I was having problems with my left knee, kicking, pain, etc.

Went to several doctors before they discovered that my ACL was partially torn and stretched out to a point that it was useless to me.

I had surgery in January (thermal shrinkage via arthoscope), and to help my ligament heal in a tightened state, I was on non-weight bearing crutches for 8 weeks.

By the time my knee was rechecked, because of my original condition, I was told that swimming would be the worst thing I could ever do to it again, and as a result, I have just now gotten back in the water, 4 years after surgery.

I'm not sure what your surgery is for, and my case was pretty unusual (prolonged injury, attempt was made to control the damage rather than repair it, since it can't really be repaired due to the extent of damage). But I would listen to the advice of your surgeon, because they'll mostly likely be completely honest with you and give you a time frame to get back in the water.

And, as long as your stitches are out, I say non-kicking practices wouldn't hurt. Just make sure you don't kick at all.

Good luck!


May 6th, 2005, 01:01 AM
I had knee surgery (torn ACL and MCL - basketball injury) about 11 years ago. Don't expect to do breast stroke kick for a long time, nor dolphin kick for a limited amount of time. I had both artho and "cut it open" surgery.

Swimming and pool running (deep water, not touching the bottom) were recommended to me, with the above caveats. A new pull buoy might be a welcome post-surgery present (although they rarely have them in the hospital gift shops!)

I wouldn't swim until the incision (poke holes, really) are COMPLETELY healed - infection will be a big enemy.

I was back in the water after about a month. The dr. cautioned me against dolphin because it might be too big a strain on my one remaining hamstring (the other was threaded through my knee to replace the ACL). However, with rehab exercises before and after surgery to strengthen my hamstrings, I was able to return to fly about 4 months after surgery. And breaststroke? Well, I always hated breast so didn't rush back in...probably about a year and a half before I did any serious breast intervals.

The main thing is to listen to your knee. If it's painful, swollen, or you've lost range of motion, back off.

What is the nature of your injury? Let us know how you're doing!

May 6th, 2005, 10:23 AM
This surgery can be from 15 minutes to as long as an hour and 53 minutes in my case. Obviously the more they go arround inside the longer the recovery.

The Docs will say no kicking for several weeks, and getting into and out of a pool will be very difficuly unless you have stairs.

My injury was from breaststroke kicking, so it was about six months before I could kick. I did a lot of toe lifts and knee extensions.

May 6th, 2005, 11:11 AM
It also depends on what you will be using to replace your ACL. If you go with your hamstring tendon the recovery will be somewhat slow in order to build up the strength in your leg. The cadaver option allows for a much quicker turn around time. I have had both in the last two years, along with a cartilage surgery, and I recovered much more quickly with the cadaver tissue.

May 6th, 2005, 11:13 AM
I should also answer your question. Part of my recovery was pool sessions with a therapist roughly a month after each of my surgeries. I didn't do a whole lot of kicking, but I did use a pool buoy and at least I was in the water.

May 6th, 2005, 11:30 AM
Thanks for the replys...I'm really nervous about being inactive a month...that thought keeps me awake at night. I thrive on exercise.

It is basically an exploratory surgery with the thought that there must be a bone fragment or cartilage flap stuck up underneath my kneecap that the xrays and MRI didn't show. I first had intensive pain back in October and it hasn't gone away. My primary sport is cycling, and it hurts like hell to do that. It was first diagnosed as bursitis since it was painful when the joint area was even lightly touched! I got cortisone injections, went to accupuncture, did physical therapy, and rested it for a month but it never went away. So, they want to go in and look and hopefully find something that is causing me this pain.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed...and my toes, and my eyes.

Karen Duggan
May 6th, 2005, 11:42 AM
In 1983 (I was 13) and my mom and I were hit head-on in a car accident and my knee went through the glove box. I ended up having arthroscopic surgery for cartilage (I forget exactly what was wrong!).

I remember getting back in about 3 weeks after. I also remember crying because I tried to kick fly and it really hurt. My coach understoond :) (Of course breaststroke was out of the question for awhile).

Another plus to the surgery- the nurse was really handsome :) I remember that!

I haven't had ANY knee problems since then and went on to do life best times in Masters :)

June 2nd, 2005, 12:15 PM
OK - surgery was almost two weeks ago. They shaved down a bunch of cartilage that was underneath my kneecap just hanging and chunky. Tomorrow will be my first day back in the pool and I'm nervous, anxious, excited. I can't really kick at all and plan to use a buoy for my legs so I won't kick.


June 2nd, 2005, 03:03 PM
Well I tore my acl in my right knee doing gymnastics back in like 1986. I couldn't dive w/out wrapping my knee & was never good at breast stroke, so no biggie for me. I don't dive that much anymore, I should really say hardly ever. I am trying to learn the proper way of doing breastroke & my dr's have said swiming is the best no impact thing to regain muscle.

June 3rd, 2005, 12:53 PM
I had very similar surgery on my left knee almost five years ago. I had cartilidge damage under my kneecap that the MD shaved and then poked holes in the underside of the kneecap to stimulate new cartilidge growth. I didn't compete for six months, and my first meet was subpar - kicking fly hurt the most. However, that knee feels pretty good now although not where it was before the injury. I'm glad I had it done. The other knee actually hurts worse, but not enough to want to have surgery on it. HOpe that helps.

June 4th, 2005, 05:50 PM
I'm supposed to have it done on my right knee. the

June 6th, 2005, 12:01 PM
Oh it was great, simply great to get back in the pool after two weeks off. Friday I was a bit timid and used a leg buoy so that I wouldn't kick. I swam a mile and then did some easy leg kicks just holding onto the side of the pool. Saturday I swam another mile, but alternated 5 laps full swimming, 5 laps with the leg buoy. It seemed to go well and didn't hurt, so Sunday I headed back and did another mile that way.

It is so great to be back!!!!!!!!!!!! Reading the posts here kept me sane!