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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Self-care for a broken knee

Te whakamātūtū i tētahi turi whati


Tell your doctor if your pain is getting worse even though you're taking pain relief. This can be a sign that the swelling in your leg is pressing on nerves and blood vessels (called compartment syndrome). This is a medical emergency and can cause permanent damage if it isn't treated.

knee recoveryYou might continue taking antibiotics if your surgeon thinks you need them.

Your doctor will tell you how much weight you can put on your leg. A physiotherapist will teach you about weight bearing and walking with a walking frame or crutches.

Make sure you follow the advice of your doctor and physiotherapist. If you do not follow this advice, your knee may not heal or may heal badly, causing continuing pain and other problems.

Depending on what job you do, you're likely to need some time off work. How much depends on the treatment you need, the work you do and what your doctor recommends.

If you smoke, stop smoking. Smoking affects how well your body can make new blood vessels, which reduces your chances of healing well.

Make sure you keep your wound and cast if you have one, clean, dry and covered.

Follow the instructions for any pain relief medicine you're given. Avoid any anti-inflammatory medicines, as they can slow down bone healing.

If you're worried about anything after you go home, see your general practice team.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed July 2022.


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Review key: HIHIL-240273