If you are considering having the meniscus repair surgery done and be on medical leave for some time for your recovery, there are few things to consider and prepare ahead of time. This is my advise to you based on my personal experience and some things that I thought of that were helpful to me during my recovery and in the preparation before the surgery.
Things You Might Need During Your Recovery :
- CRUTCHES. I was informed by the nurse in the orthopedic surgeon’s office that my surgery hopefully was going to be a “repair” and I would most probably be non-weight bearing for 6-8 weeks and I needed to go get crutches for that. I had never had to obtain crutches before neither for myself nor my family or friends and had no idea where to get them. So, I googled and located the medical supply stores around me, called them to make sure they had adult crutches and took my insurance. Then, I just needed to bring them with me to the hospital on the day of surgery so I could use them to get back home. A little tip here: if you have a choice to get crutches with rubber (or softer material) handles then get them instead of the ones with plastic.
- CRUTCHES PADS. This one is optional but it is good to have options, right? The pad set includes cushions for armpits and handholds and can be purchased on Amazon for under $20. If you like DIY projects you can attach something soft (like gel pads or foam cushions) to the handles with medical or scotch tape. I am a pretty fit person and I found myself struggling, in the beginning, to walk on those things. it took some practice. My whole body was hurting especially my lower back, shoulders, and palms of my hands. After about 3 weeks it became a little bit easier.
- KNEE BRACE. It was mandatory for me to get and I was told at the doctor’s that it needed to be approved by them before I could come and pick it up. It took maybe 2-3 weeks for that to get done. I also was informed to bring the knee brace with me to the hospital on the day of surgery so it could be placed for me after the surgery was finished.
- COLD PACK. This part is a very important part of your recovery. I had purchased the hot/ cold gel- beads -filled pack that could be wrapped around the knee for icing. Cold therapy was recommended to be done twice a day (or as needed) to help with swelling and pain. I can’t stress enough how helpful that was for the first month and even after that when I had minor aches due to the physical therapy exercises. I also know there is a cold system available on the market that is a bit higher priced but very effective.
- COMFORTABLE CLOTHES. I specifically went clothes shopping few weeks before my surgery and got a whole bunch ( about 2 weeks worth ) yoga pants and sweatpants so I could easily have them changed and be comfortable even with having all the wraps of my knee. You do not want anything too tight. Also, something comfortable to sleep in – I preferred PJ shorts to pants, and button-down sleep shirts were also comfy.
- SHOWER CHAIR. Yes! This one was very important and extremely helpful. Just reminding that I was with a condition of non-weight bearing. Standing in the shower was not an option. And add a few packs of baby wipes there. I won’t tell you why but you will thank me later.
- CORD EXTENSION FOR ELECTRONICS. This one might sound funny and ridiculous but I found myself in the situation where I needed all my devises plugged in and charging at the same time.
8. PILLOWS. I spent a lot of time resting down and used 3 full sized pillows: two for my back and one for my leg to rest on ( remember-you will need to elevate to help with swelling).
9. EXERCISE EQUIPMENT. This one is also optional but very helpful as well. Once you are ready to start your physical therapy it will be very helpful for you to practice those exercises at home in between your scheduled PT appointments. Those items are foam roll, stretch band, floor mat, exercise ball, light dumbbells, to name a few. If you don’t have those items you may be creative and use a rolled up towel instead of a foam roll, belt -for the stretch band.
10. MEDICAL STERILE SUPPLIES AND EXTRAS. You will be unwrapping your knee and changing pads at home. Some things you might want to pick up from the pharmacy before your surgery: sterile gauze, healing ointment (like Aquaphor), Neosporin, Band-aids ( regular and waterproof for taking showers), hand sanitizer. You might also need a shower cap, shower leg protector.
I hope this was educational and helpful to you! You are welcome to share your stories and tips for post-op survival down in the comments.
From Eve with love