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Knee Manipulation

AMBULATORY CARE:

What you need to know about knee manipulation:

Knee manipulation is a procedure to treat knee stiffness and decreased range of motion. After trauma or knee surgery, scar tissue can form in your joint. The scar tissue does not allow you to fully bend or straighten your leg. Knee manipulation breaks up the scar tissue that has formed.

How to prepare for knee manipulation:

Your healthcare provider will tell you how to prepare for your procedure. He or she may tell you not to eat or drink after midnight the day before your procedure. He or she will tell you what medicine to take or not take before your procedure. You may need to stop taking blood thinner medicine or NSAIDs several days before your procedure. Ask someone to drive you home and stay with you for at least a day after your procedure.

What will happen during knee manipulation:

You will be given general anesthesia to keep you asleep and free from pain during your procedure. Your healthcare provider will move your knee in different directions. He or she will repeat this several times. Movement helps break up scar tissue and increases your range of motion.

What you can expect after knee manipulation:

You may have pain and swelling in your knee for a few days. It may take several weeks for your range of motion and stiffness to improve. You may start physical therapy the day after your knee manipulation. This helps prevent your knee from becoming stiff again.

Risks of knee manipulation:

Knee manipulation may cause 1 or more leg bones to break. It may also damage the ligaments and tendons in your leg. You may still have stiffness or problems moving your knee after knee manipulation.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You cannot move your knee.
  • Your pain and swelling suddenly become worse.
  • You have numbness or tingling in your leg or foot.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • Your pain does not get better after you take pain medicine.
  • You develop a rash or hives.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Medicines:

  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him of her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Self-care:

  • Apply ice on your knee for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel before you apply it to your skin.
  • Elevate your knee above the level of your heart as often as you can. This will help decrease swelling and pain. If possible, prop your knee on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably.
  • Do your knee exercises as directed. You will be taught exercises to help strengthen your knee. Exercises will also prevent stiffness and increase your range of motion. If you have a stationary bike at home, you may be asked to ride it. Ride the bicycle for 10 to 15 minutes 2 times each day or as directed.

Physical therapy:

You may start physical therapy the day after your procedure. A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain. Take pain medicine 1 hour before you go to physical therapy. This will make it easier to exercise your knee.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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