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Microfracture Surgery - 0-6 Weeks

The main aim of this phase is to look after the newly forming cartilage ‘clot’ following your surgery. This is achieved by not taking too much weight through your leg and some very gentle exercises.

I’ve been given crutches after my operation but what should I be doing?

You are likely to have been discharged from the hospital on crutches and told to use them for six weeks, and also told to take very little weight on your operated leg (often known as touch weight-bearing).

To help you get to grips with using your crutches properly and how to walk without too much weight on your operated leg, please click here.

I’ve also been given a brace to wear, what should I be doing with it?

You will need to wear the brace for six weeks after your operation. The brace will limit how far you can bend your knee to make sure you protect the cartilage ‘clot’.

You are able to take the brace off for sleeping or resting but you should wear it when you are moving around or walking.


My knee is swollen, is there anything I can do? 

It is completely normal for your knee to be swollen and it is likely to be swollen for some time (weeks). Walking (with only a fraction of your weight through your leg at this stage) and movement of the leg is very important in trying to reduce the swelling, however, you can try putting your leg up from time to time or using something cold (frozen peas) on your knee. Remember cold can burn, so wrap your peas up in a towel before putting them on your skin.


My knee feels really tight and a bit weird, is that normal?  

It is very common to have a tight or unusual feeling in the knee after a cartilage surgery. This is due to a few factors including the surgery itself, the expected swelling and the healing process that will be helping your knee recover.

Can I do anything for my general fitness during this stage?

Yes, you can.

It is suggested that you wait until your knee moves freely (which might be several weeks after your operation) and before you try cycling or swimming.

Cycling: You can cycle on a stationary exercise bike but there should be no resistance.

Swimming: You can swim either front or back-crawl, but no other stroke at the moment. You can also simply walk through the water for exercise.

What knee exercises should I be doing to start with?

In the earliest stages of your recovery i.e. within the first week, you might find that moving your knee is challenging, therefore, you can start the exercises from week 2.

There is only one exercise to complete for the first 6 weeks (please see below).

Exercise tip

Make sure you sit on something strong and sturdy. It will be easier if you can swing your foot, meaning that sitting on a high chair or table is best. Keep your brace on.

Aim to complete this exercise little and often throughout the day. To help with this, try coordinating your exercises with meal times i.e. 3 meals per day = 3 opportunities to do your exercises.

Do not try to push the exercise too hard and although the exercise might seem easy, it is all your knee needs for now.

Exercise 1


Sitting on a high surface, gently swing your knee forwards and backwards.

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