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Microfracture Surgery - 6 weeks-4 months

The main aim of this phase is to begin the next stage of rehabilitation and start getting your knee moving properly and taking some more weight through it.

Should I still be using the crutches and brace? 

You can now start to wean yourself off the crutches and the brace, however, it is important that if you don’t feel confident to reduce your use of the crutches, you should not rush it. You can discuss these issues with your physiotherapist.

You are able to take as much weight through your operated leg as is comfortable.

What should I do with the crutches?

If you have been loaned the crutches from the James Paget University Hospital, you should call the following numbers to arrange for collection:

For patients in Suffolk please call 01502 470360.

For patients in Norfolk please call 0300 1000716.

If you have been loaned crutches by East Coast Community Healthcare, please call the number on the bottom of the crutch (white or yellow sticker) to arrange collection from a company called Mediequip.


What should I do with the brace?

Unfortunately, these cannot be returned and you can dispose of it.

Help, I’ve forgotten how to walk normally!

Not to worry, it sometimes takes a bit of time to remember how to walk normally and to trust your knee.

You can look at our guides on walking with walking aids if you feel that you need just a little bit of help with your walking, like holding onto one crutch for a bit. You can always speak to your physiotherapist about your walking if you need to.

If you’re determined to go without crutches, try these really simple tips to help you walk.

  1. Don’t overthink it (thinking too much about what you’re ‘meant to do’ will often make you walk stiffly and slightly robotic!).
  2. Try to take the same length steps with each foot (make sure you step past with each foot).
  3. Think ‘heel toe’ (as you step, make sure your heel hits the floor first and your toe comes off last).

I’m not going to hurt my knee by taking more weight on it, am I? 

This is a very normal concern, especially if you’ve been told you need to protect your knee for the first six weeks.

Your knee, including the new cartilage ‘clot’ are getting stronger and it’s worth remembering that walking is what your knee is designed for. By taking more weight through your knee, you will be helping the cartilage repair and get used to the normal stresses and strains for what normal knees do.

My knee is still painful, is that normal?

It is entirely normal for your knee to still be sore after six weeks, in fact the discomfort might be with you for a little while longer, but it doesn’t mean anything is going wrong. For the most part, the discomfort in your knee is due to a mixture of the operation, the healing process, the other structures in your knee being a little upset (due to the operation etc.) and the fact that your knee hasn’t seen much weight for the last six weeks.

Can I bend my knee more now I’ve got rid of the brace?

Yes, you can. You can bend your knee as far as you want, however, it is suggested that you gradually start to bend your knee more than you could in the first 6 weeks. Don’t expect that just because you’ve removed the brace your knee will bend fully straight away, sometimes it takes a bit of time and effort to regain the full bend.

Can I do some more general exercise?

Alongside swimming, you can now start to look at things such as walks, exercise bikes and cross trainers to help your knee’s recovery.

You cannot run on your operated leg yet, that has to wait until 6 months after your operation.

Am I able to do some different exercises specifically for my knee?

Absolutely! Now that you can take weight through your leg and bend/straighten it as much as you like, it opens up much more choice in what exercises you can do.

Exercise tip

You should aim to complete the exercises (as many or as few as you want to) about 3 to 4 times a week.

Each exercise should be completed between 8-12 times (or repetitions) for 3 to 4 sets. Make sure you have about 1 minute's rest in between each set.

In order to change your muscles, you need to challenge them. In other words, you should really feel the effort with each set of exercises and should really not be able to do more than 12 each time around.

Exercise Videos

Please note – you should wear your brace whilst doing these exercises for the first six weeks.

Download our blank gym programme here.

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