How Long Does Recovery For Patellofemoral Injuries Take?

Patients who experience patellofemoral disorders have overall good outcomes when following physicians' recommendations. Conservative treatment includes resting, pain relief medication, icing, and progressive rehabilitation to regain muscle strength and the knee's range of motion.

Patients can expect to return to non-strenuous and sedentary occupations a few days after their surgery and, with proper care and rehabilitation, can return to physical activities at pre-op levels after 6-8 weeks

Recovery following arthroscopic surgery for patellofemoral injuries usually takes longer than non-surgical treatments. Patients can expect to use crutches for the first 1-3 weeks, followed by 2-3 months of recovery and rehabilitation. A progressive return to more strenuous activities typically takes between 3-6 months.

Recovery following open surgery for knee realignment and stabilization usually involves activity modification and extensive physical rehabilitation. Depending on the procedure, patients may have to use crutches for the first 2-4 weeks and return to sedentary work and driving after 1-2 months. Physical rehabilitation after open surgery takes longer than arthroscopic surgery, and a full return to sports and activities at prior levels can last between 6-9 months.

As with any other surgery, there is an inherent risk of complications. Even if less than 5% of procedures for patellofemoral disorders result in complications, some of the risks that patients should be mindful of include:

  • Joint stiffness resulting from improper rehab
  • Excessive joint swelling
  • Ongoing pain, unresponsive to treatment
  • Bleeding, hematomas, and blood clots
  • Infections and wound discharge