Question - Lateral Retinacular Release (pain after surgery)

by Krystyna
(Charlotte,N.C)

How long will this last, the pain after surgery has been done? I am at three weeks today. I am getting tired of the pain I go through, EVERY SECOND OF THE DAY!! Please, help me.


Can anyone tell me how to cope with the pain, when it is so severe? I had Lateral Retinacular Release surgery done on June.18,2008. I don't really understand this surgery either. Can you help me,please!!! I am at wits end on not knowing anything about this surgery.

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Jul 10, 2008
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Pain is different for everyone
by: Bart - SII

Pain is a very subjective thing and is different for everyone. I wish I could tell you that it will go away soon, but sometimes this procedure can be pretty painful for several weeks. Everyone is different, but it does usually get better as your swelling goes down - unfortunately the knee swells a ton after a lateral release.

Make sure you are using lots of ice, keeping your knee in a compression wrap, and elevated as much as you can - this will all help with your swelling and will make your knee feel better. Also, if you were prescribed medications for pain, take those regularly, as directed on the bottle - try not to skip pills, as that allows the pain to creep back up.

Hang in there - it will get better, it just takes time - to learn more about lateral release surgery, try this article

Comment back if you have other questions.

Aug 12, 2008
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pain after lateral release surgery
by: Anonymous

three months after surgery im still having alot of pain and discomfort. im about to get a second opinion. i cant stand this....

Jan 26, 2009
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After Surgery
by: Anonymous

My knee swelled to 22 inches around. I kept ice packs on both sides of the knee for about 2 days. I worked the knee as soon as possible after surgery. I also did the muscle stretches several times a day. Between the ice and stretches, I was up and moving around by the second day. I have been using the ice packs a couple times a day after the 4th day. When the knee start to feel uncomfortable, I elevate it and continue ice packs. It really does make it feel better. Main thing is to work the knee as much as possible, but not so much that you cause to much pain. Just listen to what your knee is telling you.

Jan 26, 2009
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Lateral release pain...
by: Anonymous

Im 8 months out and had nothing but problems. I developed so much scar tissue, osteoarthritis,anp sooo much more pain. I went and got a 2nd opinion They told me im gonna need knee replacement sugery down the road. Im on supartz shots now that seem to be working but i have to take pain meds at night....

Aug 13, 2009
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3weeks after surgery
by: Anonymous

I had LRR 3 weeks today...and I am pleased with the results. I followed recommendations to ice and elevate and started gentle movement exercises 2 days after the procedure. Hardly any swelling but my knee is stiff at times. Going to PT 3 times a week is helpful. All the pain I had prior to surgery is gone just dealing with minor surgical pain

Aug 15, 2009
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Not sure yet
by: Anonymous

I had a LRR a week and 1 day ago. It is obviously too soon to tell any results, but I have not had too much pain. I was told I could bare 100% weight immediately after the surgery but also to use crutches the first 5 days. Things were going well and the swelling was decreasing until these last 2 days where I was kind of forced to walk a little much because I am in the national guard and my unit wouldn't let me out of my drill. After a decent amount of walking my knee was getting pretty sore just standing and walking too. Also I noticed either swelling or a build up of fluids on the spot of the release.

Aug 23, 2009
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Lateral Release of both knees
by: Anonymous

I had lateral release on both of my knees. My right knee was Oct. 28, 2008 and my left knee was Dec. 23, 2008. I took very good care after my surgeries. My left knee was the worse of the two so I had that surgery in Dec. I recovered pretty well after the surgeries. NOW for some weird reason I am having alot of swelling and stiffness, pain, etc. on the right knee (the knee which had the less problem). I am talking about 8 months AFTER my surgery this problem is now occuring. I went to my Doctor who gave me a shot of steriod which help with the swelling some. This was only temporary and now the swelling is worse again. I am going to go back to see him yet again. I do alot of exercising but believe me I did everything I was supposed to do during the recovery time. Can anyone please tell me if you have had this kind of problem this far into your post surgery and recover time? I would so appriciate it.

Thanks. :o)

Sep 13, 2009
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after LRR
by: Anonymous

Hi. I had LRR 10 days ago. I just started PT. This morning, I sat up in bed and felt a pop on the lateral aspect of the operative knee just about 3 inches above the knee. I now have more pain and can bear less weight than before. I am so scared this is going to be a major set back. I will see PT in the morning, but wondered if this happened to anyone else.

Oct 01, 2009
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LLR PAIN
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I had just got my LRR done yesterday and it did not hurt that bad after surgery until that night and it really kicked in. I went to sleep and woke up to go to the restroom and like the person that commented before me i felt the same pop in the same spot as described and now im in severe pain. Now when I try to bend my knee its stiff.

Oct 01, 2009
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My experience...
by: Anonymous

I had both knees done a couple of years ago. I allegedly walked out of the hospital (I can't remember - too drugged).

I had a machine that you filled with ice and it led to hoses that you wrapped around your knees for 20 minutes at a time and percs. I was on my back with legs elevated.

I had absolutely ZERO pain. After the first week I was off the percs and just on Advil and was already starting PT. This surgery was combined with some scoping (I don't have any cartilage to speak of). After two weeks the stitches were out and I was walking fairly normally again without my crutches.

Sorry you're in pain!

(To this day, however, I get twinges of pre-surgery pain. If I go too long without stretching or working out, the ligaments sort of atrophy and it is a bitch to get them loose again - so remember to keep up the stretching).

Feb 02, 2010
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both knees done
by: Aaron

My right knee was done about 9 years ago (at age 29), and it was a bit of a struggle for a year or so, a lot of pain and it seemed unstable. Since then it has been very good and actually seems to improve as time progresses. Now the knee gives me very little trouble and is strong and stable.

The left knee was done last week. So far it is easier than the 1st time, very acceptable pain levels and I have been walking (limping very slowly) and bearing weight since day 1. I only hope that the long-term effects are as good as the first time.

I think that the quality of the surgeon is the most important thing. It impacts the proper diagnosis as well as the surgery itself. The procedure does not cure all problems, only very specific ones, and it is very delicate. The patella should not be released too much, nor too little, but as Goldilocks said, "just right".

Good luck to everybody, bad knees really suck so hang in there!

Apr 14, 2010
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Lateral release
by: Jasmine

I had my surgery a week ago. I was on crutches the first three days. by the fourth day I was hopping around . This pain qets unbearable at times and I wanna know how king is the recovery time. When I try to ice it , it burns like crazy so I just elevate it. Any tips.?

Jul 23, 2010
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Bi-Lateral Lateral Release
by: Anonymous

I had lateral release surgery on both of my knees in march of this year. I used crutches for about 2 months and i used a wheelchair at school for the first month because my classes were on opposite side of a huge school. For the first two months I struggled with swelling and pain but both went down quite a bit towards the end of the second month. The third month I was doing pretty well so I got discharge from PT. But now this month, the pain in my knees is worse than before the surgery. My doctor examined and he cant figure out whats wrong with them. I'm getting a second opinion soon but I'm worried i will get the same answer... For the people who say "something popped in their knee" I had a big pop like that when I was being examined by my pt and he said it was scar tissue breaking apart.

Jul 08, 2011
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pain free
by: Anonymous

I have been really lucky, did not need any pain medication. Elevation and icing is a must. Keep the ice on because the burning sensation goes away after you ice a couple of times. I started exercising, foot pumps the next day of surgery. Today has been a week and I did the bike for 5 min before my exercises. My knee is very stiff because of the swelling.
Lucia.

Jul 25, 2011
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Post Lateral Release
by: Dee

Had LR on left knee on Friday . No crutches and no pain relief needed after Saturday. Took dressing off on Sunday and went back to work today ( got a sit down job). Knee a bit bruised and aches down one side but other than that been lucky to date. Only issue is blisters appearing in knee and itching like crazy. Also was hoping all the crunching in the knee would have stopped but it feels as if bits are still in there. Able to put pressure on to go up a few stairs but mainly using other leg! Are the blisters normal? And does the crunching feeling in knee mean that the surgery has not done the job?

Aug 08, 2011
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Knee pain post surgery
by: cheryl

I am six weeks post op. The knee was a total mess and had lateral release done as well as the other repairs. The pain has been horrible and there is still swelling for which I ice and elevate to help reduce. PT starts next week, I am sure that it will bring more pain and more sleepless nights. I believe it will be okay soon enough. I is the lack of sleep that is making me crazy and am sure it hinders pain control. Any suggestions???

Sep 11, 2011
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12 days post-Op
by: Anonymous

I am 12 days post-op for a lateral release on my left knee. I was able to go up stairs, with the help of crutches, the day of the surgery. I followed all of the doctor's recommendations and started my exercises the day after surgery. I was in PT for 2 months prior to surgery, and I spoke to my therapist when I was 1 week post op and was told I could start to do heel slides to help with the stiffness. I returned to work 1 week post op and have had great results.
I have found that a few times when I have been doing a lot of walking my pain will increase and twice my knee felt like it was going to give out. I ice and elevate my leg when this happens. Today I was able to walk about a mile with my husband and little boy with minimal discomfort. I have been very pleased overall with my results.
The best part is ;I have had hardly any bruising. I have 2 quarter size bruises at the site of the incision. I saw my surgeon Friday and he commented that you would have never guessed I had surgery less than 2 weeks ago. I think this was the best decision I have made, and the minor discomfort is nothing compared to the pain I had before.

Dec 05, 2011
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18 days post-op LRR NEW
by: Mickie - Brunswick, Ohio

I had LRR 18 days ago. Also found a torn medial meniscus and had severe arthritis under my knee cap and medial side of knee joint that was smoothed out as much as possible. I am just getting off of the crutches and have been elevating and icing quite a lot to help reduce the swelling. I am a plus-size person which makes the recovery more difficult. I didn't realize the recovery would be as extensive as I was told after the procedure. Will start physical therapy end of this week for 6 weeks or so. My range of motion is pretty good the only problem I have is the swelling and stiffness especially when I first stand up. I work at home on the computer so that helps tremendously. I already know that I will need a replacement down the road and am just trying to get relief to postpone that at leat another 10 years if possible, I am 47 now. The pain that I find the most annoying for me is in the thigh on the lateral aspect around to the front. Wonder if this is from a tourniquet during surgery or normal after a LRR.

Glad I found this website. Tremendous help!

Jan 12, 2012
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Bruising... NEW
by: Anonymous

I have scoured Google, Bing, where ever, and I found very few photos of bruising and no photos of extreme bruising...
My Dr. verbally sounded a bit baffled as to why all the blood pooled in my leg and NO blood or drainage came from the site wounds. I am going to try and link or put a photo here of my leg, and opinions are welcome & wanted.
incision site day 1
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
or
http://tinypic.com/r/j17qtt/5

2nd incisions site day 1
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
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http://tinypic.com/r/35jjteg/5

Day 3 Straight on view of the front of my leg
(funny how it looks like the back of my knee)
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
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http://tinypic.com/r/35c4x9d/5

Day 4
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
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http://tinypic.com/r/k4czrp/5

Day 5
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
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http://tinypic.com/r/23w8pr4/5

And this is today, I noticed I was bruised all the way down into my foot.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
or
http://tinypic.com/r/111ux61/5

May 13, 2012
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TIRED OF EDEMA! NEW
by: LisaKB

I'm 3 weeks post op for lateral retinaculum release, patellar micro fractures, menisectomy, patellar bone spur/tumor removal and am so tired of the edema and pain. I'm going to PT, it helps, but I just want this to GO AWAY!!! UGH!!!!

Dec 31, 2012
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Surgery a week and four days ago NEW
by: Anonymous

I work with children and I'm up and down all day long. About a year ago I started to notice a little knee pain and a popping going on sometimes when I bent my leg to go upstairs. The day of the surgery went well and I felt nothing until about two thirty in the morning when ALL of the pain killers wore off. I woke up literally screaming. I've been following the doctors prescribed after care treatment and already had my PT evaluation. Brett (PT) said that my knee angle was already fantastic for only being four days out and I stopped crutches after the third day. I took minimal pain killers after the first two days and then only twice a day for the next two. I actually walk better without the cuff but keep it on as directed. Keeping my fingers crossed that my recovery keeps moving along smoothly.

Feb 25, 2013
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I don't recommend this procedure. NEW
by: Brendan C

I've been dealing with random on-and-off chronic pain in both knees for 3+ years now. I had a lateral retinacular release performed in Jan 2012. I'm now 14 months post-op. Chronic pain did not improve, but I gained significant acute pain when extending my knee and have lost a lot of strength in my quad. I experienced the same 'pop' about a month after surgery, accompanied by immense pain and stiffness in the knee and quad. I am very frustrated with my condition - my surgeon said there would be little risk of things getting worse, and yet here I am. I would give anything to go back to how things were before the operation. Everything I read says full recovery is anywhere from 6 weeks to a full year. At this rate it's going to be multiple years for me to get back to 100%, if ever. Don't make the same mistake I did! Only get this procedure if you really need it! get second and third opinions!

Mar 29, 2013
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Lateral release...NO! NEW
by: Anonymous

I had a lateral release 3 months ago. My knee is still very tight feeling. I was a runner before this and I am worried at this point I will never run again. I went in to the surgery for a simple scope and the dr. felt as if I needed the release. I am very disappointed and would go back to the pain I felt before.

Jun 26, 2014
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Not a happy camper NEW
by: Anonymous

I have been having knee pain for several years. 20 years ago I was hit by a car in a cross walk going 20 miles an hour. Over time it made my patella stuck and not move. I had an ex-ray and MRI. The MRI showed possible Meniscus tear, bone deformity, arthritis and torn cartilage. The surgeon looked at the MRI and said he didn't think it was a meniscus tear. He said the patella not being able to move correctly had caused wear on the bone and tearing of the cartilage. He also said that he "might" have to do the lateral band release. He said with that there would be more pain and swelling. He didn't give me a time frame.I had the surgery done on March 17, 2014 and after 3-1/2 months I still have swelling and a substanial amount of pain. I am truly not happy with the outcome and I really wish that I had gone with less invasive actions such as a knee brace which is what he recommended for a temporary fix as he said because of the arthritis the only other solution is knee replacement but he said I was too young (57) really?!?!?! I am overweight so I wish I would have worked on loosing weight and doing non weight bearing exercises such as cycling. Definelty do as much research as you can online and find out in detail what the proceedures are that are going to be done before you make your desicions I didn't know until my PT guy Brett told me that I had Chondroplasty done on my knee. My surgeon is NOT a very good communicator at all. ASK QUESTIONS, get answers. Get second opinions. Only do surgery as the very last resort. I am worse off now and can honestly say I regret my decision on having the surgery!!!!!!!

Jun 26, 2014
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Not a happy camper NEW
by: Anonymous

I have been having knee pain for several years. 20 years ago I was hit by a car in a cross walk going 20 miles an hour. Over time it made my patella stuck and not move. I had an ex-ray and MRI. The MRI showed possible Meniscus tear, bone deformity, arthritis and torn cartilage. The surgeon looked at the MRI and said he didn't think it was a meniscus tear. He said the patella not being able to move correctly had caused wear on the bone and tearing of the cartilage. He also said that he "might" have to do the lateral band release. He said with that there would be more pain and swelling. He didn't give me a time frame.I had the surgery done on March 17, 2014 and after 3-1/2 months I still have swelling and a substanial amount of pain. I am truly not happy with the outcome and I really wish that I had gone with less invasive actions such as a knee brace which is what he recommended for a temporary fix as he said because of the arthritis the only other solution is knee replacement but he said I was too young (57) really?!?!?! I am overweight so I wish I would have worked on loosing weight and doing non weight bearing exercises such as cycling. Definelty do as much research as you can online and find out in detail what the proceedures are that are going to be done before you make your desicions I didn't know until my PT guy Brett told me that I had Chondroplasty done on my knee. My surgeon is NOT a very good communicator at all. ASK QUESTIONS, get answers. Get second opinions. Only do surgery as the very last resort. I am worse off now and can honestly say I regret my decision on having the surgery!!!!!!!

Jun 26, 2014
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Pain following lateral release NEW
by: Anonymousdonna

I had lateral release surgery 5 months ago and to date it has been the worst decision I've made. Today the pain has gotten to a level that I've made an appointment with my surgeon to have another arthroscope to see what could possibly be wrong. I've had acupuncture, laser, physio all to no avail and take pain meds and anti inflammatories 3 times a day just to keep the pain at a level where I can function. I followed all post op instructions, did my exercises religiously and would have to honestly say that I would never recommend this op to anyone. Any input would be appreciated as I am at the end of my pain threshold

Apr 18, 2016
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Still swelling NEW
by: Anonymous

Still having stiffness and swelling 4 months post op..when is it going to get better??

Apr 24, 2016
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Will this ever get better??? NEW
by: Anonymous

2 months post op for a lateral release right knee, and I have bruising, stiffness 80 rom, and pain daily. My leg swells up to 2x the size of my other leg and I'm soooo over this. When does this let up? Why is there such massive swelling? And why the hell is there a hard lump at the lateral tendon side.

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