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Returning to work

Fact: Work can be part of your recovery

Everyone needs time off to recover after an operation – but too much of it can stand in the way of you getting back to normal. In fact, by staying off for too long, people can become isolated and depressed. Getting back to your normal work routine sooner rather than later can actually help you to recover more quickly.

Getting back to work

How quickly you can return to work depends on a number of things:

  • How you heal
  • How you respond to surgery
  • The type of job you do

The type of job you do is particularly important with arthroscopic knee operations. People whose work involves a lot of heavy lifting, standing up or walking for long periods, or a lot of driving, will not be able to return to work as quickly as those who have office jobs, which are less demanding physically.

How soon can I go back?

Every person recovers differently and has different needs. If you are in an office job, it is possible to return to work within 2–3 days, but how soon you go back will also depend on how you get to work – whether you need to drive, whether you have access to, and can manage, public transport, and so on. In most cases though, the average is 10–14 days after the operation. Some individuals who have a more demanding physical job, or one that involves heavy manual work, may need to take up to 6 weeks off.

In the first instance, your surgeon will help you work out what is right for you, and if your employer has an occupational health nurse or doctor they will also be able to advise you. Alternatively your GP can give you advice. Ultimately, it’s your decision when you decide to go back, and there’s no insurance risk to your employer if you choose to do so.

You do not need your GP’s permission to go back to work – this is ultimately your decision.

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