For most degenerative conditions such as arthritis, your doctor will recommend non-surgical treatment options that include physiotherapy and over the counter pain medication. Once your symptoms can no longer be managed by non-surgical options you should discuss surgery and its risks and benefits with your doctor.
Typically, if you are having difficulties undertaking everyday tasks such as putting on your socks, climbing stairs or getting up out of a low chair or you have joint pain and stiffness that keeps you up at night you should discuss your treatment options with your doctor.
Treatment for sports injuries including ligament and tendon injuries varies widely depending on your injury, the timing of your injury and various other factors that relate to you personally, such as your level of sporting participation, your employment commitments, other medical issues and level of rehabilitation. In general your surgeon will combine all the information from your history, examination and imaging to determine exactly what injury you have, what effects it is having on your lifestyle and whether physiotherapy rehabilitation or surgery is the right path for you. If surgery is needed, then you will work together with your surgeon to ensure that you are in peak condition before your operation and understand the post-operative rehabilitation regime.
With any surgery, even day procedures you will not be able to drive for at least 24 hours. You will need to check with your insurance company for their rules on when you can drive after an anaesthetic. For joint replacement surgery you will be able to drive once you have good muscle control and movement of your leg. This is usually around 6 weeks after surgery.
Following surgery to repair ligaments and tendons you will be able to go back to work when you are comfortable provide your work does not involve manual labour or high activity.
You will need to allow time for your new joint to heal before returning to sports and exercise. By three months after surgery you can generally return to low impact exercise and sport. Jogging and heavy weights could wear your new joint prematurely. Contact sports should be avoided.