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Dietary Guidelines For Post-Arthroscopic Surgery

By Dr. Arpit C Dave +2 more

Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure involving an instrument called an arthroscope to examine and treat the inside of a joint. An arthroscope is a long, thin tube with a lightweight, tiny camera at its tip. It is inserted into the joint through small incisions made in the skin and it allows the surgeon to perform the surgery.

Arthroscopic surgery is mainly used to diagnose and treat joint problems in the knee, hip, shoulder, elbow, wrist and ankle. It can also help to repair torn cartilage or ligaments, trim excess tissue around joints or remove damaged bone spurs and others. Arthroscopy can also be used to place implants such as screws or plates into joints that have been fractured or damaged by osteoarthritis.

A full recovery from arthroscopic surgery can take a few months and a proper diet can help you recover faster and get back to normal life.

8 Food items that help in recovering from an arthroscopic surgery

1. Protein:

Protein is essential to any diet but is imperative after surgery. Protein helps your body to repair itself by building new tissues, antibodies and enzymes. You can get protein from sprouts, lentils, soya, paneer, meat, fish, poultry and dairy products. Include vegetables like beans, spinach and whole grains in your daily diet.

In my experience, iron is required for the production of new blood cells, that are essential for the healing of wounds. I recommend consuming red meat, chicken, fish, beans, lentils, spinach, and meals with added iron in moderation to continue healing.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, MD

2. Omega 3 fatty acids:

Omega 3 fatty acids are another vital nutrient to help your body recover from arthroscopic surgery. Omega 3s stop free radicals from causing damage and can reduce inflammation, improve blood flow and must be a part of your daily diet. Some freshwater fishes are excellent sources of omega-3s, but you can also get some from eggs, nuts and olive oil or take supplements.

3. Calcium:

Calcium is an essential nutrient that can help your body recover from arthroscopic surgery. It is good for bone health and helps your body to form new tissue after surgery. Dairy products such as milk and yoghurt are rich in calcium. You can also eat some sesame seeds, foxnuts and leafy greens like spinach or broccoli.

4. Vitamin D:

Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium and it can help post-surgery recovery. Some sources of vitamin D are sunlight, fatty fish like salmon and tuna, fortified milk, eggs and cereals.

Studies have revealed that consumption of caffeine may delay wound healing post-surgery. To my knowledge, caffeine slows epithelialization and decreases proliferation in human epidermal cells and hence is advised to control and avoid its consumption in excess.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

5. Vitamin C:

It is an antioxidant that helps your body repair tissue. You can get vitamin C from citrus fruits like oranges, gooseberry, guava and grapefruits, as well as vegetables like spinach, bell peppers and broccoli.

6. Zinc:

Zinc enables and prepares your body to recover faster and helps maintain the strength of your bones. You can get zinc from fortified cereals, chickpeas, lentils, cashews and almonds. 

7. Fibre:

To prevent constipation, doctors recommend patients eat a high-fibre diet and plenty of water post-surgery. Whole fruits and salads are good for keeping constipation at bay because they’re packed with both soluble and insoluble fibres.

8. Probiotics:

Probiotics are good bacteria that help your body eliminate harmful bacteria and fight against infections. Fermented foods like yoghurt, kefir and pickles are rich in probiotics.

Food items to avoid while recovering from arthroscopic surgery

1. Cheese:

Cheese is a high-fat food that can slow down digestion and cause bloating. It’s best to avoid cheese for at least a week after your surgery.

2. Fried items:

Fatty foods like fried chicken and french fries can cause nausea, bloating and gas. It’s best to avoid fried foods for at least a few weeks after surgery.

3. Alcohol:

Alcohol can cause dehydration and interfere with the absorption of nutrients in your body. It’s best to avoid alcohol till you recover completely.

4. Spicy food:

Spicy foods can cause indigestion and heartburn. It’s best to avoid spicy food for at least a couple of weeks after surgery.

5. Excessive sugar:

High-sugar foods can cause inflammation, bloating and gas. It’s best to avoid sugary foods for at least a few weeks after surgery.

Easy post-surgery meals to help speed up recovery

1. Chicken soup


  • 1 whole chicken, preferably organic and free-range
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 bay leaf or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme or rosemary
  • 4 cups water or low-sodium chicken broth


  1. Place all ingredients in a large pot over high heat. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.
  2. Let cool slightly before removing chicken meat from the bones.
  3. Discard the skin and bones, but save the meat in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days (it freezes well). Or freeze it for later use!

2. Protein shake


  • 1 scoop of protein powder
  • 1 serving of milk or juice
  • 1/2 cup fruit (such as bananas or strawberries)
  • 1/2 cup ice cubes


  1. Blend the milk, 1 scoop of protein powder and ice cubes in a blender until smooth.
  2. Add ½ cup of berries/bananas and blend until smooth, about 10 seconds more.
  3. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

3. Oatmeal


  • 1 cup of oats
  • 2 cups of water/milk
  • 1 tbsp of honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
  • Nuts and berries (as per your choice)


  1. Take a saucepan and bring water and oats to boil. Reduce the heat and parboil for about 20 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat and stir in honey and cinnamon powder until smooth. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Let the mixture sit for 3 minutes after turning off the heat. Add your desired toppings like peanut butter, nuts, seeds or berries—fluff with a fork before serving.

4. Quinoa salad


  • 1/2 cup of quinoa (white or red)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of corn kernels
  • 1/4 cup of halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced into chunks
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice (lemon juice can be substituted for lime juice).
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped finely (fresh cilantro may also be used).
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt to taste


  1. Rinse quinoa under running water
  2. Take a saucepan and add quinoa with 1 cup of water, bring to a boil and reduce the heat.
  3. Cover with a lid and soften for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed.
  4. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes.
  5. Fluff with a fork.
  6. Take a large bowl and combine cooked quinoa, corn kernels, avocados, cherry tomatoes, parsley, lemon juice and olive oil; sprinkle salt and pepper, if desired. Toss well to combine.


It is important to maintain a healthy diet after arthroscopic surgery. Post-surgery, you might experience some pain and swelling. The dietary guidelines for arthroscopic surgeries are to eat healthy foods to help your body recover from the surgery. You should eat fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants and vitamins and consult a doctor or a nutritionist for a customized diet based on your health.

Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.



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