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I had a total right knee replacement 7/12/11. I have been following all sorts of message boards during my recovery and was astonished at the trouble people are having in their recovery and feel so bad for those suffering. Patients have reported severe pain level, leg cramps, trouble in therapy, clicking, drug dependencies and no improvement in range of motion, still sometimes a few years after their surgeries. I almost feel guilty to be doing as well as I feel I am today.

I now know that surgery alone does not fix bad knees. This recovery has to be a total commitment between the patient, surgeon and therapists. You cannot do this part way, and it's very hard work on the patients part. I truly believe it was my pre-op exercises and my determination to have the use of my entire leg back that has been a blessing in my recovery. Before my surgery, all I did was drag my leg around because of the arthritis in my knee and a fall off a step ladder was the last straw. I was miserable and exhausted by bedtime. I had no life anymore. After 2 years of conventional therapy, cortisone shots and Euflexx injections, I decided on the knee replacement. I hadn't been told pre-exercise was very important from my Ortho, I found out from my surgeon. I was lucky because I had done exercises for 2 years. This allowed me to have excellent therapy results and regain full range of motion. My surgeon says it's never too late for therapy and I think this is the key. If more it needed, do it and keep it up at home.

I just finished 5 weeks of therapy and return to my full time job 9/1. My struggle was the first 2 weeks after surgery. My pain was at a 9, leg cramping was severe, I had shock waves going thru my knee cap and I had great exhaustion. Vicodin and Tramadal was not cutting it. After calling my Surgeon in tears one evening after my 2nd week of no sleep, he prescribed Percocet @ 4 a day or 1 every 6 hours. This took care of all pain and allowed me to give 150% in therapy. I continued exercises at home, sat on my bath chair and took warm showers with the water hitting my knee, swam in my pool with Dr.'s okay, iced faithfully and alternated with heat in the evening.

I didn't over do anything, went out once a week with friends for dinner or shopping with my husband for the outside interaction. I did small errands after my 3 day a week therapy and always took my time. I would have to take a 1-2 hour nap each afternoon because of exhaustion. I have never been a nap person, but this allowed my body to heal. I also had so much help and support from my family and friends. At 5-1/2 weeks, I finally felt whole again and did not regret the decision for knee replacement. I do have some pain on the right outside of my knee, but it checks out ok and I am told that is normal by my surgeon and therapist. I ease it with ice and warm showers. At my 6 week checkup my Dr. said X-rays look good.

I was concerned about getting off the Percocet before returning to work. My surgeon told me to try to reduce my percocet from 4 a day to 2 a day, saving the pain pills for at night when I need to sleep. I am on day 3 of this reduction and while my heart feels like it's going to jump out of my chest from what is probably withdrawals, I am almost pain free. Returning to work will be hard and I will be tired but I have a very understand boss and co-workers. I hope this post gives you hope and I wish you the very best in your personal recovery.

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