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Knee & Hip Problems Message Board


Knee & Hip Problems Board Index


My history is I had horrible knee pain 5 yrs., stabbing sharp pain from ankles to knees. knees locking up, popping out of joint, usually unable to walk. 53 yrs old. saw orthopedist several times prior to surgery, (Good Looking) did not know what questions to ask, little to no information given, however I do tend to appear confident. Surgery Jan 10. very healthy. several small prior surgeries for other things I was up and going in a remarkable amount of time. I was with the understanding this is a 6 to 12 week recovery time, In my mind I heard 3 weeks I'll be fine!!!
I was given the option for type of anestesia. I chose no spinal or epidural, I was given choice for catheter,I chose not. Asked nurse to protect my modesty in surgery she was very warm, caring.
When I came out of surgery I was on the morphine pump. I was very itchy but in no pain as the day progressed the itching became worse, apparantly itching is a side effect,I had to the extreme and had itched bleeding sores, pain med was changed to something that did not work well finally 3rd change worked, I was weepy. I recall using the bed pan only several times. to pee. I was pretty much in a blur for 1 1/2 days.,
On the second day I was able to go to the bathroom on my own with the walker,I discovered I was unable to lift my leg at all and had to have it lifted for me. very alert 3 rd day. I was o.k. but while the incision site seemed numb my left side of shin and left side of upper thigh throbbed as if hit by a car. 4th day was transfered to a recovery facility for 1 week for after care and physical therapy.
got there at 3 pm. was asked if I had had a bowell movement, no!! was given a stool softener and laxative for 4 more days with no results. It seems every one had the same problem so on top of pain your dealing with constipation, I had my husband bring up magnesium and gas x. took 2 magnesium am and 2 pm. fineally went potty. gas was also a problem where gas x was a gift from God....Nurses are busy don't expect to be babied. They put a triangle bar on the over hang of bed so you could pull your self in.I made a circle with a piece of fabric and hooked it on my foot to pull my leg up in to bed, it worked great.
Day 2 physical therapie, was told to make sure you get pain meds 1/2 hour prior . it made a ton of difference in ability. I loved physical therapie its a bit of work but you being coached and praised and cheered a-.lot. for about 45 min where you work both legs I was unable to lift my knee replacement leg at all and wondered if I would ever be able to again, I did in about 1 week. yea but I could walk with a walker and went up and down stairs on day 2, yes it hurts, it hurts a lot but it is different it is a very tight strong throbbing, not sharp stabbing as before.
Day 2 in rehab I sobbed uncontrollably all day. I did not know why,it was fineally determined by doctors and hospital psycologists that it was anxiety caught up with me. In preperation for surgery I had to put my business in anothers hands, clean house, pay bills,make sure there were groceries at home for family, feel guilty for Husband having to work and come to hospital every night bringing me things, feeling guilty for bothering nurses with any thing,etc.etc.
In 1 week had made big progress. however it was still very painful hard to bend. after the 3 rd day in rehab pain med is no longer delivered every 4 hours you have to ask for it, so make sure you watch the clock. and start asking 1/2 hour in advance. I continued to love physical therapie. your put on coumadin and stockings, the stockings do help relieve pain besides helping circulation.
I am now at 4 weeks, when I keep my leg down for 30 or more min. it swells and is more painful . so my 3 week time line had passed which also caused me to cry -dissapointment that I'm still recovering and not fuly functioning. At 3 weeks the pain is considerably less but still there. I like my pain med 1 every 4 hours, why suffer plus I function better not in pain. going for my 1 month check tomorrow it seems like 1 week. A nurse came to the house 2 times a week to check coumadin levels and incision etc, the staples were taken out in 10 days, some of them hurt coming out but its over fast, a physical therapist came 1 time a week at my request as the copay 35.00 a visit I can do the physical therapie myself, I have to make myself.
I figured out to put my foot on a skateboard while sitting. I can slide my leg back and forth to exercize the knee. I put my hand tight over the incision while bending. it feels better.
Every one all around had told me I've done very well compared to most but it isn't fast enough for me. I stopped using the walker after rehab and never used a cane I have to focus on walking heel to toe and not limping. its just easier to limp. but even I know thats not the way to go. Now I'm just looking forward to the day every one says I'll be so glad I did this. I keep telling my self it could be worse...........
I hope that all those who have had to endure TKR are doing well. I am on my second replacement. Did the right knee 3 years ago but never felt that it really worked until I did the left knee this summer. I am now 4 months post op and although getting better, still not where I want to be.

I had the new procedure for reducing swelling with a special cocktail of steroids, celebrex, lyrica, dextromothorphan (cough syrup) mixed with a giant syringe of my own blood directly into the joint during surgery. Logic is this speeds healing by reducing swelling. Had my surgery in the morning and I was up and walking by myself with a walker later that evening. Was able to get in and out of bed by myself. Walked so much and did so well during therapy that my insurance company denied my going to rehab as I was considered able to be independent. Boy was I dumb! Day I was being released my leg swelled from toe to hip and stayed that way for three weeks, what had been simple before became excruciating. Found out I was one of the 10% who ultimately don't respond well to this special cocktail and suffer the meds side effects of lyrica and celebrex with extreme swelling.

Degraded to being totally independent to needing help lifting my leg but was able to actually buy $10 leg lifter (looks like a stiff dog leash) where you just hook the circle end around your foot and swing that sucker anywhere you want it to go, great for getting in and out of cars as well.

A few days before my extreme swelling finally went down (swelling caused me so much pain I was downing oxycontin and percocet like it was candy) I managed to pull a quad tendon while doing home therapy, major bummer. Set me back big time. After a week of rest, I was able to start out patient PT and went for 8 weeks, at 3x per week. Was very slow going until the quad tendon healed enough to let me progress.

Now finally I can walk without a cane and have to really concentrate to avoid limping. Still have swelling when I am on my feet which of course causes pain. My first knee replacement did the same swelling thing for about 8 months before swelling became the exception and not the norm. I tend to be a sweller after all my surgeries.

I have had both general and spinal anesthesia for the knees. Spinal scares me more but is actually much better. If you can get your anesthesiologist to really listen to you they can do it right. Because of my reaction to spinals (migraine and barfing for days) my doctor just put me in very light sedation so I was awake during much of the procedure (the drilling and sawing of bone was a bit tough to listen to) and also in some pain but when I asked for more pain relief they gave it to me so overall it wasn't really that bad. When I woke up in my hospital bed I hurt less from the spinal than my other knee when I had general anesthesia.

Overall I have learned that I have to accept that it takes up to a year for a full recovery. My therapist came up with a great idea of cutting my TED stocking at the calf and using it as a compression sleeve which I still wear every day and take off only to go to sleep, it really helps with the swelling and makes it easier for me to be more aggressive with exercise.

Best I can advise people about to undergo this procedure is to be realistic. I have had a total of 11 operations and knee replacement is absolutly the most painful and the most difficult to recover from. You have to really grit your teeth, take the pain meds and fight your way to recovery. My first knee is now perfect (about time since it is 3 years) so I have to believe that one day my recent knee will get there as well. I have learned that everybody is different and so the healing is different. I find that after the first 10 days home from the hospital I felt pretty capable of surving on my own, not able to do housework but able to do my own laundry, cook simple meals (handy stool always by my side) and take care of myself. Since it wasn't my driving leg, I did drive at start of week 5, frankly when I did my driving leg, I recalled I drove at week 5 as well but not with the same confidence (sharp breaking can really hurt).

Best way to prepare for surgery is to exercise your leg as much as possible before, work on doing chair lifts to strengthen your upper body. Have simple snack food on hand like pudding, applesauce, jello, etc for taking meds as it will help your stomach tolerate the drugs. I was put on a 100mg dosage of stool softener twice a day so didn't really have problems with constipation even though my doctor also put me on huge dosage of iron as well. Dextromothophan and steroids were stopped in hospital but I continued on lyrica and celebrex for one week after coming home. Another poster advised on shorts and tee shirts, add sneakers to that list as well. Dressing tools such as stocking aid, lifter and thingy to help put your pants on, take socks off, etc. will also help to make your self sufficient. I used the CPM machine extensively in hospital but after my swelling problem doctors felt it would make things worse so I didn't have to take it home. Skateboard is also a great idea as when just sitting you can keep your knee moving, and moving constantly is key, never keep knee in same position longer than 15 minutes as it stiffens up.

Hope this helps and would love to hear form others who have the longer recovery time like me, hoping this will end quicker than three years.
My experience is a little different than most, so I thought I'd comment. I just turned 66, and had the TKR about 6 weeks ago. It went really well. I had an insert that fed to the knee and gave it a constant dose of pain medication after the surgery. They kept coming to ask what my pain level was, and most of the time I could reply that it was zero. They got me up the first day just a few hours after the surgery to have me stand, but I couldn't put weight on that leg as I was still quite numb from the waist down.

I came straight home the Friday after a Tuesday surgery, and didn't use a potty chair or anything to make the toilet higher. I had devised a method of getting on and off the toilet in the painful months before surgery that involved resting my elbow on the toilet tank and swiveling down to the seat. I was able to get in and out of bed without help also, just using the walker.

My surgeon likes his patients to have physical therapy 5 days a week for 2 weeks after surgery, so the therapist came the day after I came home. I recovered my range of motion relatively quickly, and my walking, with some coaching, was great! I occasionally forgot to use the walker, if I was just crossing the kitchen for a drink or something. Pretty soon, I abandoned the walker entirely. That was at about 2 weeks.

Both physical therapists I worked with advised against using a cane if I didn't need it. They would rather see me continue with the walker if I needed the stability, but they said that canes often cause a limp because we have to compensate as we use it. I didn't feel I needed it, so I never used it.

I had some swelling, but not a lot. The ice machine that circulated ice water over my knee was very helpful with that.

The CPM was also helpful, but I quit using it after a couple of weeks. I never needed help getting on and off once I got home.

After I'd been home a couple of weeks, I developed a lot of pain on the surface of the knee. It was sharp pain, as if the surgery was just yesterday. I went in to the doctor and he explained that in a few cases, the place where the nerve was cut in the surgery can get hypersensitive. On one side of the incision, the knee is quite numb, as those of you who have gone through it can testify. On the other side, the severed nerve can go crazy, and he pointed to the exact place that hurt the worst. He recommended massaging the knee and the scar, just as you would rub your head after you bumped it on the kitchen cabinet.

Now 6 weeks after the surgery, I still have that pain. Generally, walking isn't painful at all, or lying down. But sitting, even in the recliner with my knee elevated still can be very painful, in the same sharp-pain way. Sometimes the whole knee hurts from it. It's also very sensitive to clothing rubbing on it. Walking on the treadmill actually seems to help. Maybe it's improving the circulation.

In addition to the gradually increasing time on the treadmill, I'm adding ankle weights to my leg lifts, and doing some stair exercises and stretches to get more strength in my legs. I've been fairly sedentary, so I'm excited to get into better shape.

One last thing. One book I read recommended getting your weight down as much as possible before the surgery so that your knee can recover without having to bear all the extra weight of an overweight person. I'm at 145 right now, 5'7'', and that, in addition to my relative youth have probably been much in my favor.
[QUOTE=tiredbeinsick;3436349]My history is I had horrible knee pain 5 yrs., stabbing sharp pain from ankles to knees. knees locking up, popping out of joint, usually unable to walk. 53 yrs old. saw orthopedist several times prior to surgery, (Good Looking) did not know what questions to ask, little to no information given, however I do tend to appear confident. Surgery Jan 10. very healthy. several small prior surgeries for other things I was up and going in a remarkable amount of time. I was with the understanding this is a 6 to 12 week recovery time, In my mind I heard 3 weeks I'll be fine!!!
I was given the option for type of anestesia. I chose no spinal or epidural, I was given choice for catheter,I chose not. Asked nurse to protect my modesty in surgery she was very warm, caring.
When I came out of surgery I was on the morphine pump. I was very itchy but in no pain as the day progressed the itching became worse, apparantly itching is a side effect,I had to the extreme and had itched bleeding sores, pain med was changed to something that did not work well finally 3rd change worked, I was weepy. I recall using the bed pan only several times. to pee. I was pretty much in a blur for 1 1/2 days.,
On the second day I was able to go to the bathroom on my own with the walker,I discovered I was unable to lift my leg at all and had to have it lifted for me. very alert 3 rd day. I was o.k. but while the incision site seemed numb my left side of shin and left side of upper thigh throbbed as if hit by a car. 4th day was transfered to a recovery facility for 1 week for after care and physical therapy.
got there at 3 pm. was asked if I had had a bowell movement, no!! was given a stool softener and laxative for 4 more days with no results. It seems every one had the same problem so on top of pain your dealing with constipation, I had my husband bring up magnesium and gas x. took 2 magnesium am and 2 pm. fineally went potty. gas was also a problem where gas x was a gift from God....Nurses are busy don't expect to be babied. They put a triangle bar on the over hang of bed so you could pull your self in.I made a circle with a piece of fabric and hooked it on my foot to pull my leg up in to bed, it worked great.
Day 2 physical therapie, was told to make sure you get pain meds 1/2 hour prior . it made a ton of difference in ability. I loved physical therapie its a bit of work but you being coached and praised and cheered a-.lot. for about 45 min where you work both legs I was unable to lift my knee replacement leg at all and wondered if I would ever be able to again, I did in about 1 week. yea but I could walk with a walker and went up and down stairs on day 2, yes it hurts, it hurts a lot but it is different it is a very tight strong throbbing, not sharp stabbing as before.
Day 2 in rehab I sobbed uncontrollably all day. I did not know why,it was fineally determined by doctors and hospital psycologists that it was anxiety caught up with me. In preperation for surgery I had to put my business in anothers hands, clean house, pay bills,make sure there were groceries at home for family, feel guilty for Husband having to work and come to hospital every night bringing me things, feeling guilty for bothering nurses with any thing,etc.etc.
In 1 week had made big progress. however it was still very painful hard to bend. after the 3 rd day in rehab pain med is no longer delivered every 4 hours you have to ask for it, so make sure you watch the clock. and start asking 1/2 hour in advance. I continued to love physical therapie. your put on coumadin and stockings, the stockings do help relieve pain besides helping circulation.
I am now at 4 weeks, when I keep my leg down for 30 or more min. it swells and is more painful . so my 3 week time line had passed which also caused me to cry -dissapointment that I'm still recovering and not fuly functioning. At 3 weeks the pain is considerably less but still there. I like my pain med 1 every 4 hours, why suffer plus I function better not in pain. going for my 1 month check tomorrow it seems like 1 week. A nurse came to the house 2 times a week to check coumadin levels and incision etc, the staples were taken out in 10 days, some of them hurt coming out but its over fast, a physical therapist came 1 time a week at my request as the copay 35.00 a visit I can do the physical therapie myself, I have to make myself.
I figured out to put my foot on a skateboard while sitting. I can slide my leg back and forth to exercize the knee. I put my hand tight over the incision while bending. it feels better.
Every one all around had told me I've done very well compared to most but it isn't fast enough for me. I stopped using the walker after rehab and never used a cane I have to focus on walking heel to toe and not limping. its just easier to limp. but even I know thats not the way to go. Now I'm just looking forward to the day every one says I'll be so glad I did this. I keep telling my self it could be worse...........[/QUOTE]
Suesan jean
Hey girlfriend, stop and take a deep breath and RELAX! You must have surgery on your knee or face further damage to the knee. Its ok to be scared before surgery. I am a retired nurse and have had several major surgeries in my lifetime and was scared... that's normal. My 28 year old daughter was allowed to stay with me the entire time I was in the hospital. God has richly blessed me with a wonderful daughter! She works with computers and told me, " Mom, you must look at this surgery as an upgrade. Now you will be mom 2.0!" lol My husband took 2 weeks off from work when I came home to take care of me at home. He is an engineer and a man, but we managed to work well together. My home team consisted of my husband, daughter, son, and daughter in law and all of them encouraged me and pushed me at the same time. Even today, 15 weeks out, they still push me..I need this. I am now glad I had the surgery. I walk taller and even though after sitting for over an hour I get stiff, I don't have that awful pain as before. Each week I am turning new corners in my recovery. I too have quite abit of weight to lose..joined weight watchers last week, but once I start losing the weight, my walking will be so much easier. As for your annual Thanksgiving dinner, unless the the guests can COMPLETELY take over with the cooking and cleaning up, don't give it up. Enjoy your guests and meal but realize you won't be able to cook or cleanup. I will keep you in my prayers this coming week. Have your husband keep all of us informed on your surgery and when you can get back to the computer, update us as well. Cindy
[QUOTE=gospelgal;4101816]Suesan jean
Hey girlfriend, stop and take a deep breath and RELAX! You must have surgery on your knee or face further damage to the knee. Its ok to be scared before surgery. I am a retired nurse and have had several major surgeries in my lifetime and was scared... that's normal. My 28 year old daughter was allowed to stay with me the entire time I was in the hospital. God has richly blessed me with a wonderful daughter! She works with computers and told me, " Mom, you must look at this surgery as an upgrade. Now you will be mom 2.0!" lol My husband took 2 weeks off from work when I came home to take care of me at home. He is an engineer and a man, but we managed to work well together. My home team consisted of my husband, daughter, son, and daughter in law and all of them encouraged me and pushed me at the same time. Even today, 15 weeks out, they still push me..I need this. I am now glad I had the surgery. I walk taller and even though after sitting for over an hour I get stiff, I don't have that awful pain as before. Each week I am turning new corners in my recovery. I too have quite abit of weight to lose..joined weight watchers last week, but once I start losing the weight, my walking will be so much easier. As for your annual Thanksgiving dinner, unless the the guests can COMPLETELY take over with the cooking and cleaning up, don't give it up. Enjoy your guests and meal but realize you won't be able to cook or cleanup. I will keep you in my prayers this coming week. Have your husband keep all of us informed on your surgery and when you can get back to the computer, update us as well. Cindy[/QUOTE]

[COLOR="Blue"][B]Cindy, Thank YOU for your post........:)

I am SO GLAD that you are recovering well and feeling pretty good. I think having a GOOD support system helps. :)

I woke up this morning feeling overwhelmed again and weepy. I have read so many posts on this web site and even though each person has their own unique TKR experience, from really good to not good, the one main theme seems to be pain, more pain than expected, and a MUCH longer recovery time and some kind of a "side effect", either minor or major.

That [B]REALLY DOES [B]concern me. I KNOW what I have now, knee pain when I walk. I DON'T have numbness, drop foot, stinging pain, etc....

[/B][/B][/B][/COLOR] This whole unknown thing is TERRIFYING.....!!!:(

I don't know if I am really up to this surgery, the HUGE impact it will have on my life. I don't know which is better, living with my knee or taking a risk with knee surgery. Waiting many, many, many, many months for things to get better......:confused: :confused: :confused:

I have until Tuesday afternoon to decide. Because I have to call after 2:00pm to find out my surgery time. I can tell the Nurse then if it is a "go" or a "no go".
[QUOTE=Exit 148;4103324]
We all find reasons to put off the inevitable, but lets face it. We know it has to be done, it is just a matter of taking over our inner doubts and facing reality.
[COLOR="Blue"][B]I FINALLY reached that point this afternoon. I am GLAD I did......:)[/B][/COLOR]

No one has the same story, but all the stories follow the same track. I'm still new to recovery -- 3 weeks -- but I can do simple cooking, can manage the stairs to the basement for laundry, can make the bed, and other simple tasks. I do sit alot with my leg raised and with ice on it. There is pain, but not something that is intolerable.
[COLOR="Blue"][B]Three weeks in, you sound like you are coming along nicely. I am happy for you. :)[/B][/COLOR]

It is the little things, tho, that make me happy. Being able to lift my heel off the floor to get my sock on, or use my operative leg's toes to nudge my sneaker off the good leg/foot. The leg is still swollen and stiff and as someone said --- like a board --- but this was major surgery, after all. I always feel that because it is mechanical surgery, and not organic surgery, I am lucky. Bones and muscles heal in time. No organic complexities to be concerned with.
[COLOR="Blue"][B]That is an interesting way to look at it.[/B][/COLOR]

When I'm resting, which I do alot, I have to make myself get up to walk around and to get some of the exercises done. Being essentially a lazy person, that is the hardest --- but the feeling when it is done, is worth the effort.
[COLOR="Blue"][B]How many times a week to you go for PT?[/B][/COLOR]

Right now, my husband is in So. Jersey for a few days with work-related stuff, so I am alone. But I don't feel any panic. I can do for myself --- and my wireless phone and cell are glued to me!! LOL! I do feel confidant that I can do for myself, tho, and that is progress from just a week ago.
[COLOR="Blue"][B]That IS progress, being home alone just after three weeks, I am IMPRESSED.....!!! You ARE a determined woman....!!! :)[/B][/COLOR]

So -- If I hadn't made the decision to finally get this operation out of the way, I would still have to face all this. I made the right decision.[/QUOTE]

[COLOR="Blue"][B]Thank You for your post. It is good to hear about another positive recovery. :)

I hope you continue to improve and do well in your recovery.[/B][/COLOR]
[QUOTE=KittyCat62;4108766]
Avenue, I am 8 weeks PO and I still have pain. My surgeon told me at my 2 week check-up that they will not perscribe any more pain killers for me...what I had was all I was getting! At that point i only had 12-15 pills left. I have been very dilligent using them and now only have 2 left. I tryed saving them for PT days because they were pushing me so much. I have been getting by for the most part on 2 Motrin and then three hours later 2 Tylenol. I follow this pattern through the day and I have gotten by so far...although there are days I wish I had more pain pills!!!![/QUOTE]

My God, KITTYCAT62, how dare your surgeon refuse you any more pain meds. These doctors have no idea what this surgery or recovery feels like. At any rate, thank you so much for telling me about the good results you're getting with Motrin and Tylenol. I'm going to run over to the drug store and buy both and give it a try. I'd much rather take those than the pain meds. I really want to get off the pain meds because of the side effects. At least I'm well over the depression they caused me.

I cut waaaaay back on them and only take them when I need them. I'm proud to say that yesterday after coming home from church, the cemetery to place flowers on my Dad's grave, a quick trip through Costco (could the make the store any BIGGER???), and the long drive, I took two acedamenophen(sp) and later one percocet and was able to walk for the equivalent of 4 blocks with my cane for the first time in two years!!!

I think I'm addicted to the pain meds because I can't sleep at night without them. I haven't been taking them at night because I want to save them for the day time when I have pain (only when I walk or stand). I feel horrible at night and can't sleep - it's not painful, I just feel really sort of anxious and unsettled and can't sleep no matter how tired I am.





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