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Knee & Hip Problems Message Board

Knee & Hip Problems Board Index

Hi WHS. I just celebrated the 10th anniversary of my bi-lateral TKR's. Not too many people do both at once and it can slow your recovery....not the knee recovery but your whole body.

I'll share my experience with you. I had the good extension and 120* of flexion at 8 weeks. I did everything my doc asked. I wanted to keep up with my PT and said to stop after 3 months. Why? He told me that I just needed time to heal and to stop pushing my body so hard. You can overdo the PT.

The fact is, you just went through having both legs broken above and below the knee. The bone needs to grow into the prosthesis. If you're like me, you came out of surgery taller and you muscles have to stretch and that takes months. I had anemia from the surgery for over a year despite 4 auto-transfusions.

So I stopped pushing myself and just started taking care of the rest of my body. You lose a lot of blood with these surgeries and it is extremely stressful on the body. I am about to undergo my 3rd spine surgery in 2 years and my doc is very worried. He told me ANY major orthopedic surgery such as spine or TKR's or THR's take a full 2 years for the body to recover. And he's right.

I started walking regularly about a year and half after the TKR's and the pain was gone and so was the stiffness. I eventually was able to stand for a 12 hour day at work and walk 5+ miles. But you must give yourself and your body time. Heck, it takes a full year for your body to recover just from the anesthesia.

You may be pushing to hard. My doc warned me about that as I'm a real worker after surgery(I've had 14 knee surgeries). Muscles grow VERY slowly. Bone needs to repair. I've met people with metal allergies and you usually have some kind of localized rash with that. Ask for a skin test. My doc did that prior to surgery.....tapped 2 disks of metal to the inside of my arm for 48 for each of the 2 major metals in the joint.

I just think you aren't allowing your legs to heal. All that PT may be undoing the healing that is taking place. Consider it.

As for me.....I LOVE MY KNEES! They are as pristine as they were 10 years ago. But here is something to think about. TKR's are like tires on your car. If they are rated for 30,000 miles then you can be pretty sure they will wear out at 30,000 miles. Same for knees. They will wear out if you keep pushing them. My doc restricted me to no more than 10-15 miles/week of walking and would prefer if I kept it under 10. I have and they are great.

Give it time. You're never going to be the athlete your were. That's not what TKR's are for. They are a replacement for a wheelchair which is what you were headed for. I lost so much bone in my left knee I went through the surface of the joint and had to have bone marrow drained each week for 6 months prior to surgery. I came out of surgery 2 inches taller. And since my legs were straighter, I had to get all new shoes.

I'm just glad to be out of pain and walking. You will get there. Give it time and give your legs a rest.

gentle hugs.........Jenny
Right knee... TKR on Feb. 2, 2009. I pretty much lost the first month of PT, due to pain. Medial aspect of knee was painful to the touch. I couldn't sleep in bed, couldn't find a position that didn't result in pain. Thankfully, I had a recliner in the living room in which I could spend both days and nights on my back. I used the ice water pump as often as possible to reduce swelling. I found that if I placed a thin, wet dish towel over the knee, then placed the water pad on that, and wrapped it all with an elastic bandage, it worked much better than the ice pads at therapy. At least an hour of icing per sitting worked best. Of course my quads shrank even more than they were prior to surgery. The pain of the OA for the last few years kept me from maintaining leg strength, especially in the right leg. I have been thinking that I have been lagging behind many TKR patients, but things have been going really well, lately. I was only 100/10 degrees at 6 weeks PO, and 116 at 12 weeks. Then, the flexion started to loosen up. I was able to achieve 1 to 1.5 improvement at every PT session. I finally hit 130 on June 18, 2009, 4 1/2 months PO, and extension is somewhere between 0-5. Surgeon told me at the 4 month checkup that anywhere between 0-5 was excellent. He said my progress was "phenomenal". (Of course he may have been pulling my leg. Pardon the pun.) I can go up stairs unaided, but still don't trust either knee, so use a handrail going down. A year ago I had to use a two-wheeled cart to carry my chain saws to and from downed trees. At two months PO I was carrying my biggest saw in my right, walking without pain inside the joint. Following surgery, the doctor stopped in recovery and confirmed that the joint was bone on bone. I have found that the Nustep machine at therapy has been particularly helpful, much more so than the stationary bike. At home I have used a towel around the ankle to pull on the lower leg, as an aid to increase flex. I have found that improvement has come much better when using a physical component, as a goal of stretching, rather than just the stretching at therapy. When stretching without a goal, pain always got in the way. Best of luck (and surgeons) to all.
I am a 62 year old male and had TKR on the left knee on August 14th. Surgery will kick your butt, however, progress happens quickly. On the day after surgery I was walking about 50 yards with a walker. I prepared for the surgery with heavey workouts 3 days a week for 4 months prior to surgery--boy was that worth it! My leg strength was very good at the time of surgery.
2 days after surgery I was walking with one crutch and 4 days after surgery walked with no assistance from the wheel chair at the hospital entrance to the car for the trip home.
Been using a cane for stability only when walking outside but inside do not need any assistance at all.
Therapy is tough and right now I am at 90 degrees with a ways to go but progress is being made daily. I use the pain meds only before therapy at this point.
[QUOTE=GaterGal;4104986]Hey, everybody! I'm 8 hours out of surgery and feeling okay! I'm in the cpm machine, have the compression things merrily inflating along on my other leg. I was hoping to lose 50 pounds in the next few days in the hospital (lol) but unfortunately I have an appetite and just ate lunch! But I eschewed (ptl) the buyers and chips and ordered fruit and cottage cheese. I haven't slept yet. And I'm not drugged out. Just taking in what I need and haven't had any the past hour. O hope I'm not jinxing my recovery by writing this. By the way, lest you wonder how I am posting this, I didn't think my iPhone would work in my (private!) room (all joints get private rooms!) but it does.[/QUOTE]

[FONT="Comic Sans MS"] It sounds like you are doing great. My first couple of days after surgery now seem a bit of a blur. I had a spinal block and that Versed sedation they give with it can really play havoc with the brain. I remember doing PT and talking with people - but the content and time seem weird. By the third day I was more with it. My son said after the surgery my surgeon came and said, "She did great - - - - she just doesn't stop talking, does she?" Lord knows what I said.

In the hospital I had that morphine pump right inside the incision so it really wasn't until a week or so later after the staples came out and stuff and PT started in earnest that I begin to have pain. But as you will note on forum, we all have slightly different experiences. I'm 72 so I have all kinds of arthritis and sciatica to make things more challenging. I'm 12 weeks post-op now.

I still have rough times at night. It seems as soon as I crawl in bed and straighten the leg out I get a lot of pain. I also have two lesions that appeared a month ago on the right side of the incision scar that at that time we assumed was an insect bite. The areas aren't getting better and pain and now they suspect shingles. Go to a dermatologist next Tuesday.

Keep the faith and keep in touch. I'm off to PT this morning and my leg is stiff as a board. They'll fix that in short time.....ouch!


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