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Knee & Hip Problems Message Board


Knee & Hip Problems Board Index


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.
I posted here earlier in October. At that time was still recovering from my second TKR. Well now I have had my third, yup you read right, my third. I went to see my surgeon for my 6 months postop visit, I was finally walking pretty good, swelling was finally pretty much gone and the only problem I had to report was a tendency for my leg to just buckle right out from under me. Well the minute the doc heard that he had a set of xrays done and saw a shadow that was new, his guess was my implant has somehow broken. So he ordered a CT scan for that same day (fortunately he is chief of surgery so able to move mountains) and had his partner also look at my films. Radiologist didn't see anything but my doc and his partner sitll felt something was wrong but were surprised that I didn't have extreme pain and they could manipulate me so easily. My docs guess was that the plastic portion of the implant must has a small break of some type that made the prosthesis slip in and out of place, when it was out, my knee would buckle and then it would slip back in. He opted to do surgery immediately but first checked with the manufacturer of the implant, J&J DuPuy knee, to check their data base and see if any other surgeon had ever seen this. My doc said it was his first experience in 30 years of doing knees, my luck, huh.

Well I agreed to go under the knife and they opted to reopen the incision and be prepared for a total revision as the worst case scenario. Ends up that was a good plan as I had the total revision of all the plastic components. Bottom line is I am so happy I trusted my doc and went along with his plan. I was up and walking same day, which was same as before, but this time walked even better. Most of the time the nurses were fussing about me moving around my room without a walker. I went straight home on day 4 and felt so good that on the way home, I talked hubby into taking me to the store to pick up some supplies. I was up and about non stop after that and going out and about on errands with hubby every day. By about day 10 I wasn't even using a cane unless I was outdoors and the ground wasn't stable (ice, grass, curbs). I still had awful pain but I didn't care because this knee was really working well. Other than the at home therapy and nurse visits I was released from therapy at the two week mark. My range of motion was so great my doctor and I decided I didn't need any more therapy and could just build back into my exercise routine at my comfort level.

The moral of the story I have come to believe is that if all the factors come together this surgery can really be as good as other posters have stated, just took me three knees to finally get it right. For a few weeks I found that I cut my TED stocking and made it into a sleeve (thigh to calf) and that it was amazing in stopping the swelling which is why I was able to get around so well. It is now 7 weeks after the revision and for the last three weeks I have been getting out of bed most days feeling like a total normal knee. It is only when on my feet all day long that I have some swelling and elevating the leg for an hour or two with ice does the trick, if I think I am going to be doing a ton of walking I take my little TED sleeve with me and just slip it on at the first sigh of swelling. My only residual complaint is soreness as the incision site, having the old scar being only 6 months old and totally reopened again has really frazzled the nerve endings so just a tiny bit of swelling sets off nerve pain and throbbing but that will get better and is just a bother but doesnt make me limp or keep me from doing stuff.

If I had to do these three knees all over again, I think after reading all the posts here I would insist on having spinal for anesthesia versus general, would insist on my own pain pump so I could control my meds, would ask for aggressive antiinflammatory solutions (like celebrex), would have ice on hand all the time (ice packs, ice machine that circulates water), would have compression sleeve for knee to contain swelling. As for therapy, I think the only reason I didn't need it this last time around was that after the first two total knees, I knew what I could do and not do and was not afraid to really bend and straighten my knee. Having that confidence made me relax and just push myself and surprisingly it was easier knowing that I could get a good range of motion (I was at 110 by the time I left the hospital on day 4) so just the knowledge made it easier to get it done. Sort of like having babies, lol, the first is the hardest and after that it isn't strange anymore so it gets easier.

Good luck to all those who still have TKR ahead of them, drive your doctor crazy asking questions and take a stand and demand to be in control.
Hi All
I'm recovering from my TKR of March 9th, 2009. Everything is going good except for the PT. I'm a big man but I've never experienced so much pain from such a small person administering the PT. I know that in the end I will thank my PT for the torture of moving my new knee to such great extents. What I've found is that I can hardly walk for a day or so until the next PT appointment. It's only been a month since surgery and I think PT should be slower and less pain but I can walk on the new knee without pain so it's a definite gain. I've experienced some dizziness after some of my workouts. The swelling is almost all gone now. This is major surgery so I recommend that steady but slow is the key to recovery. i'll be able to ride my Harley in a couple of months at this pace. take care.
Boss Hog
Patti, I am a 57 year old woman and have had three knee replacements. Yup I said three (one had to be replaced within 6 months because it failed, translated in my mind to be defective). Best advice I can give is that it takes time, give yourself a full year. If you can do things like walk, get in and out of chairs and cars then in time you will get the bend you need. Forget what degree you are at. For my second TKR I was at 109 degrees after 3 months when I stopped therapy. Then I went back to my therapist at the 7 month mark and asked if they would measure me just as a favor and I was at 126 degrees. If you just do normal activities as you feel better you will get the range of motion, just try not to avoid bending your knee while sitting. For the tightness my doc gave me muslce relaxers that helped with the pain. I found that ice was my best friend. Ice reduced the swelling which also helped with the tightness and muscle spasms. I also used my TED stocking (cut the lower leg and foot part off) as a compression sleeve when on my feet and active, even doing exercising. The compression helped in keeping the swelling down as well. Hope this helps and have faith, it will get better. Best advice I ever got was to expect a "year for full recovery". Good luck.
[QUOTE=Boss Hog;3950109]Hi All
I'm recovering from my TKR of March 9th, 2009. Everything is going good except for the PT. I'm a big man but I've never experienced so much pain from such a small person administering the PT. I know that in the end I will thank my PT for the torture of moving my new knee to such great extents. What I've found is that I can hardly walk for a day or so until the next PT appointment. It's only been a month since surgery and I think PT should be slower and less pain but I can walk on the new knee without pain so it's a definite gain. I've experienced some dizziness after some of my workouts. The swelling is almost all gone now. This is major surgery so I recommend that steady but slow is the key to recovery. i'll be able to ride my Harley in a couple of months at this pace. take care.
Boss Hog[/QUOTE]
I am only 12 days out, but my home PT is nice. She makes me work but doesn't try to kill me. I am just starting with a CPM and so far it is good. Not too uncomfortable.
Wow I'll second the motion.
I felt that 3-4 weeks would be enough time to at least get around a little.
I had tkr on my right knee april 23rd.I had the nerve block so had very little pain after sugery. Problem was I need 30 min notice before pt or I couldn't move my leg. I'm also 6'2'' and don't fit in a hospital bed to well. Then add a CPM machine. Thank GOD I was only there 3 days.Went homewithout the PT visits, but had a CPM machine at home for 8 days. I think it helpedI also worked out at a Gym for 6 months ptior to sugery.I returned to the GYM at 4 weeks but couldn't do the exercise bike.
The problems I had with recovery were the constipation.Don't know what to tell you to take but take something. Also putting my leg down sauch as for sitting was more painful than the surgery. You could feel the fluid rushing to my leg and it was bad.
We even went to emergency.
Started ice packing to get the swelling down and that really helped with the pain.
I'm at 11 weeks now and the knee I had tkr on is now better than my other one. I still don't have total strength yet but it doesn't hurt any more.
Looking at getting the left one done in Jan. Yippee.
Take Care
One Down (one to go)
My Bilateral TKR was done on May 13, 2009. I had two surgeons, one for each knee. My recovery has been going well, but I have now developed a sharp pain in my right knee when I bend it to take a step. I still have swelling in both knees and numbness from the surgery. After standing for a few minutes my knees feel swollen and I can barely bend them. Wondering if this is normal.

Jim
Junebea, don't beat yourself up! Everyone is different. I was really worried early on because I left the hospital with only 65 flexion. My first PT was very aggressive. Sessions were hell and I gained only a few degrees. Swelling was vicious. I never stopped the therapist, but the agony in treatments was a fearful thing. He told me I had "one of those knees" that would never recover - WRONG! Then I switched PT and it has been excellent since. He works me hard, but not beyond what I can bear. I am at 12 weeks and 115 flexion, and stilll improving every session.
Every knee is different and every circumstance. Your pain threshold may be very low - mine is too.

I work hard at this leg. I have to - the other one is in very bad shape and I am waiting for a call any day to get in to have it replaced. My non-surgery leg makes it very difficult to do a lot of the strenghtening, etc. we'd like to do, but the second surgery will change that.

I had a brother-in-law that had 100 flexion on both of his legs each time he left the hospital after his TKR. That isn't me. I'm much slower, but I continue to improve and this leg is already a God-send to me, even though it is months out from complete recovery. Time and diligence are all you can bring to the table. The rest will be what it will be - but the pain will be gone!

Do not let anyone else's progress get you down. You can't afford it. However, it might not hurt to check into another therapist; be sure to find one you can really trust. That is key!
Take heart and good luck!
It is a shame but unless you have been through a TKR you have no idea the intensity of the pain post op, how hard little things like lifting a leg a few inches can be or how demoralizing it can be to have to rely on others for help. But take heart we all here know how you feel and do care about your recovery. I have had three TKR (one failed after 6 months) and have had the full range of outcomes from horrible to terrific. Best advice I can give is to go at your own pace, it may take you longer but as long as you progress it will ultimately be okay, you have to learn to listen to your body. I used extensive pain meds and found that if I took a stool softener from day one I had no problems with constipation and I didn't get addicted. I also had trouble sleeping but found that if I got out of bed and just walked around a little bit to loosen up the stiffness I could get back to sleep. I used the ice machine and the ice packs and the ice machine is so much better for swelling. I also used the TED hose during the day and sometimes overnight if the swelling was bad. I found that when sitting I would use a skate board (heck even stick your foot on top of a rolling suitcase or a can that is lying on its side) and just gently roll my leg back and forth. Do it slowly at first and keep progressing to a better stretch and knee bend, you control the pace and the tempo and it won't be so painful as sometimes in PT and you will keep the joint loose, the more you use the joint gently, the better the joint will feel. Before aggressive PT sessions I found that using a stationary bike lossened up the joint and made it so much easier to get the flexion and extension I needed. By the time I did the third TKR it was a piece of cake because I knew what to expect and I had 95 degrees of flexion the morning after surgery. Be kind to yourself, ask for help and feel free to not worry about housework, the more you can set up your house before surgery, the less stressful it will be at home. Put things where they are easy to reach, work with your ortho case manager for the at home equipment and support. I have used the CPM machine at home for first two TKRs but opted to not use it for the third. Don't let others get you down and tell you that your progress isn't good enough, every person is different and very knee is different. A TKR doesn't mean you are 100% cured of arthritis, it just means you will be better than before but it takes time. I still have bouts of swelling and pain if I push my self too far so I just back off a bit and figure out how I can get the most out of life while being realistic that I will never have my teenage knees again. But life is good, I walk without a cane, I can go shopping, I travel and once again enjoy life with my kids and grandkids - I may still have some limitations but it is so much better than it was before the TKR. I promise all of you out there that one day you too will feel so much better and be glad you had the surgery. Hang in there and keep reading all the posts here they do help.
[QUOTE=fantail;4089285]I agree - I am SO happy with what I can now do that I was unable to do before my surgery. Every day post surgery I set myself a small goal e.g. I live on a steep slope so I would walk one or two plants higher until several weeks later I got to the top - time for a celebration! I found doing this helped to keep my spirits up. I also did the 'little and often' exercise system where I would do as many reps as comfortable and then repeat regularly during the day rather than all in one hit. One thing that did help was to put my foot on a higher stair and then do gentle lunges stretching my knee. I found this really helped when I was very sore too I often found that when the pain was worst it helped to move rather than rest. Find the opposite now six months down track. I am on holidays (term break) and the swelling and pain I have suffered badly over the past couple of weeks has settled down and I am starting to enjoy my knee again. I was able to work comfortably in my garden yesterday and it's nice to see areas that are weed free again. The spring growth is wonderful and my roses are bursting into bloom, amazing how a garden can survive so well despite months of neglect! :)[/QUOTE]

Where are you from fantail? I have a garden also and it sure got weedy after my TKR in August. ...not much I can do about now though because it's fall here and then that dreaded word (snow) :eek: will be on it's way.

I'm having lots of stiffness and some pain today, I did exercise a bit by bending it what I could, still needs lots of work. I look forward to the day I can enjoy my knee again (next spring maybe? lol). I'm still going to call my Ortho and see if maybe a muscle relaxer would work.

Keil....I'm glad to see that things are going well for you and thanks for the encouragement. Any and all is appreciated. I'm grateful I can come to this board and vent if I have too and you all are so understanding, just makes my day to read your posts. Thanks for giving me the faith to keep moving forward. God Bless! :wave:
[QUOTE=shatteredangel5;4088924]

I have a question for all of you that has had more than one TKR done on the same knee: How long in between the first and next one and why or what happened to make you have another one done?[/QUOTE]

shatteredangel5, I had two TKR on same knee and they were 6 months apart. Definitely not my choice. First one apparently was defective or failed and a piece slipped out of position (plastic piece). I had horrible pain and swelling in the entire leg and it just never felt right. After a while the pain went away but still had swelling and a lot of knee buckling. My doctor suspected that my comments of it doesn't feel right were worth checking out so wanted to operate again to see what was up. I signed a consent for simple look and see to total revision and he opted for total revision once he opened me up and saw a piece broken out of position (I have the DuPuy Sigma rotating knee and the rotating part was what broke). Because I had good muscle tone in my quads, the recovery was pretty much a piece of cake (did I just say that? lol) so much so that my Doctor and I opted to not even have me do PT but to just do exercises on my own. Since it was now my third TKR it isn't like I didn't know what to do. I still went slow at my own pace, frequent rather than dramatic was my motto. During the first month, I was still swilling back percoset and oxycontin but the good news is that the drugs were doing the trick. As far as walking, I walk malls but if I try to just walk around my neighborhood for aerobic walking, my knee will kill me. Yet I can walk miles on a treadmill. My doctor said that for some of us, the hard uneven surface of walking outdoors is jut not suitable, and that it doesn't matter where you walk just find a place to walk that will do the job. I know you can't get out to PT but do you have maybe a twin mattress you can put on the floor and walk in place on. Don't laugh, the uneven surface will work the muscles better but the softness will also absorb the shock, same with a trampoline. I had a very creative PT who was loaded with useful tidbits for making things work. She used to also have me march in place on trampoline or mattress, do small lunges, take steps side to side and backwards and forwards. It will work all the core muscles and really strenghtens the muscles around the joint. Just make sure you are okay with balance or hold on to a wall so you don't fall. Good luck shatteredangel, you can do it and I do know it is probably the hardest thing you ever had to do.:wave:
biblebarb, it is okay. It is just two months, pain at this stage of the game is very normal. Give yourself another month or two and over this time you will start to see some improvement in the pain and fatigue level every day. If you were forced to be inactive before the surgery due to your knee problems, you have to remember you just went through a HUGE trauma to your body. Childbirth was a piece of cake compared to this. I have met a few people with TKR without a lot of pain but most have incredible pain. The weaker you are at the beginning the worse the pain. I was strong for my third TRK so pain was so much better and easier after the first month. Everybody heals differently so just focus on yourself and try to achieve just a little progress every day, don't push yourself beyond excruciating pain. Recovery and exercises are going to hurt but the hurt should be tolerable not unbearable. Motion is your friend not your enemy, just getting up and walking, doing some simple flexion and extension will bring blood flow back into your knee which is important for healing. Learn to love ice, cut your TED stocking if you have swelling and wear it so it fits above and below the knee and acts as compression. When you do work around the house, wear the stocking. Pace yourself and be kind to yourself, we have all been through this and we have all managed to survive. We are all here for you, good luck in your recovery.
[QUOTE=BibleBarb;4095549]ShatteredAngel, I know exactly how you feel. I had an issue with swelling the first month post surgery and the nurse that came to my home told me I had to keep it elevated above the level of my heart as much as possible. I knew this LOL, I'm a nurse, but I was so miserable and drugged I needed to be pushed to do things. But the elevation and ice took down the swelling and the level of pain. I would suggest you try it every time you sit or lie down for a rest. I know how discouraging this is, but know that it will get better. I am 2 months post surgery and my flexion is at 132 which is close to normal. I was encouraged by this and the other numbers the therapist gave me. It showed marked progress when I thought I wasn't doing well.Keep hanging in there and report anything unusual to your Dr. It is better to be safe than sorry. I call his nurse constantly LOL. Keep us posted on how you are doing. It does get better!........................Barb[/QUOTE]

Thanks Barb for your encouragement....I am 2 months out from TKR and still not up from around 90 degrees flexion. *sighs* some day......my Ortho said my motion was good but to still "rest" the knee because of the swelling, but still do simple exercises.....I try to keep it elevated as much as possible, hasn't been above my heart. My recliner does go way back and the foot level goes up and with pillows under my knee, it's not much above my heart, but will put something else under my knee to elevate it even more.

I do have one question though: has anyone ever had the feeling that your knee moves around other than just back and forth like it should? [U]I don't know really how to explain this[/U]...it just feels like it slides side to side when I walk and my knee does buckle at times. I asked my new Ortho and he said he never heard of it sliding, maybe it's just me....I don't know. No one ever told me what the knee was supposed to feel like after it was done. I give!!!! lol:dizzy:

have a nice day all
Hi Shatteredangel I too had trouble with my knee just not feeling right, but it has settled as time has gone by and the muscles strengthened. I am still (6months out) having a lot of trouble with swelling and I find that when there is fluid in the joint it audibly 'klunks'. I thought I was the only one to hear it and it was just how it felt but my physio can hear it too. I find I am still taking paracetamol and ibobrufen most days for pain, but it is nowhere near what I was suffering prior to surgery and I rarely limp now, only if very tired and swollen. I also have had a terrible time with my back and the only thing to have helped are the care of my osteopath and my weekly massages. I agree that we have walked incorrectly for years with our limps and struggles to get about and this has taken a toll on our bodies. My specialist reminded me recently that it takes up to two years to recover fully from a TKR and when I get too down I reflect on how far I have come and the things I can do now that I couldn't prior to the surgery. I also think how lucky we are that modern medicine can allow us to replace worn out body parts so we are not condemned to a life of disability and pain as our antecedents were. I feel for those of you heading into winter - we are currently going through a cold snap after weeks of lovely mild weather, and I have spent the past week at a conference in the south of New Zealand where it was snowing in the surrounding mountains. I really felt it in my knee. I am hoping that by the end of Summer I will be really fantastic! While at the conference I was able to wear heels for the first time in three years and get up on the dance floor and boogie. I can assure you all it felt GREAT!!!!
I think the worst part about having had a TKR is you really do not know what to expect until you have been there. I had my surgery on May 4th and was told that I could probably return to work in 12 weeks ( I am a nurse pounding the floor for 12 hours). I being the utmost optimist knew I would be ready sooner. I did my physical therapy as prescribed and was doing really well. I only had two sessions of out patient therapy because I was doing water aerobics in my pool. I would walk, stretch and do the steps. I would then walk and walk alot. I also have a recumbent bicycle that I used. But it seemed that every time I worked out I would have swelling and my knee just did not feel like it belonged to me. I think the best way to describe it was that it felt like a wooden knee from about six inches above and below my knee. I had pain but it was not a big issue I knew it was suppose to hurt. I got hit with depression....... oh what a monster. Looking back I realize that we are not all text book cases we are individual patient with individual healing. My depression stemmed from unrealistic goals. When I returned to the doctor for my 12 week check up there was no way I was ready to return to work, and I was just told by my orthopod that I had a "perfect" knee. Well let me tell you that perfect "HURT". My physician said that we all heal differently and that I was still healing. He also felt that the medical society did an injustice to their patient when they put a time frame on heaing after a major surgery. I must say I left feeling very ambivalent when I left the office I had been given a reason but I knew I was not ready to return to work. I continued to walk the advice of my physician was to keep walking. Then one morning about 6 weeks later I did not have that dead feeling in my knee. I noticed I was walking and it was not hurting. I went to visit my son who lives in sunny Florida and has 14 steps to his door. It was awkward when I arrived climbing all those steps but after up and down about 8 times a day, going to the beach and walking in water that by the time I left 7 days later I was "almost" taking steps normally. I know my depression was because I expected to much to soon. I also have a clotting issue so I was more concern about throwing a clot post op then any other part of the surgery. My advice to anyone about to have the surgery it "patience". Keep moving, rest, take your pain medication and most definitely take stool softeners. ICE and ICE some more. Expect your knee to be swollen, stiff and painful but also know it will pass.


Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. Donna
[QUOTE=Kytigger;4099481]I think the worst part about having had a TKR is you really do not know what to expect until you have been there. I had my surgery on May 4th and was told that I could probably return to work in 12 weeks ( I am a nurse pounding the floor for 12 hours). I being the utmost optimist knew I would be ready sooner. I did my physical therapy as prescribed and was doing really well. I only had two sessions of out patient therapy because I was doing water aerobics in my pool. I would walk, stretch and do the steps. I would then walk and walk alot. I also have a recumbent bicycle that I used. But it seemed that every time I worked out I would have swelling and my knee just did not feel like it belonged to me. I think the best way to describe it was that it felt like a wooden knee from about six inches above and below my knee. I had pain but it was not a big issue I knew it was suppose to hurt. I got hit with depression....... oh what a monster. Looking back I realize that we are not all text book cases we are individual patient with individual healing. My depression stemmed from unrealistic goals. When I returned to the doctor for my 12 week check up there was no way I was ready to return to work, and I was just told by my orthopod that I had a "perfect" knee. Well let me tell you that perfect "HURT". My physician said that we all heal differently and that I was still healing. He also felt that the medical society did an injustice to their patient when they put a time frame on heaing after a major surgery. I must say I left feeling very ambivalent when I left the office I had been given a reason but I knew I was not ready to return to work. I continued to walk the advice of my physician was to keep walking. Then one morning about 6 weeks later I did not have that dead feeling in my knee. I noticed I was walking and it was not hurting. I went to visit my son who lives in sunny Florida and has 14 steps to his door. It was awkward when I arrived climbing all those steps but after up and down about 8 times a day, going to the beach and walking in water that by the time I left 7 days later I was "almost" taking steps normally. I know my depression was because I expected to much to soon. I also have a clotting issue so I was more concern about throwing a clot post op then any other part of the surgery. My advice to anyone about to have the surgery it "patience". Keep moving, rest, take your pain medication and most definitely take stool softeners. ICE and ICE some more. Expect your knee to be swollen, stiff and painful but also know it will pass.


Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. Donna[/QUOTE]

Dear Kytigger:

Thanks for reminding everyone that "it takes as long as it takes" because each of us heals differently and in an individual time frame. No one can set a time for your healing! :eek:

Shirley H.
Susan Jean you are not a baby. What you are facing is scary and we all know that. We all also know that there is good news on the other side. How long it takes to get there and how hard the journey is different for each of us and even for the same of us on different knees. The only assurance is that GOOD NEWS is on the other side. I have had a total of 9 orthopedic surgeries (1 back, 1 shoulder and 7 knees with 3 of the 7 knees being TKR) and I still hate the thought of surgery and am frightened by it each time. That is normal don't be ashamed about it. I have had the surgeries with general anesthesia and with the spinal. I personally like the general better as for some reason it frightens me less but I found that I actually recover much better with the spinal so I just had to suck up my fears (and I am talking about crying like a baby just before the procedure began) and take deep gulping breaths and let my doctors do what was best for me. To my shock and surprise once I did that (sort of like surrender to their knowledge and competence) it became easier for me. Now don't get me wrong before each surgery I still drive them nuts with all my admonitions about my physical reactions to anesthesia (horrible vomiting, nausea and spinal migraines) and for the last two procedures it was a piece of cake (I can't believe I just said that, lol, but it was). Now I realize my anxiety going into the procedures must also impact my outcome after the procedures.

We can all promise you that the pain of a TKR is intense but it is possible. Pain meds are a wonderful thing, lol. My surgeon doesn't believe in pain pumps or morphine but he will give me percoset and oxycontin and that does the trick. I have learned with each narcotic pain medication to load up on stool softeners and to drink lots of fluids from day one and so far I have never had a problem with constipation and by weaning off the narcotics I have never had a problem with withdrawal and thankfully have never become addicted. For about two weeks prior to my TKR, I try to go cold turkey from pain meds (start weaning down about two weeks before that) and I find that my body responds better to pain meds because of the break.

As for getting around, my first TKR I was a hot mess because I was so afraid to move my leg because it hurt so bad. With my second I learned that by moving there was relief on the other side of the pain and with my third I was just hopping out of bed within hours of the procedure and walking unaided in about 5 days. That is not to say I didn't have a lot of pain for each one, just that I was able to better understand what to do to get past the pain. If you have kids, the best example I can give you is it was like childbirth and nursing, hard as heck the first time around but the second one not nearly as frightening. Our minds are our biggest obstacle to recovery both in being afraid and also in being unrealistic about our expectations. I am now 57 and if I could change anything it would be that I would have demanded I had the TKR sooner and I would have all those years I lost not being active and able to participate in life the way I wanted to. I am now 10 months out from my last TKR and just came back from a wedding where I danced my butt off for the first time in about 10 years. It felt so good, by the end of the reception my knees, ankles, back and feet were killing me, I could hardly walk but man did I feel so good to have been a participant in life. I popped a few darvocet and by the morning I was fine again althougth a little stiff from all the bogeying I did like a fool.

As for quadracep sparing, my surgeon does 5 to 7 TKR/week and as he tells me, I will cut whatever incision and muscles I need to in order to do the job right and how much I cut depends on what I see when I start cutting and what I encounter once I am in the knee, no more and no less. The big difference I do know is that having the TKR in a Joint Center facility (dedicated unit of a hospital that handles joint replacement only) is the way to go. The staff are specially trained and the support is so much better and therefore the recovery is much easier and less frightening. In a joint center, you are not sick so you wear your own clothes, have a bigger room to get around in, a huge recliner to make it comfortable to be out of bed and you interact with patients who just went through what you did on the same day so you can bolster each other up and even compete for who can walk further and get more flexion. My hospital sponsered races around the unit and it was infectious, every time you passed the progress board, you would look to see where you were in the race and work to be the first place winner, lol. Pain management was the number 1 goal of the staff and they realized if they could keep the swelling and pain to a minimum the patients spirits and recovery would be so much better and easier.

Good luck with your surgery and we are all here rooting for you and keeping you in our prayers and we all know that you will look back on this afterwards and be glad you did the surgery. Be patient and kind to yourself, you are right, a TKR is a very big deal and the healing is tough and might be the toughest hurdle you ever had to deal with but you will come out on the other side much better and a total winner. I can't wait to see you back on the boards with your message to others about to face a TKR that you are glad you did it.
Exit 148,
This must be a "guy" thing when it comes to grocery shopping. My husband is the same way, but we communicate by cell phone while he is in the store. When I send him to the store I usually get 3 phone calls from him.

KittyCat 62.
A friend of mine who had TKR and went to PT, suffered the same symptoms after one session like you did. Her leg was so hot and swollen, she thought she had developed a blood clot. The ER doctor told her to take acouple of days off from PT until the swelling and heat left the leg.

Beerhunter,
I didn't have an overhead bar on my hospital bed..I sure did want one. The nurse told me I had to learn to get out of bed on my own and the bar would hinder my efforts. When I came home from the hospital, my husband bought from the local pharmacy a 15" metal bed railing that fits between the mattress and boxsprings. I still use this railing when I am standing to help get dressed. I hold on to it to do leg lifts on the surgical leg. My husband's company insurance payed 80% of the cost. I am sorry you had a bad experience at the hospital. Don't let that get you down in your home recovery.
[QUOTE=gospelgal;4107060]Exit 148,
This must be a "guy" thing when it comes to grocery shopping. My husband is the same way, but we communicate by cell phone while he is in the store. When I send him to the store I usually get 3 phone calls from him.

KittyCat 62.
A friend of mine who had TKR and went to PT, suffered the same symptoms after one session like you did. Her leg was so hot and swollen, she thought she had developed a blood clot. The ER doctor told her to take acouple of days off from PT until the swelling and heat left the leg.

Beerhunter,
I didn't have an overhead bar on my hospital bed..I sure did want one. The nurse told me I had to learn to get out of bed on my own and the bar would hinder my efforts. When I came home from the hospital, my husband bought from the local pharmacy a 15" metal bed railing that fits between the mattress and boxsprings. I still use this railing when I am standing to help get dressed. I hold on to it to do leg lifts on the surgical leg. My husband's company insurance payed 80% of the cost. I am sorry you had a bad experience at the hospital. Don't let that get you down in your home recovery.[/QUOTE]

never again, the other knee isnt near as bad as the left knee, all I do is walk, take it very easy on my knees





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