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Knee & Hip Problems Message Board

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Re: TKR on 4/24/12
Jun 2, 2012
Hi Paul,

No, you are NOT going crazy thinking that your re-hab from TKR should be going faster than it is! Everyone heals at a different rate and even within the SAME patient. like myself, it took two different rates of recovery from my knee replacements! Last year (4/5/11) I had my right knee replaced (but also had to have my left knee arthroscoped during the same surgery because I had a left meniscal tear AND torn ACL!). THAT entire rehab took ABOUT 4 MONTHS till the soreness in the right replaced knee totally went away! I was back in the O.R. this past March (3/23/12) for my left knee replacement because "end-stage" osteoarthritis undid the excellent scope my surgeon did last year faster than either of us expected! My left knee was actually worse when my surgeon opened the knee to start the replacement surgery than he anticipated. My ACL was TOTALLY GONE and the cartilage was pretty much gone as well! After he cleaned out the remnants of all those pieces, he had to do much more cutting of the femur and tibia to fit the prosthetic knee. Surprisingly though, I had a MUCH FASTER RECOVERY this time! (Partly because I already had the right knee done and had at least that stable knee to rely on as I was recovering.) My body happens to respond very well to major surgery and I am a fairly quick healer. After just 4 weeks post surgery, I was walking up and down stairs "normally" one foot after the other with very little pain in my left knee from being worked on in surgery. And after just 9 WEEKS post surgery, my range of motion for the left knee is 135 degrees - 5 shy of the right one at 140! (And I have pretty much shed the use of my cane. I take it with me in case I will be somewhere that has uneven terrain, just to be safe, but if you were to watch me walk right now and I had not told you I had two TKRs, you'd NEVER be able to tell!) Plus about a week ago, my insurance carrier, Blue Cross said they would no longer pay for my PT rehab on the left knee because, based on progress reports sent to them by my physical therapist, they felt I'd reached all my post op PT goals!!!! (I now go to my PT facility as a paid member - $50/month - so that I have the reassurance of being under the supervision of my therapist as I go through my routine on my own - JUST IN CASE I should run into problems.) Both my surgeries were the first case of the day. But last year, because he had to operate on both knees, my surgeon wouldn't let me start on the walker till the next morning. This year, since it was only one knee being done, I told my surgeon going in, that if I got to my Ortho Unit room from Recovery early enough in the afternoon and felt up to it, I was going to walk that same day. AND I DID - I WALKED 200 FEET UP AND DOWN THE UNIT ON THE WALKER THE SAME DAY OF SURGERY!! When my surgeon came on rounds two days later, I told him about it and he was very pleased and amazed! (His new nickname for me is "rascal" because I was always on the go the whole time of re-habbing the knee!!) But then, he knew I went in to THIS TKR EXTREMELY MOTIVATED to have a quick recovery time. He even predicted to me a month before surgery that he thought this TKR re-hab would actually go much faster for me, and he was right on target!

My point being, Paul, cut yourself a break here! You just might be a slow healer. Just stay MOTIVATED and DO EVERYTHING YOUR SURGEON AND THERAPIST ASK OF YOU AND I PROMISE you will be feeling great by the end of the summer!! Just don't overdo each of the exercises in PT right now, and make sure they ice your knee after you finish each session to keep the swelling down!!!! Also, ask your PT if there are some exercises that you can do at home to help speed your recovery. I'm sure he'll have a bunch to show you how to do.

By the way, a really good therapy exercise for post TKR is swimming and water exercises. If you have access to a pool, check with your surgeon first to get his okay, and then go swimming and do some water exercises like doing "lunges" with your knees in the pool. My co-op pool opened Memorial Day weekend, but I have to wait till June 11th when I see my surgeon to get the okay to go swimming.

Also, I don't know how your scar looks, but if you want it to fade to a point where it's barely visible a year from now, get a small bottle of Vitamin E OIL from CVS (or some other local pharmacy) and put just a smooth few dabs of it on the scar at least once a day (like right before bed). I can almost guarantee that within 6 to 8 months from now, you will barely be able to see the scar!!!! The stuff really works!!!

Keep the faith! Keep me posted on how your PT is going.

Carol (CPW2012)

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