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Knee & Hip Problems Message Board

Knee & Hip Problems Board Index

Hi Stepbill,

I can sort of understand not using the CPM machine (at least after the first night post surgery), but NO SHOWERS for six weeks!? That's ridiculous! I was allowed to shower as soon as I got home from each of my TKRs (a year apart - right one 4/5/11 and left one - 3/23/12), AS LONG AS I covered the staples and bandage that were at the incision site with a plastic bag and masking tape to keep it clean and DRY!!! And once the staples came out at the two week mark, I had permission to wash the scar too!!!

I'm not sure your surgeon is correct about the CPM limiting the range of motion to 90 degrees. Besides, its primary use by MOST Orthopedic surgeons is for night-time post surgery so that the prosthetic knee doesn't LOCK UP in the bent position. (Most patients tend to sleep in all different positions with their knees bent and it's EXTREMELY IMPORTANT, at least according to MY Orthopedic surgeon to keep the TKR knee as straight as possible while sleeping so it doesn't heal in the bent position. Otherwise, it will "lock up" and the surgeon might have to go back in and do a revision to straighten it out! I had to sleep on my back with a pillow under my ankle of each TKR leg for six weeks to make sure that my new knee would bend and straighten properly while awake and doing PT!) I also had to give myself blood thinner injections for the same six weeks post surgery to prevent blood clots from forming in my legs at night. (Not a big deal for me since I am not squeamish about things medical.)

I CAN see where your surgeon wants you to constantly bend and straighten the knee while awake and doing your home therapy to supplement your regular PT sessions. THAT'S IMPORTANT. But don't get too hung up on the range of motion number in the first 3 or 4 weeks post surgery, since every patient heals at their body's own rate.

What I CAN advise you to do to get an excellent outcome is to do EVERYTHING THAT IS ASKED OF YOU BY YOUR SURGEON AND PHYSICAL THERAPIST and stay motivated to do the home exercises on your own in between PT sessions!!! Plus, if you are feeling up to it, and your surgery is early enough in the morning of your surgery date, I encourage you to tell your surgeon that you want to get up and walk on the walker THE SAME DAY OF SURGERY if you feel up to it. I did for my left TKR this year and walked 200 FEET ON THE WALKER THE SAME DAY OF SURGERY!!! (Mine was the first case of my surgeon's day so I got to my Ortho Unit room early enough in the afternoon that the nurses had some time to walk with me!) My surgeon was in the O.R. all that day with other cases so no one had the chance to tell him I had walked so much the same day as surgery. When he came on rounds two days later and I told him, he was extremely pleased at my motivation! (He nicknamed me "Rascal" because I was always up and around on that walker my entire hospital stay!!!!) Still calls me "Rascal" because I had a really quick recovery this time around. My right TKR last year took almost 4 MONTHS to recover from! This left TKR in March, only took about SIX WEEKS for the bulk of the soreness to go away and for me to get full range of motion back. (I'm now at 135 degrees for the left knee 3 MONTHS OUT and was at 140 degrees on the right TKR about 6 MONTHS out last year!) Started walking up and down stairs normally, one foot after the other, this time around after JUST FOUR WEEKS! Last year, it was the LAST ABILITY TO COME BACK about 5 MONTHS later!

I am glad to hear you can't wait to have the surgery. That bodes very well for a quick recovery if you do all that you are asked to do. Don't worry about your wife not understanding why you're so excited about this! Like ANY illness or injury that requires major surgery, NO ONE except the patient going through it can even BEGIN to understand what it's like to be in our position! And in the case of needing TKR's to eliminate the pain of bone on bone? Only us PATIENTS know what the relief of surgery feels like!!!!!!

Keep us posted as your time gets closer.

A couple of suggestions of medical devices to get for home to make things easier on you. If you use a separate bathroom than your wife, get a raised toilet seat for when you have to go potty. It's easier on your surgical knee getting up and down off the toilet for at least the first two months. Also, for showering, get a shower bench seat that sits half in and half out of the tub. It's way easier to be sitting down to shower after a TKR! All you have to do is sit on the outer part of the shower bench, slide in toward the tub and lift one leg at a time into the tub. Just reverse the process when you are done showering. Also, so you don't have to get up during the shower to adjust the water temp, I would get one of those flexible shower heads to use so you can spray yourself while showering. It's a heck of a lot easier than trying to position the shower bench right under the regular shower head! You should also get a cane that has a handle that is straight out on top instead of the standard old rounded handle. The straight out handle is easier to walk with and keep your balance post TKR surgery. Trust me on this one. Been there, done that TWICE!!!

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to post and ask me. Like I said, been there, done that twice with each of my TKRs, so I know what works well post surgery and what doesn't!

Carol (CPW2012)

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