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10 weeks out from TKR, and miserable!!!

Discussion in 'Knee Replacement Recovery Area' started by Kevin Finn, Jan 29, 2009.

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  1. Kevin Finn

    Kevin Finn Junior Member

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    I have had a very, very difficult time since surgery. I thought I was doing alright and had painfully pushed my range of motion to 121. I was real proud. But then I was told by the surgeon's assistant that the maximum range was 120.

    I can get around, but my knee starts burning and aching after about ten minutes on my feet. In addition, I have blood vessels popping out over my knee, and down the front bone on my shin. I have NEVER had blood vessels raised from my skin, and in fact, it has been difficult for many a nurse to find my vessels.

    Anyone have this experience? Should I be concerned? If this is just part of the healing process, I'd like to know. My knee also aches a lot and swells. I use ice and raise my knee which helps, but at what point in time might I be relatively pain free "some of the time?" My surgery was on November 10, 2008.

    I'm still on pain meds (hydrocodone 10-325, three times daily). I think I may have become tolerant of this, because it does not cut the severe pain.

    My surgeon says my knee required some extra work, but has not told me just what that meant. I almost had both knees done at the same time. Oh God! At this point in time, I wish I had not had the surgery, but hope my knee heals and I regret only the healing process.

    Any comments would be appreciated.

    Kevin
     
  2. JudyS

    JudyS Alpha

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    Kevin
    Sorry to hear of your frustration. I had a hip replaced and know at 2 1/2 mojnths I was still on pain meds 2 or 3 times a day.
    I was also doing a lot of walking and swimming. Can you at least find comfortable positions some parts of the day?
    Try to think back to the first few weeks and see if things are better now.
    I'm sure some of the knee people will post and help.

    Keep that icing adn elevating
    Judy
     
  3. BruceT

    BruceT New Member

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    Kevin,
    I had TKR December 2 and have had a very similar experience with pain and swelling. I was extremely active and busy before this, and I too, wonder when I will be able to function again (and sleep at night) in a somewhat normal fashion. Before surgery I had knee pain if I walked too much, but I would sit down for a few minutes and take pain meds,and I would be okay again in a few minutes. Now, if I walk too much, I have pain and swelling for days. I, also, wonder if I should not have had this surgery and also want to know when I will be pain free. This recovery is the most difficult thing I have ever been through. I am tired of hearing, "You tried to do too much."
     
  4. Jamie

    Jamie Administrator

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    Kevin and Bruce, I know it must seem like you should be back to normal activity after a couple of months, but if you read posts on the forum from those who have gone before you, it normally takes quite a bit longer to really feel "normal" again after knee replacement. Recovery takes a lot of consistent exercise (with care not to over do it), icing, elevation and pain meds so you can get it all done successfully. You must listen to your body and rest when it tells you you're pushing too hard. Neither of you indicated what you were doing in terms of PT and I would be curious to know that plus how much activity you are doing each day.

    Kevin, I can't recall anyone mentioning the appearance of blood vessels in their leg as a problem, so maybe it would be best to discuss that with your surgeon as soon as you can just to be sure it's not something that needs attention. I would also ask the OS about what ROM (range of motion) you can expect. I guess it depends on what device was placed in your knee, but we have many posts from TKRers who had more than 120 flex with no problems.
     
  5. Josephine

    Josephine Forum Admin and Mother Hen Administrator

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    I've heard of it - my sister had a long period of engorged vessels in her leg after her first TKR. Happily not after her second! Never did find a reason for it though many were suggested by various doctors including a vascular surgeon! She had ultrasound and Doppler scans but nothing untoward was found. In the end it went away but she worked out for herself that icing and elevating helped the most.

    And as for that flexion - never tell me you're getting freeked out by ONE degree! [​IMG]
     
  6. Rowdy66

    Rowdy66 Graduate

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    Kevin, I know two months sounds like a lot of time but trust me, with this surgery it isn't. It will take up to a year, maybe more, to get to the point where you no longer are thinking about the pain. I had good range of motion and extention right from the get go, too and still had some pain. You are just going to have to trust that every week will bring less discomfort and you will reach the point where you aren't always thinking about the knee. For me it was about 3-4 months before I felt pretty much back to normal and even then I tired more quickly that I thought I should. I had BTKR on May 13 and even now find that while most days I don't think about my knees at all however when it is cold and damp I get arthritic type pain in my knees and stiffness but nothing too dramatic and certainly nothing compared to what it was like prior to surgery. Soon you will join those of us who feel this was the best thing we could have done for ourselves and it does give most of us our lives back. I have other problems that require me to take pain medication on a regular basis but had I not had the BTKR I don't know what I would have done, prior to the surgery my pain was crippling and uncontrolable. You'll get there, just don't give up hope. You know you are about at the time when I got real discouraged for a few days after my surgery something most of us experience. Keep resting and icing and try not to overdo and you will feel better soon. Good luck. I hope you keep posting and find the forum the blessing that the rest of us have. Rowdy
     
  7. Linda2

    Linda2 Post-Grad

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    Two months really isn't that long. Three months could be quite a bit better, believe it or not. My knee isn't supposed to bend as much as it does. My OS just shakes his head and calls me the "poster child" for flexion. There is absolutely no way that 121 is over the top. Plus that, lining up that device is tricky--I bet there's a margin of error.
     
  8. Kevin Finn

    Kevin Finn Junior Member

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    Wow! It's time to make another donation. You folks have lifted my spirits. I have always tried to have a very positive attitude and a good sense of humor, but hsi experience has been taxing, both emotionably and physically. Your responses for help are deeply appreciated. I think part of my problem might be a slight misallignment since the left part of my knee bulges out and aches the most. Hopefully the bone will heal in a way to defray any problems in the future if this is the case. Again folks, I can't express my appreciation enough. I took some of the thread comments to my surgeon's nurse and suggested she make other patients aware of this outstanding means of support. I did not hear from her. I wonder if the surgeon has fear of patients speaking with each other. I have tried, as I ask for information and to see and hold the prothesis, that my rationale is to know what I have in my body and to take personal responsibility for making the surgery successful. How come I get the uneasy feeling that surgeons are always worrying about lawsuits. That is the furthest thing from my mind. It is healing and healing in the best fashion that is on my mind. I will see him tomorrow. Oh well---your help and support is more powerful than five minutes with the surgeon.
     
  9. Max Wallace

    Max Wallace Graduate

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    120% is no where near the maximum flex for the implant. Talk to the surgeon not an assistant. I had to at 125- 130 to be released to return to work. I returned to work at 7 weeks after BI-TKR. I am now at 10 weeks and have 130% flexion and loving every minute of it. You cannot hurt the implant so flex away (no pain no gain).

    Remember everyone heals differently.

    Good LUCK!
     
  10. Josephine

    Josephine Forum Admin and Mother Hen Administrator

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    because they probably are!


    That is wonderfull to hear, Kevin. I'm so pleased we were all there for you.

    As for handling the prostheses, they do cost a pretty bundle and it's likely he doesn't have any in his office to let you look at. You know that we are not allowed to resterilise them once they are opened, don't you? And in fact the plastic part cannot be resterilised at all. So considering the cost - we go to extremes to make sure none are opened in error!
     
  11. Kevin Finn

    Kevin Finn Junior Member

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    Well, my surgeon showed me a prothesis that came out of a redone knee. I could not believe how heavy the stainless steal femur replacement was. My surgeon said my knee didn't look right when he opened it up and said he had to have an xray taken in order to proceed.

    The one time I saw him to arrange for surgery, he was examing my MRI and said he was going to have to reallign my knee. I wonder if he had forgotten before starting my surgery.

    I am still struggling, but I'll hang in there. My knee burns and aches after about 5 or ten minutes on my feet. It still swells like a tennis ball out the left side of my right knee.

    I do greatly appreciate the help you folks give. I hope my pain subsides soon. My left knee crackles, but I don't feel any pain now. I am sure it's because the pain in my right knee supercedes the left. Nevertheless, I cannot see getting the left knee done. Maybe when, and if, my right knee heals, I might reconsider.

    Josephine, thanks for your information regarding the expense and need for sterization on the hardware. My cousin who lives in Redding, Ca., says his surgeon had several different examples of hip replacement hardware and said which one he uses.

    It seems to me the manufactures can have plastic examples of the devices and give them to surgeons to show patients either before surgery or after. I was quite surprized at the weight and the size of the patella insert. I am gald I have a better idea what's in my leg. My surgeon says the company has a somewhat lighter alloy now.

    Thanks Again Folks!
     
  12. Jamie

    Jamie Administrator

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    Kevin, here's hoping things improve for you quickly. Hang in there!! And post any time you need a little support from us.
     
  13. JudyS

    JudyS Alpha

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    Kevin I am glad you are hanging in there with a positive attitude. We are all here for you and each other. I had my hip replaced in June. It was hard to think that I was doing too much when my pain flared up a few times. A walk to the end of the street? But at close to 4 months everything was great. It just takes a lot more time than we want.
    I am in the same boat as you right now. I had back surgery 4 weeks ago and am trying every morning to think of tiny improvements to keep me going!!! I'm afraid I will overdo my walking when I get outside. A few house lengths is all I should do, it will be difficult to stop at that!!!!

    Hang in there you are not alone. Hope you can measure little bits of progress too.
    Oh, my surgeon's office has many parts hanging around, the hiip replacements were in plexiglass. My doc told me that was where most of the weight was as I commented on how heavy it was. I stayed unmedicated into the OR so they could show me as much as they could. I did get tot see the samples (there were so many) but not the real thing.

    Judy
     
  14. Josephine

    Josephine Forum Admin and Mother Hen Administrator

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    Well, errors to happen! How do you think I came by my stash!?
     
  15. Weezy

    Weezy Graduate

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    Hi Kevin! Here's another example of how long this stuff can take... I had a LTKR last April (4/23/08). On August 1, I had to fly from the west coast to Asheville, NC and participate in a week-long seminar/training session. Most days I excused myself after the required sessions and had to go to my room to elevate, ice and sleep. I was exhausted and my knee was swollen and sore...seemed like I could only walk a block or stand for a few minutes before the pain returned and the swelling went wacky.

    That was at a little over 3 months.

    By October, I could walk for long distances and stand for over half a day without even thinking about my knee. No swelling problems (although still some tiredness issues!). So that was at about six months.

    By December, I realized that my "old" knee was killing me and I was using my new knee as my dominant leg again and hardly gave it a thought. That was at about 8 or 9 months. And that was when I scheduled my RTKR.

    Jo and the others are SO right that it takes about a year (or even longer) for things to get pretty much back to normal. I didn't believe it at first, but now I do...and gawd, it seems like an awfully long time again starting at it from 10 days out from my RTKR. Groan. :0

    But the long-term results are so worth it, and I keep hanging onto that. You'll get there! And one day you'll realize that you've been busy and active all day and never even thought about your knee. That's when you'll be glad you did it and realize it was all worth it.

    Weezy
     
  16. aussie

    aussie Graduate

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    Hi Kevin,

    I'm 11.5 weeks out from a TRKR. (That .5 is very important).

    I feel my recovery has been great, still had all the pain, discomfort, sleepless nights, swelling etc that everyone has but there have been little improvements all the time and I haven't needed to ice for ages, went off painkillers weeks ago, (had to go back on them for a thigh problem on the other leg). However even progressing as I have, on Sunday I went to an athletics carnival with a child in my care, (mostly sitting with a few little walks so my knee didn't stiffen up), came home, had a swim, went to the corner store, cooked a BBQ, none of it a real strain at all, but that night I had swelling, needed painkillers and ice.

    I agree we are still early on in our recovery and it's not until our knee lets us know that the reality of this recovery hits home.

    I also had to stand in a queue for 10 minutes yesterday and I experienced the same as you, seems I can walk longer than I can stand still.

    I hope you feel better soon. Hang in there.

    Chris :)
     
  17. calling_all_angels

    calling_all_angels Alpha

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    Weezy,
    Is this knee easier?
    ^i^
     
  18. Weezy

    Weezy Graduate

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    Yes and no! Yes, its easier because I had a different surgeon with different procedures and pain control protocols in the hospital. My quads were not cut this time and that makes a huge difference in so many ways. The overall pain hasn't been as bad, although I'm still not sleeping much; however, I AM being "good" about taking pain meds regularly and I'll continue that for a couple more weeks. Of course it usually hurts the worst at night.

    No, and because of the better pain management I keep thinking that I should be further along than I am! My PT guy has been giving me lectures about slowing down--I'm only 10 days out and whining about not having enough ROM and it swelling to easily. Sheesh! I'm so far ahead of where I was last time at 10 days, but I guess that also makes it worse.

    I WANT IT OVER WITH NOW!!!!!! Wah. and I do need to quit whining...the surgery was great, I'm progressing very well, my hubby and step-son are taking fabulous care of me and spoil me, and I don't have to go back to work--EVER. I'm on sick leave from now until June, and my tenure resignation goes into effect on June 15. I have nothing to complain about and so many things to be grateful for (and I am)...but I just want to get up and do housework and bikeride and walk the dogs and and and.....

    But overall, yes, this knee is lots easier and I learned a lot from the first one and we've done things differently this time. PLUS my new left knee is so much stronger and better for support this time, so I feel more stable. When I did my LTKR, my right knee was pretty bad and unstable and I never really trusted it.

    Is your next one scheduled yet, Calling?

    Weezy
     
  19. calling_all_angels

    calling_all_angels Alpha

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    Weezy,
    My Surgery is March 6th it is a Friday. At least it is not Friday the 13th. LOL
    Weezy about what you said about the" quads were not cut this time". Do most Doctors cut them???? I still have no idea about my knee replacement surgery. except Hubby said Doc told him it was just like a text book surgery. What Text book he was talking about I do not know. BUT I did find out something I though was interesting today at PT. My ROM is back up to 90. I have been icing the little puppy like no tomorrow. But anyway I ask them what the ROM was in my Left leg. Thought it would be interesting to know what it was before they replace it. Ready for this?????? It Is Only 103 and I can do all kind of moves with it. So now I am not going to whine about not being at 120 ROM I don't think I ever was in the last 15 years and I did everything I needed too.
    Thanks Weezy for sharing.
    ^i^
     
  20. 1jt@atime

    1jt@atime Forum Advisor

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    Weezy, I am so glad your second knee has been such a success. What a relief, huh? Karen
     
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