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Is knee replacement more painful than hip replacement?

Discussion in 'Knee Replacement Pre-Op Area' started by badtothebone, Feb 4, 2011.

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  1. badtothebone

    badtothebone Junior Member

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    Hello,
    I'm new here but I have been a "lurker" for a while. I have found so much useful and encouraging Information here. I can tell that you are a great group of understanding people. I have had rheumatoid arthritis for 21 years and last year at age 45, I had both of my hips replaced. I'm scheduled for a LTKR in March and RTKR in June. The hip surgeries went well. I was back to work at 7 weeks full time. Won't make that mistake again! After 2nd surgery I went back at 5 weeks for 2 hrs per day for 3 weeks and it was a much better plan. Can anyone tell me how the pain aNd recovery of a knee replacement compares to a hip replacement? I'm starting to get nervous and would like to know if they are comparable. Thank you for any help you can give me.
  2. 1jt@atime

    1jt@atime Forum Advisor

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    Hi badtothebone and welcome to Bonesmart. I have had both knees replaced and one hip replaced which was then revised this past December. Most people will tell you that knees are harder to recover from because of the effort in regaining your ROM and because the knee is a larger and more complicated joint.

    If you follow the advice of others on this forum, you will find that it doesn't have to be as painful as others might lead you to believe. A lot of people want to push their knees as hard as they can to regain ROM and that leads to swelling which counteracts what you are trying to do. So, slow and easy, rest, ice and elevate are the key. You have been through replacements already so you know the emotional aspect of these surgeries.

    My hip has been a much harder recovery, both times, then my knees. I had major reconstructive surgery of my hip and pelvic region 23 years ago and I think that is one of the major causes of my problems. Of course it doesn't help to have a defective prosthesis and having to go through it all over again one year later. I have also dealt with other issues with my hip that have made these recoveries worse then my knees.

    Each joint is going to be different. You probably could tell us that one hip was an easier recovery then the other and you will find the same with the knees. So it's really hard to compare for this one aspect. You shouldn't get nervous about this. You are a pro at joint replacements by now and I think you will do just fine with your next surgery.
  3. badtothebone

    badtothebone Junior Member

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    Thank you for your reply. I'm sorry that you had complications with your hip. I know that had to be discouraging to hear that you had to go through that all over again. You are so correct in saying that the surgeries were different. I was not expecting that since it was the same joint, I thought surgery and recovery would be exactly the same. With my right hip I had a lot of bruising, not too much pain and very little swelling. The 2nd one I had more pain, more swelling and less bruising. My recovery was faster though. You would think that I wouldn't think I wouldn't be so fearful this time but I am. You have eased my mind a great deal though. I guess it's something we all have to work through to get our quality of life back. I try to think about how good I'll feel after I'm finished but sometimes I have little pity parties for myself. LOL
  4. Josephine

    Josephine Administrator

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    Hi, bttb, and welcome to BoneSmart! That's a key question you asked. I think, from an outsiders pov (I've only had one knee done) that knees are tougher than hips. The pain is different because of it being in a confined place, unlike the hip with has lots of soft tissue around it, and also a much bigger joint than the hip - about 4 times the size! Plus it has a fraction of the soft tissue around it. This means swelling is the main 'enemy' because it's got nowhere to go. So combating the swelling is crucial, even before you start worrying about ROM. Though many surgeons and PTs will tell you otherwise.

    For starters you could read the standard 'set' of Library articles but do read most of what's in the Library. It will prepare you no-end.

    The importance of managing pain after a TKR and the pain chart
    How Long Does Healing Take ......
    Elevating your leg to control swelling and pain
    Discussion on managing pain in TKR surgery
    Using ice

    Some suggestions for home physio (PT)
    Myth busting: The "window of opportunity"
    MUA (manipulation under anaesthetic) and adhesions
    It's never too late to get more ROM!
    Myth busting: on getting addicted to pain meds
    Post op blues is a reality - be prepared for it
  5. Jamie

    Jamie Administrator

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    Welcome, badtothebone!!! We LOVE it when our lurkers decide to become active BoneSmarties! I'm glad you did.

    With your knee replacements, it's going to be a good idea to plan on being off work longer than with your hips.....probably something like 12 weeks. Some folks actually do heal faster and return to work earlier. But if you plan for the max and do better then both you and your employer can be happy!

    I look forward to hearing more from you!
  6. badtothebone

    badtothebone Junior Member

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    Thank you Jo and Jaime for the warm welcome! I have learned so much on this forum. I've been reading a lot in the library to get prepared as much as I can. There is a wealth of information there. I believe this will be the toughest surgery that I've had. It is so nice to be in contact with people that have gone through it already and understand your fears and frustrations. I will be shopping for some ice packs and peas!!!
  7. Jamie

    Jamie Administrator

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    Bad.....you're going to be just fine. It's always the best plan to be prepared and I'm glad to know you've been doing some BoneSmart reading. But never fear....we're only a keystroke away whenever you have a question or concern.
  8. referee54

    referee54 Moderator

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    Welcome to the fourm! This is a great place to get all kinds of questions answered and to find all kinds of information. Josephine, Jamie, and Jaycie are great and have tremendous expertise.

    i had a BTKR, so I cannot speak for the "hippies", but from what I have heard a TKR can be more challenging than a THR. that being said, though, after working through the rehab/PT post-surgery stuff, it was certainly, without a doubt, absolutely worth it.

    Please ask questions and read from the library tht Josephine has posted for you, and be sure to keep us posted as to how you are ding after your procedures. I myself found this place after i became somewhat frustrated during my recovery from my BTKR, and that was over three years ago---life is good!

    Tim C.
  9. badtothebone

    badtothebone Junior Member

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    Thank you for the advice and inspiration. I'm too much of a chicken to have both knees done at the same time. :). The 1st couple weeks of PT nearly killed me for the hip. From everything that I've read, I think the knee will be a whole different beast. My doc Told me that I did well with the hip surgeries but that recovery from knees will be much slower. I guess I just didn't want to believe that, but I want to be prepared as much as I can. That's one of the best things about this site. Honest straight forward advice! Thanks again.
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