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Six weeks out

Discussion in 'Knee Replacement Pre-Op Area' started by Nanners, Dec 18, 2011.

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  1. Nanners

    Nanners Post-Grad

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    I am a person who has not yet had a knee replacement who is coming to those who are on the other side of the surgery. I need to have two knee replacements and have read up a fair amount about the surgery. I have other health issues, so for the time being have put the knee surgery on hold.

    Have a coworker who has just been told that she is going to have to have a knee replacement and should have surgery sometime in the next few months. Her doc told her her recovery will be 6 weeks and then she can return to work.

    Everything I have read and been told by my docs is that the recovery is 3-4 months before you can return to work.

    I would like to know where you were at at 6 weeks post surgery. Could you have gone back to work, or were you still in too much pain? My understanding is that you must be off pain meds completely, be able to walk two blocks without issues, and be able to walk pain free.

    So where were you at at 6 weeks post surgery? Thanks all!
  2. Tykey

    Tykey Forum Advisor

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    Hi, unless she has a sedentary job for about one hour per week, it's highly optimistic that she would be able to return to work.
    At six weeks she would be able to walk without aids, just pottering about the house, but she would still suffer afterwards.
    Your 3 to 4 months is far more realistic
  3. Nanners

    Nanners Post-Grad

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    Thank you for your response. I kinda thought I was more realistic. I have heard that most are still on strong pain meds pretty regularly, and some are not even driving yet at that time. I have tried to talk to her about it, but because of my other health issues, I think she thinks I am a wimp and that my docs baby me too much. I even ran into a woman in her early 40's recently, who was 4 weeks out of knee surgery and she was still bruised and said she wished she hadn't done it as it was so painful. So I am thinking if she thinks she will be back at 6 weeks, she has a surprise coming to her. Thanks again!
  4. editor98

    editor98 Senior

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    Nanners,
    Why not direct her to this website where she can read about the surgery and recovery for herself? You will be helping her beyond imagination. She can then go into surgery with realistic expectations. But I have to say, even when you feel really prepared by having read A LOT prior to surgery (experiences directly from those who have been there, done that) you are still in for some surprises as each knee and recovery is different.

    But to answer your question--no, returning to work at 6 weeks is pretty unrealistic. I did not even start tapering off of the narcotics till about 7 or 8 weeks out--so could not drive. I work from home, so I confess that I did start back to work at about 3 weeks out--very part time and from my bed. And now at 12 weeks out, I am still working from my bed because it is just too uncomfortable to sit at my desk for a couple of hours at a time with my legs down and bent. I still need to elevate a lot to stay comfortable.

    Hope this helps! Niki
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  5. Josephine

    Josephine Administrator

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    Hello and welcome to BoneSmart. I moved your post to the Pre-Op forum.

    I have two views on this, from a professional standpoint and from personal experience.

    Professionally, as an occupational health nurse, I am often required to clear people for return to work after joint replacements and I never allow them back before 12 weeks. There is often a perception that office work is easier than the factory work but this is far from the case. It's just as arduous but for different reasons. I also require them to return on a Phased return to work.

    Personally, I was in no shape to return to work until that 12 week deadline because of the Energy drain and because I was still taking strong pain meds then. In any case, if you check out these articles, you will also see how protracted recovery from TKR is
    Chart representation of TKR recovery
    How Long Does Healing Take ......

    There are also more articles in the Library you might find useful to read up on before your surgery, plenty of information in there to help you when the time comes.
  6. Jamie

    Jamie Administrator

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    I agree that your friend should do some reading on BoneSmart!!! She's expecting way, way too much.

    The thing to do is to plan for the worst and the most time you can get off from work. Bosses are always thrilled if you can come back early, but they are usually not so understanding if you have promised 6 weeks and it really takes 12.

    The fact is that there is no "average" recovery. Everyone is unique. Every surgery is different. Your friend may have a slower time of it. Or she could speed through. Even that surgeon does NOT know what her recovery will be like!

    Most people won't be cleared to drive for 6 weeks. And, while you might be able to drive then, normal life is a HUGE challenge. You hurt. You need naps. Adding work to the mix will make it worse. I was not driving for 8 weeks and still on some prescription pain meds until about 10 weeks.
  7. WannaplayUT

    WannaplayUT New Member

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    I will be six weeks out in two days.
    I was very optimistic that I would be feeling great by Christmas. Over the last couple of weeks my energy has gone up, not 100% yet just up, and my pain is managed mostly by Diclofenac and Tylenol. However, I still need to take pain meds at night and sometimes during the day, and always before PT.

    I have great ROM, 135 flex. I was driving at 2 weeks, just to the kids schools and back. I worked my meds around the pick up drop off times. :) I can sit for hours with my knee down without too much pain, but, and it's a big butt, lol, later I pay the price with pain and swelling. I can go out without my cane and shop, with a slight limp, but again, pay the price later with pain and swelling. I ice and elevate about 4 times a day for at least 30 minutes.

    This was my sixth knee surgery and I felt very confident that like the other surgeries, I would exceed expectations and recover much quicker that they said I would. I am younger, and therefore, tougher. Ya right! I set myself up for disappointment and got very down on myself.

    I totally underestimated the recovery period and pain. It has been a humbling experience to say the least. It would have been better for me to expect the worse than to go in with such high expectations.

    I hope your friend does great! I know there are several stories on here about "miracle" recoveries and that is awesome. But have her read this forum for sure so that she can be exposed to both good and bad recoveries. I hope this gives you a little help. If you have any specific questions about being 6 weeks out in MY recovery I would be glad to help. Just remember everyone is different.

    I am fortunate to be a stay at home mother, I would NOT be able to return to work at this time. In fact, I just look forward to not having to rely on my overworked husband for help with basic housework and errands so much. Good luck to you and your friend!
  8. goodasnew

    goodasnew Graduate

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    I returned to work at 5 weeks, lasted a day and a half and had to take another 5 weeks to the annoyance of my boss!:sigh: The problem once you go back to work people expect you do exactly as much as you did before the surgery and that's not going to happen - you don't have any stamina until around the 10-12 week mark and will go home in pain and feeling very weak. It's not fun! Best not to make any promises, err on the side of caution and as Josephine advises, try to make phased return to work. Hope all works out well for you.
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  9. BigGene

    BigGene Sr Bonesmartie

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    I agree with what has been said here. It is not reasonable to plan to be back at 6 weeks.

    That said, I don't think you should have the impression that it is impossible or that you will be an invalid for months. TKR is an amazing surgery, the recoveries that you read about here and elsewhere are amazing and life changing. The improvement from your pre-op condition is dramatic and quick. Total recovery will not come till nearly a year but you will be doing great fairly quickly.

    I was lucky, I went back at 6 weeks on my first knee and 7 weeks on the second. My energy level was a little low and I took a couple half days off in the first week back but it was not unreasonable for me.

    I was off narcotic pain meds after four weeks. I was driving at 4 as well.
    I stopped using a cane after 3 weeks.

    My recovery was fast, but I don't think it was a "miracal" by any stretch of the imagination.

    That said, everyone heals differently and I agree that no one should plan on going back to work at 6 weeks.
  10. zjrog

    zjrog Forum Advisor

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    I agree with Gene, don't expect to be an invalid for that time. You need to get moving as soon as you can realistically. But not to the detriment of recovery. I'm an oddball, and went back to work at 5 weeks, with restrictions. But I also had ready access to ice and allowed time to rest and put my feet up. I was off meds by 10 weeks and was discharged from Physical Therapy at 11 or 12 weeks. But, mine is not the norm, I seem to heal more rapidly than most for some reason. (Case in point, I'm recovering from spinal fusion after a bicycle wreck last summer, and was back to work in 8 weeks, but I'm far from healed still...) Just remember that the more you push early, the harder recovery can become...
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