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Bilateral TKR 13 Months and Counting

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DOUBLE TKR

DOUBLE TKR

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My knees feel as stiff now as they ever have. Just stiff -- hard to even bend for the little bend in a normal step. I have looked all over the web site -- WHICH I LOVE!! -- and I see comments about pain and stiffness after maybe doing too much activity or exercise, but my knees feel stiff nearly all the time. Is that normal? I think the underlying anxiety is, when will I know if something is wrong? What if I'm one of the few who get scars or adhesions? I am still icing at least twice a day and elevating whenever I sit. I am more active because I just feel better overall, but I am following the advice about how to progress.
 

sistersinhim

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You say you are more active. That means your knees are probably more swollen. Swollen knees are stiff. Even if it doesn't look like you are swollen on the outside, you still have lots of swelling on the inside. There's not much room in there, and that restricts movement. Are you elevating toes above your nose? Are you icing the whole time you are elevating? These two things, plus lots of rest, are key to reducing swelling.
 

Kazmeraz

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We had our surgery around same time. Mine was only the one knee though. I am struggling with same anxieties and worries as you. Stiffness swelling combined with ‘I wish I’d never had this’ feelings. I try not to think about ROM or flex or ..... as I can’t get them so no point beating myself up about it. I trust what I’m told on here by people who have gone through this experience. That it will get better with time on it’s own.
This forum has really helped me especially on days which were gruelling.
I too get lulled into thinking I can’t jyst sit here and do nothing all day so I go for walks which are probably too long then the swelling kicks in with the stiffness which then stops the knee bending.
We will feel better but its highly likely to take much longer than I was lead to believe. 6 weeks and I would be back at work. Haha as if.
Every day under our belts is day towards recovery. We will have horrible days but they only make the better days better as we appreciate and value them more.
 

Celle

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My knees feel as stiff now as they ever have. Just stiff -- hard to even bend for the little bend in a normal step. I have looked all over the web site -- WHICH I LOVE!! -- and I see comments about pain and stiffness after maybe doing too much activity or exercise, but my knees feel stiff nearly all the time. Is that normal? I think the underlying anxiety is, when will I know if something is wrong? What if I'm one of the few who get scars or adhesions? I am still icing at least twice a day and elevating whenever I sit. I am more active because I just feel better overall, but I am following the advice about how to progress.
It's only just over 6 weeks since you had this major surgery and it's perfectly normal to still feel stiffness, In fact, that stiffness can linger for months. It just fades away gradually.
Swollen and stiff knee: what causes it?

You can help the swelling to go down by icing and elevating. Why not ice your knees every time you are elevating them? You do need to do it more frequently than twice a day, and for at least 45 minutes each time.

Don't worry about getting scars or adhesions. You need scars - they're part of the normal healing process and are what hold your knee tissues together.

As for adhesions, in spite of what the PT therapist may tell you, they are quite rare. They aren't just sitting there waiting to pounce if you don't exercise enough.
Scar tissue and adhesions - what's the difference?

Don't forget that recovery from a knee replacement takes a long time. It can take a full year before all your soft tissues are completely healed, although you will feel heaps better long before that. At 6 weeks, you are still in the "angry tissue" stage. Everything is still inflamed and upset. It takes time for your knees to calm down and heal.

This recovery is a marathon race, not a sprint. Dig deep for all the patience you can find.
 

Roy Gardiner

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but my knees feel stiff nearly all the time. Is that normal?
Heck yes!
What if I'm one of the few who get scars or adhesions?
You will know soon enough. Don't sweat it.
I am more active because I just feel better overall, but I am following the advice about how to progress.
:thumb: Like it says, if you do a bit more and get swelling or pain, er, do a bit less. Easy peasy.

Gentle stretching, no pain, Rest Ice watch telly, that's about it. :) :-) (:
 

SusieShoes

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Oh yes, I remember it well. At your stage of recovery, not yet two months, my knees were quite stiff. The stiffness didn’t go away completely for several months. What made them more stiff on occasion? Lots of activity. Spending a long time standing. Spending a long time sitting with my feet on the floor, especially at a table. Long car rides. The aftermath (that night or next day) of a new exercise.

At this point, lots of things will make your new knees stiffen up. Elevate, ice, rest. Repeat. The best remedy is time, which fortunately costs us nothing but patience.
 
OP
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DOUBLE TKR

DOUBLE TKR

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Is there some point beyond which icing doesn't help? I have a Berg ice machine. Does it help to ice for longer than 45 minutes? Sometimes I sit with it (watching telly :)) for two hours. And then my knees feel numb. The machine takes a lot of ice and although it allegedly lasts for many hours, we've found that at most, the ice lasts for maybe 3 hours or so. My poor spouse is constantly buying ice. Any favorite methods? Have you heard of the Elasto Gel products that don't freeze solid, so easier against the skin?
 

Mutti3

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Freeze four 16 oz water bottles , put 4 bottles in the berg, and fill cold water to level. Keep frozen bottles in the freezer to rotate. Last about 3-4 hours. The initial weeks I kept ice, elevated my knee 24/7 .
 

SusieShoes

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Icing for more than 45 minutes is good. An hour is good. I can say I’ve left my ice packs on for two hours, but ice packs melt and so my knees were never subjected to ice-cold for two hours. I think it’s good to give the knees a break from the chilling every so often. You need to get up and about at some point, so that’s a good time for a break. But I’ve heard some people with ice machines practically live with full-time icing. I often wished I could do that in early days!
 

sistersinhim

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I iced the whole time I was sitting or laying down. I had two ice machines, one for the bedroom and one for the den. I froze large plastic glasses of water and they lasted for at least 4 hours since they were so large.
 

Spex10

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Interested to read that @Roy Gardiner. Icing doesn't seem to help me much either. Elevating and walking about seems to do the trick for me. Walking uses muscles to pump away swelling and elevating tips up the vessels to help dispose of the excess fluid.
 

Jockette

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Freeze four 16 oz water bottles , put 4 bottles in the berg, and fill cold water to level. Keep frozen bottles in the freezer to rotate. Last about 3-4 hours. The initial weeks I kept ice, elevated my knee 24/7 .
I’m sure this is the dumbest question, but, when you talk about using frozen water bottles, I guess the entire thing goes into the ice machine, plastic and all? I’ve never used one of these types of machines but have read about them here.
 

Mutti3

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@Jockette
There are no dumb questions! Yes 4 frozen bottles are placed in the ice machine, filled the machine cold water, and reattached. Much cheaper than buying ice! Used for about 3-4 hours, the bottles turn to water, and need to be replaced.
 

Roy Gardiner

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icing seems like it could be messy
Doesn't have to be. At the simplest level, large bags of frozen peas*, swapped, re-frozen and re-used**, are pretty straightforward.


*top hint - keep the peas IN the bags
**2nd tip - maybe throw them away afterwards, rather than eating them

:)
 

SusieShoes

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My mom used peas. My sister used corn. Both recovered beautifully. Neither ate the veggies! Wonderfully inexpensive ice packs, though.
 

Chattalyn

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I used the big ice packs. You can get on Amazon-big enough to wrap around knee. They felt wonderful.
 

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