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TKR 2 weeks post. Can't raise leg

Ant69

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16th Sept operation
Next day 100 degrees and straight leg ( obviously anesthetics still working) and straight leg lifts...
2 hours later leg swells to twice the size and can hardly move anything

2 weeks post today.
Walking 100m each day (slowly and carefully)
But, I have been having problems...

Cant do straight leg lifts or short leg lifts.....
Really painful and just wouldn't move at all.
Getting into a high bed really awkward .....

Today after tightening my thigh over and over for 15 mins... I managed a straight leg raise of about 1"... really painful...

How common is this?....
Anyone any suggestions?
 

Bikeknit

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I was surprised and frightened by the leg lifting problem and the sharp pain associated with trying to lift my leg onto the bed or lower it off the bed. This hadn't occurred with my first knee so it scared me. Apparently it is fairly common. People suggested I use my other leg to lift the sore one onto and off the bed. I slide my foot under the ankle of my surgical leg and gently lift.

My pt gently supported my leg under the ankle, had me engage my quad muscles and then gently helped me lift about an inch. Followed by lots of cheering. I trained my husband to help me do it at home. I can now lift my leg on my own but it still hurts sometimes, less frequently with time.

I'm thinking some of the moderators with more experience will join in with suggestions and ideas of how long this lasts.
 

Jockette

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Hi and Welcome!

It is very common to not be able to lift our leg ourselves, this soon after this surgery. It’s ok, it will come as you heal. Don’t try to force it if it’s painful. I didn’t “work on” this and within a few weeks I could do it. I wasn’t worried about it.

I will leave you our Recovery Guidelines. Each article is short but very informative. Following these guidelines will help you have a less painful recovery.

Knee Recovery: The Guidelines
1. Don’t worry: Your body will heal all by itself. Relax, let it, don't try and hurry it, don’t worry about any symptoms now, they are almost certainly temporary
2. Control discomfort:
rest
ice
take your pain meds by prescription schedule (not when pain starts!)​

3. Do what you want to do BUT
a. If it hurts, don't do it and don't allow anyone - especially a physical therapist - to do it to you​
b. If your leg swells more or gets stiffer in the 24 hours after doing it, don't do it again.​


4. PT or exercise can be useful BUT take note of these

5. At week 4 and after you should follow this

6. Access to these pages on the website

The Recovery articles:
The importance of managing pain after a TKR and the pain chart
Swollen and stiff knee: what causes it?
Energy drain for TKRs
Elevation is the key
Ice to control pain and swelling
Heel slides and how to do them properly
Chart representation of TKR recovery
Healing: how long does it take?

Post op blues is a reality - be prepared for it
Sleep deprivation is pretty much inevitable - but what causes it?

There are also some cautionary articles here
Myth busting: no pain, no gain
Myth busting: the "window of opportunity" in TKR
Myth busting: on getting addicted to pain meds

We try to keep the forum a positive and safe place for our members to talk about their questions or concerns and to report successes with their joint replacement surgery.

While members may create as many threads as they like in the majority of BoneSmart’s forums, we ask that each member have only One Recovery Thread. This policy makes it easier to go back and review the member’s history before providing advice, so please post any updates or questions you have right here in this thread.
 

nettie

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@Ant69 - I had the same experience of not being able to lift my leg at all, or maybe only an inch or two at most. I tried to do exercises to wake up my quad muscles, but nothing seemed to work. And then quite suddenly, out of the blue, one day I was able to lift my leg with no problem. In my case, that happened somewhere around week 3, if I recall correctly. There was nothing I could do to make it happen any sooner. My body just needed to heal on its own schedule. Before I could lift my leg, I either had someone help me (thankfully I have family members living with me to do that), or I used a leg lifter strap to pull my leg up. Doing that was painful at times, and I worried about the pain, but it just suddenly got better. Give it some more time. Hang in there!
 
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Ant69

Ant69

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Thanks for the replies.....

Is it also common for your knee to feel tight. To the point that you feel you are going to snap something if you stretch it any further?

I probably overdid it yesterday
Knee was really sore last night....

Going to rest and ice today....
 

Oregon mom

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@Ant69
Is it also common for your knee to feel tight. To the point that you feel you are going to snap something if you stretch it any further?
Oh yes, so common! You'll hear from others who will tell you that not only is this common, but it comes and goes as you manage your swelling and movement. Try to be gentle with yourself. No need to try to force anything. Trying to bend a sausage in half never ends well for the sausage. A good stretch right up to the edge of pain but not actually painful is what I've found to give the most payout the next day. It's ok to just rest all day at this stage. You are doing a ton of work behind the scenes. You are literally making bone. Have a peanut butter sandwich and milk (and what the heck, have some applesauce too), get your ice going and let your knee work on itself.
Try to remind yourself that this is a long process. It's frustrating not to be able to bend your knee NOW. But the sooner you accept that's its a marathon and not a sprint, the easier it will be.
 
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Ant69

Ant69

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What is everyones opinion on using an exercise bike set on 'no resistance' ?
 

Roy Gardiner

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Using a bike to gain ROM is pretty simple:
  • Set the bike to zero resistance
  • Set the saddle low enough so that a single rotation is a challenge; difficult but not painful. When a rotation becomes easy right from the start, lower the saddle a max of 1cm.
  • Gently turn the pedals, through discomfort but without pain.
  • Continue until the knee is 'warmed up' and the rotation is now easy, or for 2 minutes, whichever is the shorter time.
  • Repeat several/many times a day, but don't go mad. Diminishing returns will apply; my guess is that half a dozen reps would be enough
  • Do not pedal fast or for more than 2 minutes, this is a stretching exercise, not training.
  • And if you get any pain or swelling in the 24 hours after doing this, cut it down until you don't
Here is a bit more chat and some pix and how 'healing' and 'training' are different

You can still use one for mobility exercises, even if you can't make a single rotation!

  • Set the bike to zero resistance
  • Set the saddle as high as possible and rock the pedals back and forth as far as you can with discomfort but no pain
  • Repeat several/many times a day, but don't go mad. Diminishing returns will apply; my guess is that half a dozen reps would be enough
  • And if you get any pain or swelling in the 24 hours after doing this, cut it down until you don't
 

Izabel

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People suggested I use my other leg to lift the sore one onto and off the bed. I slide my foot under the ankle of my surgical leg and gently lift.
This is what I did and the nurses were amazed.

Is it also common for your knee to feel tight.
I still have a tight band feeling but it eases with time.

What is everyones opinion on using an exercise bike set on 'no resistance' ?
This I have found to be my best exercise because I had other injuries not allowing me to walk.

Roy has given you excellent advice ... go with him ... he is the best.
 

sistersinhim

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@Ant69, welcome to Bonesmart! Which knee did you have replaced and was it a total or partial? I will add your surgery date to your signature when you give me more information. Knowing these things will help us to better advise you.
 
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Ant69

Ant69

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@Ant69, welcome to Bonesmart! Which knee did you have replaced and was it a total or partial? I will add your surgery date to your signature when you give me more information. Knowing these things will help us to better advise you.
Left tkr
 

JayFromMN

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Ant, with my first TKR, I had a very sharp pain right under my kneecap whenever trying to lift my leg. It felt like I was close to tearing something. It kept me from lifting my leg on its own. I was pretty discouraged, very frustrated. I decided to avoid painful PT maneuvers and let it heal further (I continued working on ROM and strength). After another week or so, it was pretty well resolved and lifting my leg suddenly became much easier. Several weeks later I had my second TKR and fully expected the same experience. But it was completely different. No pain, lifting my leg was easy.
 
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Ant69

Ant69

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Hi all...

So I had tkr 2 1/2 weeks ago..
Still cant straight leg lift... ( previous posts . Not particularly worried)
But, a couple of questions..

1. Consultant prescribed blood thinners for 2 weeks....
I have noticed I seem to be getting a mild 'pins and needles' feeling around my knee...
Is this normal? And should the blood thinners have continued longer?

2. A question for UK contributors probably more....
I have been prescribed dihydrocodeine and paracetamol for the pain and an oral morphine for 'breakthrough' pain by the hospital.
Has anyone in the UK had issues trying to get repeat prescriptions for these drug from their GPs?

3. I am now getting a lot of 'clicking / thumping' from my knee .... is this normal? Will it go away as the muscles eventually start working correctly?
 

EllieRose

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Hi, I had one knee replaced in June 2019 and the other in November. Both times I was prescribed blood thinner for 2 weeks. Now, with hip replacement, it’s 6 weeks. Also, the clicking/popping is normal. Mine still do that sometimes, though way less frequently. Best wishes for a speedy recovery! My June knee is completely normal now, after more than a year. Hang in there!!!
 

Roy Gardiner

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I have merged your newest thread with your original recovery thread. I see you noticed that we have this rule just after posting. No worries :) :-) (:
 

Oregon mom

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Has anyone in the UK had issues trying to get repeat prescriptions for these drug from their GPs?
Hi @Ant69 I don't think this is a UK specific problem. The opioid crisis and resulting constrictions on their use is a wider spread issue. You can scroll through my thread and @Mrs. Ciz for some lamenting on this. It's happening to lots of people who have had major surgery and need major (temporary) pain relief. You just have to keep calling and advocate for yourself. Don't let anyone minimize your pain for you. It's your pain and should be taken seriously. Use the provider's language to describe your pain. For example the Pain Scale of 1-10.
 
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Ant69

Ant69

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Thanks Oregon Mom...

The only reason I mentioned the UK was to try to understand specifically what pain relief British GPs will normally prescribe.
I had 1 weeks worth of Dihydrocodeine and Oral Morphine prescribed by the hospital. Then last week spoke to someone at my GPs surgery and was supplied with 1 week of dihydrocodeine....

Given that we have all had major surgery with substantial levels of pain why do they not supply the required pain relief for a more realistic period of time???

Yes I understand that there are risks of addiction.
But, realistically, who post op can manage to reduce their pain meds after 2 weeks??
 

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