TKR 3 weeks today & new to site


new member
Mar 2, 2024
United States United States
Hi everyone! 59 YO female. I had TKR on my left knee February 12, 2024. 11 days later I visited my doctor and my staples were removed. I felt good with my progress until the doctor said he was concerned that I only had a 30 degree bend. I was heart broken. No matter how much pain I was in, I was up walking and doing my home exercises. I was at PT in the second week as recommended. I had two sessions one of which was an evaluation and the other the therapist took it easy due to staples. I moved from my walker to a cane at the end of week 2. I am very rarely using my cane, mostly for support. I have continued to have PT twice a week and continue with my exercises at home. My knee is still very stiff and I was getting very depressed as I thought I was way behind in the game because of what my doctor said to me as well as reading so much about losing "the window of opportunity". I am so glad I found this site and can hear other's stories. Thank you ALL for sharing!
Welcome to BoneSmart, @sheba167!

I will share more below, but first I want to leave you our Recovery Guidelines. Each article is short but very informative. Following these guidelines will help you have a less painful recovery.

Just keep in mind we are all different, as are the approaches to this recovery and rehab. The key is, “Find what works for you.“ Your doctors, PTs and BoneSmart are available to help, but you are the final judge as to the recovery approach you choose.


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.

If you want to use something to assist with healing and scar management, BoneSmart recommends hypochlorous solution. Members in the US can purchase ACTIVE Antimicrobial Hydrogel through BoneSmart at a discount. Similar products should be available in the UK and other countries.

2. Control discomfort:
take your pain meds by prescription schedule (not when pain starts!)
don't overwork.
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
the BoneSmart view on exercise
BoneSmart philosophy for sensible post op therapy
5. At week 4 and after you should follow this
Activity progression for TKRs
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

Good nutrition is very important during recovery:
Dietary Tips for Recovery
Nutrition Basics

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 a 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 history before providing advice.
Hi and Welcome!

3 weeks post op is very early days, in this recovery that averages a year for complete recovery. Take your time and let your knee recover from the trauma of the surgery.

No matter how much pain I was in, I was up walking and doing my home exercises.
Yes, we need some walks for mobility, and yes we’re in pain moving around in the early weeks, but that’s the time to only do gentle movements, so you can try to limit the amount of pain you have.

What kind of pain relief are you usuing?
No matter how much pain I was in, I was up walking and doing my home exercise
This is probably why your bend is so limited! Doing too much, too soon causes additional inflammation inside the knee and your knee cannot bend when it is swollen. BoneSmart recommends that we never push ourselves into pain because it is counter productive.

Please read through the articles I shared above. You will see one that discusses why our knees are stiff and swollen after this surgery. There is also one about the sensible approach to PT, and another that debunks the myth of windows of opportunity.

Let us know if you have questions. We are here to help!
There absolutely is no 'window of opportunity'. I have learned this to be a fact after working on Bonesmart for over 7 years. If we leave the knee alone, let it heal naturally without aggressive, painful PT or exercises, then the ROM comes back as the swelling and inflammation goes down. Many get a better bend even into their second and third years after their replacement. Just use it normally in your daily activities without causing pain and you will be fine.
Happy One Month Anniversary!
I hope you're doing well? We'd love to hear...
Wishing you all the best and a great rest of the week! :wave:
Thank you. Today I had a follow up appointment. I am only at 61 ROM per doctor. I knew I was not where I needed to be. I have been doing physical therapy and at home exercises consistently. He now wants me to have knee manipulation on April 9. I am so frustrated and getting depresses.
Hey @sheba167,

You are so early in your recovery. Just 3 weeks. I had one knee done in 2015 and the other one done 8 weeks ago. I learned so much from one knee to the next. and I’m still learning. But here are some ideas to consider. Your knee (and really your whole mind and body) have been through a trauma. A big trauma. Don’t discount that. Your body is using all kinds of energy in terms of calories and emotional energy just to cope with what’s happened. You’re like a newborn. You need to sleep, eat, move around a bit and poop. By moving around a bit, I mean walking around your house, gentle exercises and elevating your leg. Stay medicated. Stay hydrated.

Read my latest thread for all my lessons learned. Give yourself a week of rest, good nutrition, sleep and emotional support. Try to buy time w the surgeon. You might be surprised how less can be more. I’m living proof of it this time around. At 8 weeks post op today I measured 120 ROM. Last knee, I was 105 from week 8-16. Why- doing too much exercise for one thing. I suspect you’re doing too much and your knee is more swollen than it should be. Good luck!
I have been doing physical therapy and at home exercises consistently.
It's possible you are doing too much. Too much exercise early in recovery can cause inflammation. And when your knee is swollen inside -- you simply won't be able to bend.
Swollen and stiff knee: what causes it?

I would stop the PT and home exercises. Ice and elevate as much as possible to bring the swelling down. I'll bet you will see improvement in your flexion in a week if you do so.

He now wants me to have knee manipulation on April 9
It is your knee and you don't have to agree to an MUA. We have members who have refused the procedure, who then went on to gain range of motion and have a successful recovery. It's important to educate yourself before you decide. This article may be helpful:

Myth busting: the "window of opportunity" in TKR
I am exactly three weeks from my PKR.
It hasn’t exactly been fun but I can walk using one crutch now, and for very short distances, across the room, no crutches.
I have been given some exercises to do, and I do the ones I can manage. I think they are starting to get easier.
I managed to get to the hairdressers today, by car to the door, and then on the one crutch.
That went well.
Knee is still painful and a bit swollen.
The physio told me to do a little walking, a few exercises, and a lot of resting, so it seems to me he is using the Bone Smart mantra.
Icing seems to really help.
My knee bend is excellent and has been since the operation.
Your knee is still an infant, and it is way too early to even consider a MUA. That will cause excessive inflammation and swelling and will set your recovery way back. The best way to gain a better bend is to do less exercising and increase your icing, resting, and elevating.

There's still plenty of time for you to continue to improve. Recovery from a knee replacement takes as long as a full year, sometimes even longer. It's a marathon, not a sprint, so you're in for the long haul.

There's no need to rush to get ROM (Range of Motion) because it can continue to improve for a year, or even much longer, after a knee replacement. There isn't any deadline you have to meet.

From now on, though, it's a matter of letting your knee make progress on its own. You can't speed that up by working at it. In fact, working too hard could actually slow down its progress. Just keep using your knee in your normal daily activities. It's not exercising that gets you your ROM - it's time. Time to recover, time for swelling and pain to settle, and time to heal. Your ROM is there right from the start, just waiting for all that to happen, so it can show itself.

Here are a few articles that may help you:
TKR: work “smarter” and not “harder”
Knee recovery - Lose the Work Ethic!!
TKRs and our fast food society
Life in the slow lane
How are you doing, sheba on this two month anniversary of your TKR?
Did you undergo the MUA on the 9th. If so, remember we're here for support if you need us.
Hope to hear how you're doing soon...

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