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TKR 5 1/2 months and still in pain

U2GIRL

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I'm 5 1/2 months out and still in considerable pain. My surgery was done March 31 of this year. The recovery hasn't been easy. I had to have an MUA done at about 6 weeks. It sort of helped, but I'm still experiencing stiffness in knee. I know I don't have full range of motion. My problem was extension. The doctor diagnosed me with arthrofibrosis. That is stiff knee.....lots of scar tissue. I think I still have some scar tissue left. It's very difficult to walk long distances. I get horrible cramps in my calf muscle when I walk. It feels as if the knee is not in alignment. Something is wrong. Of course, the doctor will not listen to me or take me seriously. Last time I was in The doctor did bloodwork to check for infection. I had a slightly elevated C- reactive protein test. Too much inflammation. I still get some swelling. I don't even know how to describe the pain....it's all over the knee area.....a lot behind the knee. Then the calf muscle cramping and aching. I can no longer take walks. All I do is water aerobics. I am seeing my surgeon next week. He needs to figure something out. This is not normal. I wish they would do an MRI or something. Make sure there is nothing wrong with muscle or ligaments. I don't think a doctor wants to admit if he messed up a surgery!!!!! I've become very depressed over all this. Dealing with constant pain sux. I managed to save some OXY and I take it when I have to get some things done. It's the only thing that works for my pain, but I know they will not prescribe that for me again. UGH
 

Pumpkin

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@U2GIRL
:welome: to BoneSmart!

Sorry to hear you are having so many problems with your TKR and MUA and have been diagnosed with arthrofibrosis.
Here is a list of surgeons specializing in arthrofibrosis,
Arthrofibrosis: Names of US surgeons with experience in arthrofibrosis

With constant pain the last 5 1/2 months you may want to seek out a pain specialist to help you with your continuing pain.

Of course, the doctor will not listen to me or take me seriously.
You may want to seek a second opinion to determine what is going on with your knee, look for a revision specialist or some one specializing in complex joint reconstruction. You will want someone with out any connection to your present surgeon, not even golf buddies.

You can use or Surgeon Locator link at the top of the page to start your search.

All I do is water aerobics.
Be careful with water exercise, it feels so good, it is easy to overdo and cause stiffness and swelling.

Please post your MUA surgery date and which knee, a moderator will add it to your signature for you. Having the exact date will help us properly advise you. Thanks!

Here is your copy of the Knee Recovery Guidelines, it is never too late to read them, the articles are short and will not take long to read.

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 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.

 

Ginger1210

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Hi U2Girl. I am a little behind you in surgery date April 19 I had a medial PKR . I still experience pain and stiffness as well this can be hugely frustrating I have good days and bad with no knowledge about what I have done differently. I think I am just a slow healer we shall see .
 
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U2GIRL

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My right knee replacement was on March 31, 2021​
MUA was done on right knee on 5/19/2021​
I'm seeing my surgeon next week to see if I can get some answers from him. I don't have many choices as far as surgeons to see around here.​
I hope there is no revision!​
I do have a pain doctor for my back. I plan on going to see him soon. Hopefully, I can get some help with the pain.​
I'm continuing with the water aerobics because I think it helps. I'm not having the constant cramping in my calf like I have been since I started working out in the water.​
It's hurting today. Some days more than others.​
Thanks so much for all the info.​
 

Pumpkin

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@U2GIRL
Glad you are seeing your surgeon next week, I hope he answers your questions and concerns.
Let us know how your visit goes.
 

Rockgirl4

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@U2GIRL I am 2.5 YEARS post-right TKR, and I still have problems with tightness in my right calf. I have to stretch my calves diligently 4-5 days a week to make that tightness stay away. Walking on anything but flat roads/surfaces makes it worse, especially if there are hills. I had horrible tightness/pain in my calves for ~8-9 months following my TKR, so I was told this might always be part of my future, and just to keep stretching. It DOES help, though I get sick and tired of doing it all of the time.

As for the inflammation, some of us just need a lot more time to heal. I couldn't walk a 1/2 mile until the 6 month post-op point, and I couldn't manage a full mile until 10-11 months post-op. As someone who was always very fit and active, this was super hard for me and very depressing. :( I am now 2.5 yrs out and finally don't think about my knee any longer unless I need it to bend more (I'll always have only 95 degrees flexion due to arthrofibrosis from my MACI surgeries in 2015-2016), but at least there's no pain. I still have some nerve impingement and zingers down my shin because of true adhesions in the knee and scar tissue wrapped around the head of my fibula bone, but it's manageable. I can now walk 2-6 miles a day, depending on the surface and amount of hills, though I will end up with tightness and a bit of "peg leg" afterwards. It's worth it to be active again, even if the leg won't bend as much as I want.

However, it took almost 2 years to build up my leg's ability to walk that much in a day without some pain and discomfort. I didn't believe some here who said their knee could still improve into the 3rd year post-op, but I'm here to tell you IT'S TRUE!!! My knee and leg muscles improved drastically between 20-28 months post-op. I give complete credit to TIME!!!! :)

Best of luck to you, and as hard as it is, give yourself time to heal, and remember patience is key to this recovery. For many of us, it was definitely a marathon!!

--Lisa
 

eaglemom

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Make sure to have a list of questions you want to ask at your appointment. I've personally found that if I have something written down the surgeon / doctor spends more time with you. More time means more information, which is good. Plus I think they like a patient whom wants to know exactly what they are thinking.

Let us know how it goes.
 

KnockNeed

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Feeling your pain! I am 6 months out of surgery and still have pain. I still use my ice machine all night long. Since I have sciatica they think caused by the change in my leg length/gait, I am on gabapentin and it does have some utility for the knee pain. Also using massage therapy and have made an appointment for acupuncture. It has just been a slow slog to recovery for me. I can hike, but not without pain. Just taking the “all of the above” approach and working on it every day. Best of luck and good thoughts for your continued recovery!
 

Ghostpipe

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Ditto! I’m 6.5 months out and have pain whatever I do exercise-wise, if it involves my knees. Not like I had earlier, but ever more bothersome as my expectations increase.
 

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