TKR 5 months after TKR


new member
Jun 4, 2023
United States United States
I just want to say how much BoneSmart has helped me in my recovery. I found you at about 9 - 10 weeks post-op and my stress and worry totally faded after reading articles and forums. I now understand that my knee will heal the way my knee heals. I am approaching 3 months out and my knee is still sensitive to the touch, which tells me that it is not fully recovered and is still healing - continued patience is key. Overall, I see that I am getting better each day; some days are better than others and some days are worse than the day before. I’ve found that I need 1 day a week to do nothing - no stretches, stationary biking or walking. This usually results in a good day the next day. The problem that I am having now is that my lack of knee function has aggravated a bulging disc in my back that I have been able to keep at bay for 4 years! At least this gives me something else to obsess about!
Hello magpie!
Welcome to BoneSmart. Thanks for joining us!

We’re happy to hear that you found the information on the forum beneficial as you began your recovery. Thankfully your anxiety and fears eased through reading articles and the accounts of others recoveries.

Please share the exact date of your TKR and also which knee you had replaced.
We will use the information to create a signature for you.

I am approaching 3 months out and my knee is still sensitive to the touch, which tells me that it is not fully recovered and is still healing
Yes, you’re right, you are still healing. This recovery takes many a full year and some even longer, so patience is key. I am sorry your back is bothering you as you’re healing.

I will leave our Recovery Guidelines as much of the info is still beneficial.
Please stop back often to share your progress and use this as a journal of your recovery. Wishing you all the best!

As you begin healing, please keep in mind that each recovery is unique. While the BoneSmart philosophy successfully works for many, there will be exceptions. Between the recommendations found here, your surgeon's recovery protocol and any physical therapy you may engage in, the key is to find what works best for you.

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:
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

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 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.
I had Mako TKR on March 20, 2023. Went in to surgery at 6:30 and was out of the hospital by 1:30 that afternoon and went home because I got the okay from PT. I had to be able to go up and down some stairs, get on and off the toilet and put on my own clothes. Surgery took about an hour and a half. I could shower right away using a chair in the shower. The bandage came off after a week. I was walking with a cane at 2 weeks and driving and walking unassisted at 3 weeks (it was my left knee, so that helped with the driving permission). I am now just about 3 months post operation and I feel that I am healing the way I should be. My scar is looking great (in my opinion). My knee is still sensitive and healing. I don’t know a lot about the procedure except that it takes a lot of the guess work out of the replacement - the robot helps the surgeon to do only what is necessary to replace the knee and this leads to less unnecessary damage to tissue and muscles. I feel very confident and happy that I had this type of surgery. I needed to travel about an hour from my home as the hospital closest to me doesn’t have the system. So far, so good.
I had my left knee replaced on March 20, 2023
Thank you!
Please post any updates, questions or concerns about your recovery here.
Here is some helpful info as you begin posting here -
How To Use The Forum
The problem that I am having now is that my lack of knee function has aggravated a bulging disc in my back that I have been able to keep at bay
I have similar problems. My knee surgery and leg straightening helped my sciatica but the inability to do back stretches post op worsened my general lower back pain.
I used an anti inflammatory ( Naproxen) until I was able to lie on my tummy and do exercises like cobra/ sphinx and kneel for short periods to do cat stretches. I couldn't really tolerate these exercises ( even with a padded cushion under my knee) until more like 4-5 months. I find now that about 20 minutes/ day of back exercises keeps things under control- although my back can still be stiff/ sore if I sit too long in one position.
My knee can now tolerate kneeling and lying on my tummy so long as it is padded but it is still sensitive. My 2 year grandson accidentally hit my knee with a plastic toy and it was very unpleasant.
@magpie2023 welcome and glad you’re overall doing well. Are you still in PT? Perhaps they might be able to suggest ways to help with your back pain. Is your knee surgeon the same doctor treating your back? If not, you might also contact your back doctor and share what’s going on. Keep up the good work!
Happy Three Month Anniversary!
A great rest of the week to you!
I had surgery the same day. Sounds like you’re doing well!
I thought that I would be all better at this point in my healing!!!! It has been a challenge for me to get more ROM…..
At about 3 and a half months, my bulging disc started acting up and I couldn’t do the walking or biking that I had been doing and it took about a month to recover from that. Now that I am mostly without back pain (I need to be careful), I am trying to return to my previous level of activity. It is slow going, and I am feeling like I’ve made no progress in my ROM. I am still going to PT; I generally start at 115 degrees and after much massage and heat stimulation my PT gets me to 120 degrees. It has been like this for about a month and a half. I am able to go upstairs with alternating feet, but going down still isn’t easy. I do exercises daily for both my knee and back, but I don’t feel as if my strength is returning. The other day after biking for 20 minutes outside (it was wonderful!), I had shoulder pain for a week due to leaning over!!!! I feel like I just can’t catch a break.
I am beginning to worry that I will not get any better and that I have missed an important window of recovery when I was suffering with my back pain and stopped walking and biking.
Recovery does not happen in a straight line. It is very normal to see differences in ROM. Stop worrying about a number and please do not let PT push you. It is totally counterproductive.

Please read this article again: Myth busting: the "window of opportunity" in TKR There is no window of recovery. You are only 5 months into a process that can take one year or longer. Many of our members continue to see improvement even into the second year of recovery.

You will notice that I merged your newest post with your original recovery thread. For several reasons, we prefer that you only have one recovery thread:
  • That way, we have all your information in one place. This makes it easier to go back and review your history before providing advice.
  • If you keep starting new threads, you miss the posts and advice others have left for you in the old threads, and some information may be unnecessarily repeated
  • Having only one thread will act as a diary of your progress that you can look back on.
Please post any updates, questions or concerns about your recovery here. If you prefer a different thread title, just post what you want and we will get it changed for you.

If you need an urgent response to a question, just tag a member of staff.

Many members bookmark their thread in their computer browser, so they can find it when they log on.
@ Magpie2023 Keep up the good work I'm sure you will catch a break soon. Take care jcx
I had a lot of improvement in ROM, as well as strength and endurance, in my second year, as my whole body continued to relax and heal. I also have back issues and have to be careful not to trigger a bigger issue. As Jaycey said, 5 months is less than halfway healed in this year (or longer) recovery.
I am able to go upstairs with alternating feet, but going down still isn’t easy.
You aren't alone. It took a full six month before I was able to walk down the stairs without hanging on to the bannisters for dear life! Many of us struggle with descending stairs. It's definitely harder than going up!

You will get there; it just takes time! :console2:
It was 6 months for me as well before I could go downstairs normally.

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