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TKR 6 weeks post op

Namaof2

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Hi everyone. So glad I found this group. I am 5 days post op from left tkr and I’ve heard so many mixed messages about recovery. PT in hospital said I should have been at a 90 bend before I got discharged. Was not instructed to ice or elevate. I am working tirelessly on my bend but it’s so painful and I cry every time I also can’t lift my leg without assistance. I am so scared of it ceasing. I’m not sleeping, can’t get comfortable.
any suggestions? Thank you!!
 

Jockette

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Hi and Welcome!

PT in hospital said I should have been at a 90 bend before I got discharged.
You absolutely do not have to be at 90 before you leave the hospital. Or at any other specific time. I’m so sorry you were told this and that it has caused you a lot of worry. :console2:

Your ROM will reappear as your body heals and your swelling goes down. There is no need to rush to get it back, no need to force it into submission, and no need to worry about it.

Regaining our ROM is more about Time than repetitions of a list of exercises.

Time to recover.
Time for pain and swelling to settle.
Time to heal.

Our range of motion is right there all
along just waiting for that to happen so it can show itself.

In the general run of things, it doesn't need to be fought for, worked hard for or worried about. It will happen. Normal activity is the key to success.

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. They will address many of your concerns.

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.
 

Jockette

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Please tell us the date of your surgery and we’ll make a signature for you.

I forgot to add that it’s quite common to not be able to lift your leg for a while after surgery. That’s another thing you don’t have to ”work on.” I couldn't lift mine for a couple of weeks. As I healed I was able to.

Please try to relax, you’re going to be fine, but it will take a while.

As you’ve already found, there is a lot of conflicting information about this recovery. Listen to all you hear, and then decide for yourself what advice you agree with and what you don’t. It’s all opinions, and yours counts most of all.

Hang out here with us.
Bonesmart has a wealth of advice, information and support.
We will offer helpful suggestions, :idea:

Cheer your accomplishments :happydance:

And send hugs when you are feeling down. :console2:

Best wishes!
 

Fran55

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Hi @Namaof2

I am 5 months post a bilateral TKR . My ROM still continues to improve and it wasn’t wonderful in the very early days. I didn’t do formal PT after leaving hospital (I did do some stretches approved by my surgeon ) and boy was I grateful after reading everybody’s stories on here.

For several days after I came home my husband sometimes had to help me get the second leg into bed. I am afraid the lack of sleep may be an issue for a while. That was my biggest problem and still is even now but others have not found it such a problem after this much time like I have

The advisors on here will help you. Follow their advice. Ice and elevate - a lot. I still ice occasionally if I have had a busy day and/or my knees are a bit sore. If I sit to read etc I always elevate.

Be kind to yourself. If doing something is so painful it makes you cry follow the advice on here and don’t do it. A TKR is a BIG surgery as we all find out. It will take a while but it will get better, those of us further down the recovery track can attest to that. Hang in there!
 
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Namaof2

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Thank you all so much! I am feeling better about my situation after reading your replies!! I have been pushing/forcing myself thinking that was what I am supposed to be doing and in the process have pulled muscles in my arms and neck. Not aging gracefully here haha
Thank you for all your kind words and advice!
 
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Namaof2

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Please tell us the date of your surgery and we’ll make a signature for you.

I forgot to add that it’s quite common to not be able to lift your leg for a while after surgery. That’s another thing you don’t have to ”work on.” I couldn't lift mine for a couple of weeks. As I healed I was able to.

Please try to relax, you’re going to be fine, but it will take a while.

As you’ve already found, there is a lot of conflicting information about this recovery. Listen to all you hear, and then decide for yourself what advice you agree with and what you don’t. It’s all opinions, and yours counts most of all.

Hang out here with us.
Bonesmart has a wealth of advice, information and support.
We will offer helpful suggestions, :idea:

Cheer your accomplishments :happydance:

And send hugs when you are feeling down. :console2:

Best wishes!
Surgery date was sept 30th
 

Jockette

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Thanks, I’ve done your signature for you.
 

np7

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So sorry to hear that you are struggling so much. As others have said, do list"en to what the advisors in the form say. There seems to be a fairly wide range of "advice" recovering patients are being give and, IMHO, they can't all be right. Although different strokes for different folks does apply here.

Members of the forum who are not Advisors are told, for good reason, not to give advice. But I can share my rehab process. I have been "seen" by 3 physical therapists: hospital, home visit several time for first 2 weeks, and now video visits weekly by a third. They all emphasize range of motion (ROM) but also included gradual strengthening at first. No one told me I "had" to be at any certain point. Later, my doc simply said the goal is to get me back to where I was prior although he did say that if one was not at 90 degrees bend after six (?) weeks, then he would have get the patient to it via some unstated method by him. In my case, I have decided that if I get a strong sharp pain I have gone too far. Some pain, a little groaning, is OK for me.

I have a set of PT type exercises that I had been doing twice a day: certainly ones the therapists prescribed for me plus some others for my semi-bad back. I was doing them religiously twice a day but am starting to cut back to once a day. My surgery was 7 weeks ago and making excellent progress.

Hang in there. We are pulling for you!
 

leejaa

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At this stage your biggest job is to elevate that knee and ice it a lot and take short walks when needed to go to the bathroom. I iced pretty much non stop except for walking. This helps so much with pain and also to get the swelling down and keep it down so your knee can heal and eventually bend all on its own.

My biggest exercises at that stage were ankle pumps and not much else. As your leg heals you will be able to lift it but the knee decides when. Be kind to yourself and take it slow and easy. Heal first.

I hope you have a peaceful day. :flwrysmile:
 

Roy Gardiner

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I am working tirelessly on my bend but it’s so painful and I cry every time
I have been pushing/forcing myself thinking that was what I am supposed to be doing and in the process have pulled muscles in my arms and neck.
As everyone is saying, please stop!

Imagine exercising hard in recovery for a broken leg or a sprained muscle; counter-productive, obviously, and would worsen the damage. It's much the same with TKR, you have damage needing healing, not unfitness needing training.

All you need is to help retain mobility (not fitness or strength) until healing is complete. This is done with gentle stretching exercises, without pain.

Read full details here
 
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Namaof2

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Hi there
My pain has decreased and things seem to be getting a bit better. Went to physio for the first time yesterday and she was great, didn’t push and let me go at my own pace .
the last few days my quads have been incredibly sore. It’s like the entire muscle is One big Charlie horse. The leg I didn’t have the surgery is actually worse
Is this normal? Anyone else experience this? I have been massaging, muscle rub and heating. Any other suggestions?
thanks all!
 

sistersinhim

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Your non-surgical leg is having to carry almost all of the load now and isn't happy about it. That's perfectly normal. I thought I'd have to have my old knee replaced because it reacted so badly, but as my new knee improved and took on more of the 'work' my old knee got better. Now, it flares up only once in a while.

You can try ice and/or heat on your old leg and see if it helps. Something like BenGay or TigerBalm might help it, too.
 

Celle

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@Namaof2
You'll notice that I have merged your two threads together as we prefer that members in recovery only have one thread.

This is for three reasons:
1. if you keep starting new threads, you miss the posts others have left you in the old threads
2. it often ends up that information is unnecessarily repeated
3. it's best if we can keep all your recovery story in one place so it's easily accessed if we need to advise you.

Please keep all your questions and updates on this thread. Don't worry that we won't see your new question as, between us, the staff read all new posts each day.
If you need an urgent response to a question, just tag a member of staff.
Tagging other members and answering tags

If you prefer a different thread title, just post what you want and we'll get it changed for you.


Here are the instructions on finding your thread, How can I find my threads and posts?
Many members bookmark their thread, so they can find it when they log on. Please will you do that?
 
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Namaof2

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Having trouble sleeping. Spasms in my calf and quad. Driving me crazy I’m up all night. ROM is very slow going almost 3 weeks post op and only at 78. Excercises are still extremely painful and difficult
 

Jaycey

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Unfortunately sleep problems are a part of this recovery. Nap during the day if you can.

Are you taking your pain medication at night? You might want to try magnesium for those spasms. Here's an article from our Library: Magnesium is a star.
ROM is very slow going almost 3 weeks post op and only at 78.
Please don't worry about ROM. It will happen when your knee is ready. And you might want to stop the exercises and let that knee heal. Still very early days for you.
 

Cjackso21

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I have suffered from muscle cramps and spasms after surgery, especially after exercising. Started adding a Nuun tablet to my water in the morning which has magnesium and other things. Bought them at Wholefoods, lots of other good stuff in them and lots of varieties to choose from. Definitely worked for me.
 

Abbylayla

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I had RTKR in August. Went to PT for 3 weeks but every time I went it would set me back many days. I also have very bad hips which need to be replaced. And PT was causing me tremendous pain in my hips. I finally gave up & quit PT. It was counter productive for me.
I feel better & my knee has not suffered from it. I do the easy exercises the hospital PT gave me to save my hips & my knee is progressing more this way than it did in out patient PT. There has actually been a couple of times where I was sitting with my legs down and to shift position, pulled them both under the chair. That would be about a 120 flex. For a split second I actually forgot I had a replacement. The knee just moved smoothly & painlessly to where I wanted it to go.
That pushing the PT's do to increase flex...never understood it. But don't miss it. I'm doing better without it
 
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Namaof2

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Unfortunately sleep problems are a part of this recovery. Nap during the day if you can.

Are you taking your pain medication at night? You might want to try magnesium for those spasms. Here's an article from our Library: Magnesium is a star.
ROM is very slow going almost 3 weeks post op and only at 78.
Please don't worry about ROM. It will happen when your knee is ready. And you might want to stop the exercises and let that knee heal. Still very early days for you.
I feel so much pressure from PT about ROM. My knee has also buckled half dozen times in the past week. PT says that’s normal... painfully reached 82 today, haven’t done anymore exercises today other than at physio
 

Jaycey

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PT should never cause pain. Please do not let anyone force your knee. Sounds like you should quit with this PT. Forcing your knee is totally counterproductive. Please focus on ice and elevation and stop all this exercise. It is causing more problems than benefit.

And no - your knee should not be buckling.
 

sistersinhim

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I agree with Jaycey. Your knee is less than 3 weeks old and is far from being healed. Not only do you have the outside incision to heal, you have many layers inside that need to knit together. Forcing your knee to bend more than it's able to do on its own is pulling against all those stitches inside, possibly even pulling them apart. Forcing it causes more swelling which decreases your bend. A swollen knee doesn't bend as well as a non-swollen knee does. Gentle movements that you do on your own is the best way to rehab this knee of yours.
Closing stitches
 

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