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TKR 6 weeks since left tkr

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Schnautzer

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Is it normal for my knee to be so stiff especially in the morning? I do the heel slides in bed(after warming up the quad)But it takes several slides before I am back to how far I can usually get to.Then I walk the dog for 30 mins. Still slight limp. After sitting or lying down the stiffness sets in again.
Am 9 weeks post tkr. Am only at about 95 rom and on occassion can do a backwards rotation on bike (seat very high) Seems a slow improvement. Step ups still a bit painful but can at least do some.
No physio available and no pools for hydro therapy so am on my own except for you guys.Am I OK. How long will the stiffness last. The seems no swelling.
 

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Is it normal for my knee to be so stiff especially in the morning?
Totally normal. You are only 9 weeks into a process that can take 1 year or more.
The seems no swelling.
Ah - but there is swelling. That's what is causing the stiffness and limiting your ROM. Are you icing? If not - give it a try. I think you will see a big improvement if you focus on getting that swelling reduced.
 
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Thanks. Glad all seems normal. I ice and elevate a lot . My knee is not swollen to the eye but I guess inside is still swollen. So frustrating. Also I find that I am tired a lot. Love my afternoon nap. Standing and bending heel up to bum(quad stretch) is so tough and does not bend up very much. My quads are very tight and dont know what else to do to stretch them.
Thanks for your help. It is encouraging
 

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Nap during the day if you can. Read this article again Energy drain for TKRs.

Our members should be along soon with their tips for quad stretches.
 

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Standing and bending heel up to bum(quad stretch) is so tough and does not bend up very much.
This was a really tough stretch for me my whole first year, so I rarely did it. I had lots of improvement in ROM in my second year post op, as I continued to heal and my whole leg continued to relax. Don’t do anything that’s tough or hurts, it’s not necessary.
 

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Yes, the knee is still working overtime healing-- but inside--not necessarily showing you by visibly swelling anymore.
You should find that over the next few months the time to "loosen up" gets shorter.
 
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I am now nearly 11 weeks post tkr and have seen very little improvement. I religiously do my bending and stretching but my knee is still very stiff especially after sitting or sleeping. I now can barely do a backwards rotation on stationary bike(seat up high) but it is uncomfortable so only do a few. I ice and elevate A LOT. There is some pain in the knee cap that I feel when walking now and when trying to walk up stairs.
Am so worried that I will never get better. A fellow I know is at 13 weeks and he is riding a bike outside and has been for awhile!!! (he is 86 and same surgeon) I was so fit before surgery so cannot understand this. I am 74
No more in home physio for advice and dont see dr. till end of Nov (probably a phone call)
I rely on you guys so much and once again need encouagement before I go nuts.
Thanks
 

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Please try not to worry.I had a very slow recovery my whole first year. But, I saw a lot of improvement in my second year, in ROM and in strength and everything else in general.

I was 61 when I had my surgery. I live in a 55 community, so there had been many neighbors here who’d had knee replacements before me. I felt like such a failure compared to what they told me about theirs. But, we really can’t compare ourselves to others, we all heal at different rates and there’s nothing we can do about that.

3 months is 25% healed in this year long recovery.
I religiously do my bending and stretching
I think you can cut back on working so hard. Your particular knee may not like all this bending and stretching, especially if you are pushing, even a little, past your knee’s comfort level. The movement your knee gets in your daily activities is honestly all the movement it needs.

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.
 
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Thanks again for the advice and encouragement. Is it possible that the knee NEVER improves???? I would relax if I knew for sure it would eventually improve. Stupid question I guess but a worry
 

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We have members who tracked their ROM even past one year. In both these examples ROM continued to improve.

Here is betrtschb's record of how his flexion developed over time:
I'm 12 months out from my surgery and have some advice based on my experience:
1- Stop going to PT (all it will do is make your knee swell and reduce ROM)
2- Don't worry about your ROM
3- Be patient - VERY patient!!!

Here is my ROM history (more or less):
1 month - 60 degrees
2 months - 80 degrees
3 months - 85 degrees
4 months - 90 degrees
5 months - 90 degrees
6 months - 110 degrees
7 months - 120 degrees
8 months - 125 degrees
9 months - 130 degrees
10 months - 135 degrees
11 months - 140 degrees
12 months - 140 degrees

I spent waaaaay too much time worrying about ROM. I thought I'd be riding my bike a couple months after surgery but it took SIX months! Looking back on my surgery, if I knew then what I know now, I wouldn't have wasted my time with PT and I wouldn't have worried about ROM.


And I have another record, from Campervan - she discovered that her flexion had increased even at 6 years post-op:
"I had a slow recovery. Here's my flex measurements at various points:
92 - 8 weeks post op
105 - 10 weeks
107 - 5 months
110 - 6 months
112 - 7 months
116 - 9 months
119 - 11 months
118 - 1 yr
120 - 1yr 2 months
125 - 1 yr 8 months
128 – 6 years "
 

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Well, I suppose there are some who never improve, but it is honestly way too early to wonder about that. You are currently in what we call “the angry tissue stage” and you just need time to heal. Please try not to worry. I know that’s easy for me to say that, but I’ve been where you are, and I did improve. But it took me longer than some others.
 
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Than you. thank you!!!!! Will try and relax. I think my rom is 95-100. With no physio anymore it is hard to see improvement or to measure
 

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Oh my goodness, you are just starting this year-long journey. You will have more bad days than good days for the first few months. Then you'll start to even out and shortly after that you'll be having more good days than bad days. But, even at a year out, it's possible to do something that aggravates the soft tissues around your joint and you'll have some pain and swelling. But it should be short-lived and nothing like you're feeling now,

With no physio anymore it is hard to see improvement or to measure
I was one of those that didn't take PT or do exercises, so I had so idea what my bend was, but I didn't care. I was concerned with what my knee could do. As it healed it could do more. Function is what it is all about not numbers!
 
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I am now 12 weeks post tkr.Is it normal to still be very stiff especially after sitting awhile or sleeping?? Most of the time I walk with slight limp but sometimes no limp. Cant figure out why unless my knee is crabbing about a little too much exercise the day before. Who knows. I certainly dont. My rom is still about 100 I think. Dont know how to really measure.Today I have pain in my kneecap which has made walking difficult.
So I am doing a lot of icing and just a little bit of my heel slides today Any idea of what is going on and am I going through what is typical. Have not tried to do a rotation on the bike for a week. So So frustrating. HELP
 

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What you are going through is typical. It’s frustrating because this is a long, slow recovery, and most of us were not told that beforehand.
 

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Today I have pain in my kneecap which has made walking difficult.
So I am doing a lot of icing and just a little bit of my heel slides today
This is exactly how you should handle it.
 

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Here's a thought for you:
My surgeon never asks about ROM. He says "Show me what you can do" and he just looks at my knee while I bend or straighten it.

He's not really interested in the exact numbers because he says that what you can do (function) is more important than numbers. What's important is how you will be able to use your knee in your everyday life.

Here are the approximate numbers you'll need to perform various actions:
  • 65° to walk
  • 70° to pick up an object from the ground
  • 85° to climb up stairs
  • 95° to stand from a sitting position
  • 105° to tie shoelaces
  • 115° (or greater) to squat or sit cross-legged
  • 125°+ covers most activities. However, squatting or sitting on your heel may always prove challenging.
I am now 12 weeks post tkr. Is it normal to still be very stiff especially after sitting awhile or sleeping??
Yes, that's quite normal.

What happens is that while your knee is resting and not moving, it isn't making the synovial fluid that lubricates your knee joint.
After your knee has bent a few times, the synovial fluid is back in production again and your knee loosens up - it's a bit like putting oil on a rusty hinge.
 
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That makes a lot of sense. But what has stopped the knee from making the synovial fluid and what makes it start back .I know when I start little bends it does loosen up a bit. I dont get to see my surgeon. Have not seen him once. Have only had 2. ten minute phone calls . I feel very alone.
Thanks for your very informative response
 

Jaycey

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But what has stopped the knee from making the synovial fluid and what makes it start back .
As Celle posted, inactivity stops the production and activity starts production again.
 
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Schnautzer

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But then why does inactivity not cause the other knee to be stiff.What gets the synovial fluid to start being produced like the normal knee. Did the surgery somehow stop the fluid from being produced when inactive.Hope I am not being a pain but I am interested in this darn stiffness and when it will it will improve and what I can do to improve it besides all the bending(with no forcing) Am still icing a lot.
 

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