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TKR 8 months post TKR...looking back

cathyn518

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Thank you LarryB, I will be 3 weeks out tomorrow of LTKR. Only went to 2 physical therapy sessions when I quit as the aggressive PT hurt and exhausted me! Your story gives me hope, I expected to be walking more without stiffness by now but I know that was not realistic.
Cathy
 

possum65

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Thank you for the great post on life at 8 months post surgery. It is really helpful to me and so many others to hear how you have progressed, and what you are able to do now.
I am 4 months post bilateral knee replacement surgery, and am slowly making gains week by week. When it seems slow, I just look back to the first month!
 
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LarryB

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Completely relate to your story. I’m now 6 months into it and after so much angst about what to do, what not to do and the challenge of trying to deal with a foreign intruder in my leg, I’ve finally seen light. My biggest issue remains such weakness and a feeling that everything will collapse. If I try to work on things to strengthen, it sets me back with swelling, heat and stiffness.


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Hey Didot, when I was at 6 months I was feeling much better, but still would have plenty of setbacks when I overdid things. So at the time, I worried about the upcoming trip to France, knowing that it would involve long plane trips and lots of walking. The trip came right at 7 months and worked out just great. I made sure I stood up a lot during my flights and they didn't really bother me at all. The walking did cause minor swelling and pain, but did not slow me down at all. So for me at least, there was a lot of progress between 6 and 8 months (still not quite to 8 months). And have to say, watching the USWNT in person was awesome!!!
 
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LarryB

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Thank you LarryB, I will be 3 weeks out tomorrow of LTKR. Only went to 2 physical therapy sessions when I quit as the aggressive PT hurt and exhausted me! Your story gives me hope, I expected to be walking more without stiffness by now but I know that was not realistic.
Cathy
Cathy, you are still at the very beginning. I think by 3 weeks I had discarded my walker, and only used a cane for a couple days, but it sure wasn't anywhere close to walking without stiffness at that point. Patience and not trying to overdo things are my advice.
 
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LarryB

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Your story is really encouraging, and helps to give confidence that when someone is pushing us into serious pain it cant possibly be right, but you get sucked into the professional..do what you're told world!

I'm at 11 days...and amazed pretty much every day at the improvements I see, but also know I have a long way to go! Definitely reset my priorities since the operation...before...I was worrying about could I do some work from home at 3 weeks
Now I understand how ridiculous that was......
Yeah at 3 weeks my office was wanting me to do some work at home. Luckily I was in a very flexible arrangement (retired now, yay) and would do maybe an hour or two of work but that was it. I feel like the first 3 months at least, my full time job was recovering. Lots of exercising (trying not to overdo it) followed by lots of ice and elevation. Rinse and repeat.
 
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LarryB

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Thanks for sharing your 8 month journey so far. I’m always over here reading to prepare myself as best as I can mentally. I know that I have no plans for travel for a long time. I’ll see how it all goes. Both knees this year will be a long recovery.

Thanks again for posting your update, Susie
Good luck to you. It is a bit of a slog, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.
 
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LarryB

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Great post @LarryB. I am both amazed and puzzled at what a jungle “professional” PT can be. I found Bonesmart after 2 weeks, and I’m very glad did. I was dreading my PT sessions, and they were only getting worse. The final straw for me was an extension exercise that required me to rest my heel on the foot board, and let gravity “do its thing”. It’s thing was to elevate my pain level (you know, the 1 -10 range) to 12. It set me back a full week from what I had been able to do the day before. I had just discovered Bonesmart. That exercise was totally banned, and others were scaled back. Then, I began to make progress. I am 7 months from my first one, and 3 weeks on my second one. My first one is fine, I have full extension, it “locks” into place nicely, and at least 135 flexion. The second one is progressing more slowly than the first one, but it is progressing well, and I am not concerned about it.

I have the same home PT team I had the first time. But this time, they’re guiding me within my boundaries, giving me exercises that really help, and checking my progress which they say is amazing. They wanted to set a goal of having my extension to 0 within two weeks. To that, I simply said, “we’ll see”. I think it was at somewhere between 3 and 4 months before #1 got below 2 degrees.

Anyway, you’re 1 month ahead of me, and it’s great to hear of your continued progress. I’m not sure how much my first knee would be capable of because the other one was also bad. Guess I’ll know more about that in 7 months.
Thanks for posting your story. It will be very encouraging for many people.
Yeah, part of the reason I decided to quite PT was the "professionals" sometimes said things I knew weren't true. For example, you could never get extension past 0 degrees, and had no idea what "locking" an extended knee meant...
 
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LarryB

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Your story is really encouraging, and helps to give confidence that when someone is pushing us into serious pain it cant possibly be right, but you get sucked into the professional..do what you're told world!

I'm at 11 days...and amazed pretty much every day at the improvements I see, but also know I have a long way to go! Definitely reset my priorities since the operation...before...I was worrying about could I do some work from home at 3 weeks
Now I understand how ridiculous that was......
Sorry, second response to you but I just remembered something else that irritated me about the professional PT's. They cause undo worry if your range of motion hasn't progressed in accordance with their arbitrary schedule. They actually brought up the possibility of MUA with me if I didn't get the prescribed ROM in the prescribed time (my progress at the time was lagging). I tried to ignore that, but it still makes you worry. As mentioned in my original post, my ROM is pretty good now, and I really have been doing nothing to specifically target ROM for months.
 
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LarryB

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Thank you for the great post on life at 8 months post surgery. It is really helpful to me and so many others to hear how you have progressed, and what you are able to do now.
I am 4 months post bilateral knee replacement surgery, and am slowly making gains week by week. When it seems slow, I just look back to the first month!
I agree. At 4 months the progress seems very slow, but you are getting there!
 

jellycats

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Thank you for sharing life at 8 months! While my PT experience was not as difficult as others’, I’m glad I’m now on my own and doing my own “thing.” Much more fun to do different things and on my own schedule. When I have my other knee done, I suspect I will do less PT and stop even sooner.
 
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LarryB

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Thought I would check-in again now that I'm a year (+1 month) post surgery. Things are going very well. I was fortunate enough to retire following my surgery so I've had the last 13 months to focus on getting stronger and fitter. Which was much-needed, given that my job involved a 5-hour round trip commute.

I am fitter now than I've been for the last 30 years, and have lost about 10 lbs. since the surgery. Not on any special diet or anything. I just get more exercise, and try not to eat anything after dinner. For exercise, my go-to is my Concept 2 rowing machine. Great, total body workout, and also is great for post-TKR knee rehabilitation because you exercise ROM with every stroke, and it's great for building leg muscle. But obviously, for people who have recently has surgery, you need to wait for healing before rowing. I was about 5.5 months when I started rowing seriously. Up until then, I took it easy.

Another things that was very beneficial was buying an electric bike. In the earlier days, having the power to assist my peddling gave me the confidence to get back on a bike and not be afraid of hills for the potential setback on my healing. As you get stronger, you can reduce the amount of assistance with the motor and use your legs more. When I first started riding, I felt guilty that I was cheating with a motor assisting me, but I can tell you that having the motor encouraged me to get on the bicycle more, and go further and longer than I would with my regular bike. I still use my regular bike too, and I am in way better condition to peddle unassisted now than I was before the surgery. The rowing machine workouts and ebiking have increased my fitness level tremendously.

At my 8 month report, my ROM was doing very well and it is even better now. I don't have the same flexion or extension as my good knee, but I am probably -1 or -2 extension and at least 130 flexion, and both continue to slowly improve. My legs feel strong, and my knee rarely gives me any trouble, although I will still feel it on days when I'm on my feet all day, particularly when I'm constantly walking up and down stairs working on a project around the house. But even then, any discomfort is minor. I'm planning on doing some downhill skiing for the first time in several years this winter, and feel pretty confident about it given how strong my legs feel.

I know most of the people who read this are struggling with their early recovery, just as I did, and have a hard time envisioning how things will be months down the road. I am here to tell you that you can end up much stronger and fitter than you were going in if you put in the work. But I also caution you against doing too much too soon. I struggled with that as well, and struggled with PT making things worse, not better in those early days. So take it easy at first, let your knee heal, and build yourself back up when your body is ready.
 

sistersinhim

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What a wonderful one-year report! I'm sure reading your post will bring comfort to those who are so worried about their outcome. You are proof that slow and easy can lead to a great recovery! Thanks for sharing your experience.
 

Suz

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I know most of the people who read this are struggling with their early recovery, just as I did, and have a hard time envisioning how things will be months down the road. I am here to tell you that you can end up much stronger and fitter than you were going in if you put in the work. But I also caution you against doing too much too soon. I struggled with that as well, and struggled with PT making things worse, not better in those early days. So take it easy at first, let your knee heal, and build yourself back up when your body is ready.
At 2wks post-op and missing my time outdoors with my Great Pyrenees' so much, your encouragement about brought tears to my eyes @LarryB. Thank You!

Suz.png Training.png
 

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