TKR 9 and a half weeks, ski, hike, cycle

Funbun

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I’m very glad to find this informative forum. What an inspiration and what a help.

I am 9 1/2 weeks out from TKR, March 25. I had this surgery to be able to skate ski and hike and cycle the way I’m accustomed. I have been a serious hiker, skier, and cyclist for many years. My husband is 7 years younger than I, and super fit, which is huge motivation to get back on top of my active life. In the past we have done many fantastic hiking excursions (Muir trail, peru, France and Switzerland) and we both have traveled to do skate ski races, and some bike racing. These last few years my knees (oh no, two?) have been hindering my form and comfort on skis, and descending steep hikes is very painful, and even with cycling, I’m struggling with pain.
My TKR went as planned. It was outpatient surgery. My recovery is a little problematic because I cannot take NSAIDS, which are so much better than Tylenol. I also had to have 20 blood thinner injections postoperative in my gut due to not being able to tolerate NSAIDS. I weened myself from narcotics 2 weeks postop. I’m limited to acetaminophen. It is really not much help for pain, but It is pain I can tolerate.
Flexion is good, 138 at my final pt 2 weeks ago. My extension needs a little work, but it’s what I started with preop, and it’s minor.
My concerns at this point are pain on outer knee, and under knee cap. I’m pretty sure some of this is ITBS and I’ve started some stretches. Pain under kneecap sometimes? Walking does not feel that great. I’m doing core work and leg work and I’m able to spin on a trainer pretty well. I am hoping for comfortable walking soon, but every time I try I have discomfort.
My husband isn't helping because summer is here and I can’t go hiking or cycling with him. I can’t even cart around our grandkids like I used to, and that is a big part of my fun.
I had this idea that I was in very good shape before surgery and that recovery might be 3 months, and I’d be out hiking and cycling a little. The more I read here, the more I realize that it could take longer.
TKR made my whole body very weak for 3 weeks. I checked with at a PA at an appointment about feeling so weak. He told me there is not a lot of blood loss during TKR, and that if I didn’t feel better in a few weeks, I should get blood work done. I pushed through thinking that if I could do some core, upper body weights, I could build some strength back. I did and I’m feeling a little stronger. I’m approaching “long term recovery” and I’m trying hard to be positive and keep up the hard work. I’m reaching three months in 2 and a half weeks. I want to walk more than a few blocks.
 

Jockette

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Hi and Welcome!

This is a major surgery which takes a lot out of us, and healing is slow and takes an average of a year. This early in recovery the majority of your body’s energy is focused on healing, which leaves less energy for other things. Patience is required to let your body sort itself out. You will get back to those fun activities, just not as fast as you would like.

Please tell us which knee was replaced and we’ll add that to your signature. :flwrysmile:

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.

Just keep in mind all people are different, as are the approaches to this recovery and rehab. The key is, “Find what works for you.“ Your doctors, PTs and BoneSmart are available to help, but you are the final judge as to the recovery approach you choose.

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.
 

ski_bum

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I’m very glad to find this informative forum. What an inspiration and what a help.

I am 9 1/2 weeks out from TKR, March 25. I had this surgery to be able to skate ski and hike and cycle the way I’m accustomed.
First knee, June 10th. 2021. 6 months later I skied everywhere downhill including Moguls 96 1/2 days until second knee surgery March 31st. 2022.
I have IT Band issues. Worse on the first surgery. Until today when I walk (only flat) it's like it pops out every step.
Today the first half of my 40 minute walk it did not do it. I have to use a roller daily and it seems to be helping.
Second knee, Surgeon said he did something different so the IT Band would be okay. Not as bad but it is similar so I roll that leg as well.
I don't hike and I downhill ski because there are Lifts, lol.
Good luck with your recovery.
 
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Funbun

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Thank you, Jockette! My right knee is my surgical knee. Thank you for the reminder that patience is required.

Thank You, ski_bum. I am using a foam roller and stretching. I didn’t realize how tight my ITB was until I foam rolled it! Yikes. Hopefully this will help.
 

Samsrf

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@Funbun Glad you got a foam roller. I just got one- what a difference it makes for the IT bands. I am just a few days behind you in recovery. Hang in there. This is definitely a marathon!
 
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Funbun

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@Samsrf thank you for the encouragement! I am changing my strategy. I’m going to focus more on cyclying, hopefully the walking will come. I can spin for an easy hour on a trainer. Im going to get on my gravel bike outside soon. My only dilemma is hills. I can spin fine, but climbing a hill…..well, pushing bike up may be my thing. Im still feeling very weak. Writing it off to being much less active for 2 months, and being old!
 

kneeper

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The amount of activity you're doing but feeling like you're not up to par sounds more like the fact that you're not even 3 months out of surgery and haven't completely recovered. The first three months are really the main phase of recovery, but my doc told me you won't feel completely normal for several more months. And actually it sounds like you're doing well. :friends:
But if you feel like you're weak doing normal daily activities of living, that would be more likely something to check out with your doctor.
 
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Funbun

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Thank you @kneeper. I read some article here about “long recovery” and “short recovery”. When entering long recovery one should be getting back to normal activities. Walking isn’t feeling even close to normal. I still have two weeks before I enter the period of long recovery, and even then, walking may take more time. Thank you for reminding me to be patient.
 

InkedMarie

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Can someone post a link of the foam rollers you’re using?

Marie
 

DEL2022Jun-25

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Hey there, It sounds like you are in good shape, and I know how it is to be less mobile and the body not responding as it used to. Sounds like you had wonderful, fabulous outdoor trips, and while you can't now, all that will return. Have you spoken to your husband about your worries?
Your flexion sounds terrific, and yes, you should have your bloodwork done to see where your iron levels and Vit D are solid. Make sure you're taking supplements if they've been suggested, and get the dosaging correct.

Hang in there. I also can't take NSAIDs and can only tolerate opiates for 3 days. I'm on Tylenol, ice (Breg Polar Ice machine) and an old vibrating heating pad for pain. I also find the stretches and breath work to be helping, as well as watching shows, movies and listening to music to move my brain onto something else. I have the foam rollers which are good, but today I got back into a downward dog, and it felt great (yoga).

You can do this! Take care!
 

Irongirl56

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Hi Funbun, you sound just like I did after my surgery! When can I run, bike, hike and swim again and how fast can I go???
Patience is a virtue when it comes to these knees. I probably pushed faster than I should have in an effort to be race ready soon than later. I may be paying for it with some new issues like tibial tendonitis and ongoing pain at the top of my calf.
I am almost a year out and only just getting on my gravel Bike and have not yet gotten on my Tri bike. Lots of indoor spinning for sure and riding my Ebike to get outside but as you mentioned, the hills can be an issue if too early on.
I was training for Ironmans before my surgery so was in pretty good shape given the limits of my knee pain and I am finding it is taking this long to finally get back into race shape even though I have been progressing in my training diligently.
I think it is important to remember that as we age, recovery for anything takes longer whether it be a 50 mile bike ride or major surgery and if we dont honor where our bodies are at then it is easy to get further behind in the recovery process.
You are still very early in your recovery and even when you get to 12 weeks it doesnt all magically get better. It just takes time and patience.
If you look through my recovery thread from last June you can get a sense of how I progressed in my recovery. It took me quite awhile to walk well.
hang in there!
 

itsallgood21900

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I’m very glad to find this informative forum. What an inspiration and what a help.

My concerns at this point are pain on outer knee, and under knee cap. I’m pretty sure some of this is ITBS and I’ve started some stretches. Pain under kneecap sometimes?
I also have pain under knee cap and side of my knee often
 

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