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Lounge Doctor

TKR A unicorn's recovery story


new member
Nov 24, 2020
United States United States
I would like to thank everyone on this forum for posting all the many recovery journeys. I had a hard time deciding to finally have surgery after 8 plus years of bone on bone arthritis in my right knee. I used this forum to get a good idea of what the surgery and recovery entailed. After much research, I had Maco robotic total knee replacement surgery on July 30, 2020.

I hesitated in writing here because my experience certainly seems like an outlier. When I was researching this forum, I was looking for the best case healing scenarios along with the worst. I was hoping to be on the faster side of things but wasn’t able to find that many people who recovered quickly with minimal complications. So, I thought I would share my experience for other’s who might be trying to decide on whether to have the surgery or not. Cliff Note version: Do it!

Some things that worked in my favor: I am quite healthy and have always been very active and athletic. Prior to the surgery I was walking and cycling a lot, taking yoga and barre classes and weightlifting. I guess I consider myself pretty high energy. I have a high pain tolerance (4 unmedicated births are my main credentials here). I have healed quickly after other injuries and surgeries (meniscus repair, rotator cuff repair and torn hamstrings), needing minimal opiate pain medicines.

Here is a quick overview of my experience:
Surgery Day - I had a spinal block (highly recommend). I was able to get up very soon after the surgery, use the bathroom and “pass” the PT tests (steps, stairs, etc). Headed home.

Post Op
Week One:
My spinal lasted about 3 days and during this time I was taking Tylenol and Ibuprofen only. I slept 2-3 hour chunks of time. I used my ice machine around the clock which helped a ton. Overall, feeling WAY better than I thought I would. I started taking Oxycodone at 4 days post op which helped me to sleep. During the day, I got up frequently using crutches and would walk around and do simple quick tasks around my house such as laundry or making simple meals.

Week Two:
I got my stitches out at a week post-op and had my first PT session. ROM +1/90. I have a great PT who I have used for other injuries and she follows the Bonesmart philosophies for post surgery PT.

Had quite a bit of bruising. Still using Ibuprofen/Tylenol and extending time between doses of Oxy during the day. With Covid, I am working from home so I did a few hours of computer work everyday from my bed (ice machine on).
Moved to using only one crutch for stability.

Week Three:
PT two times per week now. ROM 1/106
Worked full time from home. Driving to/from PT (very close to home). Increased walking without crutches and gait is almost back to normal. Decreased pain at night, sleeping longer periods of time. Off of Oxy but still taking Tylenol and Ibuprofen regularly.

Went to a cabin on a river for a change of pace. Able to walk to and from the beach on my own. Walking about 3000-4000 steps per day. This level of activity didn’t cause swelling or pain. Still using ice machine many times per day.

Week Four:
ROM .5/120
Pedaled on stationary bike, did squats and leg press in PT. No additional swelling or pain at night from these. Occasional Tylenols. Walking around 6000-8000 steps mostly from activities of daily living.

Week Five:
Pretty much back to normal life. Added in taking one half hour to 45 minute walks 3-4 times per week. Able to pick up my little meatball of a grandson without any pain.

Week Six:
Follow up with OS. Everything was looking great. ROM: 0/126. Won’t need to see him for a long time! Knee mildly swollen if I sit at my desk too much. Icing a few times each day. Occasional Tylenol at night time.

Week Seven and Beyond:
Exiting PT at ROM -1/132

Back on my bike! Started out with a flat, slow 45 minute ride. It felt great. My knee felt a little tight to start but once warmed up, quickly felt like normal. No pain clipping in and out (before surgery this was a very painful event). No increased swelling or pain from current activity level but occasional “zings” at night. My knee feels a little wonky when I kneel on it during yoga but this is improving each week.

Conclusion: I think I had about as quick and easy of a recovery process as possible. At almost 4 months post op, I am thrilled with the outcome. It still shocks me that I don’t have pain in my knee. I am back to doing everything I loved doing without the modifications I had subconsciously made over the years. I look forward to trying out the knee skiing this winter.

Recommendations: Get in the best possible shape you can before surgery. It will make post op life so much easier. Buy/rent an ice machine. I didn’t have one with my other surgeries and as a result, I iced way less. I think the ice machine is a game changer. Move around a little each day (whatever level works for you). Find a surgeon who does a ton of these surgeries. I think the robotic surgery made a big difference as far as tissue disruption, implant fit, etc.


Senior Forum Advisor
Aug 29, 2017
United States United States
Hi and Welcome!

You have certainly had a fabulous recovery!

Every new member gets their own copy of our Recover Guidelines. Each article is short but very informative. Following these guidelines will help you have a less painful recovery.

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:
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.


junior member
Feb 22, 2020
United States United States
@Seattle It was interesting to read your story. Thanks for posting it. It’s encouraging to read posts of surgeries with good outcomes. I also had the Mako Robotic surgeries on both my knees and had an ice machine. I highly recommend both, too. I did have a stitch infection on the 2nd knee, where the upper robotic arm was attached. But other then that, I was one of the fortunate ones too. Very little pain after surgery. Some stiffness but I will take stiffness over pain any day. I love being pain free and not continually be taking pain meds. Life for me is sooooo much better after surgery! I can‘t predict a weather change anymore! Happy Thanksgiving

Roy Gardiner

Jul 23, 2011
Essex and London
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Conclusion: I think I had about as quick and easy of a recovery process as possible.
So do I! For others reading this, it's about as good as it gets IMO. It is something to be hoped for, not expected. To be clear, the results will be much the same, but normally will take longer and be much more of a roller coaster ride.


Jun 10, 2018
United States United States
It is nice to hear a good recovery story! I have had many knee replacements on my right knee (I don’t think revisions sounds right because most were total replacements of the replacements) and my last one last February was the first one for me to use Robotics. I am not sure what type but the difference was remarkable. I also had a pain block. With both of these I had very little pain, and my ROM was at 0 and 110 after only a few weeks. I was able to ride a stationary bike at 2 weeks, where my others took 2 mos. My only issue now is the ligament stretched again, so I am hopefully having my last surgery 1/22. Fixing my left too to fix my prosthetic knee cap. Thanks for your story!


Dec 28, 2019
Kansas City
United States United States
Thanks for reporting your great recovery story. Good recovery stories on the forum tend to be sparce simply because those with difficulties need and deserve more support. And people with great recoveries are out on their bikes and other activities. But seeing all the problems that people have can add to the apprehension ahead of surgery. I'm sure your story will inspire and encourage many people.


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