TKR Adventuress' Recovery

Adventuress

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I had a left TKR on March 22, so am now just over 3 weeks post-op. All in all, things have been pretty smooth. Took Tramadol and Naxproxen along with Asipin and a few others for the first 2 weeks, but steered clear of the stronger narcotics, but had them on hand if required. Since the op similar to another contributor, I have had a mild fuzzy, numbness in my left heel from mid-instep. It seems similar to what I used to call fuzzy feet, which I would get in both feet at the end of each hiking season. This usually took about 2 months to go away and was due to nerve compression having hiked 100's of km. I am hoping the sensation in my heel also subsides. It has a strange cold feeling to it. I also have numbness around the healing knee. I am thinking all this is normal and will resolve once healing and swelling reach a certain point.

At just after 2 weeks I was able to flex 120 degrees and was walking with a cane in the house and with a cane and hiking pole when out for walks. I was also using a stationary bike (initially for about 25 -30 mins, but dialed this back to multiple shorter sessions). Sessions with the physio have gone well. I am also trained as a physio, but not practicing, so have some insight, but probably a little too zealous. In my enthusiasm, in week 2.5 I started reducing meds while increasing walks and bike together with physio. I found that my ROM in flexion reduced to 90 degrees, as I experienced a painful tugging in the medial quads just above the knee, which was also sore to touch. Also had a sleepless night, where I seemed to be needing to shift my position constantly. I decided to increase meds to every 6 to 8 hours and come off them more slowly.

Today, a full week later, I have not needed to take any pain meds since last night and do not have pain, just swelling if I stand for too long. Also have been using cryo cuff and elevation regularly. I noticed another contributor had the feeling they were laying around all day. I head to bed around 8pm these days and get up around 7am. Certainly, there is a lot more laying around than I would like, but I intersperse this with 5 -10 mins of the stationary bike (forward and backward) 3 - 4 times daily, walking around the house, a nature walk at least 1 x 1km walk per day and eating and all the other usual daily chores that I am able to do to lessen the extra work my husband has taken on. My mood is mostly positive and it has helped reading other people's experiences. There have been a few low days, especially when I seemed to have lost ROM (now back to 120 plus.
I am also lucky enough to have a SCENAR biofeedback device, which helps trigger the body to send endorphins to where they are needed and to improve healing. Looking forward to walking without a cane and feeling strong enough to engage in some of the adventures I have done in the past.
 

Jockette

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@Adventuress Hi and Welcome!

I moved your post out of the monthly thread, we use that thread for surgery date information, and so that members can see who else has surgery that month.

I have started this Recovery thread for you, so please feel free to post here about your recovery. Having your own thread benefits you because all your information is in one place, easy to find, and maintains a nice journal for you.

How can I find my threads and posts?

It sounds like you care coming along very well.

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.
 

glidefloss

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Hi @Adventuress , great report! Am amazed at your recovery, cautioned by your setback (I also have a hard time curbing the urge to overdo), recoup and progress forward again.

All the best on your recovery/rehab.
 
OP
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Adventuress

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While I know that each of us will meet different milestones at different times. I am wondering about when I might expect to be able to lift my lower leg while pushing the back of my knee into the bed and tensing my quads. This is clearly an area of soft tissue that has lost of healing to do and I am sure I will get this back, but not sure what to expect.
What experiences are out there?
 

sistersinhim

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I am wondering about when I might expect to be able to lift my lower leg while pushing the back of my knee into the bed and tensing my quads.

Well, that's an impossible question to answer. I was able to lift mine from the git-go. But, my knee was not straight for a few months, at least. Others might need weeks or even months to lift their legs. Their quads just were not ready to do so. Every knee is different. The work your OS had to do inside is different so the healing time is different. You aren't even 1/12 of the way healed yet and have a whole lot of time to get the quads working more.
 
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Adventuress

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HaHa! Yes, but you have answered my question in many ways. I will just have to be patient and let things heal in their own sweet time, knowing that there is no real NORMAL, beyond wanting to know what might be normal. :)
 
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Adventuress

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Week 8 of recovery. OMG I bought a lounge doctor leg elevator wedge. Very worthwhile investment. So comfortable, light and effective. While I could have continued with stacked pillows and been none the wiser, I was tierd of them not quite being comfortable. Wish I had invested in Lounge Doctor earlier. My knees are so much happier. However tempting, I cannot louge around all day and have gradually been increasing my activity. Started aqua fit last week. The instructor seems to be moving at warp speed compared to my steady fraction of her speed pace. Leg raising going much better as quad strength improves. Stepping up and down will be new goals, but not there yet. TKR is teaching me a whole new level of patience. Continue to work on knee extention, which seems to be much more challenging than flexion for me. I was able to get in and out of my kayak (on the dry dock) with relative ease earlier this week, so am keen for a nice day to go for a paddle on the water. Walked 6km in 3 short hikes the other day, which made me very proud. Hiking poles are my hiking buddies. Ice and elevation my chillout friends. :)
 

kneeper

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Sounds like you're doing well!
 

JojoFitness

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Started aqua fit last week.
Hi - you do seem to be doing well! I just started exercising/stretching in the pool today. I know what to do, but not how long to do it. So today, I just did it for 20 min. I seem to be a little sorer and stiffer tonight. I too bought a lounge doctor and use it at least once a day. Good for you for walking 6km! Almost four miles. I don't think I could do that yet. I've started walking the stairs at the clubhouse since we live in a home with zero stairs. Going down is HARD! But going up is easy -- just like before surgery - haha. Good luck to you!
 
OP
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Adventuress

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Started aqua fit last week.
Hi - you do seem to be doing well! I just started exercising/stretching in the pool today. I know what to do, but not how long to do it. So today, I just did it for 20 min. I seem to be a little sorer and stiffer tonight. I too bought a lounge doctor and use it at least once a day. Good for you for walking 6km! Almost four miles. I don't think I could do that yet. I've started walking the stairs at the clubhouse since we live in a home with zero stairs. Going down is HARD! But going up is easy -- just like before surgery - haha. Good luck to you!
The aqua fit sessions are 30 mins so your 20 mins is on par if it is working for you. I find the stairs tough (up is certainly more manageable, down taking the weight on my affected leg is going to take a bit longer. Going downhill is tricky too but managable. Working on training the quads to take on more load. Sounds like you are doing well with your recovery. Keep up the good work!
 

MaryCat

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Wow I’m really glad I checked in and found this thread. It was definitely a struggle to get back to outdoor adventures and sports but month four was a lot better! Still cautious about some activities but went away for the holiday and was able to move about and do things so that it was day 3 before anyone noticed I had any limitations and asked about the scar on my knee. Even had a bit of a slip on a wet deck of a boat, and knee was fine.

Two months ago was more than a little distressed about my progress and setbacks. Really glad for this forum and everyone sharing their stories. Helped me a lot
 

ski_bum

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Started aqua fit last week.
Hi - you do seem to be doing well! I just started exercising/stretching in the pool today. I know what to do, but not how long to do it. So today, I just did it for 20 min. I seem to be a little sorer and stiffer tonight. I too bought a lounge doctor and use it at least once a day. Good for you for walking 6km! Almost four miles. I don't think I could do that yet. I've started walking the stairs at the clubhouse since we live in a home with zero stairs. Going down is HARD! But going up is easy -- just like before surgery - haha. Good luck to you!
@JojoFitness
Try walking backwards a couple times but be careful, handle rail and be sure you are at the bottom before turning around.
Good Luck.
Don
 
OP
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Adventuress

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Thank you! Now a two time March Musketeer, as my other knee was done last March. A musketeer here and oddly enough a musketeer by trade, for my knees have seen a lot of sword fencing, quite likely this played a part in my knee issues along with lots of hiking.
I cannot deny that I am feeling some fear and questioning of my decision walking into my second knee replacement. It has been a long haul these past 10 months since TKR left and I know how much patience and work it takes to recover from this surgery. However, I feel in a half way kind of place where going forward looks like the best option. These past 10 months have been life changing in so many ways, both good and extremally challenging.
 

tejubeha

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@Adventuress, I too am a repeat March Musketeer! I had my RT Patello-Femoral and Left Total Hip replacements in March and now am facing my RT TKR in March.
 

benne68

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@Adventuress Although every knee replacement is different -- even between knees in the same person -- Rightie will benefit from your left TKR recovery. Your experience with pain, swelling and lack of mobility as well as the benefits of pain meds, icing and elevating with your Lounge Doctor will be a big help this second time around!
Wishing you all the best for your upcoming surgery! :flwrysmile:
 

beachy

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I waited over 4 years when the doc wanted me to have both done 6 months to 1 yr apart. If hindsight was 20/20 I would have taken his advice.
It is daunting to go through it again, but once you're recovered its over.
 
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Adventuress

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Thank you all for your support. I will keep you updated. Right now I have to get some sleep as I have gone down with a cold.
 

EalingGran

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Good luck! There are some vicious bugs out there right now. Seems like everything hits you when you are down- I have had one infection after another post my PKR 12 weeks ago.
 

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