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TKR Big O’s Recovery Thread

Big O

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Greetings fellow Kneesies!

I had my right knee replaced on September 10, so I am about 5 1/2 weeks into my recovery. I am a 67 year old male, residing in Washington state.

I have to say that, even though I had had a total reverse shoulder replacement last year, nothing could have prepared me for the pain of a total knee replacement. The first week was particularly painful, as my back was out from too much motorcycling in the week prior to my surgery. My surgery was on Thursday, and by Sunday, I was in agony. I had been sent home with 40 Percocet, and instructed to take 1 5mg Percocet every 4 hours, in addition to 1000 mg of Extra Strength Tylenol 3X day. This was not adequate to address my pain. On my doctors instructions, I increased the Percocet to 15mg every 4 hours, plus I added 600mg of Ibuprofen 3X day. This combination relaxed my back and after 5 days I was able to stop the opioids.

I started PT on the 4th day after surgery. These are the same therapists that rehabbed my shoulder, so I have a lot of confidence in their ability to get results. The fact of the matter is though, that your recovery is dependent on many factors such as what kind of physical condition you were in prior to surgery, the competency of your surgeon, your ability to withstand pain/discomfort, and probably most importantly, your motivation to recover. I was approved for 12 PT sessions, and last Thursday, after my 10th visit, I was released from PT.

At this point, my ROM is 0/123 degrees. My daily walk is 3 quite hilly miles. I have not used any assistive device since week two. I am back to riding a bicycle, with my 1year old grandson in the child carrier on the handle bars, and my 3 year old granddaughter on the tagalong bike behind.
The next two months will be spent increasing my strength and endurance. Having not been able to walk much before surgery, my fitness level had taken a beating. Temptation would have me back on the golf course, but my priority is fitness at this point.

Everything is not roses. I have some swelling, and some residual pain, however, it is very minimal and every day finds my knee looking smaller than the day before. 5 weeks ago, I probably wouldn’t have thought this possible.
 

sistersinhim

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Welcome to Bonesmart. It sounds like you are coming along splendidly, much better than average!
The following are our basic guidelines and should help get you started. As you read more on other members' recovery threads, you’ll get a better perspective of what to expect and what not to do, especially regarding PT.

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. Here is a week-by-week guide for Activity progression for TKRs


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 a 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 history before providing advice.
 

allin1

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Wow, I would say that walking daily 3 miles at 5 weeks is an awful lot, but if you can do it, good on you. I might try cutting back the distance or going every other day and seeing if it helps with the pain and swelling you mention.
 

Celle

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Welcome to recovery, @Big O .

It sounds as if you're doing well and I don't want to minimise what you've achieved, but I think some of your pain and swelling is because you're doing too much, too soon, with your new knee.

Your knee had been through major surgery and it needs time and gentle treatment, so it can heal and recover. It's not lazy or unfit - it's wounded by the surgery. It's still pretty new and it needs gentle treatment.

Compete recovery from a knee replacement takes a full year. Even though things look healed on the outside, there is still healing going on beneath the surface for all that time. In terms of a race, it's a marathon, not a sprint, so you need to pace yourself.
Trying to do too much, too soon, can set up a chronic inflammation, which will slow down your recovery.
 
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Big O

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Welcome to recovery, @Big O .

It sounds as if you're doing well and I don't want to minimise what you've achieved, but I think some of your pain and swelling is because you're doing too much, too soon, with your new knee.

Your knee had been through major surgery and it needs time and gentle treatment, so it can heal and recover. It's not lazy or unfit - it's wounded by the surgery. It's still pretty new and it needs gentle treatment.

Compete recovery from a knee replacement takes a full year. Even though things look healed on the outside, there is still healing going on beneath the surface for all that time. In terms of a race, it's a marathon, not a sprint, so you need to pace yourself.
Trying to do too much, too soon, can set up a chronic inflammation, which will slow down your recovery.
Hi Celle,

Actually, my swelling is very minor, and as far as pain it is also very minimal. My doctor and my therapists say that I am an anomaly. When I had my reverse shoulder replacement last year, I played 18 holes of golf 23 days after my surgery.
I really appreciate what you say and your approach. I do listen to my body and if I don’t feel like I should be doing something, I won’t do it. I not in a race or competition with anyone.
 

Celle

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That's fine, @Big O . As long as you're listening to your body, all is well - and congratulations on being one of the lucky ones who are having a great recovery. :yes!:
 
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Big O

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Well, today was my 6 week anniversary. Compared to the arthritis pain prior to my surgery, my knee and leg feel much better. Today, after I finished babysitting my 3 grandchildren, I went to the driving range and hit 100 balls. I know that for many, this may not be your experience, but it is mine, and I am pretty happy about it.
 

Sara61

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Well done !! :yes!: what a great achievement, it can be jolly hard work babysitting and every little goal (in your case playing golf) we accomplish, is another step in proving that having surgery was the right thing to do. Enjoy your golf:)
 
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Big O

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Well, I played 18 holes of golf today, 6 weeks and two days after my RTKR..... and, I walked the full 18. My knee felt 100% better than before my surgery. I had not been able to walk 18 holes since about 9 months ago. It was my first time playing since Labor Day, so I was a bit tired when we finished.
Tomorrow I’ll give my knee a day off.
 

Jockette

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You are doing really well!
 
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Big O

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Great weekend! I played 18 holes of golf on Saturday and Sunday. Walking. It really felt good. My stamina is already pretty much back to normal. About the only thing that I have trouble with is stepping over the baby gate when I am babysitting the grandchildren. That is also getting better.
 

Jaycey

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Well done on the golf @Big O ! That's what it's all about - living life again without pain.
 

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