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TKR Birdwatcher's recovery thread

Birdwatcher

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Hi everyone. I am a woman, 53 y.o., from Denmark.
Today it has been 11 weeks since my TKR operation in my left knee (March 5th).
The operation went well, there were no complications.
I think my recovery so far has been as expected, really. Painful the first weeks, but slowly recovered.

The hardest thing for me, is to find a good balance in my activities, so that I don't get swelling, warmth and pain, at night or next day. My struggle is that I often don't feel pain during my bike or walk, it comes later.

I worry if I ever will be able to do long walks again. I really miss them. Sometimes it feels impossible. I often feel so tired in my leg. Like I don't have any muscles or strength. Though it is getting better, it's just such a slow progress.

I do have 1 issue.... I feel a sharp pain under the kneecap - inner knee - when I overdo my activities. My surgeon told me that the pains you had before surgery, often will be there around 3 months after surgery. I really hope that is true because then it will disappear soon.

Physical therapy has been challenging for me, due to Covid-19. Everything was closed in my country, so I could not see a pt, until they opened up for consultations a couple of weeks ago. Therefor I had to exercise on my own, and I was constantly worrying if I did okay.

I can:
Bend 120 degrees
Ride a bike outdoor, for 1 hour ca. (15 km) If the course is hilly, then shorter.
Walk 2-3 km with walking poles. Without poles, it's only around 1-1,5 km.

Painmedicin: Paracetamol + 200 mg Ibuprofen x 2. Usually.
I don't take it regulary, only when I feel it's necessary

I do workout every day. PT exercises.
Talked to my surgeon 1 week ago, and he was very satisfied with me. So I guess I am okay.
 

Sara61

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@Birdwatcher
:welome: to BoneSmart. With time and patience it does get better you are still in very days.

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
elevate
ice
take your pain meds by prescription schedule (not when pain starts!)
don't overwork.
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
the BoneSmart view on exercise
BoneSmart philosophy for sensible post op therapy
5. At week 4 and after you should follow this
Activity progression for TKRs
6. Access these pages on the website
Oral And Intravenous Pain Medications
Wound Care In Hospital


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.[/COLO
 

sistersinhim

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You are doing really well for such a short time out of surgery! Don't worry about doing no formal PT. You did your own PT every time you walked around the house. Many of us never took formal PT or did exercises. I am one of them. I had 12 knee surgeries, 2 of them kneecap removals, and 1 tkr. Even after those I never took formal PT. But, I didn't just sit around and do nothing. I used my knee as it was intended to be used by walking around to take care of my daily needs. As I healed I was able to do more. Icing and elevation were a huge part of my recovery.

Listen to your knee. It will tell you if you're doing too much by increased pain and swelling. When that happened to me, I found that resting, icing, and elevating helped. Your knee knows how to rehab itself without being told what to do.
 

Celle

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Your knee has done really well, @Birdwatcher . The pain you feel when you overdo is your knee telling you it would appreciate less activity. Listen to it, because you are doing rather a lot for so early in recovery.

Complete recovery takes as long as a full year, although you will be able to do most things long before that. But, at 11 weeks, your knee is still like a young child. You have plenty of time for it to complete its recovery on its own schedule. There's no need to rush.
 

kneeper

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Just chiming in to agree that you're doing great. You're through the first stage and will continue to see improvements. You're right that finding the balance in activity is a challenge. Just take it a day at a time. :console2:
 
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Birdwatcher

Birdwatcher

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Update 12 weeks:
It has really turned around for me. The pain that kept me from walking very far, is pretty much totally gone. I feel like I have gotten more muscles, all of the sudden. I have better balance, and do not get as tired in my knee, as before. Yesterday I walked 4 km, and did 18 km on my bike. No pain afterwards. Today I accidently walked 7 km in very tough terrain, I used walking poles, and also took breaks when ever I felt I needed it. Sometimes I only needed to stand still for a couple of minutes, and then I could continue walking. I sat down once for every km I walked.
I was a bit stiff in the knee when I got home, and there were some swelling, but after icing and a rest, I was okay again, and it is now so fine. I really can't believe it. I feel like I must pinch myself in my arm; is it really true that I can do all that now? I also am kind of scared writing about it, ooooh imaging if I jinx it somehow! It is just so incredible for me, that I can walk with no pain.

Today I talked to a woman in our campsite, that also have had knee replacement, in both knee. The difference is, that hers was a partial knee replacement, but we had a good talk and compared scars :D
Our Battle Wounds ;) She is 5 month away from her second PKR, and she is almost 100% healed.

gaatur_7km.png
 

Jaycey

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@Birdwatcher so glad to hear you have started to see good results from your TKR. As we always advise here - it just takes time. I hope you continue to enjoy that new knee!
 

Sara61

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@Birdwatcher great review :yes!: sounds like you knee is behaving brilliantly and keeping up with all your activities. Lol you make me feel tired just by reading your level of fitness:heehee: just remember to ice frequently and occasionally give your knee the odd elevation and rest as you don't want to overdo it to soon x
Nevertheless well done :happydance:
 
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Birdwatcher

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Today I walked 7 km again. The weather was fantastic. Sunshine and quite warm.
Later we went grocery shopping and thats always hard on my knee. But it was okay this time. Sat down in the store twice. Once on an empty shelf with oatmeal, and another time on a pallette with canned cola
Well...knee was tired and i could feel it would swell up if I didn't sat down.
Now we have groceries for the holidays and a whole week. We are having family and friends over for barbecue.
Love summer and love my new knee


IMG_20200529_162836_527.jpg
 
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bikinglynn

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You are doing great! You are figuring out how to increase your activity without overdoing it. That is a hard lesson to learn. It sounds like you are really enjoying getting your life back, and that is the reason we all do this.
 
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Birdwatcher

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You are doing great! You are figuring out how to increase your activity without overdoing it. That is a hard lesson to learn. It sounds like you are really enjoying getting your life back, and that is the reason we all do this.
Thank you :) :-) (:, and I think you are right. I am starting to get a good balance, though I sometime get really tempted to walk or bike longer, or leave walking poles at home on the longer walks.

I think the walking poles makes a huge difference for me, and if that is what makes me able to walk longer distances without damaging my knee, then that's how I will do it for now. Even though some people think that I should walk with no support at all at this point in my recovery. A woman looked at my knee and asked if I was wearing compression band og knee band? I answered Yes. Then she said that maybe I shouldn't... because maybe I couldn't develop muscles very good, with that support the knee compression gave me. I smiled at her, and thanked her for the advice, - but inside I just said "Nonsense". I can see and feel that I am developing muscles, very much so.
 
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Birdwatcher

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Yesterday I tripped over something TWICE! :hissy: And twisted my knee a bit. That gave me a night with very little sleep, and for the first time in a very long time, I had to get up and take painkillers.
The knee is luckily not swollen or warm, and today it is okay. Now I am just tired, from lack of sleep.
It is holiday here in Denmark, and we have had family over for barbecue 2 days in a row, and again tonight. I have really enjoyed it, I love being with my kids and grandkids, but I also can feel that it can get hard on the knee. I stand up a lot, preparing food, making coffee, fetching water, setting the table, going to the playground with the little ones etc.
BUT...I am getting better at realizing IN TIME! when I need to sit down, and not just push through. So, besides my idiotic stunt yesterday, I am doing great.
We have just booking tickets to Bornholm (an island close to Sweden) in August, and though I in March said that I wanted a hiking-holiday, I have agreed to an bike-holiday. I fear it will damage my knee if I went hiking with backpack, for 10 days. I really am optimistic about my healing & progress, and maybe I actually can walk 20 km in august, but it's not everything you should do, just because you can.
So...
hiking adventures must wait until 2021.
 

Tykey

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You have a great pragmatic view to recovery, and are reaping the rewards

Please stay around and keep preaching the message

Well done
 

sistersinhim

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Even though some people think that I should walk with no support at all at this point in my recovery. A woman looked at my knee and asked if I was wearing a compression band og knee band? I answered Yes. Then she said that maybe I shouldn't... because maybe I couldn't develop muscles very good, with that support the knee compression gave me. I smiled at her, and thanked her for the advice, - but inside I just said "Nonsense". I can see and feel that I am developing muscles, very much so.
You have the right attitude. It's your knee and it's different from anyone else's. During this recovery, we have so many 'helpful suggestions' that we don't need. I also learned to just smile, nod my head, and then forget about it.
 
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Birdwatcher

Birdwatcher

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Hi everyone!
Question: Can any of you kneel on your new knee?

Like "standing on all fours"? I have not tried it yet... and am scared to. We live in a caravan, with no space around our bed. So when I am making the bed, I have to kind of drag myself around on the bed, like a seal on land :rotfl:... could be nice if I could put weight on the operated knee.

20200602_075143.jpg
 

Laskyd

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Hi Birdwatcher
I had a left knee replacement 4 years ago and while my new knee is fantastic, I don’t like the feeling I get when I kneel on that knee. In all other positions my knee feels like it is a natural part of my body, but when I kneel on it the bionic knee feels artificial and uncomfortable. Some TKR people have no problem with kneeling but most have complained of the same feeling.
By the way, I am a big bird watcher too!
 

Wolvesfan

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Hi @Birdwatcher! My surgery was a week after yours, and it’s been good to follow your recovery. I’ve been anxious about kneeling, and have only tried it with a pillow under my new knee. It feels so strange, and maybe always will. You mentioned a compression bandage. Does that help with swelling or stiffness? Other than some aching after a busy day, stiffness is my main annoying thing now. What a journey, right? I love your photos!
 
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Birdwatcher

Birdwatcher

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Hi @Birdwatcher! My surgery was a week after yours, and it’s been good to follow your recovery. I’ve been anxious about kneeling, and have only tried it with a pillow under my new knee. It feels so strange, and maybe always will. You mentioned a compression bandage. Does that help with swelling or stiffness? Other than some aching after a busy day, stiffness is my main annoying thing now. What a journey, right? I love your photos!
Thank you so much for your comment
I think I will try carefully later, and see how my knee will react....uuuh a bit scary.

Compression bandage really helps me with the swelling. And when the swelling is down, then the stiffness is much less too.

How is your scar? Mine is a bit thickened and it sometime feels like it add stiffness to the knee. Massage helps.
 

Wolvesfan

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This might make you laugh, since we were just talking about kneeling. I couldn’t find my wedding ring this morning, and started to look through my laundry basket...on my knees! I got down without even thinking about it because I was so focused on the ring, but it was definitely a weird feeling. I won’t be doing it again for a while...and of course, the ring was no where near my laundry and is safely back on my finger. My scar looks good. I do notice that it seems to look a little red/bruised after I’ve been using the knee for a while, though, and it’s still a bit sensitive and tender. My PT, who is very gentle and kind, tells me it looks normal, but I’m going to ask my surgeon about it at my 3 month checkup next week. Could you share what brand of knee wrap/sleeve you use? And please keep sharing photos of your adventures with your new knee!
 

pamsknees

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@Birdwatcher sounds like you’re doing great. your vacation in August sounds like so much fun! I hope you’ll post some photos. I love traveling & exploring & doing so on a bike sounds amazing.
 

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