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TKR Birdwatcher's recovery thread

Jockette

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I do agree that some of us have this surgery too soon. I believe I am one of those members. The only time I had pain in my knee was when I sat down, got up, and did stairs. I was not bone on bone, and the pain did not wake me at night. I could walk fine. I was slightly limited in my activities, but I’m not super active anyway.

My surgeon recommended a partial, which I had. It has not been successful and I actually have more limitations now than I did before. I’ve since learned that some partials go this way. I regret having my surgery and wish I’d waited until I needed a full TKR.
Surely if you leave it until you’re in intense pain and can barely walk, the knee will have deteriorated so much that you risk a difficult and prolonged recovery,
I do agree that it’s not a good idea not to wait this long. Try to find a better balance when making your decision.
 

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With my 1 year anniversary coming up March 5, I came to think the other day, about what the newly operated ME expected regarding the knee, one year from surgery. I actually expected way too much. It really has taken me by surprise, how much work this TKR has taken. How long the recoveryroad was and is.
Some of us take longer to recover than others. Even with my generally poor outcome, I had a lot of improvement in my second year, as my whole leg continued to heal and relax. You will most likely see that, also.
 
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Birdwatcher

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Hi all

Oh dear @Birdwatcher I have followed your thread and experience, as you are very active and positive which is encouraging as I am pre op and my knee has gone from being very swollen and painful, to not so bad, I can still walk, do other active stuff, but cannot continue with my beloved running, and have to compromise with a lot of other activities.

Like @sistersinhim I have known for many years I will need replacements - the decision was made to have TRKR which is currently postponed due to COVID. Seeing your post made me second guess myself (again)! Should I, shouldn’t I?). Surely if you leave it until you’re in intense pain and can barely walk, the knee will have deteriorated so much that you risk a difficult and prolonged recovery, or worse still, with a knee that is in such a state there’s not much hope?

HELP!

Anyway, I have really enjoyed reading your post and the lovely photos you have added to your story. Well done!

ps. I hope I’ve posted this in the correct place, I don’t want to impinge on @Birdwatcher thread??
I am so sorry if I discouraged you. I may not have thought it through before posting it.
I don't know if the recovery will be prolonged if the knee is in a worse state. It is possible. My husband works with patients like us and older, he drives them to PT etc. He often tells me about elderly people who were unable to walk before surgery but now can walk and feels their lives are so much improved. That is why I think like I do. But I also perhaps forget that I , - before surgery - couldn't walk stairs. And sleped terribly because of pain.
Yes I probably forget that, it's almost a year ago!
I completely understand your doubt. I also miss my running so so much. Right now I am not sure if I will be able to run again. I can...but am so scared of destroying my knee.
 
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Birdwatcher

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This is not a happy post, sorry to say. If you don't want to read bad, negative stuff about TKR, then just stop and return to another post.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
It's been a year with my new knee now. A little over a year. I am not at all where I thought and hoped I would be.
Running is over for me.
It is a sad thing for me, but I just don't want to risk that knee-lifetime will be shorter. The past year has been hard on me, and the operation and the following time, was awful. Don't want to repeat that any time soon!

I can not do everything I want. Don't know if it ever will be better. Some say that it is possible that the knee will improve in the next half year, or longer even, but right now I am having a bad period. I know, from previous experiences, that some time it just seem to go several steps back, and then it gets better again. I hope it will get better. I get pain and swelling, and I am sure it is not nearly as painfull as in the first months, but now, in this time where I thought I would be painfree, it feels so frustrating that I still have pain and swelling.

I get so anxious... Is something wrong? has the knee loosen? My pain is just below knee-cap. It is very possible that I overdo my walking and training, but I can not seem to find a good balance. So frustrating.

I thought I could start running by this time. And I thought I could travel to Italy or Spain and walk a camino. I thought my knee eventually would be just like my other knee.
Now I realize that It will never be like a natural knee. I have limits, more than before, maybe forever, who knows. My doctor asked me, if I was happy or satisfied with the TKR. If my life have improved? I am so sad to say that I really don't remember it have been worse than now. My husband said; don't you remember that you could not walk up the stairs, and you could not sleep a night without wakening with severe pain?
No, I totally forget that. I just let my self drown in all my broken dreams and lost hope. I struggle to accept it, but I will over time, I know that.

It is just hard, because I am only 54, and I had so many dreams and hopes, travel, running, walking long distances. Just be my self again. I can't even dance now.

I don't need any advice, I just needed to let my frustrations out. I am not sure if it helped, but it IS a part of my story, my knee-journey, and it needs to be written down. It is not puppies and rainbows all the time, and I am not the superwoman I thought I would be.

I promise my self, and everyone I love, that I will live my best life, regarding the knee-situation.
I am determined. It will get better, somehow.

Wish you all a good recovery, take care.
 

FCBayern

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I'm sorry to hear you are so frustrated @Birdwatcher, but don't give up yet. I saw improvements in my knee throughout the second year and I'm still seeing some gradual changes in year three. My ROM and pain after being too active were quite a ways from what I had hoped at one year. I was able to do stairs and many other things pain free so that was an improvement, but not where I wanted to end up. After two years I can hike challenging trails, walk as far as I want, scuba dive, and pretty much anything I want to. I never liked to run, so that wasn't an issue for me, but I've chosen to not return to high impact activities so that hopefully my knee lasts the rest of my lifetime. That was an easy decision for me since I can do so many things that the day to day grinding pain had made all but impossible.
 

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@Birdwatcher ... I wish I were there to give you a hug. I think the past year, with so many unknowns and anxieties, has taken a toll on many of us. Then, when you add in a major surgery with an extended recovery time, it’s not surprising that there are times when you feel discouraged. I’ve had all those same feelings myself! I hope that your new knee will continue to improve, even if those improvements happen gradually over the next six months to a year. When I saw my surgeon for my one year post op check up a few weeks ago, he said that numerous patients have mentioned continued progress in year two. I hope the same is true for you!
 

Pumpkln

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Birdwatcher,
I had a tough recovery from my revision, but noticed slowly over several years it improved bit by bit.
Can I do everything I hoped for? no, but I can do a lot more than I could just before my surgery.
Hoping your knee continues heal slowly but surely.
 

Jamie

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@Birdwatcher ... I'm glad you feel comfortable giving your honest feelings about your knee here on BoneSmart. That's what we're here for.

Sometimes recovery (whatever that turns out to be) takes so much longer than we imagine. Like some of the others here, I also saw improvements in my right knee (which didn't do as well as my left in recovery) for several years after my surgery. Improvements were very, very gradual and I could only realize them if I consciously thought back to the months and years before.

Neither of my knees is like the original. But then....I'm years older now too and I'm also not like the "original." Bless your husband for trying to remind you of the pain and lack of mobility you had pre-surgery. That is an important thing to focus on when you are able to. In the meantime, it's okay to vent about all the things you mentioned. Just about everyone here has felt the same way in some fashion and we understand that you might want to climb on a mountaintop and scream, "It's not FAIR!"

Decades ago I received a "life lecture" from my contact lens doctor that I have never forgotten. I was in my 30's and complaining because I was having to switch to a multi-focal contact in one eye that didn't give me the fabulous distance vision I was used to in order to fix worsening in my mid-range vision. I had worn contacts since the age of 14 and somehow thought my vision would always be the same and the lenses could "fix" anything. He told me....no.....I was getting older and things change in our bodies. He told me this was just the beginning and changes would keep on coming. He said life as we age is all about a series of compromises with ourselves to adjust to those changes in life. At the time I got the lecture, I sort of took it in. But as I continued to age and had to do more compensation, I realized how wise his comments were. It's a struggle sometimes for me to accept aging, but as things change I do try to adjust and even try to find new things to "float my boat."

One thing I will suggest you consider is to join our pilot program with a company called OneStep. They have an app and therapy program that is very unique because it's based on gait analysis, which we believe is key to a good recovery. If your gait is off - even by just a little - it can affect how you walk, how you use your muscles, and may put unneeded stress on the soft tissue around your knees. In this pilot, you sign up for a two-month program where your gait is constantly analyzed using the app and your smart phone. Your personal therapist puts together an exercise plan tailored just for you that should not cause any additional pain or swelling. We've had a couple of knee patients who were at least a year out who have benefited from OneStep and it might help you. If you're interested, just let me know and I'll get you signed up. It's totally free for you.

Hang in there....we're here for you and always have an ear to listen and a shoulder to lean on.
 

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Hi @Birdwatcher i was sad to read your post, I am sorry you are feeling low and fed up that your new knee is not allowing you to do all the things you imagined. I think I am much like you and want to be “action woman” and feel very frustrated by physical limitations.......I was moaning to my gym trainer about all of this.....all the things I can’t do...she has been marvellous keeping me going mentally and physically.....and she said why not flip this on it’s head and embrace all the things you CAN do. It did help me.

Having said all this -it is a very hard fact to accept we need to adapt and change as we get older. I find myself fighting against it but am slowly realising that is negative and a waste of energy. Please know you are not alone in the way your head is processing all this!

@Jamie I loved your post, so thought provoking, thank you.:loll:
 

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Oh @Birdwatcher these activities, running and long distance trekking, were such a big part of who you are and you cannot help but grieve and fear for their loss, whether temporary or permanent. And I do believe, though with no way to know for sure, that you will continue to regain at least some of these abilities. I am glad that you feel this is a safe place to express your frustrations and sorrows and hoping you are in a better space soon.
 

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Years back, after the second arthroscopic knee surgery on my now recently-replaced knee, I remember that surgeon telling me that I needed to find an alternative to running for my regular exercise.

For years I'd recruited co-workers for regular noon runs. It was brilliant, while running & hashing out whatever work weirdness might be going on, we all became friends. And we'd return to our offices happier, exercised, & energized.

Being told to stop running was just really hard, it was woven into my life. I sure identify with your sadness, @Birdwatcher, & wish you all the best.
 
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Birdwatcher

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So, it is now 13 months from my TKR. l am in my second year of healing.
The last month have been better.

*I suddenly realized that I had a wrong position in my left foot, and it made me standing and walking wrong. Caused a small twist in the knee, and my muscles became constantly sore. I don't have the right terms to explain it, but I am working on correcting the issue, and I can feel a huge difference already.

I know it is caused by the years leading up to the tkr, where I tried to prevent my knee from "falling in", so I kind of tipped my foot every time I walked or stood still. Trying to push my knee out and not fall into the other leg.
That created a bad habit, because it went on for several years.

Grateful that I caught it now. It has really helped, I can walk much more relaxed now.

*Further more, I stopped pushing my self with difficult terrain, hills etc., I don't think my knee is quite there yet, and I really need to be kind to my self.

*My Garmin tells me that my average daily steps are around 16.000, very pleased with that.

*No pain and no swelling these days.
 

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@Birdwatcher So glad things seem to have turned in the right direction for you! Gait issues can certainly cause discomfort. And yes, break old habits is hard. Focus on your improved way of walking and you will soon be ready to tackle all the hills and difficult terrain. Well done!
 

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Birdwatcher- I’m so glad that you’re doing better! & glad you found the cause of your pain! I haven’t been on in awhile so I just read your earlier sad post & now this one. I’ve never been a runner or had any desire to run so being told not to run had no impact on me, but I can see how as a runner that’s a big loss
 
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Birdwatcher

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So... new post from me. I'm here, just struggling to find my way, 13 months after left TKR, and I did learn a thing or two, along the way, - which I gladly share with everyone who will listen to my dreadful english (I am danish).
TKR March 05, 2020 - the first year of Corona.

April 12, 2021
I have been thinking about the learning and accepting proces you are going through, when you go through a TKR surgery. I have written down some of my thoughts.

Also, I was just thinking about something else. How the way you walk, can effect your knee so much, I mean; how you put the foot down, how you stand on it, etc. It has made a huge difference for me, learning to stand/walk correctly, it's almost unbelievable.

ALTERING EXPECTATIONS.
I admit that maybe my (way too high) activity-level also have something to do with the bad period I went through recently.
I was not ready to accept, that I couldn't do EVERYTHING I wanted. There were limits.

LIMITS! I just HATE limits! But there I was; 6 months, 8 months, 10 months, and finally 1 year after my TKR, and forced to accept the limits. It took me a long time, and I admit that I still struggle. But I have learned a great deal along the way. I have really improved! The knee, of course, have improved, gotten stronger, but the biggest improvement is MY HEAD. My mind, my thoughts. My approach to my recovery. My patience. It's one thing to have all this pain, and limitations, BEFORE surgery. Before the BIG SURGERY. But that is kind of EASY to handl, because I said to my self; "this is just temporary. Once I have my new knee; everything will be fantastic". I know the doctors said, "it will take time, it will be a hard, tough recovery, and you have to realize, that not everyone will be able to return to ALL activities they want, or were use to".
I think I just closed my ears, when they said all those things. I think I believed it would be totally different for me. I was a superwoman, and everything was possible for me, right?

I just want to tell you - and my self;
"Hang in there. Find your way. Do what you can, and enjoy the things you actually can. Accept the limitations, and be kind to your knee. If it hurts, then stop what you are doing, - even if it disappoints you deeply, that your knee is not were you hoped it was. Don't let anybody force you to do exercises that hurt your knee. If it hurt = STOP! I truly believe that it is not meant to hurt. If your knee get stiff and swollen hours after an activity;... you have done too much. Even if you think you have hardly done anything; you DID overdo it. Accept it, and learn from it. Try again, but easier. It's all about balance. Your knee will - mostly - gladly work with you, it wants to heal, but if you abuse it, and put too much strain on it... well, it gets cranky and stop cooperating.
Don't compare yourself with others. You are unique, you and your knee are unique".

It has taken me soooo long to appreciate that, but I am getting there. Hope you will too.

Thank you for this forum, and thank you for writing messages to me, telling me about your experiences, it helped a great deal.
 

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