Bilateral TKR BTKR Recovery - on the way to my new life!

London Trainer

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It’s 7 days since I had both knees replaced and my 2nd day at home. Struggling with pain, especially at night, but I’m able to walk unaided to the bathroom (and go down the 3 steps to it) and I can go up and down stairs (extremely slowly) once or twice a day. Trying to rest as much as possible and do gentle exercises at first. 35 staples in each knee but pleased with my progress so far. Each day is bringing me closer to a pain free - and drug free - future.
 
@London Trainer Welcome to BoneSmart! Can you confirm your surgery date was 30 September? I'll get you added to our September group so that you can find other members who are going through this recovery.

Sounds like you are doing very well. Remember to ice and elevate as much as you can - 45-60 minutes each session. Taking ice packs to bed at night is very normal.

Here are your recovery guidelines:
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 Activity progression for TKRs

6. Access 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 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.
 
Well done London Trainer. I’m just a week ahead of you BTKR 24th Sept. Great that you’re mobile. I am too but haven’t gone upstairs yet. Got the staples out Mon. Still on painkillers. So far so good . Take care.!Dep
 
Hi and Welcome! Best wishes for your recovery!
 
Thanks for your support everyone - really helps - pain can be pretty depressing and reading everyone’s stories gives me a much better idea of what to expect.

Jaycey - yes, my surgery date was 30th September. Thank you so much for all the useful articles as well. Knowledge is power!

I’m a Personal Trainer so put myself though a pretty brutal pre-hab exercise programme and that’s paying off now. Some days I’d cry in between exercises lying on my gym mats but now I’m glad I pushed it.

It’s just hard because I know the recovery is very much long term. I had major back surgery 10 years ago which took me about 2 years to fully recover from. My wonderful husband died from cancer just over 4 years ago and not having his gentle encouragement and love to help me recover this time is making it harder but I just take one day at a time, one night at a time, repeat. Luckily I love reading so that helps keep me calm when the pain is too much to sleep.

Bit spaced so sorry for the rambling post!
 
@London Trainer Thanks for confirming your surgery date.

I know you will probably want to push things with this recovery given that you are a personal trainer. Please don't take that tactic. It doesn't work in this recovery and more often than not sets you back. Ice to get that swelling down and gentle stretches to help ease stiffness. The training comes after you are fully recovered.
 
@London Trainer Thank you for sharing with us! I am almost 5 weeks from my BTKR. It can be a very emotional process and at times frustrating. One thing that has really helped me is this forum and the great people here. It's so good that you are keeping your "eyes on the prize" of a life without constant pain and restriction.
I hope you have a good journey through this.
 
Thank you! I’m taking it really slowly, listening to my body and making sure that I rest as much as possible especially in the first 2 weeks post-surgery. My main exercise is just walking to the bathroom and back (3 steps to go up and down each time) and going downstairs twice a day for a short wander on crutches around the kitchen (and to pet my dog!) and sitting room. I have a little rucksack that I use to take my ice packs around when my daughter can’t get them to me.

I learnt from my back surgeries that the care you take in the first 6 weeks after surgery will set you on the road to recovery with less problems than if you’ve overdone it.

I’m also not worrying about taking the pain medication - I’ve come off pain meds too many times in my life so know that it can be done but has to be done incredibly slowly.

It’s frustrating not to be my usual active self but I just keep thinking how amazing it will be to have a pain free and drug free future ahead. Although I’m on the list for shoulder surgery in April but that will be a walk in the park compared to this!

Nights are the worst with the pain but it’s also partly annoyance on my part that I can’t sleep on my side with my legs bent like I usually do. Never been a back sleeper but luckily my shoulder physio recommended a fantastic pillow so I haven’t had to deal with neck pain on top of everything else.

Patience is the key - even if it’s hard to keep that in sight sometimes - deep breathing exercises can really help to just calm things down when it all feels too overwhelming.

I also think having both done helps in that I know that there is just one major recovery. The worst part was the surgery because i was awake - never expected that - just a spinal with not enough sedation. At one point I was begging the anaesthetist to give me more sedation so I could sleep because it was horrendous hearing the banging as they were hammering the metal implants. My surgeon said after that he didn’t know why they hadn’t done a GA because it made his job harder every time I woke up. My muscles would tense and he would have to stop and wait for them to relax.

But that’s all in the past and every day I’m closer to where I want to be - can’t wait to go up and down stairs like a normal person!
 
I learnt from my back surgeries that the care you take in the first 6 weeks after surgery will set you on the road to recovery with less problems than if you’ve overdone it.
This is key - patience until those knees have calmed from all the trauma. If you have endured recovery from back surgery, this should be far less complex (note my signature).

Sorry you were awake during surgery. I woke up during my LTHR. They would not give me anything to put me out again so I had to endure the carpentry. Not much fun - but we survived!
 
Day 8 - slightly better night (thanks to oral morphine on top of other painkillers!) and managed to get downstairs to make my vegetable juice. Feel like I’ve run a marathon! But so happy I managed to do it. Only using my crutches occasionally as I find it easier to walk around slowly without them (they hurt my shoulder which was fractured and ligaments torn in May).

Know I’ve got a long way to go but just getting back small bits of independence gives me mental strength. I even put some washing on! It was already in the machine so probably not so many brownie points for that . . .

My daughter moves out next week but my elder sister coming to stay Monday-Friday which is great. After that I’ll be on my own - the dog will have to go to my daughter’s for at least 4 weeks. I”ll really miss her (my daughter and my dog) but think it will be good to have some peaceful time getting my head around everything.
 
I'll really miss her (my daughter and my dog) but think it will be good to have some peaceful time getting my head around everything.
Good plan. Having some time to yourself will allow you to get into a routine.

Easy does it with the chores! You need all your energy for healing right now.
 
Only using my crutches occasionally as I find it easier to walk around slowly without them (they hurt my shoulder which was fractured and ligaments torn in May).
Have you tried fore-arm crutches? I am unable to use underarm crutches, too, and found the fore-arm ones quite useful.
 
Thank you but I’m already using the forearm crutches . . . I can walk around okay without - just a bit slower - but the pain in my right knee is driving me a bit insane. Left one doesn’t feel bad at all and I can lift it off the bed easily but right one have to use a dressing gown cord. So boring! Just want to fast forward life to get past this.

It’s my birthday on Sunday and not looking forward to it - got family coming over and it will be nice to see them but I get so tired at the moment.

Have different alarms on my phone for all the different pain meds - even on oral morphine - icing regularly, resting, just gentle walking around and very light mobilisation but right one is ow ow ow!
 
the pain in my right knee is driving me a bit insane. Left one doesn’t feel bad at all and I can lift it off the bed easily but right one have to use a dressing gown cord.
More than likely your OS had to do a lot more work on your right knee than your left one. We always say that no two knees are the same even on the same body. You are proof of that. Baby that right knee as much as it needs and it'll calm down and stop that temper tantrum!
 
Thank you - you’re totally right - when I had to pick a knee for him to do first I said the left knee was the more painful one. He said he was totally shocked at how much worse the right one was. In fact, he said both my knees were “frightful” and wanted to know how I’d been walking around. It’s weird that what I thought of as my “good” knee is now the bad one and i need to just start adjusting to that.

Few tears just now but only to be expected. Every day closer to a new future where my knees won’t dictate my life.

Just finished reading Roy’s recovery thread and that’s made me feel tons better and given me more hope again. I know that in a year or two this pain will seem like a bad dream but it’s so hard going through it, especially with grief on top, missing my lovely husband so much.

Really glad I found this forum.
 
Just finished reading Roy’s recovery thread and that’s made me feel tons better
:) :-) (: Great. I started it in the hope that I'd have a good recovery and that a reasonably detailed diary would help others, to pay forward the help I got from BoneSmart (one can't pay it back, of course). Glad it worked.
 
Day 9 - exhausting start to the day - went down and made my vegetable juice, hobbled back up then district nurse arrived early and no-one in house to let her in, then daughter’s fiancé came back from walking dog and managed to lock himself back out so had to go up and down for the 3rd time in a 2 hour period - shattered! But my knees aren’t screaming - yet - and so relieved to be back in bed.

Still on tons of pain relief but noticing that the pain is actually staying on my pain scale now instead of shooting off it so that’s progress and district nurse v pleased with healing. Looking forward (not!) to having staples out on Wednesday.
 
Looking forward (not!) to having staples out on Wednesday.
It sounds scarier than it is. It's just a slight pulling. They use a special tool to do this. You will feel so much better when the staples are out.
 
@London Trainer

Everyone is here for you anytime you are feeling blue. Everyone's recovery is different but I was kayaking 2 months after my 2nd knee was done. (Had them done 4 weeks) apart. Granted, my friends had to carry my kayak and help me get in and out but I could do it. I rode 10 miles on my bike 4 months afterwards. Just think about all the things you'll be able to do in the beautiful English spring time next year.

I am having back surgery in six weeks and I am already planning a week long kayaking trip in the summer. And I'm looking forward to being able to cycle and hike again!
 

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