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BTKR recovery

Discussion in 'Knee Replacement Pre-Op Area' started by Don Fagrew, Mar 3, 2018.

  1. Don Fagrew

    Don Fagrew new member
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    This is a wonderful and highly informative forum - thanks to all involved in sharing their experiences as well as those who offer their opinions.

    After a total of 6 arthroscopic surgeries, I now have no option other than to have both knees replaced. Because I live alone in a double story home with stairs, I need to decide whether to have both knees done at the same time or to have one done soon and the other some time later - perhaps 6 months or more.

    If I opt for BTKR, then I will have to spend some time (perhaps one week?) in a rehab facility after leaving hospital. Whilst I am able to live on the lower level of my house (I have all of the facilities that I require on the lower level, except for a shower) I would welcome comments from those who have had to make similar decisions.

    Essentially what I need to know is how long it took other BTKR patients to be able to successfully navigate stairs (with and without crutches) after BTKR. In terms of fitness, I am a 70 year old healthy fit male and my BMI is good.

    Another concern that I have with BTKR is that the muscles in both legs will waste away after surgery and that the recovery of these muscles could be a long and frustrating process. I get the impression that replacing one knee at a time is likely to mean that the muscle in the one "good" knee will support me during recovery and make the whole recovery process quicker and less frustrating, especially because I live alone and have stairs to navigate.

    I look forward to hearing of the experiences of from those of you who have been in similar situations.
     
  2. Josephine

    Josephine FORUM ADMIN, DIRECTOR Administrator

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    Hi and welcome to BoneSmart! I think you are the first member from S Africa here!
    I've known a few folk that had BTKRs and none of them had any issues climbing stairs. They just did it rather carefully!
    A real old wive's tale! Of course they don't!
    Another fallacy. Where ever have you been getting all this stuff?

    If you want to read other member's recovery threads, if you go into the Recovery forum, you'll the threads there have prefixes and some are this green prefix Bilateral TKR.JPG . Click on that label and you'll get search of all the other threads with that same prefix. Happy reading!

    We have a couple of staff members who have BTKR too and I'm sure they'll be along soon.

    In the meantime, perhaps you'd like to read up on our 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
    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
    5. At week 4 and after you should follow this

    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.
     
  3. Roy Gardiner

    Roy Gardiner FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    :) Speak of the Devil and see his horns.

    See my recovery thread in my signature (below).
     
  4. SusieShoes

    SusieShoes FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    I had my BTKR last May. I’m doing great and really happy to have done both at once.

    I went to a rehab hospital for one week but I could have managed at home. For the first week or two it would be helpful if you could have someone stop by to do simple tasks like buy groceries, wash dishes or do a load of laundry. You might find even the simplest chores too tiring.

    Stairs won’t be a problem. A little awkward and painful at first, but very doable. I used a cane for stairs.

    As for muscles wasting away... not really. A little weaker, perhaps, but a walking program built mine back quickly!
     
  5. Don Fagrew

    Don Fagrew new member
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    I have found that, because my staircase is very wide and because I have a solid hand rail on one side, I am able to go up and down the stairs without bending my knees.

    I have assumed that the problems that others on this forum have had with stairs after BTKR are related to the bending of the knees when using stairs. If this assumption is correct, then I should be able to successfully navigate the stairs soon after I get home after BTKR surgery.

    Is this assumption correct or are stair problems related to pain or some other issue rather than knee bending?
     
  6. Josephine

    Josephine FORUM ADMIN, DIRECTOR Administrator

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    Nope - you are 100% correct!
     
  7. SusieShoes

    SusieShoes FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    Yes, you should be able to do stairs. The hospital PT had me do some steps only 24 hours after my surgery. A couple days later I was doing full flights with no trouble at all. One step at a time, using a cane, and yes it did hurt a little and took a little time (I wasn’t trotting up and down the stairs, but going very deliberately), but I handled stairs better than before surgery! It was kind of an eye-opener. Your new knees will be amazing. Solid and reliable.
     
  8. Tired2007

    Tired2007 new member

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    I’m currently on my sixth day of rehab after BTKR. Anticipate going home on day 10. I unfortunately had a lot of bleeding into my legs, so my swelling has been bad. Some of my friends who have had one done said they had lots of swelling/bleeding too. People keep telling me I’m doing really well and are shocked but steps are painful because of the swelling and getting that bend. I have a combined total of 13 steps from driveway, up front steps, and up from landing to one floor living.
     
  9. Don Fagrew

    Don Fagrew new member
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    tired200t - I hope your recovery speeds up and that you manage to successfully navigate your stairs. I live alone and have a total of 15 stairs from my lower living area level to my upper bedroom/shower level. I am hoping that, with my very wide staircase, together with a strong supporting rail, I will be able to manage the stairs from day 1 without bending my knees. It seems to work well with my dodgy kness at present but, after BTKR, who knows how it will work out. I have a plan B in place, but it is rather inconvenient.
    Thanks to Josephine and SusieShoes for their comments - they make me feel optimistic.
     
  10. SusieShoes

    SusieShoes FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    @Don Fagrew, chances are excellent you will be able to bend your knees! Not as much bend as you will have eventually, not at first, but you might be surprised by how much these new knees will bend. I had a 90 degree bend after surgery. A bit less whenever the swelling was worse (after exercise, usually) but never no bend at all. You will be encouraged to bend your knees (I did it in recovery room just to check them out, and did lots of gentle “just because” bending to keep them moving).

    I live in a two-story house with bedroom and shower upstairs. For the first month or so, my routine was to shower in the morning, then go down the stairs for the day. At night I would go back up the stairs. This was very doable. If you find you need to carry things up or down the stairs, a backpack is useful. They will teach you in the hospital how to do stairs using a railing and a cane. I was really surprised by how doable it was; I had expected it to be much harder with two replaced knees.
     
  11. VonnieN

    VonnieN junior member

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    I am not having two at once but four weeks apart. the first one won't have fully recovered but want to get it done.
     
  12. SusieShoes

    SusieShoes FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    Even if the first knee hasn't fully recovered by the time you have the second one done, it might well be better than the original knee. If I could do stairs with two just-operated knees, you should be okay with your four-week interim plan. Getting both knees done has advantages: you will get through recovery a bit quicker and back to a fuller, more active life! :)
     

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