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Calf Pain after TKR?

Discussion in 'Knee Replacement Recovery Area' started by Courtnoo, Nov 25, 2009.

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  1. Courtnoo

    Courtnoo junior member
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    Hi all, I'm new to the forum. Just had a TKR on my right knee on Friday the 20th. My calf has been swollen since the surgery, but last night it seemed a bit more swollen and was also warm. The doctor said to go to the ER and have them check for a blood clot. They found nothing and sent me home. Today the swelling seems down a bit, but I'm having cramps in the calf that are pretty buggy. Any suggestions for how to deal with this? Is this the norm?
     
  2. cindy88fan

    cindy88fan supremo

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    I hate to reply to this because I don't know much about calf pain because I didn't have it but for now until Jo or Jamie comes on I can tell you to make sure you are elevating and icing and also keep flexing your ankles to keep the blood flow going. At least they didn't find a blood clot. Did you call your OS back after you got the results? Take care and keep us informed. Oh, and welcome to Bonesmart!
     
  3. Texas

    Texas alpha

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    Hey there i would keep an eye on it . Just keep icing nd put your leg up if it gets worse then yes go to the er again or call your OS......but they did do alot to you leg .........be careful and take care i hope you feel better.........)
     
  4. Linda2

    Linda2 post-grad

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    If it's not a clot--and we must always be watchful for those--it could be muscle spasms. I had them both times and a muscle relaxant really helped.
     
  5. ohyes

    ohyes junior member

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    Hi,

    My right knee TKR was the day before yours (19th) and the right calf has been sooo sore yesterday and today - not any warmer to the touch than usual, tho. The entire leg is just a tad warmer, but there is quite a bit of bruising going on. I figured it was from the exercise they have me doing where I move my toes forward and backward. That is the easiest exercise, so I have been doing more of those than the others. Also, just the way I walk - I think the calf muscles are doing more of the work than usual.

    This is what i have been thinking, anyway....hoping it is much better tomorrow for you! (and me).
     
  6. Jamie

    Jamie ADMINISTRATOR Administrator

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    Hi, Courtnoo! Welcome to BoneSmart. Sorry to hear your calf is bothering you. You do need to keep an eye on it.

    Cindy was right about contacting your surgeon's office following your Emergency Room visit. If you didn't, give them a call on Friday to let them know the outcome and what tests were performed.

    At this very early stage in recovery you are going to hurt and have swelling. The majority of your day should be spent with your leg elevated above your heart (that's more than just sitting in a recliner!), ice on that knee, and taking pain meds on whatever schedule you are permitted all through the day and night. You will be getting some exercise getting up to go to the bathroom and to the kitchen to eat. It's good to move around every hour or so using your walker for stability and safety. If the hospital showed you some basic exercises, you can do those throughout the day, but don't push too hard or you may increase the swelling.

    If your calf continues to bother you, don't hesitate to go back to the ER. A clot is nothing to mess with. I'm assuming you are on some type of blood thinner - Lovenox, Warfarin, Coumadin or aspirin...right?
     
  7. Josephine

    Josephine FORUM ADMIN, NURSE DIRECTOR Administrator

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    Hi, Courtnoo - I'd say ice it all the time and keep it well elevated.

    How are your pain meds? Are you taking enough? You know swelling can cause pain and pain can cause swelling. So if you're not medicating the pain enough it will not help.

    Apart from that, you are not yet a week post-op so can expect a lot of swelling. Ice and elevation and some walking around will be the thing.

    But do ring your OS for reassurance that it's nothing more.
     
  8. Courtnoo

    Courtnoo junior member
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    Thanks to all for the replies. The calf is a bit better today - still swollen and warm, but I think my whole leg is warm really. I haven't felt the cramping in it like I did yesterday, but it's still pretty stiff.

    I'm having a hard time figuring out how to elevate my leg the right way. I know they said not to put anything under the knee, so I've been trying to get it under the ankle but nothing seems to work in the chair I'm sitting in. I'm hoping that the only resort WONT be lying in bed all day.

    I've been getting up about once an hour to walk around a bit. Also have been doing the basic exercises they gave me at the hospital, which don't seem to be too rough yet.

    I'm hoping that my age (31) will be a benefit in terms of recovery. I've already cut back on the pain pills a bit because I'm only taking them when I feel I need to. They have me on Oxycontin twice a day and then Percocet as needed every 3 hours. Last night and today I've managed to just do one Percocet in between the 12-hr doses of the Oxy. I'm not feeling much pain in the knee itself, really more in the calf.

    It's a comfort to hear that this pain isn't out of the ordinary. I guess I expected the pain to be in my knee following a TKR and not in other parts of my leg. My knee was at a pretty bad angle inward and had been getting worse, so my leg definitely needs to adjust to the new alignment for walking. I think my calf will probably need the most adjustment it seems.
     
  9. Jamie

    Jamie ADMINISTRATOR Administrator

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    Courtnoo, pain is pain and at this early stage you should not be cutting back on your pain medication as long as you are hurting. Please consider going back up to the initial dosage. It would be much better for you and your recovery if your calf didn't hurt. Just because the pain you are feeling is not directly at the surgical site is no reason not to treat it with your pain meds. You'll be more comfortable and your body will heal better. Unresolved pain can result in swelling (inflammation) which will then lead to more pain and even more swelling....it's a cycle you don't want to get into. The meds help you stay ahead of ALL pain.

    Your age may give you a little advantage in recovery, but not in the pain category. It really is not a measure of how you're going to do following surgery. Some younger forum members have had many challenges and some of our older members have breezed through.
     
  10. Motherofmany

    Motherofmany graduate

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    Hi Courtnoo,

    Just wanted to echo what the others have said. Age isn't necessarily a factor. Sometimes it goes against us younger ones because the nerves are very much alive in our legs and pain can be substantial. :shk:

    I had severe pain in my right calf after my RTKR. Also had scan for blot clot. Thank God there wasn't one. Ended up being soft tissue swelling between the tibia and the metal attachment. Once my Pt was able to identify it and do some deep tissue massage, it got better and my ROM increased. Also was finally able to ride the bike all the way around.

    At this EARLY stage of recovery, it could be just the adjustment to the new way of walking or anything relating to your surgery. You will have surgical pain for around 6 weeks. Like a broken bone healing. Hang in there, it does get better.

    Blessings,
     
  11. Pat29627

    Pat29627 post-grad

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    I remember having pain in the calf at one specific point and wondering if it was a blood clot. The PT felt around and said it wasn't. I guess it didn't really hurt with him pressing on it. I was just always worried about blood clots because a friend had some and they had to re-open his incision to clean them out. (He had had a heart problem and that's what lead to the clotting.)

    I had a sharp pain at the top of my shin, too. It was so sore, like a bruise. I wondered if they put my leg in a clamp or something, or if that was where I had a butterfly break when I was 33 and it had somehow gotten irritated. It was about 1/2 way between the knee and ankle. It went away in a few weeks.

    If only we knew ahead that things would be ok.....would be nice to only worry when needed lol.
     
  12. Linda2

    Linda2 post-grad

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    Get a big pillow--either a king size or a body pillow. You could even fold up a comforter to the right shape. Then you put the pillow under your whole leg. My left leg felt better when I had the top of pillow about halfway up my bum toward my waist. The right leg was better if I kept the pillow from just where bum and thigh meet. Then the whole leg is elevated, including the foot. This has worked for many of us.
     
  13. Josephine

    Josephine FORUM ADMIN, NURSE DIRECTOR Administrator

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    Here are ways to elevate your leg safely

    ai47.tinypic.com_210acs7.jpg

    [​IMG]
     
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