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[TKR] Can't straighten leg or walk seven weeks post op.

Discussion in 'Knee Replacement Recovery Area' started by JamesAB, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. Jockette

    Jockette FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    New knees don’t like it when we sit without elevating them. Mine sure didn’t when I was at your stage.
     
  2. JamesAB

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    Yes, Silly me!
     
  3. Jockette

    Jockette FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    Not silly at all. We have to try things, within reason of course, to see what we can do. You tried it, you’re not ready for it yet, now you know. A lot of this recovery is trial and error. We’ve all been there!
     
  4. JamesAB

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    Took it quite easy today: A little gentle Pilates (mainly for my back) and some also gentle work on the pedal exerciser. Kept leg elevated for as much time as possible. As as result the leg swelling is much reduced as is pain around the knee when I flex it.
     
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  5. NavyGunns

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    @JamesAB, I have to say I’m in more agreement with @Roy Gardiner regarding slow gentle stretches. Whether you put gentle pressure on your upper or lower leg yourself or whether you have someone you trust (and who will listen to you), with as long as you’ve had issues stretching your leg out straight, you will have to work at slowly stretching those ligaments and muscles. The key, as Roy put it, is to stretch to mild discomfort but NOT pain. This takes time. But eventually, you will find you can begin to take more normal like steps which will further help to stretch those ligaments and muscles.

    Keeping your leg down (and bent) for long periods of time will cause your lower leg to swell. Part of it is gravity pulling fluid into your lower leg as well as restricting the ability for your body to naturally move fluid back up to your upper extremity. That’s why elevating your leg helps reduce the swelling.
     
  6. JamesAB

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    Thanks for the helpful reply.
    Jim
     
  7. KarriB

    KarriB FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    If you’re able to elevate using an ottoman try pushing the ottoman away from the chair a bit and let your leg bridge between the chair you’re sitting in and the ottoman for a few minutes a couple times a day. It actually felt good for me to stretch like this with my RTKR and gravity did it’s thing.
     
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  8. JamesAB

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    I've been trying, nearly eight weeks after a TKR to take my first steps using a Zimmer or crutches. As soon as I put any significant weight on my leg the pain around the knee stops me stone dead! Is this a normal problem?
    Thanks, Jim
     
  9. Jockette

    Jockette FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    I am going to tag @Josephine
    our forum administrator and nurse director to address your concerns.
     
  10. Josephine

    Josephine FORUM ADMIN, NURSE DIRECTOR Administrator

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    Sound to me like you're not taking the majority of the weight on your crutches/walker. Because that's what they're for!
     
  11. JamesAB

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    I don't think I could lean on crutches (elbow) or Zimmer anymore than I do. As I attempt to lift good foot and transfer sufficient weight to bad leg to do so, the pain around the knee increases such that I have to stop. I have managed a few steps on parallel bars at PT. I think (hope) that my slow recovery may be due to the fact that, owing to a congenital disability, the lower leg was realigned with the upper.
     
  12. JamesAB

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    Would I be better off trying full length crutches that sit in the armpits?
     
  13. JamesAB

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    Great Joy! I Just managed a dozen ragged steps using a Zimmer. Previously when I tried the Zimmer I felt it would tip over backwards. I just raised the rear legs to make it stable. Don't know why I didn't spot this earlier, must be senile decay!
     
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  14. Jockette

    Jockette FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    That’s great!:happydance:
     
  15. JamesAB

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    I note a number of good and rapid recoveries in this forum. In all cases it seems the patient left hospital being able to walk, at least to a limited extent. I was not even able to stand after the operation and was discharged unable to walk. Now, eight weeks after the operation, I can only just manage a few steps while heavily leaning on a Zimmer and due to the fact that I can't fully straighten the leg, I guess at least a 10° bend, I cannot put my heel on the floor. I'm keen to know if anyone has been in the same position and what my prognosis might be.
    Thanks, Jim
     
  16. Roy Gardiner

    Roy Gardiner FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    TKR is an enormous change. It's amazing to me that any of us can recover quickly, and a tribute to the surgeons.

    You have had TWO things done, and your body must be completely out of whack (note the keen technical terminology there). I am prepared to wager that the issue here is entirely one of soft tissue needing to realign and stretch to your new leg shape, and will take time. It stands to reason that the body resists change; if soft tissue did react easily, we'd all just get floppier and floppier* over years :)

    But I'm not qualified, and in effect guessing (educated guess, maybe). I suggest liaising with your surgeon and a really good physiotherapist (not so easy to find, IMO) over what correction exercises may help. As you are in pain these should not be training-type exercises but stretching (as has been discussed in earlier posts).

    *obvious 'witticism' omitted...
     
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    Last edited: Jan 15, 2019 at 11:19 AM
  17. JamesAB

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    Thanks, Roy. Duly noted.
     
  18. Dizzy

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    In this recovery, it is SO important to realize that everyone heals differently and we cannot compare our recovery to anyone else's. It takes a lot of time and a "boatload" of patience, which is very hard when you're in pain. Lesson learned:bored:
     
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  19. Jockette

    Jockette FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    What kind of Pilates did you do? Did you go somewhere or watch a video at home?

    My husband has back pain that no doctor can fix. He sees a chiropractor regularly, went to PT and had a steroid shot and also Radio Frequency Ablation. Nothing has helped.

    I’ve heard of Pilates but know nothing about it.
     
  20. Denny39

    Denny39 junior member

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    Those “little victories” are so very important to hold onto and focus on, especially in the early stages. There will be more and more of them as time moves on, and together they begin to spell progress. I’m now at 5 1\2 weeks, and I think now walking about the same as before surgery. The difference is now, it’s getting (S-L-O-W-L-Y) better instead of getting rapidly worse.

    Hang in there and stay focused on those “little victories”; they will with time all blend into one “big victory”.
     
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