TKR Christine's Post Op Recovery


Jul 29, 2015
London, Ontario
Canada Canada
I am now 9 days since my left TKR and it's been an interesting journey so far. I have found this site so helpful and thought it was about time I posted. I first had problems with my left knee when I was about 11. I was playing football with my brother and his pals and I tripped on the uneven ground. My patella dislocated and all I remember is the pain and the sudden need to knock the patella back into place, which I did. This was Scotland in 1971 when no one ever went to hospital. My parents called the doctor and he said to bathe my knee in Epsom salts and get exercising, which I did.

I had a few further dislocations but nothing major until about 1993 when I slipped in the kitchen and really did a number on the knee. I was in a plaster cast from my ankle to my upper thigh for 6 weeks and told that if it happened again I would need surgery. Well it happened occasionally then in 2011 I slipped on ice outside my house and not only dislocated the patella, but wrenched my knee joint. This was in Canada and believe it or not had the first x-Ray of my knee. It turns out that I was born without a notch in my femur where the patella is supposed to sit. The bone was flat and my patella was constantly rubbing against my femur. The patella was badly arthritic and was positioned so close to the lateral edge of the femur that any twisting caused it to dislocate.

Fast forward to 9 days ago in London, Ontario when I finally got the new knee. Pain is a huge issue but I have read the articles on this site and am far better informed than I was before. I am elevating, icing, resting and taking my meds. I have a pt who comes once per week and I am doing the exercises as tolerated. I have ridden the roller coaster of pain and frustration but I'm only 9 days out so not getting too upset about things. Apart from the pooping issue, that upsets me, but my sis in law is a doctor and recommended Restoralax, the wonder drug!

Thank you to all who read this. No idea if anyone will but know that I have gained so much from reading your posts that if I can help anyone else out there I shall do so.
Welcome to the recovery side! You've made it through the first set of roller coaster ups and downs, and you're climbing the hill to the next one on this wild ride called Recovery. Glad you've joined us.
:welome: Glad you've found the site helpful so far. Definitely a place for mutual support.
Welcome I am pretty new myself 6 wks out and like you this site has been a godsend for me ,I hope you have a good recovery and remember to ice elevate and take your pain meds and don't over do it,
Welcome to the board!

Your history sounds similar to mine except my dislocations never hurt... but were very annoying! I had surgery when I was 16 to stabilize the knee, but I'm not sure just what they did. My knee was doing ok until last summer when it started to go downhill.. fast forward to the end of April when I had my TKR.
Thanks all. Anybody know if my shin should be so sore 9 days after surgery? The middle of my shin is very sore to touch and is quite warm.
You will have all sorts of aches and pains from the trauma of the surgery at this point. Your knee will be warm for quite a while also. Nine days is very early, glad to hear you're icing, elevating, resting and taking your meds. I'll be two years out this fall and am thankful for my new knee everyday.
Welcome @cairistiona60 !

I'm glad BoneSmart has already been helpful for you. Probably you've come across these, but I'm going to give you our recommended recovery reading list anyway. Then you'll have most of the important articles handy, all in one place.

First are the BoneSmart mantras - our recovery philosophy
- rest, elevate, ice and take your pain meds by the clock
- if it hurts, don't do it and don't allow anyone - especially a physiotherapist (PT) - to do it to you
- if your leg swells more or gets stiffer in the 24 hours after doing it, don't do it again
- if you won't die if it's not done, don't do it
- never stand when you can sit, never sit when you can lie down, never stay awake when you can go to sleep!
- be active as much as you need to be but not more than is necessary, meaning so much that you end up being in pain, exhausted or desperate to sit down or lie down!

Next is a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) thread.

And here are some very crucial articles
The importance of managing pain after a TKR and the pain chart
Myth busting: no pain, no gain
Swollen and stiff knee: what causes it?
Activity progression for TKRs

Healing: how long does it take?
Chart representation of TKR recovery
Energy drain for TKRs
Elevation is the key
Ice to control pain and swelling

Home physio (PT) and activity progress: suggestions
Myth busting: the "window of opportunity" in TKR
Myth busting: on getting addicted to pain meds
Post op blues is a reality - be prepared for it
Sleep deprivation is pretty much inevitable - but what causes it?

And then some wise words from members who have shared their experiences ...
Where are you in recovery?? (TKR)
Five “P’s” of knee recovery
TKR: work “smarter” and not “harder”
Recovering a knee - from one who knows!
It's never too late to get more ROM!
It's worth the wait for ROM

Best wishes for continued good progress.
For being 9 days old, sounds like you are doing wonderful! This forum is really helpful, and a great support system! Keep up the great work.
:welome:You have found the best place to be. There is so much help here on every possible aspect of what we are all going through. There is advice on everything here. Glad to see that you are doing well so far. I wish you continued good luck.:yay:
Day 10 - ouch, the swelling is going down and the pain is more localized. I can't seem to find a completely pain free position sitting on my chair or lying in bed. I tried the stacked pillows but there seems to be a very tender spot at the back of my knee and where it touches the pillows is agony. Trying ice at the back to see if that helps. I tried pedalling on my floor pedal machine and didn't get much flexion. 45 minutes till Dilaudid time!

Make sure you are taking your meds on schedule. I know what you mean about the back of your knee. Be sure you ice it, and maybe lay off the exercises until the pain eases up. I am no expert, being only 3 1/2 weeks out myself, but I promise you it gets lots better.
Thanks for reminding me @Slainte I had forgotten to set a reminder to take my meds. I asked Siri to remind me to take my pain meds and she translated that to , "Take my mints." Must be the accent!

Eh? Siri doesn't have a Canadian accent version? Apple is slacking.
I couldn't elevate my knee for at least 2 weeks - at least not high enough to to make a difference. The back of my knee was so tight the elevation just caused more pain in places I didn't need it. And I always iced the back of the knee. I got a flat pad of blue ice about 12"x12", covered it with 2 layers of the towel and placed it behind the knee. I had to use 2 layers cuz it seemed like I felt the cold a whole lot more cuz of the weight of my leg. The pad wa thin enough it didn't bend my knee and I think the ice back there really helped.

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