TKR DippyRascal's Recovery from TKR: young arthritis & hypermobility

Dippyrascal

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Hi everyone,I just found this forum and very happy since the last few weeks of recovery have been quite lonely and isolating. A bit about my background, I am 41 living in the UK and I had a full knee replacement surgery on 4th April 2022. I was fortunate to be given a cancellation slot for the operation so had no time to prepare really, it was about 3 weeks from getting the date of the operation to the surgery date.

My knee was worn so much it was bone on bone, no cartilage left on the inside of the knee and missing ACL. I'd been living a nightmare for a long time and the last year had been particularly challenging and the pain had really impacted my mental health.

I've been suffering with arthritis for a few years and hypermobility for my whole life. I work as a prison officer so my job is very physical, walking up to 20,000 steps a day. I'll be off work for several months and then no doubt a fairly long phased return.

I've been doing ok with my recovery according to the physio which is positive. I'm still in lots of pain of course and over the last couple of weeks its been mainly muscular pain in the thigh and calf, sleep is still challenging as well. I try to stay active during the day but elevate my leg as much as I can. I'm interested in connecting with anyone who also has a physical job to return to and also anyone who has been suffering with arthritis from a young age like I have.
 
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Jcx

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Welcome to this site I hope someone will come along and give you advice. I also live in the UK and had a physical job . I ran my own painting and decorating business. But I'm 65 and after my operation I didn't have to return to my business. This site has given me lots of answers that the hospital and surgeon failed to do. Take care Jcx.
 

Jockette

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Hi and Welcome!

I'll be off work for several months and then no doubt a fairly long phased return.
I’m glad to see this is your plan. Not going back full time right away gives your knee a really good opportunity to heal.

I will leave you our Recovery Guidelines. Each article is short but very informative. Following these guidelines will help you have a less painful recovery.

Just keep in mind all people are different, as are the approaches to this recovery and rehab. The key is, “Find what works for you.“ Your doctors, PTs and BoneSmart are available to help, but you are the final judge as to the recovery approach you choose.

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

6. Access to 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 the 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 the member’s history before providing advice, so please post any updates or questions you have right here in this thread.
 

Samsrf

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Hi there @Dippyrascal . I am 43 and had right TKA on 3/31 so not that much before you. This surgery is NO JOKE - go easy on yourself!

I had a similar situation- soccer injury @ 17, at 20 they told me to stop doing anything too active :dancy: but that didn’t work- took up triathlons & half marathons… I took it as a challenge. Made it to 35 and was bone on Bone but I was told I was too young for a TKA Spent the last 8 years compensating & forming lots of bad habits. I am very active and it slowed me down. And then this surgery had put a full stop on life.

This week (5 for me) there has been an exponential shift in energy. I finally feel more like myself, so hang in there, I think it will come. Physiotherapy for me has been hard as my quads are super tight and ROM is slow going, but I am making progress- just more slowly than I should “for my age” I keep getting told. But I don’t care- this is a marathon not a sprint! Walking is the worst because My ROM before surgery was 10-100 now I am 0-85 so It is like I have this new leg and don’t know what to do with it. If I walk fast I get this crazy limp and veer off to the left It is pretty funny- I look like a peg leg pirate. I am using this forced stop to slow down my life and literally and figuratively walk slowly through it. Shifting my perspective while life is buzzing on around me has been the biggest challenge. I was sad, had FOMO but then I deleted all social media and I started reading threats on here and I don’t want to overdo it and set myself back. I had 3 months to prepared for surgery and I read this book “Towards Rest” by Alabaster also “the ruthless elimination of hurry” (they both coming from a faith perspective) and found them useful. I get lonely so I started writing my friends actual letters and putting them in the mail. Like Penpal when we were kids. I get texts back that they are so happy! I am in the US and when I can’t sleep I message my friend in the UK because of the time change she’s up.
Hang in there and be proud of the small victories… walking unassisted, cooking a meal, gaining a few degrees in ROM. our stories may be different but I am right there with you! Enjoy the slow down while you can, because soon enough life will speed up again.
 

ski_bum

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Hi there @Dippyrascal . I am 43 and had right TKA on 3/31 so not that much before you. This surgery is NO JOKE - go easy on yourself
I'm second knee with you at 5 weeks. Second knee is not easier than first 11 month old knee. Sleep is my biggest problem again. Have not found the answer to pain control. Tylenol is not working, sleeping aids give short sleeps. Good luck with your recovery.
 

TownieGirl

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@Samsrf
“This week (5 for me) there has been an exponential shift in energy. I finally feel more like myself, so hang in there. “ I am one week behind you and I am too feeling a little bit more like myself too and I am so grateful for that. My ROM is progressing slowly too but eventually I know I will get there. Don’t listen to what people think, it’s your body and your healing. Like BS says everyone heals differently. I had bilateral and my left is doing a little better than my right knee. I agree celebrate the small victories and take time while we have it now.
 

MamaLeni

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Hi, Dippyrascal! I’m joining you in the “youngster” club! I had my 1st knee replacement (R) at 41, was completely bone on bone, literally worked until I couldn’t take another step. Also had a pretty physical job: paramedic for years then became a nurse so lots of lifting and walking on hard floors. Developed RSD/CRPS in R knee in ‘98 from a crush injury (femoral condyle defect from ambulance cot failure with 250kg patient), was in remission then reactivated after R TKR. Recovery was loooong…and then found out have lupus profundus affecting subcutaneous and connective tissue so that explained a LOT. Just had L TKR on 4/29 at 48. Should have done this about 4 years ago but fear was worse than pain until recently.

Sending you all of the good vibes for smooth recovery! Your plan for work return sounds solid, stick to it and don’t rush it! (I was back on the hospital floor at 8 weeks, I really should have waited longer, it certainly didn’t help recovery.)
 

Susie-Q

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Hi @Dippyrascal and welcome to Bonesmart! :flwrysmile:

I was a "youngster" with my first TKR at age 42. I wasn't working a physical job at the time but was raising my kids, who were 15 and 12. Just unlucky to have arthritis early in my life, I guess! :shrug:. My first surgeon luckily said I wasn't too young but that I should get it done so I could get on with my life! That knee has done well and I didn't have to get my left one done until 11 years later.

It's good that you are going to phase your return to work gradually.

Keep us posted on your continued recovery.....
 

Axx72

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First knee: 50yrs old so kinda young, maybe young at heart. A firefighter of 16 years. 30 years of backcountry skiing, cycling, competitive and otherwise and 2 meniscal surgeries wore my right knee to the bone with resultant osteoarthritis. 2 years of pain and relative inactivity.

Currently just shy of 3 months post TKR surgery with a goal to get back to my job by 6 months. Based on surgeon, physiotherapist and forum info, it’s very possible to achieve your goals if you can accept that you need to win those little victories along the way. Believe in your self and try to be patient….<- hardest part, believe me….
 

Ginger1210

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Hi Dippyrascal and welcome to Bonesmart.

I to am from the UK i had a right PKR in April 2021. I am 49 and have struggled with my knee for many years i to have a physical job ( Engineer) .
This forum is fantastic. I hope you continue to improve with time be kind to yourself and patient this is a long recovery. I returned to work after 6 weeks on light duties. This was really hard and far to soon. I have now changed my job and are office based this has helped. i still struggle with my knee but i am slowly getting stronger.
If you are given sufficient time off work then take it and recover slowly.
I wish you all the best.
 

InkedMarie

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First knee: 50yrs old so kinda young, maybe young at heart. A firefighter of 16 years. 30 years of backcountry skiing, cycling, competitive and otherwise and 2 meniscal surgeries wore my right knee to the bone with resultant osteoarthritis. 2 years of pain and relative inactivity.

Currently just shy of 3 months post TKR surgery with a goal to get back to my job by 6 months. Based on surgeon, physiotherapist and forum info, it’s very possible to achieve your goals if you can accept that you need to win those little victories along the way. Believe in your self and try to be patient….<- hardest part, believe me….
Fantastic positive post!

Marie
 

AngieM

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Hi Dippy.
Not exactly in your young club. 4 weeks post LTKR at 58. But I have had arthritis symptoms since about 18.
I was misdiagnosed as having psoriatic arthritis . And while they were waiting for a flare up to happen, my actual osteoarthritis was ignored. Consequently my mobility has diminished over the years. Til I was re diagnosed and sent to a surgeon who broke the news that both knees were shot and needed replacing.
I do have an active job now. As having taken early retirement from my 30 year council career, I took a p/t school cleaning job to fit in with holiday of my teacher husband . It is, by far, the best job I’ve ever had. I get 3 hours of sweaty exercise a day AND I get to tidy up … result !
I also do about 6 hours of Zumba classes a week, with a couple of HiiT Step classes thrown in when my knees allowed.
Previous to that I ran … 5 times a week . Just 3 to 5 miles but I loved it . Especially when the kids were little. It was MY alone time.
Obviously over the years my mobility has decreased as the arthritis advanced and, in the last year, nothing was possible without large quantities of pain killers.
My plan is to get back to my life. I miss it but I want to be able to participate fully. So this TKR is a necessary evil.
Even at this early stage I’ve had some issues. Go look at my thread if you’re bored.
Hopefully we can all help each other through this painfully slow process x
 

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