Bilateral TKR DJL1967 BTKR Recovery Journey

Susie-Q

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Wow! congratulations, you are doing great!! Your ROM is better than mine and you're walking further.
 
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DJL1967

DJL1967

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Everything Bonesmart says about regaining ROM is so true. I have not had to push to get the numbers I currently have as it more or less came on its own as the swelling subsided and as the knees healed. My incisions have healed up nicely and are barely visible. People are amazed when they see them and remark on how good they look. I had great ROM and I was quite flexible too before the surgery so maybe this helped with my ROM post-op.
I am very fortunate to have such a good surgeon not only for his skill and knowledge but for his unbelievable bedside manner. He will take the time to answer any question and goes into great detail explaining things.
 

Jaycey

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Great report @DJL1967 - another BoneSmart success story. So glad our approach worked for you. Long may it continue!
 

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Thank you so much for sharing. I'm schedule for BTKR first week of January. Your story gives me hope!
 

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Thanks for sharing. You are doing fantastic if you ask me. My only word of caution would be that you've got to be careful and not overdo it. That could possibly cause a setback, your doing too well to let that happen. Great job.
 

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Thank you so much for your detailed recovery. I still haven't made my mind up whether to have two or one but its great to here how people cope.
 
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DJL1967

DJL1967

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Got back last evening from my trip to see the surgeon as this appointment he wanted x-rays and to see me in person. The flight was much easier than the return home flights 9 weeks ago but still it was uncomfortable sitting for so long. In the last couple weeks I have developed significant pain under my right patella when I go to stand up after sitting for long periods. This is quite painful (8/10) but will usually settle down after taking 10-15 steps however, it can last a lot longer at times. My PT says this is caused by the patella not riding over the joint squarely due to a lack of quad strength. This was confirmed by my surgeon and x-rays clearly showed the patella leaning to the lateral side of the joint. I have started new exercises to address this and hopefully it will improve with time.

Currently my ROM is L-130/0 and R-125/0 so at this stage I am very happy with that and my primary role is to continue exercises to strengthen the quads. My surgeon is very pleased with my progress and signed off for me to return to modified duties at work starting in the new year.

I am very happy with where I am at so early in my recovery. Am I fully recovered, absolutely not but at this stage I am much improved from where I was before surgery. I can walk 1.5-2 km's, I can do flights of stairs using one leg in front of the other, I ride the stationary bike with tension for 20 minutes, my balance is so much better and my knees do not feel like they will buckle at any given moment. I can only expect to get better as I get stronger and anticipate a full recovery in the next few months.
 

FCBayern

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Great report @DJL1967! Sounds like you are progressing well and have a great attitude, keep on keeping on!
 
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DJL1967

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3 months post op today. Time flies when you are having fun!!

TKR recovery is such a roller coaster ride and full of surprises. The first 2 weeks are definitely the hardest with adapting to your new knee(s), lack of independence and total reliance on others. I for one do not like depending on others so this was a challenge for me. After the first 2 weeks I became more independent and my wife went back to working at the office rather than from home. My pain was very well managed and by week 3 I had ditched the walker and crutches and started to drive as I had been off my Tramadol for one week and had 110 degrees ROM bilaterally. I was walking well, doing stairs and showering without any help stepping over the tub side.

My rapid recovery soon came to a halt and by week 8 I had started to develop a sharp pain under my right patella when I stood up after sitting for a period of time. My PT Dx this as a patella/femoral tracking issue and I was given different set of exercises to do. In the next couple weeks after I had flown back to see the surgeon for my scheduled check up and had x rays taken which confirmed the right patella was leaning to the lateral side and this was the cause on my pain. He was certain that with strengthening of the quad muscles this would correct the issue and that the exercises physio had given me would work. I am happy to say that at week 12 the pain has subsided substantially and I feel the exercises are doing the job. The pain still hits me every so often but not every time I stand up and walk.

My current exercise plan is 15-20 minutes on the stationary bike with tension, lots of stretching of the quads and hamstrings, single leg squats to 15 degrees, leg kick backs with tension bands, straight leg raises and lastly I do 20 minutes on the treadmill. Later in the day I walk the dog 1.5 km. Once my patella issue has resolved I will start to add weights and change up the exercises I do. I have 130 degree flexion bilaterally with full leg extension and feel I do not need to achieve anything more.

All in all I am very happy with my progress to date despite a couple hiccups along the way. I will be going back to work on modified duties/hours in January so I am turning to a new chapter in my recovery :) This winter season I will be looking forward to getting out x-country skiing on the golf course as well as some snowshoeing. Downhill skiing will have to wait till next season though.

So for anyone on the fence or second guessing having TKR this is my story and I am so thankful to have had my surgery as I feel I have been given a new lease on life.
 
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FCBayern

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So for anyone on the fence or second guessing having TKR this is my story and I am so thankful to have had my surgery as I feel I have been given a new lease on life.
Great report @DJL1967! This recovery isn't easy, but moving pain free really does give you your life back.
 
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DJL1967

DJL1967

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14 weeks post op and I have been having continued issues with my right knee. At 8 weeks I started having patella femoral pain and physio gave me some exercises to build up quad strength which seemed to decrease the start up pain I had been having. Over the past couple weeks though I started to have pain in the medial side of my knee specifically at the implant attachment on the tibia. It is very painful even on the slightest of finger pressure. There is slight swelling around this area, no redness or increased temperature. Pain increases with walking, standing and going down stairs. Not sure if it is related to the patella issue or something else developing. I have stopped all my daily physio and activity for the past 4 days and have been icing steadily with no improvement. Really hoping this is not the start of an infection or the implant has loosened.
I have a phone appointment with the surgeon next week so I will be addressing this with him but, in the mean time I am wondering if anyone has experienced this.
 
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DJL1967

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I have attached a couple pics of the areas of concern in regards to my right knee pain/swelling. Yesterday, after 6 days of literally sitting around doing nothing (extremely difficult for me) and icing 4x a day I decided enough rest and to get on my stationary bike and see how my knee reacts. Now throughout the 6 days of rest I cannot say the knee greatly improved as I not only had the start up pain with standing and walking but I still had pain at rest as well. After 3 minutes on the bike turning without resistance the pain was more pronounced and swelling more evident.
I will be speaking with the surgeon on Tuesday and have emailed him these pics in hope that he will know what the issue is.
Curious if any other forum members have experienced this or have an idea on what this could be.

Right knee pain area.jpg


Right knee swelling.jpg
 
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DJL1967

DJL1967

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15 weeks today and I am heading back to work on modified duties/hours today. I will be starting 6 hour shifts and in two weeks moving up to 8 hours. I cannot say I am excited to go back as it will be more difficult to focus on rehab but in reality I am happy that I have recovered enough to be able to go back.

Had a phone appointment with the surgeon yesterday and discussed my recent issue with my right knee. He is so easy to talk to and will answer any question you ask, really puts me at ease knowing I am being taken care of so well. He reassured me that the pain I am having is more than likely the result of a hamstring strain/inflammation and he will send a note to my family Dr. and request that I have a cortisone injection next week. I am receiving ultrasound in physio as well 2x weekly.
Pain the last couple days has improved and I am just grateful I don't have an infection or loosening of the implant.

Well time to start another chapter in my recovery and get ready to head to work.
 

benne68

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Hi @DJL1967 Hope your day went well and that work didn't increase your pain. I'm also about 4 months out and not sure I'd be able to go back to work for a 6-hour shift.

Good luck and keep us posted on how you do!
 
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DJL1967

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@benne68 Thanks for the well wishes. I just completed day 2 of work and I found it tiring but not too painful. I was doing a lot of walking and standing and by the end of the day my right knee was getting stiff. It is still giving me grief with the hamstring issue but maybe the cortisone shot next week will settle it down a bit. I managed to ride my stationary bike and do some stretching when I got home so all was good. It will be hard fitting in my daily exercises with my current work schedule but with all the walking and standing I am doing now this may be all I need on those days.
Hoping that after next week I can move up to 8 hour days then in a month up to 10 hours.
 

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It will be hard fitting in my daily exercises with my current work schedule but with all the walking and standing I am doing now this may be all I need on those days.
You are right, the standing and walking you do at work is plenty of exercise on those days. Once you are adjusted to working and are further along in your recovery you will find you can exercise on work days.
 

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Hope to hear your right knee is progressing in a positive direction after your first week back to work. Does it feel better to be back in a familiar routine? Keep us posted on both knees and please pace yourself with the exercises!
 
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DJL1967

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Well I am now 6 months post op and still struggling with my right knee since the 8 week mark. I had a cortisone injection 5 weeks ago for what the surgeon suspected was bursitis unfortunately, this did not help my pain much. When I stand for even the shortest amount of time the minute I lift my foot off the floor to start walking I get an immense pain to the medial side of my knee. This feels like a lightning bolt through my knee that lasts for 10-30 seconds. My facial expression's tell the whole story as people look at me like I've just been tasered. I am beyond frustrated at this point and have put out another call to the surgeon in hopes I can get x-rays to rule out any implant issues.
Has anyone else had an issue like this post TKA?
 
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DJL1967

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14 1/2 months post op so I figured I should give an update on where I am at in my recovery. I keep visiting the forum and post occasionally and reflect on how much this forum assisted me pre and post surgery. So I thought I would share where I am at in my recovery to this point in hopes of inspiring those that are waiting or have had surgery.

So first off this surgery is very difficult whether you have single or bilateral and, hands down was the most difficult of all surgeries I have had. Many people ask me if I would recommend doing both knees at the same time and even after 14 months I still do not lean one way or the other. It is a decision that should be based on the individual and the surgeon. There are pros and cons to both ways so you have to look at all options and where you are at in life ie: work, family, support at home etc.

After 14 months I can honestly say I am extremely happy with where I am at physically and mentally post BTKR. I would say at the 12 month mark is where I noticed a substantial change in my ability to make it through a day without thinking of my knees. It is a surreal feeling when you can just go about your movements throughout the day without the thought of pain. The first time I came to realize this was when I was when my wife and I were taking our dog for a walk on some trails by our house. After about 2 km's I stopped and looked at my wife and said "I'm finally normal again". In the past 5 years my knees were so painful that anything I did caused me pain, all movements were a constant reminder that my knees were damaged. I walked like a penguin (no disrespect as I love penguin's) I was constantly moaning and grimacing in pain and I was tired and grumpy 24/7.
I must have been a real treat to live with. Bless my wife and kids for putting up with me as I am sure I was not a bundle of joy to be around.

Today I am not back to my normal job as a paramedic as I still cannot kneel for long periods of time, a requirement for my profession but I am working 10 hour days in our warehouse which is very physical job that provides a balance of walking, standing, sitting and stairs.

Just last month over 2 days I walked 24 km's, something I would never consider or be able to do 5 years ago. I was at my out of town 1yr post op appointment and arrived at the airport very early in the morning. I was not able to check in to my hotel until 4pm so, I figured I'd just walk to a coffee shop and call an Uber from there.
Well after the first 2km's I felt great and just continued along till I got to downtown which was10 km's from the airport. Yes I was sore and should have stopped at the 7 km mark but the knees were not the issue it was my feet lol. I didn't plan on walking that distance and never though of what footwear I would need. My wife wasn't too thrilled though and probably wished she came along just to keep me in line.

Skiing has always been a big part of my life and something I have been unable to do the past 5 seasons. It is very difficult sitting on the sidelines while everyone else is doing the things you want to be doing. I plan to give it a go later this season and really look forward to that first run.

For those that are struggling post surgery do not lose hope as this is a 12-18 month recovery. I had many dark gloomy days and felt like I would never recover enough to feel remotely normal again but things all fell into place with time and a positive attitude. Continue to follow the bone smart forum, ask questions and post your progress.

Today I feel the best I have ever felt since 2018 and feel that I finally have my life back. I now look forward to each day and know that I can finally participate in the things that I love to do with the people I love to do them with.
 

Pumpkin

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@DJL1967
Thanks for the update on your full recovery, and return to your active life. Come back and let us know how that first run, and the day of skiing went.
 

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