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TKR DogTiredKnees Recovery Thread

DogTiredKnees

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Hello all,

My original LTKR was cancelled on 31st August 2021, but finally went ahead on Tuesday 5th October 2021.

I was in hospital for 5 days as suffered nausea and vomiting for 3 days after surgery, cause unknown. My physios were disappointed in my ROM before leaving, and I have been put forward for “remedial” physiotherapy, face to face in a couple of weeks.

Back home now and just trying to adjust to a new regime of pain relief, elevating and icing.

My whole leg from the ankle to the thigh is the size of an elephant’s. Is that normal?

Because of the swelling, I am unable to complete the exercises given to me by the physio. I am walking around my flat 4-5 times a day, but still have some nausea on standing and am a bit light headed from the pain medication. I’m not sure if I should continue to try the exercises or wait for a couple of days and hope the swelling goes down. Any thoughts, please?

Thanks :)
 

Jockette

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Hi and Welcome to recovery!

Don't worry about doing the exercises right now, all you need are very gentle movements to give your knee mobility. The short walks to and from the bathroom are all you need for walking, at the moment, since you are feeling dizzy at times. I do hope you are using a walker/frame when walking.

My physios were disappointed in my ROM before leaving,
Don’t worry about your ROM, it’s the swelling that is hindering it. It will improve as your swelling goes down, and that will take a while. I don’t understand why some physios don’t accept this.

Make sure you are icing and elevating most of the day.

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.
 

Jockette

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I‘ve highlighted the following articles from our Recovery Guidelines:


 

patriciad

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@DogTiredKnees (love your photo) So sorry to hear you had such a rough time after your surgery. I wouldn’t think you would have been up to much Physio being so nauseous but you are home now and the recovery process is just starting. I have used Bonesmart for both my knee replacements and the articles are really informative so try to have a look through between napping. All you need to do for the next week is stay ahead of your pain by taking your medication on schedule. Don’t wait until it starts to hurt as that’s too late! Ice constantly and elevate your leg and start some stool softeners so you don’t suffer from constipation from the medications. Sleep as much as you can during the day and night. It’s a bit of a roller coaster ride but there’s plenty of help here on the forum. Sending good wishes.
 

benne68

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My whole leg from the ankle to the thigh is the size of an elephant’s. Is that normal?
My leg ballooned up, too. Elevating and icing help a lot. Something similar happened after my hip replacement in 2019, and it scared me, but this time I knew it was normal. I'm almost 4 weeks out and most of the swelling has gone down.
 
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DogTiredKnees

DogTiredKnees

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Today I’m struggling with other peoples’ expectations of my recovery. I think that because I am relatively young to have a TKR, the assumption is that somehow the recovery should be quicker. I am bombarded with anecdotes from well meanIng friends and family about how they knew someone that went back to work after 2 weeks/had no pain/were very mobile etc etc. I am tired of trying to explain that everyone is different and that I am in no great hurry to put myself under pressure to return to normality.

Every day I am asked if I’ve completed my exercises, how many steps I’ve walked, is it more than yesterday, etc.etc. I know that this is all meant well, and am lucky to have so many people invested in my recovery, but it is very wearing.

My partner is very supportive and has been running around after me (and our very elderly high maintenance dog) and I am truly grateful. But I suspect that he thinks I’m being lazy in spending most of my time reclining, with my leg elevated and iced. Just needed to rant a bit :)
 

benne68

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I’m struggling with other peoples’ expectations of my recovery.
This is so true! Everyone I know has a "friend" who had a TKR and was "back on the golf course" or "walking 3 miles" in a month! Your recovery is yours and yours alone -- it's no one's business whether you did your exercises or how many steps you walked.

I adopted a blanket response for these "well meaning" questions: "I'm following my doctor's instructions." And, in fact, I was since my OS told me that my only job for the first few weeks was to ice and elevate.

Also, to be sure my husband has the full picture, I read him some of the posts on here from people who are ahead of me and are still struggling. It's really helped him be more empathetic.
 
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DogTiredKnees

DogTiredKnees

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@benne68 Thank you, I know that I am lucky to have people concerned for my well-being. But it is rather galling that everyone is suddenly an expert in knee replacement surgery :)

I have told my friends that from now on I am only interested in stories about recovery from those who have actually experienced TKR themselves!

I was having rather a bad day yesterday, feeling frustrated and rather sorry for myself. Today, I shall try and be more positive about it all.

Thank you for your support ;)
 

Reader525

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@DogTiredKnees I know first-hand how well-meaning friends, husbands and others can offer their pearls of wisdom about what we "should" be doing. There we are, our swollen legs resting on pillows and wrapped in ice staring into their faces as they ramble on about their Aunt Bertha who was back playing tennis the 4th week. It's so hard! I hit 14 weeks today, and I'm still icing, in some pain and struggling to walk normally. It's taken a village of BoneSmart-ers to help me be patient and let time pass. Everyone here is wonderful and will hold your virtual hand through this! And one more thing... from one who knows, don't worry about physical therapy, you will be fine.
 

Susie-Q

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I'd be willing to bet these people are either lying or greatly exaggerating their friend's recovery. Like the game "telephone", the information gets twisted or changed the more it's passed on. While there are a VERY FEW who are off pain meds in the first few days/week, most of us need them for several weeks and some for even longer. Every knee is different. No one understands what it's like to recover from a knee replacement except for someone who has actually done it. It frustrates the heck out of me when people compare their ACL or other knee surgery to mine. I've had meniscus repairs and they were nothing compared to this. Just because I'm walking fine without a limp doesn't mean I'm 100% back to normal.
 

FCBayern

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I am bombarded with anecdotes from well meanIng friends and family about how they knew someone that went back to work after 2 weeks/had no pain/were very mobile etc etc.
You can put those stories in the same category of "I have a gold mine to sell you that will make you rich!" or "I have great deal on waterfront property for you". My favorite response was "I guess they didn't get super custom after market parts like I did!" :rotfl:
 

Ghostpipe

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I think that people’s memories of pain are short lived, otherwise nobody would ever have a second child or knee replacement Just tell the well wishers that it takes a year for everything to settle down, on average, and working through the pain is an outdated idea.
Happy healing (that was a bit of a joke!)
 

hawk2go

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No one understands what it's like to recover from a knee replacement except for someone who has actually done it.
... and even those who have recovered may have a different experience. My recovery from LTKR could not compare to my recovery from RTKR. I like the response "I'm following my doctor's orders".

With this knee I've asked each of my healthcare team members "have you had a TKR or worked on others who have had a TKR". Especially my PT team. This is not like recovery from an athletic injury (may require some pushing through the pain) or meniscus repair (that was a piece of cake, I was walking without pain within a day or 2). Maybe have those well meaning loved ones watch the TKA surgery on YouTube. That will certainly give them a different perspective on the trauma your poor knee has undergone.
 

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