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Bilateral TKR Elevation of leg

Kildare

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It is four months since my surgery and the swelling on both knees is very uncomfortable. They feel like two concrete blocks. I am doing everything to relieve the discomfort but I’ve been told it will just take time.
 

Ghostpipe

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Hi Kildare. I’m about 4.5 months out from bilateral tkr and the swelling drives me mad. I’m not too bad for the first couple of hours after I get up in the morning, but any activity and they start to fill up. By late afternoon, when it’s time to cook supper, they are tight and sore.
Today, after two really bad nights, I have taken a complete day off and done nothing except lie with my legs up. It’s early evening here, and I have hardly any swelling. Still achey, and hurt as I get up though.
I’m getting really fed up with my activity being so limited by swelling. You are not alone!
 

Jockette

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Hi and Welcome!

Yes, this is a year long recovery, and swelling can last a very long time for some of us. Keeping your activity down and resting with your legs elevated can be helpful.

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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Please tell us your surgery date and we’ll make a signature for you. :flwrysmile:
 

eaglemom

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Swelling at this point in recovery isn't something to be too concerned about. Your early in your recovery. Some of us swell more and longer than others. Personally I happen to swell, and have been for 15 months. That's not to discourage you, but rather to let you know these things take time, lots and lots of time.
 

Sisterpat

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Welcome, Kildare and congratulations on your new knees! The swelling can lost a longtime, as others have said. Try to be patient. Time is your friend.
 
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Kildare

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Surgery date was April 1st. Thank you for your encouraging responses. Kildare
 
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Kildare

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Surgery BTKR April 1st. I cannot raise my legs straight up while lying on my back. I can lift them off the bed but the knees are bent. The PT at my surgeons clinic said I should have been able to do it two days after surgery, the PT who I am seeing now said that the quadriceps (front thigh muscles) sometimes hibernate when there is trauma to the knees and it takes some time and lots of work to wake them up and that is the reason I cannot lift my legs up straight when lying on my back. Would like to hear if anyone else has this issue. Thank you. Kildare
 

Roy Gardiner

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You'll notice that I have merged your newest thread with your original recovery thread. For several reasons, we prefer that you only have one recovery thread:
  • That way, you have all your information in one place. This makes it easier to go back and review your history before providing advice.
  • If you start new threads, you miss the posts and advice others have left for you in the old threads, and some information may be unnecessarily repeated
  • Having only one thread will act as a diary of your progress that you can look back on.
So please post any updates, questions or concerns about your recovery here.
 

eaglemom

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If you would scroll up to the Knee Recovery Guidelines and read through them I believe some of your questions might be answered.

As far as what you can and can't do at a specific date, have you discussed this with your surgeon? Your early in recovery and we all heal at varying rates. What your PT said about the quads is true somewhat, but again there isn't a hard and fast rule on when your quads will stop hibernating.

Make certain that the PT isn't overly aggressive with your sessions. That in and of itself can cause trouble. Icing and elevating still need to be happening.
 

Sisterpat

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It can take some time to raise your legs after knee replacement. The time frame is different for every person and, in fact, for every knee!
 

Ghostpipe

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I can’t believe that the PT in the hospital expected you to do a straight leg lift after two days!!! That is totally unrealistic. I am nearly twenty years younger than you, was fit and strong before my op, but it took me very many weeks to achieve it. And then only in one leg. I am a month ahead of you, and can still only just about manage to do it with my worst leg, and its not that pleasant to do it with my better one!
 
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Kildare

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I saw the surgeon (also a friend) who replaced my hip 8 years ago. I mentioned that I can straighten my legs when standing but cannot straighten them when lying on my back. She asked if the anesthesiologist blocked the femural nerve during my BTKR on April 1st. Or the nerves could have been damaged by the tourniquets on my upper thighs during surgery, that could be the reason I cannot straighten my legs when lying on my back. They will get better but will take time.Any comments. Kildare
 

Jockette

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We all heal at different rates and time is really important in this recovery.

How are things going in other areas of your recovery? How’s your ROM and energy level? Are you back to some daily activities?

Try to look at the improvements you’ve had since your surgery, and try not to worry about the leg issue. Give it more time. :console2:

By the way, I merged your newest thread with your original recovery thread, as we prefer that members in recovery have only one thread.

This benefits you because all your information is in one place, easy to find, and maintains a nice journal for you.

This also benefits our staff, as your information is all in one place, and we often go back through your thread for previous details, so we know what you‘ve been through which helps us advise you better.

So, please keep all your posts in this thread. If you’d like a new title, let us know what you want, and we’ll change it for you. You can always bookmark this thread so you can find it easily.

Best wishes on your continuing recovery! :flwrysmile:
 
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Kildare

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Thank you for responses, it is encouraging more to know I am not the only one having these issues. Hopefully it is not a problem with the femural nerve. My PT will be interested to hear what the surgeon (my friend, not the one who operated on my knees) thinks it might be. Kildare
 
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Kildare

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Interesting to read that someone has the same issue as me, the quads are not working. Also I think I have been overdoing the exercises as the swelling in my knees never goes down. I think I do too many exercises and too many repetitions when I exercise. I have access to a swimming pool every day and spend 50minutes to an hour exercising every day, also riding the recumbent bike at least 3 miles a day. I am 4 months after BTKR. Kildare
 

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