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TKR Feeling stiff and sore

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Kimbo1

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Thank you Jamie. I appreciate the input and I will add the suggested exercises to my routine. I do have a peddler, but I have only been able to rock back and forth on it. I will keep trying for the full rotations. I know you guys must get tired of telling us to be patient and my "nurse" brain (I'm a retired RN) knows that's true. I guess verbalizing and hearing it from others makes me feel like I'm not in this alone, especially during this crazy time. I'll have to find something to distract myself and fill the time. I really appreciate you so much.
 
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Kimbo1

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Happy Memorial Day everybody! I am now 11 weeks out. I have weaned myself off hydrocodone and am going to stop Celebrex today as I'm having GI issues that I think may be related. The stretching exercises must be helping as my hamstrings aren't as achy and I am finally able to sleep on my side. I had to put a beach towels in a pillow case to use as the bed pillow was a bit too fluffy for me. I am still staying away from formal PT. For anyone new, I had home visits for PT until 3 weeks post-op and stopped due to Covid-19 and aggressive therapy. At one point, I got a doppler to check for a DVT because I had so much pain and swelling after my therapist visit. It was negative, but boy was I in pain. It definitely helps to appreciate the progress I've made even though it seems like it's going very slow. I look forward to being on the other side of this soon. Now that my narcotics are gone, I can enjoy some wine today! Cheers!!:egypdance:
 

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@Kimbo1 You and I had our surgery on the same day, and your updates have often mirrored what I’ve been feeling. Last night, my knee was feeling especially stiff (might have overused my little peddling machine), and I had myself a good cry out of sheer frustration. After I wiped my eyes, I thought back to those first two weeks post op, and I realized that while progress has been slow, I am improving. I can walk a brisk 1/2 mile now, and while that’s not far to some, it’s progress for me. I’m driving again, going to the grocery store (wearing a mask, of course), and running errands on my own. I’m keeping up with laundry and household tasks. I’m now able to cook simple meals and yesterday, I made a strawberry pie. It’s so hard though, isn’t it....to have expectations for where you’ll be, recovery wise, and then learn to accept the reality that it’s a long, winding road. I hope that on March 9, 2021, you and I can give each other a virtual high five and celebrate the fact that we made it through the first year with our new knees!
 
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Kimbo1

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@Wolvesfan you are so right!! I can't wait to see our updates next year. You seem to be progressing well. I'm jealous that you are driving. You should really be glad. I had my wine yesterday and fried a turkey for celebration. It totally rocked. :yahoo:
 

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@Kimbo1 I love that you fried a turkey! A few weeks ago, I made chicken parm for my first official return to cooking, but then needed extensive icing and elevation to recover from the effort. But it’s getting better...and I’ll happily follow your progress and cheer you on!
 
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Kimbo1

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Greetings from Texas. I'm curious to try to drive and might try in the neighborhood to see if my knee can take it. I still have so much swelling as soon as I start moving around. I'm still icing and elevating several times per day. I also still have the tight band feeling. Anybody have suggestions on getting to the point where you can drive? Going crazy being in all the time. Ha!
 

sistersinhim

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I was able to drive at 7 weeks out. Before I tried it alone, I got a friend go with me in case I couldn't make the whole little trip. The two important things are is you're off your prescription meds and that you can do a panic stop.
 

Wolvesfan

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@Kimbo1 ... I was so nervous about driving again. I think I was 8 weeks post op when I first gave it a try. It was as scary as the first time I took a shower, but now, a month later, I’m driving every day. It’s really allowed me to regain my independence. My surgery was on my right knee, and at first, getting in and out of the driver’s seat was really uncomfortable. It’s gotten much better, except for those times when my knee feels tight. Let us know how it goes for you!
 

Golfguy

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Greetings from Texas. I'm curious to try to drive and might try in the neighborhood to see if my knee can take it. I still have so much swelling as soon as I start moving around. I'm still icing and elevating several times per day. I also still have the tight band feeling. Anybody have suggestions on getting to the point where you can drive? Going crazy being in all the time. Ha!
One of the hardest parts of driving after TKR is actually getting into the car! Having it be the right knee is even harder (in the US) for two reasons. First, you need to get your right leg swung all the way into the car. Second, you're actually using this leg to drive, and there needs to be enough flexion (and low enough pain) that you can switch from the gas pedal to the brake.

If you keep your car in the garage, have someone back it out of the garage for you. You want to be able to open the door as wide as you can. Put the seat back as far a you can (you can always move it forward some to drive). Recognize that your knee will NOT like being in the driving position and will start to ache far quicker than you want, so keep the first few trips short.

I started driving at 4 weeks. But I had to swap cars with my wife and give her my manual transmission, as it was still too tough for my left leg to work the clutch. Yes, I am one of those idiots who actually enjoys driving a shift car.

You will get where you are going. We all do. Sometimes it's frustrating when others seem to be hitting milestones more quickly than you. But it seems to me, with a few outliers, that everyone on the board does some things "faster" than normal, and some tasks slower than normal. Good luck!!
 
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Kimbo1

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Thanks for the tips everybody! I will let you know how it goes. I knew I would be a slow healer. The PT I worked with before my surgery said I probably waited too long. I had a medial meniscus repair in 2014. Then I had injections of synvisc every six months for 5 years. By the time I had surgery, I developed bone marrow edema. It just gets tough, but I sure appreciate you all very much.
 
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Kimbo1

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I did it! I am so glad you all gave me a few tips. I was able to drive around my neighborhood for the first time today. You were right. Getting in and out was the hardest part. I don't think I can go very far, but short trips will be nice. I'm at 14 weeks now and still swelling and feeling the tightness every day. I look forward to the day when I don't think about my poor knee.
 

Sara61

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Well done on your driving it's a great sense of achievement :yes!: it won't be long before your swelling and stiffness wears off especially if you don't overdo things and ice and elevate as much as possible. I'm 8 months post surgery and thankfully rarely think about my knee, I've been fortunate to have received good advice and guidelines from BoneSmart. Keep positive and enjoy your well earned freedom small but enjoyable trips are the best xxx
 

rah2435

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there are two different types of knee replacement hardware, one for when the internal knee ligaments are in good condition and one for when they have to be sacrificed.
@Celle - Hi. I read this and ... it seems contrary to everything I've heard and read. What I have read is that TKRs that save the ACL have been tried before and mostly have been unsuccessful. I have two TKRs - my left is "cruciate sparing" and the other is "cruciate sacrificing". This is referring to the PCL - not the ACL. The ACL, to the best of my knowledge, is almost always sacrificed. My understanding is that this is something that is in need of improvement because a knee is much more stable with a good ACL - not a plastic post. (although many people with sever arthritis of the knee have compromised ACLs anyway...)
I have trouble with instability and I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I'm not used to walking w/o an ACL. They tell you that these components will compensate and allow for stability but I have not found this to be the case. :-(

Rah2435!
 

Celle

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@rah2435
I am not going to discuss this at length, because it would be disruptive to Kimbo1's thread. If you wish to discuss it further, please do so on your own thread.

What you appear to have read and understood is contrary to what I know, and you did not provide any links to articles, to back up what you said.

This article explains that retaining just the PCL alters knee kinetics in a way that is not satisfactory.
https://www.healio.com/news/orthope...ntion-or-substitution-on-kinematics-after-tka

If the ACL is damaged, it is best to sacrifice the PCL as well and use a cruciate-sacrificing knee prosthetic..
 
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Kimbo1

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Hello. Today is 16 weeks for my new knee. I'm only taking Tylenol very sporadically, but icing and elevating often daily. I am stiff in the mornings and start swelling as soon as I stand up. By afternoon, I am pretty swollen and sore. I'm doing ADLs, taking short walks, and driving short distances for errands. I'm curious to know if you think going back to PT at some point would help. Right now, it's probably not safe. I just worry about getting my gait back and this constant swelling. Thank you for your input. I appreciate it very much.
 

Sara61

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@Kimbo1 3.5 months is still really early days, swelling & stiffness usually only goes by the 7th to 8th month, I'm now 8 months post surgery and still get the odd stiff knee and if I really abuse it I get swelling too.
Unfortunately all that PT will do is aggravate the situation. I found that concentrating on my stride, making a longer stride and walking tall as thought I was "carrying books on my head" using a heel to toe movement helped my gait enormously, just remember to look down occasionally so that you don't trip over anything :giggle: with time you really will notice an improvement xx
 

Julia1911

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I barely could get past 90 to 95 degrees ROM, and without horrible pain, until over 6 weeks out. Now, when I look back, I know it was because I was just still too swollen. Then I started doing gentle movements on a stationary bike. Just backwards with a stretch, then forward with a stretch. Not going the whole way around. After a week (doing only 2 PT sessions a week), suddenly my leg went backward when it was warmed up. Then I did about 10 backward movements, pushing it to do so, but over a full 10 minutes, just doing the gentle stretch. After 2 more PT sessions, and being able to do a few more backward movements, suddenly I went forward. After 2 weeks of this, I could finally do a few minutes backwards and forwards.

As the swelling decreased, I was able to do a full 10 minutes actually cycling. Within a month, with more swelling decreasing, I could lower the bicycle seat and I got more ROM naturally.

By 4 months, I could bicycle steadily 15 minutes with the seat down 4 notches. And my ROM was within 5 degrees of my unoperated leg. Almost back to my butt standing up.

Next knee I will know not to hurt myself or let one of the PTs bully me because the ROM will come when the swelling goes down. I will try and stretch even when it is swollen, but excruciating pain gets you no where. When the knee is ready, it will move.
 

Jockette

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By afternoon, I am pretty swollen and sore. I'm doing ADLs, taking short walks, and driving short distances for errands. I'm curious to know if you think going back to PT at some point would help.
I was just like this at your stage. What you need is Time, not more exercises. You are currently doing plenty of what I call “natural exercise” otherwise known as ADLs (activities of daily living.)

I think you are expecting too much improvement, too quickly, in this year long, on average, recovery. Patience is hard, but it’s really important. All of us were impatient and concerned at your stage. I’m 3+ years post op now and still have some improvements! It will come for you, too.
 

kneeper

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How many ADLs are you doing? It's easy to overdo even when you don't feel like you're doing much. Frustrating, but true. :(
 
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Kimbo1

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Thanks for your input everyone. The being patient is so tough right now, but I will continue to work on it. As far as ADLs, I cook my meals, shower, some days do light cleaning or laundry and that's about it. I am sorry to vent. It does feel so reassuring to hear from you all because my mind starts going in the wrong direction. I appreciate this group very much since you've been where I am. Hugs to you all (germ free of course)!
 

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