TKR Flashlight's Recovery


Aug 31, 2022
United States United States
Hi, this is day 13 for me. left TKR. Tomorrow, I go to have my stapes removed. I can get a sneaker on my right ft, but not the left! I forgot to think about that. The incision is starting to itch, and I can't wait to get them out. I'm still sleeping in the recliner at night and get up about every 2-2 1/2 hours to urinate. I tried laying down in bed with the pillows placed as directed and it was too uncomfortable. Plus, I would keep my husband up. I find the pain is bad at night and the stiffness. I try to walk a little each time I get up. After showering in the morning, I am completely wiped out. New stretching exercises were added this week. One I am unable to do. You put your surgical leg on the first/second stair with the other flat on the floor. I walked outside for about 10 mins today. I was exhausted. The sunshine felt so good.
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Hello Flashlight, thanks for joining us and congrats on your new knee. Please share the exact date of your August surgery and we will create a signature for you.

I hope your staple removal went well last Thursday. If you're not already, try icing when the pain becomes too uncomfortable to fall asleep and see if it helps. You will find an article on ICE as well as ELEVATE in the Recovery Guidelines below. It is common to feel easily exhausted early on. Our body's energy supply isn't limitless. So when we're in healing mode after major surgery our energy will be used for healing first, not leaving a great reserve for all the other activity of daily life. It is completely normal to feel tired for quite some time. How long....most likely relates to your body's rate of healing. Making our best effort to get adequate sleep and rest is beneficial. Our body does it's best healing while we're sleeping.

Here are the BoneSmart Recovery Guidelines which you will find beneficial as you continue healing. Stop back often to share your progress. We'd love to cheer you on as you move forward. :)

Knee Recovery: The Guidelines

As you begin healing, please keep in mind that each recovery is unique. While the BoneSmart philosophy successfully works for many, there will be exceptions. Between the recommendations found here, your surgeon's recovery protocol and any physical therapy you may engage in, the key is to find what works best for you.

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:
take your pain meds by prescription schedule (not when pain starts!)
don't overwork.
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
the BoneSmart view on exercise
BoneSmart philosophy for sensible post op therapy
5. At week 4 and after you should follow this
Activity Progression for TKRs
6. Access these pages on the website
Oral And Intravenous Pain Medications
Wound Care In Hospital

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 a 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 history before providing advice.
Hi, my surgery date for left total knee was 8/15. I had the surgery at an outpatient setting and was discharged the following day. My staples were removed last Thursday and steri strips applied. They are already curling up and I have lost a couple. I have been following a therapy program online. The NP said I could go to outpatient PT at 4-weeks if I wanted to. I am thinking when I can get in and out of the car easier I would do it. Right now, I am having a lot of nerve spasms, but my doctor doesn't feel I need another medicine. I use ice around the clock and try to do a short walk every hour. Does anyone have a recommendation for a shoe?
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Thanks for your surgery date. Your signature is now complete. You may want to consider Magnesium for nerve spasms since your doctor isn't open to prescribing more meds.
Magnesium supports the following:
Bone health
Healthy blood sugar
Cardiovascular health
Muscle relaxation and nerves
Promotes healthy sleep (falling asleep and staying asleep)

An article on Magnesium -

If you're experiencing the spasms overnight, I've also heard drinking 4-6 oz of Q-Tonic before bed which is a water that contains quinine can be helpful.
Read the label as some of the waters do not contain quinine, but quinine flavoring instead.

As far as shoes, it is recommended you purchase a new pair to avoid shoes with your pre-op wear pattern.
Type / style is personal preference, but I will share a thread from our Community Social Area on some of the brands members chose for recovery -Shoes For Recovery

I hope this helps. Have a peaceful evening!
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Welcome to BoneSmart, @Flashlight :wave: Glad you found us.

Your description of what you are experiencing sounds exactly like my first few weeks post-op -- especially the exhaustion. Know that it does get better. I found the information in the articles that @Layla shared with you very helpful in getting through those early weeks.

We're here to help.
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Week 4 to begin tomorrow. The muscle spasms are better, but the nerve pain continues. Sometimes it feels like my Knee/thigh is jumping. I tried laying down in bed with numerous pillows but still can't get comfortable. I bought a wedge to elevate my leg while in the recliner and it has helped with the swelling. When my knee feels stiff, I walk around the house, and it helps. I have finally mastered stepping on the first step with my surgical knee and bending my knee. I am going to try the 2nd step and go slow. I hope I am making progress. I know the possibility of 6-week scar tissue developing scares me. Even though many don't believe it. I'm getting good pain control with 600mg ibuprofen and 500mg Tylenol every 6-hours.
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I know the possibility of 6-week scar tissue developing scares me. Even though many don't believe it.
If you didn't have scar tissue, your wounds would never be closed. What you are referring to are adhesions, which are very rare. There is also no 6-week danger of creating adhesions. That's a myth.

The scar tissue you are concerned about (which is more correctly called adhesions) is very rare, and one of the easiest ways to develop it is to work your knee too hard. Over-worked knees get inflamed and hot, and hot tissues become drier than normal and more likely to stick together and form adhesions.

This article explains the difference between scar tissue and adhesions:
MUA (Manipulation under Anaesthetic) and Adhesions

You need normal scar tissue. That's what holds your incision together, and it's part of the normal healing process. Without it, you'd always have an open wound.
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the nerve pain continues. Sometimes it feels like my Knee/thigh is jumping.
This is actually a good thing! It's an indication that the nerves that were damaged during the surgery are waking up and reconnecting. Most of us continue to have nerve pain for several months, although it does lessen over time -- since it can take up to a year for nerves to fully recover.

I know it hurts when it happens. When I was going through them, every time I had a zinger, I said to myself "Yay, another nerve just reconnected!"

If you think of it as a sign of recovery, it may make the discomfort a little more tolerable.

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It will be 6-weeks on Monday, and I feel like I have turned that corner. I no longer need anything routinely for pain and I am able to walk without a cane fairly well. My knee will still swell up. I went for my mammogram this past week and ended up standing too much. It swelled and I rested, iced, the next day. I try to walk more every day and I am still doing my daily exercises. My leg I feel is pretty straight and my ROM so much better. This gives me hope. Now, if I could only get some sleep-in bed! It is still not comfortable, and I continue trying to get a few hours in the recliner. I read that many are in the same boat! When do you think I will be able to sleep in my bed? Does anyone use a cubii floor exerciser?
Hello @Flashlight
I slept comfortably in our recliner for three weeks post op. I didn't even attempt the bed until then. I am not sure why you're unable to get any sleep in bed, but if its due to comfort...try pillows. I pretty much surrounded myself with bed pillows. It felt cocoon like and cozy to have the ability to rest an arm on one, a leg on another if I wanted to. I purchased and inexpensive Body Pillow ($10) from Target for my collection and still use it nightly five years post op. I don't know if it will work for you, but may be worth a try.

Never heard of a Cubii, but you peaked my interest so I'm off to do an online search to educate myself.
Happy Saturday, hope its a good one for you! :)
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I would sleep in my bed for an hour or so and then get up and sleep in the recliner for a couple of hours, then back to the bed, then back to the recliner. This went on for at least 6-8 weeks. My biggest accomplishment was being able to sleep on my side at about 2 months. But, I was still not sleeping well and took lots of naps. The important thing is that you sleep. It doesn't matter when or where. Just get that sleep anyway you can!
Hey @Flashlight I have 3 regular pillows plus a body pillow on my bed. I find even the littlest shifts can reduce pressure on my knee. Try using the corner of the pillow under different parts of your leg. Sometimes it is my foot, shin, or even let my knee rest against it. I have yet to get a full nights sleep as well. Best I can do are a couple of 2-4 hour stretches. I am still needing a nap during the day especially if I go out. Hope this helps.
I'm working my way to 10 weeks this coming Monday. I saw the PA today for my second post-op visit. All xrays look good and everything is in place. I still have stiffness if I stand too long and when I get up in the morning. No pain but discomfort especially if my knee is swollen. The PA said that should get better by 6-months. He feels I am at a crossroad and should start sleeping better. I no longer use any pillows and can sleep on my side with my knee bent. I find I toss n turn. My leg is straight, and my ROM is at 110 with a swollen knee. I was able to walk in with a fairly good gait but not perfect. He feels people think about it too much and that makes walking more difficult or unnatural. I was discouraged with the news because of my implant (Zimmer Biomet) I would only get to 120. I really was hoping for ROM of 130. He reminded me that it would take a year to heal. Maybe I will get there regardless in time. I wore shorts to the visit, and it was chilly. I went to the grocery store after, and I was surprised to have people come up to me and say I used to walk like that or remember it takes a year or my husband has been putting it off! I'm tired tonight so fingers x I have a good night! I was also reminded to massage my scar and can apply vit E or lotion at this time.
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Happy Four Month Anniversary!
I hope you're doing well these days and feeling stronger month by month.
Busy time of year for most and it takes some stamina to keep up with all it seems.
Wishing you a happy holiday season and joy, peace and good health in the New Year! :christmas-carols-smiley-emoticon:
Thank you! I am doing well. I dropped the cap to my olive oil the other day and did a kind of a squat to pick it up. I was able to cross my leg to put my sock on. Little steps that take me by surprise. I'm doing better not perfect going up and down stairs. I have been using my stationary bike at 0 tension every day. I went to the doctor this past week for my annual checkup. Other than weight gain she feels I am doing well. She asked if burning (nerve) pain was keeping me up at night. I don't have that, but my leg does ache. She gave me something to try and it is working! She also said for me not to be afraid of taking ibuprofen/tylenol when I need it after checking my labs. I have been using ice and the heating pad after those busy days.
I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas! Wishing us all the best in the New Year.
It's those little successes that surprise us. When we realized we've just done something we haven't been able to do for a while, it's thrilling! You sound like you are coming along really well! Yay!!

Merry Christmas to you, also, and wishing you complete healing in 2023!
I'm doing better not perfect going up and down stairs
The stairs will come. It took me six months to be able to go down normally without hanging on for dear life! Now, I don't even think about it as I run up and down stairs multiple times a day.

It sounds like you are doing well in your recovery. Wishing you a happy holiday and a very healthy new year!

August 15th was my one-year anniversary! I can't believe it has taken this long to feel like myself again. I went to my OS this morning for my last checkup. I had xrays done and everything looks good. I don't have to be seen for another 5-years. At that time, they take xrays to check on the plastic spacer. How to remember to make that appointment is something to think about. He also said if I want to continue to have good results, I will have to make walking or the stationary bike part of my daily routine like brushing my teeth. I asked him what he thought about the robotic TKR, and he just started using it this past February. My knee was done the old fashion way. He said it is the future for less pain and improved recovery. I also asked him about the numbness, and he told me everyone feels it in a different place due to the way their nerves run. It will never resolve, and people just get used to it.
I plan to continue with my gardening. My yard really looked neglected and it's so gratifying to get out there. I am able to kneel pretty well and also do the squat. Hopefully I will get into the silver sneakers program at the Y this fall. I was able to lose 30 pounds and I'm almost at my premenopausal weight. Things are looking up. I just have to make it through my oncology appointment to feel a sigh of relief.
The best things I bought was the wedge and my crocs. The crocs are great to walk in beach sand!
Thank you all for helping me get through this long recovery and for all the support. Wishing you all the best!!
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