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TKR Gimpy Gal’s Recovery

GIMPY GAL

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Gosh, @Jockette and @eaglemom! I just wrote a post about being strongly encouraged to start PT immediately and how I don’t want to leave the house for at least a week or so. I should’ve read this thread first!
And hey, @GIMPY GAL! Hope you’re doing well today! I’ll be following along on your recovery, since you’re just about a week ahead of me.
I'm out of the hospital and things went okay. One thing about hospital PT.... she moved my severely swollen leg way beyond my pain threshold and I gave her a furious look....she backed off after that. Everybody is obsessed with PT. At this point, I don't know when I'll start going...if ever.
 

Vinca

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So glad to hear you’re doing ok! I bet you’re glad to be on the other side.
You’re right, they do seem to be obsessed with PT. I don’t understand it.
Have they insisted you schedule your first visit? My PT doesn’t do home visits and I’m not leaving the house for a while, so I guess we’re at an impasse.
Have you decided what you’re going to do yet?
 
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GIMPY GAL

GIMPY GAL

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Everyone I know insists one MUST have PT or something horrible will happen to your knee. I don't understand it either but I am not a therapist. What I'm doing now is avoiding conflict by telling everyone I am all set up for my first appointment, which I am not. That was just to avoid all the tsk-tsk lecturing. My ortho's PT orders are in, but I haven't called to schedule an appointment. I'm not sure what I'm going to do as I'm taking it day by day now. One thing I learned from Bonesmart is you really don't have to settle with an aggressive therapist. Also, altho a different joint, I 'walked off' my hip replacement just fine without PT.
 

Celle

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Everyone I know insists one MUST have PT or something horrible will happen to your knee. I don't understand it either but I am not a therapist. What I'm doing now is avoiding conflict by telling everyone I am all set up for my first appointment, which I am not.
It's really nobody else's business what you decide to do with your knee. But I realise these people are telling you out of concern for you.

My tactic was just to tell people like that "It's all sorted thank you. You don't have to worry about me."
Later on, I'd say "My surgeon thinks I'm doing just fine."
 

Jockette

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@GIMPY GAL

Welcome home, and Well Done on taking charge of your recovery!

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.
 

Jaycey

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Welcome to the other side @GIMPY GAL ! Don't feel the least bit pressured to do any PT. Just let that knee heal. There is plenty of time for strengthening once you recover from all the trauma. Ice is your best friend! :ice:
 

Sisterpat

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:welome: ! A fine job in taking charge of YOUR knee! Just keep smiling at your friends and family when they tell you how important PT is - and then do what’s good for you! Many members had no formal PT and did just fine. At any rate, it’s much too early to think of anything but ice, elevate and medicate! Keep us posted.
 
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GIMPY GAL

GIMPY GAL

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This adventure is full of surprises. I was expecting a lot of pain but I really am doing quite well without any pain meds thru the nite and just 1/2 norco if needed throughout the day. I have to figure out a non-narcotic step-down if I need it. As long as I am icing and laying on the couch my pain level is at 0. My only issue is the swelling. Big time swelling! I'm icing, but elevating is uncomfortable.

Another surprise for me was no matter how I pre-planned for this, I was thrown a curve ball at every turn. The recliner I planned to use for recovery is too difficult to get in an out of, so I re-situated to the couch. My husband is the best doting caregiver....but I am not a very patient patient. I am so frustrated and crabby because I have lost my independence. I've already had a few meltdowns because of the frustration. I had no idea how dependent I would have to be in these early days.

Another surprise was how easily I navigated getting into our SUV (Ford Escape) coming home from the hospital. I was expecting quite a struggle but I got in so easily. Nurse and hubby turned around to help me and I was already set.

But I am already doing far better than I expected. I am getting plenty of sleep. I am a wimp as far as pain goes, and that has not happened yet. I think the worse pain I've had was a 5 on the throbbing knee scale a few hours after surgery. My surgeon said I had a short lasting nerve block. I had a quick look at my incision when they changed my dressing and it was way smaller than photos I've seen on this site. It looked quite nice for what actually happened to the knee. My surgeon said my knee was pretty bad.

I'm just waiting for the swelling to go down, so I can start feeling productive again. This slug life is not for me. :heehee:
 
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GIMPY GAL

GIMPY GAL

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And another thought about PT. It could also depend on what your future goals are. I am not planning on gearing up to enter a marathon, go hiking in the mountains or get back on skis, etc. My goal is to be mobile, without arthritic pain. Simple as that. Daily walks and everyday activities without pain. If I need to have formal PT to achieve those goals, then so be it. :chuckmarch:
 

Jaycey

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Please try and find a way to elevate comfortably. It is especially important at this stage to control swelling. Be sure your knee is fully supported and slightly bent.
 
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GIMPY GAL

GIMPY GAL

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Please try and find a way to elevate comfortably. It is especially important at this stage to control swelling. Be sure your knee is fully supported and slightly bent.
Thank you @Jaycey. Will do. Anyone's advice is always welcomed.
 
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GIMPY GAL

GIMPY GAL

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Everyone I know insists one MUST have PT or something horrible will happen to your knee. I don't understand it either but I am not a therapist. What I'm doing now is avoiding conflict by telling everyone I am all set up for my first appointment, which I am not.
It's really nobody else's business what you decide to do with your knee. But I realise these people are telling you out of concern for you.

My tactic was just to tell people like that "It's all sorted thank you. You don't have to worry about me."
Later on, I'd say "My surgeon thinks I'm doing just fine."
Exactly @Celle! Thank you!
 

Jockette

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Elevate as best you can. I had to take a lot of breaks from it because it just hurt too much that first week. By 2 weeks I was able to sleep with my leg up on the foam wedge my hospital sent home with me. I elevated like that any time I was in bed, sleeping.

When I was not in bed, my leg was only as high as my ottoman, when sitting on my couch. I would also use it under the dining room table on the rare occasion I ate there.


 
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GIMPY GAL

GIMPY GAL

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Well, it's 3 weeks today since my TKR. Progress was slow for awhile, taking it day by day, but I am finally seeing some normalcy return to my life.
My knee is still a bit puffy, stiff and swollen, but it has improved a lot from week 1 & 2. The knee is hard and numb near the incision which has closed up nicely and looks great.
Recently, I've been waking up around 3 am with a real achy knee that is not comfortable in any position. Nurse called in some tramadol, so I hope that will help.
For now I have decided to do my own PT. I have a pedal exercise machine and have been doing knee bends and walking around the neighborhood (using a cane.... just in case) Otherwise, I am not using any aids. I am confident driving now.
I hope my other knee holds out, because I never want to do this again. The hip was definitely easier.
 

maryo52

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My swelling went down noticeably around day 11.

From what I've seen, there are "old school" physical therapists who cause pain. The newer ones seem to have a different approach. My PT, who I've used for other issues, never has me doing anything painful. I've had physical therapists cause me pain and, yes, we have the option to say stop, but IMHO this needs to be a relationship of trust. I can't have anyone I can't trust put their hands on my knee, period.
 
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GIMPY GAL

GIMPY GAL

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Today marks week 5 of my TKR. And I am so happy I had it done! Reflecting back, recovery has not been as bad as I expected. I want to encourage those nervous with upcoming TKRs that a fairly smooth recovery is possible.
By week 4, I was off all pain meds and walking aids. I can go up the stairs like normal, using the handrail. Going downstairs normally is still wonky, but I'm working on it. For the first time in years I am enjoying walking without a limp and without pain.
I still haven't done formal PT, but I often do knee strengthening and challenging bending exercises throughout the day. Life is good on the other side.
 

kneeper

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Thanks for sharing your report! You're very right that doing the stairs will get better with time.
 

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