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TKR Gotta admit I’m scared!

Take a Knee

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Left knee TKR scheduled June 11th. I’ve been through 12 years of epidurals and pain ending in a back fusion and four years of painful knees. You’d think I wouldn’t be so afraid of pain but I’m scared as to HOW BAD it could be.
Truth now: was the pain A: worse than you imagined B: Better than you imagined or C: as expected???
 

erichknipp

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Back fusion is supposed to be way more painful. My pain from TKR is about what I expected, maybe a little better.
 

Jockette

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Everyone is different so this is a hard question to answer. Some people actual have little pain and others a whole lot. The good news is, it’s temporary, as you heal, it gets better.

Follow the Bonesmart Recovery Guidelines and you will have a less painful recovery.

Some things we do in recovery causes unnecessary pain, so watch your activity level and don’t do anything with a PT that causes anything more than minimal discomfort. “No pain, no gain” has no place in this recovery.
 

Tykey

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C or sometimes virtually none (as long as you get your painkillers right)
The thing to remember is that with a positive attitude, you will always think the post op pains are not at all like the endless grinding pain pre op.
It should be looked at as a "good" pain. Try to think of it as something which is a small price to pay to get well again. It's soon gone!!
On the other hand, if you fear and anticipate the worst, that's what your brain tells you, hence the worst is what you get.
Be positive!! Knock it dead
 

Roy Gardiner

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Truth now: was the pain A: worse than you imagined B: Better than you imagined or C: as expected???
Pre-op pain is bad, crippling, horrible, demoralising, and only gets worse. Post-op pain can be as bad, sometimes in the first days. Your body is shocked -- someone has attacked you with saws, hammers and other assorted weaponry, cut bits of you off and hammered foreign material in. It's no wonder it's a bit discommoded!!

But the key fact is that the pain gets BETTER.

One's condition post-op is sometimes worse than pre-op for a few days or up to a MONTH later. One has to learn to roll with the punches, to relax, take medication, let the body do its thing and heal. It will do this all on its own. PT can be helpful with this process, but the key element is time.

But it will happen. Millions of TKRs are done every year; this wouldn't be so if it didn't work.
 

Celle

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It sounds as if you are worried about post-op pain, @Take a Knee . Of course you will have some, but there are many ways of controlling pain and your pain should not be unbearable.

Have you looked at the section about Pain Management (in the blue bar at the top of the page)?

There are two good things about post-op pain. First, it will be decreasing every day, unlike pre-op pain, which gets worse.
Second, You will no longer have that awful bone-on-bone pain that feels like a giant toothache.
 

Sara61

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@Take a Knee I found it helpful reading other people's recoveries, you will notice in the majority of cases pain at the beginning is awful but controllable with the correct medication and plenty of icing :ice: I had no idea what to expect having never had surgery before, but it does get better, for the1st time in over 8 years I have no pain ( only when I overdo things :heehee:) the grinding of bone on bone /limping all now gone and I'm just at 7 months and able to do far more than I ever could at pre-surgery- would I do it again - hell yes !!
Take a look at my recovery - I was the biggest wimp where pain was concerned but with the help of all these wonderful Bonesmarties and encouragement I surpassed it and you will too !!
 
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Take a Knee

Take a Knee

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@Take a Knee I found it helpful reading other people's recoveries, you will notice in the majority of cases pain at the beginning is awful but controllable with the correct medication and plenty of icing :ice: I had no idea what to expect having never had surgery before, but it does get better, for the1st time in over 8 years I have no pain ( only when I overdo things :heehee:) the grinding of bone on bone /limping all now gone and I'm just at 7 months and able to do far more than I ever could at pre-surgery- would I do it again - hell yes !!
Take a look at my recovery - I was the biggest wimp where pain was concerned but with the help of all these wonderful Bonesmarties and encouragement I surpassed it and you will too !!
Thanks so much. You made me feel better
 

InkedMarie

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I was one of the very few lucky ones. I expected horrendous pain but i had none. Little achey is all. I tell everyone to expect the worse but go into TKR with a good attitude. I think that helps.
 

pamsknees

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I was terrified of the pain & while I don’t remember much of that 1st week, my knees felt sturdier then before surgery from day one & it was no where near as painful as I expected. I’m now 10 weeks & rarely even think about my knees- absolutely no pain. I have a little stiffness but even that is less then before surgery. I have my life back!
 

Rockgirl4

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I'm just being completely honest because if you're asking this question, you want the truth, right??!! :) IMy TKR recovery was pure :censored:. I still have trouble reading other people's posts about recoveries with little pain, or pain that was completely controlled by meds, or pain that only lasted a couple of weeks. It wakes up my jealousy gremlins!!!!:tantrum2:

Mine was 2-3 weeks of the worst pain of my life, and that says something because I'd already had a traumatic childbirth in '06 where the epidural didn't work in certain parts of my back. I'd also had another 5 months of knee pain/torture in 2015-16 following my cartilage implant procedures. I truly didn't think it could get worse than those experiences----but it did!!

All I can say is that at least I'll know what to expect when I have my left TKR in a couple of years. Every medical professional agrees I have a high pain tolerance, so why was my TKR soooooo painful???? Why did I have an "acute inflammatory response" to the surgery??? No medical professional can answer why these things occurred or why the VERY strong pain meds didn't help those first 3 weeks. The only explanation is I had LOTS of unusual swelling with the 15-16 large fracture blisters to show for it (which are only common after broken bone trauma---NOT usually following joint replacement surgery.) I've only found 3-4 of us here that dealt with that when searching all the years worth of threads.

Keep in mind everyone is different though. People here even will tell you one knee was more painful or an easier recovery than their other knee....even if they had the same surgeon and similar conditions of the joints before replacement surgery. There often is no rhyme or reason to it all. I simply knew I couldn't go on living the way I was though----I was 46, with an 11 yr old son that needed his mom!! I was tired of missing out on life with he and my husband, and I was tired of having surgery every 2 yrs to put a band-aid on a bad knee that was never going to improve and had already given me 20 yrs of grief. My TKR was the 8th knee procedure I'd had in my son's young life, so something needed to give.

I think as long as you talk to your surgeon ahead of time about his pain protocols, you will be okay. Knowledge is power, and having a plan in place will serve you well. The best part is post-op pain doesn't last forever, and it WILL get better. Best of luck to you.

--Lisa
 

dislocate

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What to believe, so many opinions. The responses that the pain will eventually go away is not true and depends on the patient, procedure, and doctor. I left the hospital the very next morning following my TKR but could have left the same day. I had the typical pain but refused to take meds. I immediately enrolled in PT 3 times a week for 10 weeks with home exercises 3 times a day. I made steady progress for 5 months and feeling confident when I hit a plateau. My Doctor and Physical Therapist said to give it time. I'm now 26 months post TKR with pain when I move the wrong way, knee knocks with the slightest movement, and range of motion has declined significantly all of which constantly remind me that I have a prosthetic knee.
I wish all TKR recipients successful outcomes but can't help thinking "is this is the best our medical community has to offer."
 

Celle

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@dislocate - Your experience is not typical.
For most people the post-op pain does go away as time progresses.

You refused to take the medications that could have reduced your pain and, on top of that, you over-exercised your knee to the point that you now appear to have set up chronic inflammation.

Knee replacement is one of the most successful operators done. The vast majority of people have an uncomplicated recovery and go back to living their normal lives.
 

kneeper

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The first few days are not fun, but the pain meds and icing do help. The main thing is to realize it's not going to be pleasant, but is manageable and it does get better. Don't be a hero--take your meds.
 

Cakes2114

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I have an insanely crazy knee history but can honestly say the first two weeks are rough but manageable with meds. After that you will see an increase in your ability to do things. You will start using a cane and ditching the walker/crutches and then eventually seeing you forget the cane places.
Ice is honestly amazing and either get a ton of ice packs or an ice machine. Try to know there is an end in sight.
And listen to your body. When you do too much (and all of us have done that at some point) get the ice on your knee and elevate:tada:
 

doodlebug60

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post op pain for me was more of an achy pain instead of sharp pain. I took very little pain meds. ice and elevation do wonders for pain management. I learned from Bonesmart that ice and elevation and rest; not excruciating PT is best for recovery. after surgery rest; ice; and elevation and small stretching exercises; and normal daily activities is all it takes. hope your surgery goes well;. Frank
 

SpaceGirl

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Everyone has a different level of pain tolerance, I generally can deal with every day pains because I have lived with them for so long now in my knees. You are going to get answers across the board on this, what is easy for one, is difficult for another and vice versa. Looking back on my first TKR the pain wasn't quite as bad as I thought it would be and considering the ongoing pain that I already had from bone on bone, it wasn't terrible, BUT I stayed on top of my pain meds every 4-6 hours depending on what I was taking. I also did nothing but daily activities, did not push myself to much, rested, iced and elevated all the time when I could. The worst part was getting comfy to sleep but I also was suffering from insomnia pretty bad prior and thankful that my sleep meds helped off and on. Fast forward 6 months after my replacement I often forgot I had it done. I walked all over Disney for 2 weeks and had no issues, I took breaks as I needed/wanted, avoided stairs when I could and my feet were the only thing that hurt. I am now almost 3 years out and 9 out of 10 times, I don't even think about my knee. I am scheduled for my next knee in a few weeks, and while I don't look forward to the recovery process, I can't wait to be pain free and live life!
 

pwsharpe

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When you had first knee done, do you remember what first night in hospital was like as far as pain and need for assistance. I am concerned that I might need a sitter for first night. What is your take on that.
 

SpaceGirl

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@pwsharpe the first night was a breeze for me, the nurses stayed on top of my pain meds and I tried to keep track as well of the timing. I think the nerve block started to wear off the next day, but I also had my surgery late in the day rather than first thing in the morning. If you are staying in the hospital you really don't need anyone to stay with (not even sure that would be allowed right now) you as you can call and a patient care person will come check on you or a nurse depending on what you need.
 

Tykey

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I would have hated anybody (even my lovely wife) with me during the first night, all I wanted was to relax and doze off a bit. I even resented (but loved at the same time) the nurses popping in to check on me during the night.
The key to it is the vast quantity of long lasting pain killers injected directly into the new joint just before closing it up, so there was absolutely no pain that first night, unless I got up to walk to the toilet!
I'm pretty sure I still had some of the happy juice floating about, and suspect I would be the world's worst company to any sitter, I'd forget they were there!
 

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