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TKR Grammie9's Recovery Thread

Grammie9

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I wish my recovery was "one, two, three." I know everyone is different but I am 11 weeks out of my left TKR and I’m still using a walker. I’m stiff and my ROM is 120. I wake up every hour like I have restless leg syndrome. My thighs are so tight. They are so painful to touch. When I walk without cane or walker, I’m bent over. Doc says everything looks good ???? I'm still in PT. Any suggestions? I’m 76 and was very active before.
 
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Jamie

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Hi, Grammie9 .... welcome to BoneSmart. I'm sorry to hear you're feeling bad about your recovery. Sometimes it just takes a while and patience is needed.

It's also possible that you've been pushing yourself a bit too much with exercise and/or your therapy. Have you had this level of discomfort for a while or is it new? Tell us a bit about what a normal day looks like for you right now.
 

Celle

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@Grammie9 - I've copied your post from the thread in the Hip Surgery Pre-Op Area and started a recovery thread for you, here in the Knee Surgery Recovery Area.
Please continue to post about your recovery in this thread from now on.

Please will you tell us the full date of your knee replacement and which knee it is, so we can make a signature for you? Knowing the exact date will help us to advise you appropriately in the future.
Thank you.:flwrysmile:

Recovery from a knee replacement is harder than recovery from a hip replacement. That's because the knee is a more complex joint than the hip.
TKR or THR: which is more difficult surgery for recovery?

It's not unusual to still need a walker at 11 weeks after surgery. There's no deadline by which you should be off it. YOU shouldn't give it up until you can walk normally without it.

Your flexion is excellent. Can you also straighten your leg fully?

You don't need any more PT exercises to help your knee to bend, but now is the time to ask your therapist to concentrate more in helping you to achieve a normal gait without bending over.

It does sound to me as if you have been doing too much during the daytime. That's often the cause of pain and restlessness at night time. Check your activities against this article:
Activity progression for TKRs

Complete recovery from a knee replacement takes a full year, although you will be able to do most things long before then. Recovery is a marathon, not a sprint, so you need to pace yourself.

I'll give you our Recovery Guidelines in my next post. Do read therm all, because they are very useful.
 

Celle

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And here are the promised guidelines:
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. Try to 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.
 
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Grammie9

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I’m 3months from my left tkr I feel like I’m regressing I’m doing everything in moderation and I’m still using walker bent over due to stiffness and I feel my muscle are shinking I’m having a telephone confersation with doc for my 3 months check up but I have 5 days to wait and I’m miserable I wake up ever hour on the hour I have to stretch or walk little before I can go back to bed I’m scared
 

Stiff knee NC

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@Grammie9: oh I’m so sorry that you are still feeling so bad. Have you reached out to the Bonesmart moderators? They are wonderful, most if not all have “been there,” and all have excellent insight/recommendations! I hope you have an ice machine...I find it invaluable STILL (at 9 mos out). Lots and lots of rest, elevation and compression socks (or even those “turbigrip” elastic sleeves you can get from PT). Sending love and hope that you have the first of many better days today ❤
 

Celle

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Hi @Grammie9 ,

I'm sorry you're still feeling bad.

I've moved your post from someone else's recovery thread and put it into your own thread.
Here, we can discuss your recovery, without hijacking someone else's thread.

Please post about your recovery on this, your own thread, from now on. Did you ever find it after I moved your last post? If not, you missed seeing all the helpful articles I posted for you about recovery, so go back and read them now.

Please will you tell us the full date of your knee replacement and which knee it is, so we can make a signature for you? Knowing the exact date will help us to advise you appropriately in the future.
Thank you.:flwrysmile:
 

Celle

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Complete recovery from a knee replacement does take a long time, a full year for most people, so you have plenty of time to continue to improve. There are times when recovery seems to come to a halt before it moves forward again. That's normal.

I’m 3months from my left tkr I feel like I’m regressing I’m doing everything in moderation and I’m still using walker bent over due to stiffness and I feel my muscle are shrinking
Can you tell us what you're doing in the way of activity now? And what you were able to do before your surgery? Could you walk without a stick pr a walker before your surgery?

Are you doing any exercises? If so, what exercises, how many times, and how often?

Are you taking any medications for pain relief? If so, what are they, what doses and how often are you taking them?

If you can tell us those things, we'll have a better idea of how your recovery is progressing and we may be able to offer some more help.
 
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Grammie9

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I feel I have followed your guide lines it is my left knee Jan 8 was the date of my tkr my knee feels amazing it’s my stiffness and thigh from the very begning I have been up every. hour on the hour at night and I grab and massage my thigh all day I’m on line about three hours a day looking for help I know everone is different but this seem impossible I’ve taken norcor for pain did not help tramadol did not help Tylenol did not help when I desperate at night snd I so tired I take NyQuil as last resort help
 
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Grammie9

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My exercise is ankle pumps leg lift s side leg lifts toe lifts my p t s stopped two weeks ago so I do this on my own standing with out assist cane crutch or walker is bent over and painful to straighten I try to walk outside 5to 20 minutes when I can but a struggle my energy is great I’m just scared I will never stand straight ????
 

Celle

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Thank you for your surgery date. I've put it into your signature for you and I will add your name to the January surgery list.

it’s my stiffness and thigh from the very beginning I have been up every. hour on the hour at night and I grab and massage my thigh all day I’m on line about three hours a day looking for help
Some people get thigh pain from having a tourniquet there during the surgery. Have you tried using warmth to relieve it? A wheat bag or something like that might help. Just make sure it's not too hot, though. It's quite OK to use warmth elsewhere on your leg, as long as you don't use it on your knee.

Does the massaging help? If not, don't bother doing it.

My exercise is ankle pumps leg lift s side leg lifts toe lifts my p t s stopped two weeks ago so I do this on my own standing with out assist
You really only needed to do ankle pumps while you were much less mobile. Now you're up and about you don't need to do them.

Once you can do a leg lift, you don't need to do those any more and you never really needed to do side leg lifts, so I suggest you stop both those - they could be aggravating your thigh.

The only exercises you need to do are these, plus a little walking:
Heel slides and how to do them properly
Extension: how to estimate it and ways to improve it

However, if your Range of Motion (ROM) is good, you don't need to keep doing those exercises, either. How far can you bend your knee? And can you straighten it fully?
You can give your knee all the exercise it needs just by using it normally during your activities of daily living.

I try to walk outside 5 to 20 minutes when I can but a struggle my energy is great I’m just scared I will never stand straight ????
Is it your leg or your back that you can't straighten? If it's your back, was it bent before surgery?
I'm wondering if your cane and walker are too low.
Can you adjust the length of the walker's legs? If so, try lengthening them. You shouldn't be bent over when using a walker.
 

Celle

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I’ve taken norcor for pain did not help tramadol did not help Tylenol did not help when I desperate at night snd I so tired I take NyQuil as last resort help
When you took these medications, did you take them on a regular schedule, or just when you felt the need? It's much more effective to take them regularly than to be playing catch-up with the pain all the time.

I suggest you try Tylenol again, but do it this way:
The most effective way to take Tylenol is 2 x 500 mg tablets (Tylenol Extra Strength) 6-hourly, to a total of 4,000 mg (4 doses) in 24 hours. You need to take it regularly, to keep up the levels in your bloodstream. If you just take the odd dose now and then, it's far less effective.

Check all other medications you're taking, to make sure there is no Tylenol/Acetaminophen/Paracetamol in them. If there is, scale back one or two of your regular doses, so you stay within that safe 24 hour limit of 4,000 mg.

It's a pity you didn't ask for our help earlier, instead of struggling on for so long, but never mind, we'll do our best to help you now.
 
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Grammie9

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I have been asking on forum but mostly reading because I didn’t know how to post. I have been using med regular as per bottle. I’ve also used a tens machine, massage, hot cold, etc. I regularly ice and elevate consistently, min 5 times a day. It has been a full time job. Thank you for advice last night.

I used lavender oil on my feet trying to sleep more than a hour at a time. Also, tried diclofenac sodium topical gel and swim class. That was disaster, my pain level was off the roof. When sitting on my recliner I never sit more than a hour, I get up and move and then return to movie and chair. My gp say give it time. Not sure if I should do more or less. By the way I’m 76 and very active before tkr.
 
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Grammie9

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My back was great before, but I had several tests before surgery as both my knees are bad. They did a mri and xrays on my back as I started to walk with a limp in December. My next surgery is planned after this one recovers. I do the warm on thighs and it help a little. It’s 3 am and I’m up barely walking but as I warm up I get a little better, but soooo stiff like a rubber band that's taunt.
 

Jamie

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You should never be "bent over" when using a cane or walker. Celle may be correct that your devices are set too low. Try raising them up so that you stand more upright. You may need to do this gradually if you've been walking bent over for a while. That is a huge strain on your spine. You might also try putting some heat on your back to see if you can loosen up those muscles.

Since your surgery was in early January, I'm not thinking that your thigh pain has anything to do with the tourniquet. Be sure and discuss this with your surgeon in your upcoming teleconference. Is the pain on the top of your thigh....like the quadraceps muscle?
 
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Grammie9

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Yes, on top of thigh and thank you for keep on communicating. I’m looking forward to talking to talk but until then I’m doing anything and everything I can or is suggested. Thank you, thank you.
 

Celle

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I have been asking on forum but mostly reading because I didn’t know how to post.
You are posting just fine. Keep on using this thread, because it's your thread. You can post new questions here, too. Don't worry that we won't see them - between us, the staff read all new posts every day.

We do have a section for help using BoneSmart, here
https://bonesmart.org/forum/view/how-to-use-this-forum.134/
It has lots of articles about how to do things.
Just click on the blue writing and the link will take you there.

I have been using med regular as per bottle.
But, we can't read the bottle, so it would be helpful if you tell us what it says.

I regularly ice and elevate consistently, min 5 times a day. It has been a full time job.
How long are you icing for each time? It needs to be for at least 45 minutes each session. If that makes you feel cold all over, you can use a warm blanket, hot bottles etc. Just be careful you don't burn yourself.
 

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Hi there!

I know this is super frustrating! I think 125 at 11 weeks is GREAT! :)

Try to have patience with yourself (Im preaching to the choir here...LOL) and know that you are not alone. Give yourself the full year to recover.
It sounds to me as if you are doing wonderfully!!
 

KneeHelp

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I also had the extremely stiff and painful thighs. I tried everything! At about the one year mark it started to ease up. Continue to ice A LOT! Exercises and stretches to strengthen your quads helps, but go slow. I used a TENS, massage therapy, Lanocain. Ice helped the most. PT agrivated my
legs and made my pain worse so I stopped going.

It's very frustrating! I was bounced between the GP and the surgeon. The surgeon went completely by the MRI and said everything looks great!

I know many people regretting the surgery. The patient is not informed of the slow, painful recovery. You will heal it just takes much longer for some of us than we were led to believe!

I'm at 1 year 3 months and I'm still icing at night. I don't worry about ROM and I stopped listening to anyone giving advice on how much more I should be doing. I get many comments from well meaning but thoughtless people about still using my cane. Just try to relax and give yourself time to heal. You will!
 

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