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TKR Hedie's recovery thread

Hedie

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I just had total knee replacement yesterday. This pain is awful and my knee feels stiff. Please tell me this gets easier? Any suggestions welcomed.
 

lovetocookandsew

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Welcome to BoneSmart and congrats on your new knee! Knee replacement recovery isn't easy but it does get better as time passes. Spend as much time as you can icing and elevating that knee as icing really does help. I iced and elevated constantly when I was lying down, and took breaks for short walks around the house to get a drink, etc. As time passed those walks got progressively longer, and I did a littler more each week. I'm going to leave you our recovery guidelines-they are short reads and extremely helpful. I especially like the Activity Progression for TKRs article-I read it every day to remind me not to do too much, or too little, at any given point in my recovery.

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
elevate
ice
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
5. At week 4 and after you should follow this
6. Access 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 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.
 

lovetocookandsew

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Also, make sure to take your meds on time as getting behind the pain makes it harder to control. Setting an alarm to remind you to take your meds is helpful, especially when you're sleeping and may not wake right away until the pain is really bad.
 

Roy Gardiner

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This pain is awful and my knee feels stiff. Please tell me this gets easier?
IT GETS EASIER. OK?!

Pre-op pain is bad, crippling, horrible, demoralising, and only gets worse. Post-op is exactly the same, maybe worse, except for the last bit. At the moment your body is still shocked -- some lunatic charged into the room and 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!!

Except for the last bit? That is, the pain only gets BETTER.

Your despair is IMO partly due to poor briefing. It should have been made clear that one's condition post-op is often worse than pre-op for a few days or up to a MONTH later. One has to learn to roll with the punch, to relax, take medication, let the body do its thing and heal. It will do this all on its own. PT is helpful (some say not really needed...) with this process, but the key element is time.

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

Benay

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All of us here have bin there, it gets better. @Denny39 has really great posts and he's right on the money. Read his thread. There is light at the end of the tunnel, you'll get there!
 

winemama

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Take time and read different posts, you will find you are with great people who care. Just take one hour at a time, and remember you are your own advocate. Keep up with the pain meds , right now #1 rule
 

knee#2

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Hi.. I’m almost 9 weeks out and had lots of pain as well until we figured out what worked. Try to get decent sleep, good nutrition and your pain under control. Yes it does get better! Ice and rest will become your best allies.
 

Denny39

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@Hedie I am 3 1/2 weeks post-op for the second time after saying very emphatically at 8 weeks the first time, “I AIN’T doin’ this again, I don’t care how bad the other one is”. If I read it right, this is your third day post-op. When my surgeon visited me after the first one, he said, “You’ve got a couple of rough weeks ahead of you”. Turned out to be quite true. However, it was made even rougher by the fact that I had no idea what a major surgery I had just gone through, and almost no clue what to expect during the recovery. Prior to surgery, I had to attend a “Joint Camp” session. In that, they explained the preparation, and what to expect when you wake up in the recovery room. But the only thing they said about recovery was that you will need a care-giver. That was my wife, who was with me in that meeting, and when we came home and was dealing with the reality, she was furious because they had done nothing to really prepare us for some of the really scary things that were happening.

And you probably were not prepared any better than most of us were. You however, do have an advantage. You found Bonesmart 2 weeks sooner than I did. You can ask questions and get answers from many people who are going through, or have gone through the same thing. They will share what they have learned with you. This will pass. Understanding what you are dealing with, knowing what to expect, while not necessarily pleasant can still give you some peace of mind, especially once you begin to realize it is really moving along and things are improving as promised. It will move slowly for the first couple of weeks, but watch for small things, “Little Victories”; you can move your leg a little further, or with less pain than yesterday. In the middle of my 10th night, returning from a bathroom trip, I sat down on the edge of the bed and raised my leg into place without helping it. I did it without even thinking about it. I was so proud of myself, I put it back down and did it again (wanted to make sure I wasn’t dreaming I guess).

Anyway; hang in there, try not to be discouraged, lean on your traveling companions. Check into the Community Forum now and then, there’s some fun and interesting distractions there. Hope all goes well for you, and your new knee will be serving you well before you know it.

By the way; be sure to read the Bonesmart guidelines for recovery, particularly the guidelines on Physical Therapy.
 

Poctdb

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@Hedie
I echo all of the things that have been said.....and I am by myself in this process. And believe me.....sitting around and having to have others “do things” for me was not in my skill set before this. Lean on people.... I have found they want to help.

Ice...ice...baby! I literally was tired of being cold. I iced close to 24/7 for the first two weeks. I have used close to 50 10 lbs bags of ice in my machine. It helps with the pain.

Try to listen to your body and get on a nap schedule if you can. I found this helped the sleeplessness.

Lastly, figure out distractions .....a list of things to do each day. These can be as simple as “go to the bathroom”
in the first days, but could include TV binge watching, filing personal papers, doing some coloring, doing a craft, organizing trades people to come give you estimates, (roof in my case) doing some laundry, organizing old photos, write a letter, return emails, update CV, update address book, etc. I found that this task list made my time a bit more “productive”. It was consequently less about what I couldn’t do because of the knee.....and more about what I accomplished during caring for the knee.

Like @Denny39 said, there are moments to celebrate. You just have to be able to recognize them. I had found Bonesmart months before my surgery so I had some prep time.

I set up goals/rewards prior to surgery like “When I am able to drive, I can buy a new pickleball paddle.” “When I transition to a cane from the walker, I can have Baskin Robbins”. “When I can get into the car by myself, I can look at starting to plan my next vacation.” (Yes I am a total Type A)

Welcome to the “New Knee World”. You have joined a wonderful community. Keep us informed as to your progress.
 

winemama

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@Poctdb if you have an ice machine, can you freeze water bottles?? Mine holds 4 8oz frozen bottles, then fill up water to line keeps cold water circulating for 6-7 hours. Then refreeze bottles.
 

luvcats

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Welcome @Hedie! You've found a great place to hang out for support and wonderful information.

I can tell you that it WILL get better. I've only had my new knee 11 days. The first few were beyond horrible. But today for the first time I got dressed and went downstairs. I had a doctors appointment and made my own lunch!

And already I know I adore my new, upgraded knee and can't wait to have the other one done. It's going to be worth all the pain and suffering. You next challenge is likely to be insane swelling, that's where I am today, but it's all going to be worth it!

Ice, ice, and more ice. Take your meds by the clock, not what you think you need. Rest. Elevate. Repeat. You'll get through this.
 

Poctdb

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@winemama
I did start with the water bottles but found at least in my machine the ice stayed colder longer. The water in my machine covers only two bottles.
 

Irish471

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@Hedie , welcome! Listen to what @Roy Gardiner said, because it's spot on. The first few weeks quite frankly were awful, but every week, you'll get better and better. And you'll join the rest of us who say we were glad we did it. Just take things slow and take care of your new knee right now. One day at a time, sometimes one hour at a time. Take your pain meds and ice on schedule. You'll be okay :console2:
 
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Hedie

Hedie

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Thank you pain is doing better today. Had to lay on side for little bit because left side was hurting (osteoporosis in hips) I broke down and had good cry lastnight. It did help. I do have help during the day. I'm taking lots naps which I read in a reply is good. My leg is not completely straight is that normal? I'm assuming that is were pt helps. Any suggestions on good sleep postion? I appreciate all the reply I dont feel alone now.
 
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Poctdb

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@Hedie
Extension (straight leg) is one of the items TKR patients usually work on. PT is the way some do it.

As far as a good cry....my guess is you will find few people on this site that do not admit to a “meltdown” of some type during this process.
 

Celle

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Hello @Hedie - and :welome:

Yes, it does get easier.

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? Thank you.:flwrysmile:
 
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Hedie

Hedie

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This is my story.My surgery was July 9 it was my left knee. I was in a car accident, someone hit me. My knee pain would not go away. Did MRI to find out I had osteonecrosis of the knee due to long term use of steriods(Crohn). I had no choice but get the surgery done due to pain getting worse and possibility my knee would shatter. Of course I was told many times I was to young for the surgery but my body did not agree. During surgery she said everything looked great until she got to the bone. All my knee bone was dead. I all ready feel a huge difference than before. Dead bone pain is awful, even the strongest pain medicine does not touch it. So now I'm trying to get through this pain and heal.Thanks to everyone I know now it does get easier.
 
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luvcats

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@Hedie what a horrible experience. I can't even imagine how painful dead bone must be. I'm glad your surgeon was able to fix it and give you your life back.

Just take it day by day and you'll get to a better place with it sooner than you think.
 

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