TKR Hi! New Here - My RTKR Recovery Thread

VegasGirl

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Hello everyone. I have been lurking here for a few weeks now, but decided I should finally say hello and share my experience and questions.

I had my RTKR on August 9, 2022, so I am just past 5 weeks PO. I feel like it's mostly been going well. The first 2 weeks were a bit rough because I had terrible nausea and diarrhea. Although I guess the bright side was that I finally lost some of the stubborn weight! LOL

Thankfully, that is now gone. I'm feeling much better. I was off the pain meds during the day after about 2 weeks, but this nights are still rough even now. I have to take a prescription pain pill before bed just to get to sleep. The achiness is just horrible, and reading through the forum, that seems to be a common thread. I see my doctor Monday and I'm hoping he will give me a refill, but he seems like he doesn't like giving more than the first dose, so we'll see. Is there any timeline I can expect for the nighttime achiness to get better? It doesn't really seem to matter how much I've done during the day, but as soon as I lay down to get comfortable, here it comes.

As for PT, I started 3 days after I got out of the hospital (stayed 1 night) and went twice a week until this week. Earlier this week they did an evaluation since I was going back to the doc Monday, and my flexion was at 130 (I'm thrilled with that) and my extension was just a bit short at -2. I think at this point, I will continue to just do PT at home. I have an elliptical and can easily do most of the exercises they have me doing.

My other concern besides sleep is that I am still quite stiff at times if I've been sitting for more than 30 minutes. I have to get up and walk it off. And then there is that fine line of doing too much and not doing enough before getting that stiffness. Is this normal?

Anyway, this is probably way more than you need to know. And I am so glad that I found this board. I still need to have my left knee done, so I will probably be around a while!
 

Mejulie

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Hi I had TKR on my left knee on 25thJune,12 weeks ago.I also have the achiness even if resting seems to be worse at night time.as it gets more flexible you will feel more positive. Its normal to have goid and bad days.i have no pain from the knee just severe swelling that is constantly to inside of knee and at back of knee.saw Consultant 2weeks ago he said Happy with movement bend etc he thinks I've had a slight bleed but no real explanation said it can happen .rest ice elevate regularly which helps but once I'm up and about it just as bad.going upstairs easy downstairs not as good due to stiffness.The swelling prevents the knee from bending .fed up of it one step forward 3back.anyone else had trouble with swelling
 
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VegasGirl

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Hi Mejulie. I guess I still have a ways to go for that night time achiness since you are a few weeks ahead of me. Although, just this week I have been able to go down the stairs the regular way rather than having to go sideways. But it is definitely more of a challenge on the days that I feel stiffer.
 

Jockette

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@VegasGirl Hi and Welcome!

I was off the pain meds during the day after about 2 weeks, but this nights are still rough even now. I have to take a prescription pain pill before bed just to get to sleep. The achiness is just horrible, and reading through the forum, that seems to be a common thread.
Yes, this is common, so early in recovery. However, more pain at night is often a sign that you are doing too much during the day.

If Tylenol agrees with you, the most effective way to take Tylenol is 2 x 500 mg tablets every 6 hours, 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 Tylenol doses, so you stay within that safe 24 hour limit of 4,000 mg.
 

Jockette

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My other concern besides sleep is that I am still quite stiff at times if I've been sitting for more than 30 minutes. I have to get up and walk it off. And then there is that fine line of doing too much and not doing enough before getting that stiffness. Is this normal?

Yes, this is normal and can last for months.

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.
 
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VegasGirl

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Thank you for the reply and info @Jockette ! So far, just Tylenol doesn't seem to help at night. But I will try it regularly and see if that helps!

Thanks!
 
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VegasGirl

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Happy Sunday everyone! A little progress today! I have been able to get up and down most chairs without needing assistance. However, our toilet is a bit lower and I've still needed a little something to push up on. Today, I guess I just wasn't thinking about it and just stood up, and no pain or stress. I will take any little progress I can!
 
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VegasGirl

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Tomorrow will be my 6-week mark! I saw my surgeon today and he is pleased with the progress on my knee! Yay! I can now continue PT at home. I have an elliptical I have been using and stairs for all the exercises they had me doing, so I will continue on that to keep the progress going. I see him again in 5 weeks. If all looks good at that point, we have tentatively scheduled to do the other knee on November 1. I'm not looking forward to going through it all again, but I would just as soon get it all done now and hopefully have 2 healthy knees by next summer!

He has also okayed me to go on a trip next week. I have had this scheduled for many months and was hoping I would be able to make it. I will need to take it a lot easier than I usually do, but I really want to go. The part I am most worried about is the 4 hour flight. I will need to make sure I get up at least every hour and move a bit so my knee doesn't get too tight. I am planning to pack supplies so that I can ice at night, or even during the day as needed.

If anyone has any great tips for travelling 7 weeks post TKR, I would love to hear them!
 

benne68

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Great report, @VegasGirl!

The part I am most worried about is the 4 hour flight. I will need to make sure I get up at least every hour and move a bit so my knee doesn't get too tight. I am planning to pack supplies so that I can ice at night, or even during the day as needed.
It sounds like you've thought this through and are prepared for your trip. Yes, icing is key; also
  • stay ahead of pain with an appropriate dosage of Tylenol/Advil;
  • find opportunities to elevate throughout the day, not just in the evening; and
  • if you do a lot of walking one day, try to rest and recover as much as possible the next.
Enjoy your trip!
 
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VegasGirl

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The part I am most worried about is the 4 hour flight. I will need to make sure I get up at least every hour and move a bit so my knee doesn't get too tight. I am planning to pack supplies so that I can ice at night, or even during the day as needed.
It sounds like you've thought this through and are prepared for your trip. Yes, icing is key; also
  • stay ahead of pain with an appropriate dosage of Tylenol/Advil;
  • find opportunities to elevate throughout the day, not just in the evening; and
  • if you do a lot of walking one day, try to rest and recover as much as possible the next.
Enjoy your trip!
Thank you! Most of the days I will be staying close to my hotel so that I can go up and elevate, ice, rest, etc, as needed. There will just be one day where I will have to kind of wing it.
 

Jockette

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Take very good care of yourself on this trip, and don’t hesitate to put your needs first. At this early stage of recovery, a major setback can occur if you overdo things, trying to keep up with others.

By the way, when you want to reply, rather than quoting the whole message, just go down to the reply box and type your reply. No need to quote if you are replying to the post directly above your reply. You can also mention the member you want to address by using the @ sign in front of their username (no space) and type your reply. Not quoting whole messages saves a lot of space on the page, and also saves duplicate reading.

If you want to quote just a line in a post, highlight that line.

At the bottom of the post you will see:

Like/ +Quote/ Quote this message.

Click the +Quote

When you get to the reply box, you will see where it says “insert quotes” Click that and it will put your highlighted area into your reply.

Happy Posting! :flwrysmile:
 
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VegasGirl

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Thanks for the info on quoting just a line! I could not figure that out.

And I definitely plan to take it easy this trip. I do not want a set back!
 

hawk2go

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If anyone has any great tips for travelling 7 weeks post TKR, I would love to hear them!
I took a trip early with my LTKR. I was glad I went ahead with it but have memories of a few rough spots. My tips added to those already offered:
  • if you're flying, use the disabled transport service to save walking in the airport
  • wear comfy clothes that allow easy access for small bathroom stalls
  • wear roomy shoes that will accommodate some swelling in the feet during the flight (try to avoid taking them off)
  • if you're going by car (I assume you're not driving far yet) and can hang out in the back seat, do so to allow more stretch and movement during the ride (motion is lotion)
  • find a way to ice the knee while you travel
  • once there, grab a wheelchair or transport chair (I got one from the hotel) for those days when your knee says "no more" but you want to keep going
  • adjust your itinerary so that you aren't doing too much on any one day (which will allow you to do more throughout the length of your trip) and avoid back-to-back active days
  • say no to some activities, your knee will thank you
 

Arjay

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G¡day! Hawk2go's reply about a wheelchair got me to thinking - seems like even if you are not in need of any kind of wheeled aid right now, for travel maybe it WOULD be a good idea. I live in an area that has a wonderful non-profit service that loans out all kids of medical equipment - at no cost. If you dind't already know, a 'transport' chair is basically a more compact version of a wheelchair, lighter, easy to fold up. Perhaps if you had access to one, it'd be a good thing to take along…give you a spot to rest when you are out and about, and even a help-along push so you could keep up with your companions….?

I'm about 6 weeks out from my scheduled LTKR, so reading your account, and so many others, is a great help…tho it does raise some trepidation and anxiety. But - thinking positive here!

Have a great trip!
 
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VegasGirl

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Thanks for that info @Arjay ! I'll have to look into what they have around here.

It's been a decent week. I'm getting a little more done every day. Sleep is still very up and down.
I did notice that as I'm able to walk more now, I am now getting a slight pull or tightness in my lower back on the side where the TKR is. My guess is that it's because when the doc put the new knee in, he straightened out my leg. He did say my leg was a bit crooked from the wear on my knee. So now my muscles are having to get used to a straight leg. Has anyone else had this issue? If so, what are you doing for it? So far, I'm just using some heat on that area while I'm sitting and icing my knee. (I probably make my own little weather front with the cold and hot :heehee:)
 
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VegasGirl

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Good morning! To kind of follow up on the lower back pain. Last night I did some test moves of the leg. If I lay down, bend the leg, and kind of move it up and down, I feel what I can only describe as a clicking in my lower back. It doesn't hurt at all, it's just a weird sensation. could this also be just a residual of the muscles readjusting to the new knee?
 

benne68

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doesn't hurt at all, it's just a weird sensation.
Many of us experience weird sensations up and down the leg and/or in our hip and back as we recover from the surgery.

You are still very early in this year-long recovery and your body has a lot of work to do to heal. I found this chart really helpful in understanding why it takes so long:

1652123217285.png


Those weird sensations do eventually go away. It just takes time. :console2:
 

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