TKR How long do most people wait before doing the second knee.

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new member
Oct 3, 2017
United States United States
HI there...Just wondering....I had TKR on Aug 18th,2017 and will need to do the other knee. How long do most people wait between surgeries? I'm afraid that if I wait too long, I won't want to do it however, the pain I am experiencing is beginning to surpass the pain of the 'fixed' knee....I really want to get all of this behind me. I am approximately six weeks out since initial surgery and seem to be recovering quite well although, still a lot of pain. I'd appreciate any information! Thank you!
Wondering if anyone has tried acupuncture to assist in controlling post-op pain & how effective the procedure was. Thanks!
After a knee replacement, it would be inadvisable to use anything that might lead to infections. As acupuncture involves sticking needles in, I would avoid it like the plague. You are much better sticking with ice, elevation and lots of rest.

I've had it for shoulder and ankle problems and can honestly say that I don't think it did anything for my issues at all.
welcome 109.jpg
@LaurieG, so pleased that you have joined us here on the forum. Glad to hear that your recovery is going well. You'll feel even better in another six weeks. Have to keep in mind that the recovery for TKR is a long one---but the day will come when you really don't think about your knees at all.

I can't say that there is an average time period between knee replacements when both knees need replacing. I had two days between my replacements---one on Monday and the second on Thursday. It wasn't really any harder to recover from the two than it would have been for one.

Some members have had their surgeries done both at once, a few days apart, a month apart, 6 weeks apart, and longer periods of time apart. It really depends on what you want done and what your surgeon is willing to do.

I'm going to give you links to our knee articles which can be a big help in making your recovery the best possible:

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:

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. Here is a week-by-week guide for Activity progression for TKRs

The Recovery articles:

There are also some cautionary articles here

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.

Please don't be overwhelmed by the list. The articles are not lengthy and contain information that will answer many questions and help you make your recovery much easier on your knee and on you.

We are here to help in any way we can: answering questions and concerns; supporting and encouraging you from start to finish; giving you a place to vent, whine, complain if you need to; sharing experiences with one another; and having fun and some laughs along the way.

Take care and keep us posted. We care.
I waited 3 months between knees. That gave knee #1 time to heal up a bit. I knew knee#2 needed to be done and I just wanted it over with.
@LaurieG...I had my right knee replaced this past February and will have my left knee replaced this coming November. Not looking forward to starting all over again but my left knee is so painful I can hardly walk now. The new knee was coming along really nicely but now I find it is sore and stiff from having to bear the load. I knew from the beginning both knees were bad and now I just want everything over with. Good luck with deciding and I'm sure you'll know when you're ready.
I agree. No needles of any kind! However, you could use a TENS machine. to back up your pain meds.
@LaurieG you will notice that I have merged your two threads together as we prefer that members in recovery only have one thread.

This is for three reasons
1. if you keep starting new threads, you miss the posts others have left you in the old threads
2. it often ends up that information is unnecessarily repeated
3. it's best if we can keep all your recovery story in one place so it's easily accessed if necessary
To answer your first question, @LaurieG , I don't think there is an average time to wait.
Some people have both knees replaced on the same day, some a few days later, during the same hospital stay.
Others wait for a varied number of weeks and others wait for months or years.

It all depends on three things: the condition of the second knee, your surgeon's policy and advice, and your own preference.
I echo Celle that there's a lot of variability--and you'll see that reflected on the forum. I had my knees done 6 weeks apart because I just wanted to get it over with but it's been challenging--not so much physically as emotionally. My surgeon said that he wouldn't do them less than 4 weeks apart and that most people who came to him wanted to wait several months--but I couldn't imagine being well along in healing and then starting over. It was hard enough at 6 weeks when I was just beginning to regain some independence.
I did mine 10w apart for various reasons. I wanted one long leave of absence from work, the second knee was "free" after hitting my oop max, plus I had a trip planned at week 9 that prevented me from going them done sooner together. My surgeon originally offered me a date 6w apart and I'm glad my trip forced another month of recovery before the new knee had to step up.

That said, my first knee was really bad. Even now, at 5.5 months out, that one is weaker than my 3mo old knee. If my right knee had been done first, it maybe could have taken on the extra load by 6w.

I won't lie. Back to back recoveries sucked. But I'm finally out of the worst of it and am glad they're both fixed and no more surgery is looming.

Bilateral wasn't an option with my OS.
I was hoping to get a bilateral, but my OS suggested against it. Once my new knee started getting better, my old knee has gotten better! I hope the same thing happens to you and you have years before you need the old one done, and even better, never!
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