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TKR How long until you said "I'm glad I had the TKR"'

RIT387

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I'm so happy to have found Bonesmart! The articles, posts, and experiences have been so helpful. I wish I would have pre-surgery as I would have been better prepared. I was so unprepared that the recovery journey could take a year+. But, here I am now.

My journey before finding Bonesmart-had Left TKR on 12/4/20. As everyone says the first six weeks are so tough, but each week I made some progress. I live alone and was able to do many daily living activities quickly, including driving. Had insomnia for pretty much 8 weeks due to pain/aching. I was doing PT 3 times a week for most of the time then switched to 2 times a week. I was so challenged with everything my PT therapist had me do - I keep thinking too much and vocalized how I have not been able to that in 15+ years (sit stands without hands 3 times a day!). But, they kept pushing so I did. My pain levels would escalate greatly and I was not resting enough. My low back would get torqued and I have high pain every day. My ROM moved from 60-80-92-100-105 by week 7 which I thought was great, despite the pain. I drank the koolaid that this was a key indicator of progress.

Then I had my 8 week post-op with my Ortho who is was not happy with my progress. What?! She wanted to see ROM at 115-120, and to keep pushing hard, She said to call back in 2 weeks and if not at 110-115 she recommends doing a MUA. I was surprised and it made no sense to me without much info yet as I was progressing each week. I told her I would think about it but in my mind was already saying No. So I started some research.

And found Bonesmart! And how I have been feeling was validated-I need a more gentle approach and it will work. I have been pushing and doing too much! It's OK to slow down and rest. I am also learning to be patient. The ROM will come (thank you to many of you who posted your ROM progress month by month - I bookmarked to remind myself to relax and not worry). Yes, I declined the MUA.

After finding Bonesmart-I quit PT 2/8/21 and am taking a 4-6 week break to settle everything. I am only doing very light stuff like gentle stretching, some knee exercises, pool walking, and outside walking but stop if anything hurts. I am taking rest days - gasp. And am not going to measure ROM for awhile. The hardest part still is the chronic knee pain and aching and low back pain and overall gait. My knee still feels stiff/tight band but it does lessen if I move a bit. It's almost week 11 for me.

I have been able to find answers to many of my questions using the index or search feature. But, here are a couple that I have not found anything?

Questions
1. My scar is hypertrophic-thanks for the picture knee scar picture gallery - makes mine look "normal" I am using Bio Oil and massaging and using the Gaia cooling roller plus Mederma PM at night. It is improving, but does anyone have any other tips?

2. My other challenge is foot/leg neuropathy in both left and right legs. It was light before surgery but is definitely much worse. My Ortho says unrelated, but I have doubts. Has anyone else dealt with this? I think it may be back related or even my body reacting to all the trauma? I will have to see a Neurologist if it doesn't improve. Everything I have read doesn't bode well....I am going to try the Metagenics Neurosol supplement for nerve function.

3. My 3 mo Ortho followup is 3/1. I so want to cancel as I don't want pressure or a fair progress discussion. I keep going back and forth if I should cancel or not. Stay tuned.

So, thanks for being here, posting, sharing information, and listening to my journey. I don't feel so alone and overwhelmed now. When I get discouraged I read through other journey threads and keep going.

Roxanne

PS. I too would not consider doing my other knee-haha. Thankfully doesn't need it yet.
 
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Jockette

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Hi and Welcome!

So many of us are so unprepared for this recovery, so you are not alone in that.

You can massage your scar if it feels good, but its not necessary, it will take care of itself and smooth out over time.

My other challenge is foot/leg neuropathy in both left and right legs. It was light before surgery but is definitely much worse
What are your symptoms of this?

Whether or not to cancel your next check up, is entirely up to you. I really wanted to do that, as I seemed to have more than some other members, and I always found them very stressful, but I never had the nerve to cancel, it being my first joint replacement, and I hadn’t joined Bonesmart yet. I might be braver in that area if I ever do this again, if I feel things are going well.

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.

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.
 

Pumpkln

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@RIT387
Welcome to BoneSmart, :welome:
Most surgeons won't do a MUA once the person has achieved 90 degrees, you are already past that and are right to decline.
Jockette is right, your scar tissue will heal all on its own.

Once you knee is healed if you continue to have increased neuropathy, let your primary physician know, they can refer you for further testing.

It is your right to cancel your follow up, or reschedule it at a later date.

Sounds like you are doing great with walking outside, doing your daily activities, water walking, stopping when it hurts, and resting.
Caveat for water walking, it is very easy to over do in the water, it feels good so we keep going only to pay the price later.
 

Templar1974

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My advice, from someone who had a TKR in 2017, and made all the mistakes (young 40’s guy that was way to stubborn) is to follow the advice and mantras on this forum.

when I finally got over myself and did...everything began to fall
In line, albeit slowly and not on my schedule but it did happen and today my TKR feels like it did when I was a teen.
 

_Annie_

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Hello RIT387, welcome to Bonesmart! I wanted to comment on your question #1. I am using Scar Away twice a day. I think it has really helped. The left knee scar is barely noticeable. The right knee, still has a little way to go. But it’s coming along too. Hope you have a quick and easy recovery.
Annie
 
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RIT387

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Thank you all for responding so far. Good advice and affirmation. I do reread the Recovery Guidelines often and will keep following the advice.

Jockette -my neuropathy symptoms are numb bottoms of feet & big toe, tingly tops of feet, nerve zaps occasionally in feet, and burning in thighs and calves. So, beyond the knee surgical area. It's both in my involved left leg and right leg. Which seems odd. But my back and gait is off. I will give it some time to settle as my body has been through a lot.

Pumpkin - good point about easy to over do in pool! And I am now 99% sure I will cancel my follow-up. Reschedule when I need more review or info.

Annie-will check out Scar Away. And be gentle with massage. Nothing should cause it to hurt more.

Templar1974-you give me hope! Let go of schedule. Got it. This article also hit me over the head-Lose the work ethic.

I am doing ok, and it has not been easy! It all will get better more gently now and look forward to sharing here and assisting others if I can.
 
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Jaycey

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My other challenge is foot/leg neuropathy in both left and right legs. It was light before surgery but is definitely much worse.
It's not unusual for these issues to flare post op. You are walking very differently and it may take time for everything to settle. Just give it time and don't push yourself. If this continues you might want to find a physio who specialises in gait training.
 
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RIT387

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It's not unusual for these issues to flare post op. You are walking very differently and it may take time for everything to settle. Just give it time and don't push yourself. If this continues you might want to find a physio who specialises in gait training.
My new mantra which I keep hearing on Bonesmart...Just give it time and don't push yourself!
 
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RIT387

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Quick update...it's been 2 weeks since I stopped PT and my back and knee have definitely settled down. I still have knee pain and aching but less. I am sleeping better week 11. Only need a Tramadol pain pill 1-2 times a week last 2 weeks, tylenol suffices.

It's been so good for my mind, body and spirit to do less. And just focus on living without the pressure and to stop thinking about ROM! I stop or move as soon as anything hurts. I am starting to get out more to do things outdoors in a safe way COVID-19-wise.

I am hoping the neuropathy does the same but know it will take more time. I started the Metagenics Neurosol supplement a few days ago (starting slow with 1 capsule and will increase as recommended after I see how my body handles).

Here's to my ongoing peaceful healing journey. Same to you.
 

FCBayern

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Great update @RIT387! :yes!: The BoneSmart approach to recovery is definitely a less painful path to a great recovery!
 
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RIT387

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I searched and didn't find any posts specific to this...I now know the recovery from TKR will take time, to be patient, go slow, don't push myself, etc. My PT Therapist said it could take 6 mo to a year for my new knee to feel "normal." But how long did it take for those of you further along on the TKR recovery journey to say "I'm glad I had the TKR?" I know this is varies by person and is subjctive, but I am curious and may help my acceptance path and hope for a good outcome. I see lots of revision and knee issues in journeys too. Gulp.

I'm on week 11 and no where close as the pain and residual impacts are greater than my pain before. A friend who had TKR on her right knee said it took her 11 months to feel good about it.

Any thoughts?
 

Pumpkln

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@RIT387
Some start feeling good about their TKR around 3 months, others a year or more. As you said everyone is different and has different expectations.

You'll notice that I have merged your newest thread with your original recovery thread. For several reasons, we prefer that you only have one recovery thread:
  • That way, we have all your information in one place. This makes it easier to go back and review your history before providing advice.
  • If you keep starting new threads, you miss the posts and advice others have left for you in the old threads, and some information may be unnecessarily repeated
  • Having only one thread will act as a diary of your progress that you can look back on.
So please post any updates, questions or concerns about your recovery here. If you prefer a different thread title, just post what you want and we'll get it changed for you.
If you need an urgent response to a question, just tag a member of staff.

Many members bookmark their thread in their computer browser, so they can find it when they log on.
How can I find my threads and posts?
 
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RIT387

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Thanks for consolidating Pumpkin. I'll keep posting here going forward.
 

Geoffa

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I am now 7 mths RTKR I have had a very good recovery. I recollect it was about 2 mths when my pain delta between before and after shifted to demonstrably less after the TKR. Yes I have periods where my knee pain flares, never ever got to the constant grind, excuse the pun, of pre surgery pain though.
I still ice, been a bit angry because I had an Afib ablation last week and part of the procedure requires the legs to be immobilized during the procedure additionally the right leg immobilized for about 4 hours after procedure whilst the catheter access point in the groin settles. This put the leg in a pretty extreme extension position for about 8 hours! You could call it an MUA when you are not having an MUA!
Recovering well with improved extension!!
Pain trivial compared with a year ago!!
 

_Annie_

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You ask when others were glad they had this surgery done, I might be the odd man out here, but I was glad within the first month.

How much are you elevating and icing? That’s about all I did for the first few months. Anytime I wasn’t doing PT or light household duties, I was elevating and icing. I had an ice machine (highly recommend) that I used pretty much 24/7 for months. I think that was the main reason I had an easy time with both surgeries. I did get an infection in one of my stitches in the incision where the robotic arm was attached, but other then that, I wouldn’t complain about any part of my surgeries and recoveries.
 

AnnInOH

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When was I glad I had my first knee replacement? There was an immediate relief the first time I stood up after surgery. I remember thinking that the pain was a pain that I could recover from - versus the bone on bone pain I had before surgery. However, I recall my surgeon saying I would be healed when I no longer thought about it every day. That took about 3 years! It also took about 3 years for me to be reasonably comfortable in a kneeling position.
 

FCBayern

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Even though my recovery was one of the slower ones, somewhere between 2-3 months I realized my knee hurt somewhat less than pre-surgery @RIT387. BUT I also knew that the pain I was still experiencing was healing pain that would continue to diminish, not keep getting worse as my knee had been doing for years. That was when I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, and that brighter days were ahead. Hope that day comes soon for you. :flwrysmile:
 
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RIT387

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I remember thinking that the pain was a pain that I could recover from - versus the bone on bone pain I had before surgery. However, I recall my surgeon saying I would be healed when I no longer thought about it every day. That took about 3 years! It also took about 3 years for me to be reasonably comfortable in a kneeling position.
Thank you all for your responses....all have me pondering...a pain I can recover from vs constant bone on bone pain that kept getting worse is a good point. And no longer thinking about it is still a ways off. My neuropathy flareup in feet, legs doesn't help right now

Hoping for brighter days ahead indeed.
 

Sisterpat

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I think I knew after the first week. Yes, I had lots of surgical pain, but my sister, who had both knees done about 2 years ago, never tired of telling me how happy I would be and how life-changing it was for her, and I was convinced of this. So, though I hurt, I knew I was happy to have had it done. Now I’m “looking forward” (sort of!) to having the 2nd knee done. I’m a month out and believe me, things do get better!
 

Newkneenewme

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After my first TKR, I never had that sense of relief since my other was so bad. I wasn’t able to increase my activity or walk without pain. Now, 3 weeks out from my 2nd TKR and I am over the moon. My activity ability is already markedly improved. I have stiffness and discomfort but not the bone grinding pain of bone on bone. I am already thrilled.
 

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