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[TKR] I now have a matching set!

Discussion in 'Knee Replacement Recovery Area' started by Chemist, Jan 26, 2018.

  1. Chemist

    Chemist member
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    I started a thread in the Pre-op forum since I am coming up for a second TKR in May. A suggestion was made that I start one here since I already had one done in Aug 2017. I will give it a try.

    Background - both knees were (are) bone on bone. I had 2 surgeries for removal of bone chips plus meniscus repair. I was having cortisone and lubricant every three months and after 4 years this simply didn't work anymore. I was also taking 2400 mg of ibuprofen per day. I ways starting to have episodes of knees "giving out" when walking, sitting down and going up and down stairs. I finally decided to have the surgery when I had to skip hikes during a vacation in June.

    My TKR on my right knee was on Aug 2, 2017 I went home on the 4th. To be honest I was naive about the impact of the TKR (I wish I had found this site before the surgery). I was expecting the pain and recovery to be similar to the bone chip surgery. Wrong The pain involved is pretty intense but can be moderated by staying ahead of it with the pain medication. I kept a log of when I took medication and when the next dose was due so that I stayed on schedule. From the start I set alarms to remind me to get up every hour and walk around the house. At first I didn't walk far but I did keep moving.

    Initially had in home PT for about a month and found it to be fairly intense. After that I went to a clinic for another couple of months. I eventually talk to my surgeon about PT because I often experienced a set back in mobility after the intense PT sessions (increased pain and swelling). We decided I would direct my own therapy from then on. After reading this blog I probably would have taken a different approach and asked for the sessions to be toned down.

    I had little trouble achieving good flexion but extension was a little more problematic. I think this may come back to my hamstrings being very tight (too much sitting at a desk).

    Started walking outside after approximately 3 weeks. First with a walker, then with a cane and then unassisted. I worked to make each walk a little longer. Now 5 months after surgery I am up to 5 miles (with the benefit of cortisone in my left knee). Only current medication - 2 or 3 ibuprofen per day. Things are going well enough that my wife and I are leaving on an overseas vacation Sunday.

    Random thoughts:

    1) sleeping at night was an issue for the first 2 or 3 months (borderline insomnia) so I tried to nap whenever the urge hit to compensate.
    2) expect to feel emotional/depressed. I was surprised when I found myself tearing up (scared my wife since this is not normal behavior). I have since found that this not unexpected after major surgery.
    3) set up a "nest" where you spend your days. Make it as comfortable and convenient as possible.
    4) Customize your walker. Some sort bag to carry phones and other small items. Add a cup holder. Lets you get up and make yourself a cup of coffee or get a drink and make it back to your nest. You care provider will appreciate this!
    5) After the 1st month I swore I would never have the 2nd TKR. But the results have been so good that I have changed my mind and the 2nd is scheduled for may

    Not sure what else to add at this point. Please ask questions and I will try to respond.
     
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  2. amymj

    amymj member

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    Sounds like you are doing well!! I had RTKR four years ago...remember thinking 'how do people so two at once?'. Cudos and props to you all that do bilateral! So I was in the situation you are in, was staring down my second TKR on the left side on Jan. 15. For whatever reason, I was scared to death but have been very pleased so far! it helps to know what to expect!! I hope your journey continues to go well!
     
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  3. sistersinhim

    sistersinhim FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    Thank you for posting your recovery on this side. How encouraging it is read how well you have done! You have used common sense and it has paid off for you. The next knee you know you don't have to stress that infant knee, but nice and easy does it!
     
  4. mlwreader

    mlwreader senior

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    I felt very motivated to have both done at once. I was originally only scheduled for the right to be done, as x rays showed there was still some cartilage remaining in the left knee. However, apparently in favoring the "bad" right knee, I caused stress damage to the bones in lefty, and in combination with a baker's cyst, wound up on a walker, in terrible pain, and housebound from early April last year. My original orthopedic would not agree to operate on both knees at once, so I got a second opinion based on a referral from a friend who did btkr a few years back. The second opinion doctor felt that given my good health and apparent desire and motivation, he thought I was a good candidate for the btkr. I am 4.5 months out now, and can say I am so glad I did them both at once, despite how challenging the recovery has been. But, if the second knee hadn't "blown up" like it did last spring, I would have only had the one knee done. Everyone's story is different. I just felt when I saw the "kudos to the bilats" om @amymj post that I had to jump in and say, no, I wasn't brave or wonder woman, I was just desperate enough to go for it. I remember the PA told me the first time I met her a couple years ago when I first sought treatment that I would know when I was ready for the surgery. I didn't quite know what she meant, but now I do. My back was up against it, so I did what was necessary in order to have a decent life. Love this site, and love reading all of our posts. :)
     
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  5. Chemist

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    Back to work on my knee. I have had to take time off from exercise because of surgery unrelated to my knee. I was surprised that reduced activity would cause my knee to stiffen up so I lost a little bit of my recovery progress. Flexion is at 130 but I am stuck at 10 on extension. Working on it but progress is slow. At this point (6 months) I am down to an occasional Tylenol for pain in my new knee. Still getting cortisone in my left knee to control the situation until I get the TKR on it in May (looking forward to it - sort of - I am tired of bone on bone.
     
  6. Chemist

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    I started exercising again and my knee feels great. I wonder if the time off for non-knee related surgery let my knee heal a bit. I have also been better about icing after exercise and at night which does help. I am convinced that the slow and steady approach presented on this site is the way to go
     
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  7. SusieShoes

    SusieShoes FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    Results are very convincing. Back when I had my surgery, I was fully prepared to try a more aggressive PT approach if my chosen method of recovery, the BoneSmart gentle approach, didn't work. I was already convinced the BoneSmart way would work, though. And for me the BS approach worked wonderfully! By week two I was thinking: "This really does work!" The rest of my recovery I had no reason to think otherwise.

    The time off for your other surgery might have benefitted your knee. After all, a healing knee likes lots of rest. And the not-operated knee probably didn't mind either.

    Extension often comes later than flexion. Walking is a great way to work on extension (extending the leg is part of the walking motion knees are designed to do, so walking exercises the whole knee). You can do some gentle exercises for extension, if you choose. There are some here on the site. https://bonesmart.org/forum/threads/rom-and-extension-stretches.13159/
     
  8. Chemist

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    even at 7 months I am still learning. I have been going for long walks every other day - taking a day to recover. I tried walking 2 days in a row and my knee let me know that was a bad idea. I have to keep reminding myself that slow and steady is best.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 2, 2018
  9. kneeper

    kneeper FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    ^So true.
     
  10. sistersinhim

    sistersinhim FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    So very true!
     
  11. Chemist

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    Beautiful day here in Texas - 65 and sunny. Came home early from work, mowed the lawn and went for a long walk, New knee handles it very well. Left knee - could have been better (locking up). Starting to look forward to LTKR in May - sort of......
     
  12. Chemist

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    For those of you that are in the early weeks and months of recovery be patient, take it one day at a time and keep your eye on the prize. I was able to work in my garden this morning without having my right knee give out. What an incredible simple pleasure. I am looking forward to having my left knee done so it will also be dependable.
     
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  13. sistersinhim

    sistersinhim FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    Doing those things that we haven't been able to do for years feels wonderful! And it's something about digging and planting a garden and then watching it grow! How rewarding! You are doing so good! Enjoy that new knee!
     
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  14. mlwreader

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    @Chemist What a great idea! I am about 5 weeks behind you, so I am currently at 6 months. I've been looking for a regimen to improve my stamina and I think this is a good one. Mind if I steal it from you? :)
     
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  15. Jockette

    Jockette FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    I plan to walk more, also, when the weather gets warmer. My knee aches when I am outside in weather less the upper 50s. Never had that problem before surgery.

    I always figure I get a good walk grocery shopping. I like to bowl, too, so that’s a good amount of just general movement.
     
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  16. Needhope

    Needhope senior

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    You all amaze me with your ability to walk as far as you do. I was out and about for a couple hours yesterday and my new knee was letting me know it didn’t like it. I don’t think I walk often enough. I don’t own a treadmill or stationary bike, and all the nor’easters going on, I’m stuck in the house most of the time. Hopefully warmer weather is on our horizon in time for my left tkr. Good luck Chemist.
     
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  17. Chemist

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    Howdy @Needhope :

    One advantage of living in Houston is that we have mild winters. Of course we tend to get cabin fever in the summer when it is 95 degrees and 100% humidity! Hang in there. When I started walking I made it "all of the way" to the end of the driveway and back. Each time I would walk a little further. I suggest you do the same when your weather warms up. As always - slow and steady is my mantra.
     
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  18. sistersinhim

    sistersinhim FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    Try increasing your walking distance once a week to let your knee adjust to the increases. Walking is the best thing for it!
     
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  19. Chemist

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    I have been waking up around 2 AM with an aching/burning sensation in my knee (especially after active days) and it is very difficult to go back to sleep. I decided to try aspercreme after reading that several forum members use it. End result - probably the best night's sleep since my surgery. Thanks folks!
     
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  20. sistersinhim

    sistersinhim FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    What good news about the Aspercreme helping! No one can't buy a good night's sleep, yet it's so important!
     

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