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Knee Infection* Infection at 7 Months Post Op - Back to Crutches

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Mrs. Ciz

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Big warm red mark on right shin and swollen foot!

Something strange is going on with my right leg. As I’ve said before, the left knee is great; the right is lagging behind. It has been plagued by tight hamstring issues and won’t fully extend yet.

But in November something new started. I thought it was related to a little stumble I took around Thanksgiving. But the clicking and discomfort from that is long gone now. Around that same time a red starburst shaped mark appeared on my shin right around where the scar ends. The scar itself is white and fully healed. The red mark is big - the size of a large orange in diameter. But it is flat - not a raised bump. When I press on the redness, it blanches white, and it is slightly warm. It is very sensitive to touch. If I press on the left shin, I get no pain, but if I press on the right shin or bump it at all, I get pain. I thought maybe it was a slight burn from the heating pad? After about a month the red mark faded and peeled a little bit.

This week the red starburst mark came back, and it is bigger (goes about an inch further down my shin). So it wasn’t ever a burn. It is still flat (no bump). It still blanches and hurts when pressed, and my right shin is way warmer than my left shin. My lower right leg, ankle and foot are also visibly swollen when compared to my left leg. I have no other red marks or swollen bumps anywhere on my right leg (had my husband check). The vertical scar is white and still fully healed as well. What the heck could be going on??!!??
 

sistersinhim

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Have you contacted your OS yet? Can you send him a photo? If she doesn't seem interested then make an appointment with your GP. It's probably OK, but someone who knows needs to look at it.
 
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Mrs. Ciz

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@Jbash99
Not sure what you’re asking. I had both knees replaced in July. Only the right leg is swollen with the big red splotch.
 

Jamie

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@Mrs. Ciz.....I agree that it would be best to have at least your GP check it out.

Could you post a photo here for us? It's pretty hard to tell you much with just a word description.
 
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Mrs. Ciz

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Hey guys, I just got some really bad knee news. My right leg has been bothering me lately - decreased mobility, swelling, a red blotch. The school nurse kept bugging me to go get it checked because of the swelling and redness. It would flare up, then get better, flare up again. She thought it might be a clot.

I finally went to my OS at 1:00 today. Not good news. Not a clot but X-rays show an infection. Getting bloodwork to confirm this afternoon. But with the swelling, mobility decrease, redness and the change in my bones visible on the xrays, my surgeon is pretty sure. This means my spacer will have to be replaced with a cement spacer that contains antibiotics followed by iv antibiotics for 6 weeks. Will need crutches/walker that whole time. And then if infection is totally gone, my knee replacement has to be removed and redone. I am pretty devastated. This whole process will start next week. I’m being admitted to the hospital on Tuesday night. Please pray for me.
 

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I’m so sorry that you are going through the infection process. I hope you have an infectious disease doctor involved in your case, if not, I suggest you get one.
 
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Mrs. Ciz

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@Jockette
I was a little shell shocked at my appointment today. I’ll be sure to ask about an infectious disease specialist. I’m pretty sure I will have one. My husband had one years ago when his Achilles’ tendon repair developed a staph infection. But I will make sure.

I have no idea what to tell work. I’m a school teacher teaching face to face classes. Will I be out of work the whole time I’m going through this process? My surgeon said he’d fill out all the FMLA paperwork but I didn’t think to ask how long I’d be out. Tuesday is coming quickly; we have an ice storm coming tomorrow, so there’s little time for me to prepare.
 

Jockette

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I’m sure it was a shock, not at all what you were expecting.

I’ll tag @PegGar16, she’ll be able to answer some/most of any questions you have.
 

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I am so sorry for you to get this news. It sounds very scary. I knew it was a big deal but I had no idea just what a process it will be. All of that aside- the most important part is that you are in good hands and healthy. My thoughts are with you.
 

PegGar16

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Hi @Mrs. Ciz . It is really hard to say how long you will be off work which I know is frustrating. I can tell you how my infected knee was taken care of and some what of a time line. They first tried to take care of the infection without removing the hardware which failed. So the knee prosthetic was removed and a antibiotic spacer was put in. I did 6 weeks of IV antibiotics with a PICC line. This wasn't too bad. The Vancomycin came in little balls that you hook up to the PICC line. I did this twice a day probably for 1 1/2 hours with each. I could stick this ball in a shirt pocket and be mobile the whole time. When that was complete they put me on oral antibiotics for a few weeks. They tested after I had gotten off all of the antibiotics to make sure the infection was completely gone before putting in the new knee replacement. Then that was a normal TKR recovery. I was on crutches while the spacer was in place with a brace (I also had other issues with the leg that kept me with the crutches). You will have two major surgeries with the recovery times. I don't think the antibiotics will effect you going to school (if you have the same ones I did) but mobility and pain control is a different story. So it will be between you and the OS...I believe your school will ask for a work release.
I hope this helps. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask.
 
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@PegGar16
My surgeon told me not to worry about work. He said he’d take care of the paperwork and I was supposed to lay low and take it easy. But I was too stunned to ask how long that would be. I’m just trying to get a realistic time line so I can prepare my school for the news.

Is it a safe assumption that I will be at home during the whole 6 weeks iv antibiotic process? I really can’t see navigating my 3 floor school with a cement spacer, pain meds, two1.5 hour iv treatments a day, crutches and a leg brace. Then if the infection clears after that, it’s 8 weeks-ish with the replacement (that part I know). So if everything goes well 14 to 16 weeks?
 

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@Mrs. Ciz I am so sorry, that's not something anyone wants to hear. I am glad you went and got it checked out though! I will say a lot of prayers for you and please do keep us updated as you're able. Sending virtual hugs!
 
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Mrs. Ciz

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Mods, please change my title to:

“Infection at 7 Months Post Op - Back to Crutches”
 

PegGar16

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That sounds like a good time frame. Are you doing any on-line teaching or is it all in the classroom?
 
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Mrs. Ciz

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That sounds like a good time frame. Are you doing any on-line teaching or is it all in the classroom?
It’s all in the classroom face to face.

My school building is 100 years old with 3 floors and no elevators. It was hard enough to navigate at 12 weeks post op from BTKR. They let me use the 1st floor cafeteria for the first few weeks, but even then, there were lots of stairs involved. Plus it’s my right leg, so I thinking driving will be problematic. I’m trying to get a realistic idea about what/how much I’ll be able to do. I don’t want to over promise and under deliver.
 

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