TKR Its been worse than childbirth! Did I make the right decision?

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Hi all, its officially 4 months... I just shoved about 1 1/2 feet of snow and I'm still alive... lol. My knee stood up to the task, it was my heart, that needed several rests. My knee is still swollen and sore, and I take aspirin, or ibuprofen, or tylenol, depending on how I feel. I lean towards ibuprofen and aspirin, because I want this swelling to go down already! The more active I get, the more it gets swollen and reduces my ROM. sigh! In my minds eye, I can go skiing and dancing, but my body hesitates. I stopped P/T cause of the cost and am trying to continue on my own, although I have to admit, I've been slackerdy (not sure it that's a word, lol). I wish there was a way to measure my ROM on my own. I have admit also, I don't ice as often as I should, maybe, cause it didn't seem to really help. Have you guys heard of chronic inflammation? I hope I don't have that, since inflammation is bad overall for your body. I'm drinking homemade ginger tea w. orange zest, hoping the ginger helps w. inflammation and I've been sprinking more tumeric on everything I eat.... Anyway, any suggestions on the inflammation and swollenness will be welcomed! Best to all.
Hi @kneegone

Well, you did a lot with your knee, shovelling snow. Even at 4 months, it's still early in the recovery story and I bet your knee is telling you it really felt that extra work it did.

I wouldn't worry yet about chronic inflammation. I think it's just that you overdid it a bit. Some knees do swell for a long time after the surgery. Can you "baby" the knee for a day or three, with extra rest, elevation and icing? See if that helps with the swelling.

I had my TKR in mid-September, so I'm a bit further on than you. My knee gave me a reminder at the weekend that it still needs some extra consideration. I went out to dinner and sat on a chair that was uncomfortable for the knee. I followed that by walking round our park, to look at the Christmas lighting display. The walk itself wasn't particularly long, but it was dark and some of the paths were uneven. I paid for that for the next two days, with a swollen and sore knee.
:iagree: Glad you took some sensible breaks with the shovelling.
@kneegone. There is an app for measuring rom. I read it on here a long time ago. Hopefully someone else will remember it
Found one on Google play store called "my knee" . You tuck your phone down your sock, lie on your tummy and bend your knee back and it tells you.
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Hi everyone, Thanks for all the info. I will look for that app! I'm now at 18 weeks post op and my knee is still swollen and with a little pain. I'm working part time and have gone into the city a few times to battle the subway stairs. I still take tylenol or aleve, or aspirin, or ibuprofen, sporadically, depending on the pain. Trying hard to get rid of the swelling, by drinking Ginger/lemon tea and using more tumeric in my cooking. My ROM hasn't really improved. (I stopped p/t) and knee is still stiff when straightening. I can do leg raises, but not totally straight (like 2 inches or so less than straight). I'm think of using a heat pad to help heal. I saw this youtube video on Eastern philosophy in healing, which endorses heat vs. icing. Anyone get results with heat?

My knee still buckles and quads not totally there yet. When I flex or walk alot, my knee gets more swollen :(
Really hoping that if swelling goes down, I'll have more ROM. BTW, my scar looks really ugly, dark and about 1/4" wide, bumpy. Not exactly a keloid, I was told by my P/T last month, when I went... I've been using a scar cream that my OS, prescribed... but not really helping, seems like scar is "growing". However, there is about 1" in the middle where it looks like a fine line, with no bumps. Any thoughts? Although I really don't care about how it looks, more important that my knee functions. Thanks!
The bend I got (while using the app) was rubbish as I was lying on my tummy bending my knee . I couldn't get much of a bend as I guess my quads aren't strong yet. I can get 120 lying/sitting on the floor or bed and bringing my knee up though! So which would be the true measurement I wonder?
I wish there was a way to measure my ROM paying a p/t for it, lol. Too bad that app doesn't work.
Hi @kneegone

There are exercises suitable in the Bonesmart library. Your home can become your gym xxx my knee swelled terribly too if I did something it didn't like. Even now it let's me know if I've upset it!!!

Love Nana moon 27 x x x
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Hi @kneegone, my LTKR date was 17 OCT 2014, so not long after yours, and I still have many of the same difficulties with swelling, puffy scar, variable ROM, quad weakness, extension lag, and occasional buckling. There was a moment some weeks back when my TKR knee actually started to have some kneecap definition- but it swelled again and I haven't seen it since. :( I can handle stairs better up than down. If the steps aren't too tall I can even climb foot over foot and hands free like a normal person! But all bets are off for descending, even stepping off low curbs. I mostly don't try anymore and instead lead down with the TKR leg. I figure my knee will tell me when it's ready.

So you and I, and maybe a few others here on Bonesmart, are in the "Slow Healer's Club". I don't know why this (SHC) happens, but it's not our fault. You will get there eventually, and so will I. We're just taking the scenic route!

I hope you are feeling great today!
Hi @Clipless!, yes, we seem to be having the same progress... Yes, I do analyze my knee cap definition, lol. There are times, when it seems my ROM goes back to about 90 degrees, especially if I haven't moved it in a while or stand for long periods of time, (like cooking, cleaning dishes, smh). Sometimes, I do resort to descending one step at a time. It's almost unconscious, like your brain telling you, you can't do it right now. Other times, the legs just go down, without thinking. I'm trying to build up my quads with this exercise: if you have one of those step platforms that they use in step aerobics, you can use that. (I don't, so I stack a couple of thick books. I am careful not to slip). and step on with one leg, with the other one hanging, and bend the knee on the step (or books), so that the other leg's heel touches the floor. I do both knees, so I can try to get both of them on the same strength. This exercise really tires my knee out, but I think its helping it get stronger. I hold on to something on the side, especially if I'm bending the "fake" knee, lol. Hope this helps, but I still buckle. Tomorrow is my 5 month anniversary of knee surgery. Sure doesn't feel like it's been 5 months, cause my knee is not healed yet. I think it is going to take about a year. I haven't pushed my knee, like trying to dance, or ski, or run. I know you cycle, from your previous posts. I wish I could do that, but its freezing cold here, with piles of snow here in New York, Long Island. Are you still on meds? What do you take? Today, I took Aleve and I'm drinking Ginger tea.
Well, keep in touch, glad to have someone to relate to! Where in So Cal are you? Luck you w. warm weather!
Hi Bonesmarties, I am now about 6 months post op TKR, and not really fully recovered as I had hoped. My knee is stiff when I wake up and after sitting for a while. Walking, my quads are still a little weak with an occasional buckle. Climbing stairs still is a strain, but doable, as with going down stairs. My knees do still swell after walking alot. I am still doing some quad exercises. My stitches occasionally itch and seem to turn different colors from dark brown to lighter and back. (wierd?).

Anyway, I do not have a 6 mo. appt with surgeon. He only sees you after 1 year or if you have some major issues. I am mobile and my ROM is about 125-130? not confirmed, since I stopped PT. I also have not regained feeling on the lower right quadrant of my knee, feels like the numbness after getting novocaine for dental work. Is this what I can hope for? I know some say it takes about a year, but shouldn't I be much better at 6 months? Can anyone recommend any exercises for quads? I do leg lifts and leg drops, where I stand on 3 thick books, and lower my other leg to floor.
Hi Kneegone,
At 6 months you are still recovery and have a ways to go. Sounds like you are doing just fine for 6 months, walking distances, some swelling and stiffness, your ROM is good. You may be doing too much with the leg drops, hard on the knees. Give them a rest and see how you feel.
Numbness can last a few months to years for some. And a few never regain full sensation. Here is an article in the library that may answer some of your questions about the numbness.
Numb area after TKR: how long will it last?
I still have a numb patch but it doesn't bother me unduly. I struggle to get down on the floor....very ungainly! You have brilliant rom, more than me, so it can't be this affecting your stairs. If it's quad muscle weakness then I can only imagine that this will improve with time. I think it's the patience thing again.
kneegone, today is exactly 9 months from bilateral knee replacement surgery, and things definitely improved significantly over the last few months.

I can walk without any pain, usually forget to walk steps reciprocally (but I can). If I wear tight socks I get a swollen ridge line at the top of the sock

Concerning the stitch pain, not sure if this is what you're talking about but I used to complain that it felt like the stitches were oozing. And this was WAY after the wound had healed. The explanation i got is that there nerve endings trapped in the scar tissue around the wound, and sometime they trigger in sequence and it feels like something is flowing. But i have no idea why the wound would change colors, and I'd go get it checked.

All I can say, and it's worth repeating, month 9 is HUGELY better than month 3 or 6.
I'm almost exactly 8 months post-op and like you, can hardly comprehend what a LONG process this is. Because I waited so long for the surgery I have a ton of issues - in reality probably shouldn't say TKR related - but wouldn't have had to deal with them if I hadn't had the surgery.

I've been out of PT for 2 months but need to go back. Some days are good, others not so much and I'm never sure why. I still get the occasional 'fallout' whilst walking. Although it looks so much better now, if compared to my other leg, it's still Frankenknee. I can get up a few stairs, but struggle on a whole flight. Definitely no spring in my step and often get the feeling I'm doing a peg-leg walk.

But I most definitely no longer have that dull, vitality sucking, continuous ache from the osteoarthritis.
Hi kneegone, that's great ROM! Has it improved much in the past month? Just wondering and hoping I'll get more ROM, too.

I do certain exercises at the gym and at home as suggested by my OS. Straight leg lifts, which I have hated from day one and still hate. My OS told me to do lots. I also force myself to do stairs every day and/or whenever there are stairs in my environment. My quads are getting stronger but no definition yet- maybe if I went to the gym every day. Your stepping routine sounds brilliant to me. Sometimes when I see a low curb I walk along just stepping up & down with my surgery leg like you describe except I am also moving forward. This probably looks crazy to passers-by, but oh well. :heehee:
Bought a little plastic device called a Goniometer from Amazon, very cheap about £4 I think. It measures angles and you just bend your knee and rest it against your leg and measure the angle. I measured my ROM myself it was 120. Had a physio appt and asked her to check....she pulled out the same device and agreed it was 120!!!!!!!
Thanks @Fancypants! I need that device to confirm my ROM! @Clipless, my ROM has mostly stayed the same the last few months. I do try to push the knee back when I'm sitting and watching TV, until it hurts, but I don't think I'm making much progress. It seems to be stuck where it is. @joemz, happy to hear there is progress fro 6 mos to 9 mos. still hopeful. my stitches still hurt in that sometimes when its been straight, propped up for a while and I bend it, the stitches feel like they're ripping apart. I try to flex my knee often so the stitches don't "set" but it's still gets the ripping stingy feeling. They also itch occasionally. I use a cream that my Dr. prescribed in the beginning, sort of like Mederma, but I don't think its really helping.
Thanks @pumpkin for that nerve information. I believe it is exactly what has happened to me. Too bad the dr. never forewarned me!

@speccybecky, my ROM may be good, but going up the stairs still is strained. Some days I still feel like I have to haul myself up with the banister. Same with going down, somedays I do the peg leg thing going down still. I won't feel confident/healed until I can go up and down without the banister, using both legs! :) My bedroom is upstairs so basically, I do this once or twice a day... maybe I should practice more on stairs...more fun ;(
One of the best exercises you can do to strengthen your quads is cycling. Do you have access to an exercycle you could ride on a daily basis? Upright or really doesn't matter. Whatever is most comfortable for you. It sounds like you do just need some more time and a good dose of confidence in your knee with the stairs. Continue to work on doing them normally. If you have to go slowly, that's okay. Holding onto the rail is fine. You might try doing some purposeful stair exercise where you just go up and down maybe 4 steps at a time....enough to exercise, but not so many as to cause you to need to use the railing to pull yourself up.
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