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TKR Julia1911's Recovery Thread

Julia1911

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1 Week Out - Good, bad and Ugly to post (still needing afternoon naps), but today just feeling really down. Every day I think I'm making progress, then more pains in different places, new/additional swelling, and worried about next one because hubby has been clearly overwhelmed but he does not see it.
 

Celle

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Hello @ Julia1911- and :welome:

I've moved your post from the January Jackpots thread, which is essentially just a list where you can see who's having surgery around the same time as you are.

This is your recovery thread. Please post updates and questions here from now on.

Here is the post-op reading we give to everyone with a new knee:
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. 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.
 

caredFL

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Not many of us are prepared for the long road to recovery but it does get better every week with the first 2 being the worst for me! Hang in there and know there is light on the horizon but it doesn't come overnight.
 

henrietta

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Julia 1911, I remember getting new pains in different places, also after a week or two my hubby was exhausted! He’s used to doing the cooking but doing all the extra things that I usually did plus waiting on me was tiring for him (not to say frustrating for me). I’m now back home from my 2nd TKR so here we go again. Plus we now have a cat, which complicates matters! Good luck, it will slowly get better.
 

InkedMarie

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most of us have been in your spot. It’s more of a recovery than we expect, and hope for.
 

Helizabug

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Yup, we’re all on this path with you. Weird, new pains can seem like setbacks, but sometimes they come because of positive changes, like nerves recoveringI, ornew ways of walking because the knee is recovering. I found that if I paid attention to the new pains, I could watch them come and go as I healed.

Stick with us. We’ll listen.
 

bikinglynn

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I have watched the new pains that I get from day to day. It's interesting how they switch around. My right knee was hurting worse after the surgery, but now my left knee is the one hurting more. I believe TKR recovery requires a lot of patience for all involved. BoneSmart has been a wonderful resource for support. I think I would have had some major meltdowns if not for this site.
 
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Julia1911

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Thanks for the encouragement, but 10 days out and I'm so depressed. Yesterday, PT told me I'm supposed to "walk into Dr's office Monday (2 week mark) to get staples out using cane only," not walker.

Pain at night is the worst and excruciating, even if I take 2 Rx strength Naproxen and 1 OxyCodone before bed and start with ice packs on front and back of knee. Wake up every 2-3 hours from pain and so sad I have to ask 70 YO hubby to get up, go downstairs and get new ice packs. Will definately look into ice machine for RTKO in future. Tried to use cooler with ice but it does not get the packs to the best frozen state as freezer to alleviate pain.

Today back is the worst (2 prior spinal fusions and sleeping on back -- hate, hate, hate back sleeping-- and leg up, straight AND some PT exercises have just completely aggrevated it and sciatica ) and right knee pain (4 weeks overdue for quarterly cortisone shot in it and stress of doing all the work pre-and post surgery work for left knee).

Have had many joint surgeries (2 back, 1 foot, 2 hand) and other (like total hysterectomy and 3 eye surgeries) and always felt making mostly forward progress. Just when having somewhat good day, nights become worse, or vice versa.

Had good right angle bend to surgery knee first 8 days, then 2 days ago can barely bend it at all and leg hursts from hip to toes. Terrible popping/tearing sensation in back of knee and inside front.

Sorry to be so whiny, usually bounce back quickly and feel pain becomes managable by this time. Hating to know I have to go thru this again with right leg in year or so, but scared if I don't get it done before I hit age 70, it will be unbearable.

Will try to have more positive attitude soon. Just so discouraged, but had no choice to get surgery.

Oh, and doc says will probably have "clicking" sensation in left knee. He said there was much more arthritis and more thruout the knee than he could tell from X-rays, and the back of kneecap was very erroded. Had to put plastic disk/button on back of kneecap as a result and said patients he has done this to before have complained of clicking in that knee even after it is healed. Plus he said probably will still have some knee pain even when healed, just much less. Why, o why did I get this done?
 

Jockette

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Yesterday, PT told me I'm supposed to "walk into Dr's office Monday (2 week mark) to get staples out using cane only," not walker.
PTs often offer their opinion which in reality might be very different than your surgeon’s opinion. But even if he agrees, if you need the walker, use it, and don’t apologize for it. It is a temporary tool to help you feel safe and confident. No one but you should decide when to switch to a cane.

Today back is the worst (2 prior spinal fusions and sleeping on back -- hate, hate, hate back sleeping-- and leg up, straight AND some PT exercises have just completely aggrevated it and sciatica )
You don’t have to do any exercises that hurt any part of your body. I have low back issues, also, and I flat out refused to do anything for my knee that was going to upset my back.

Right now gentle movements and short walks around the house are all you need to give your knee mobility.

The clicking may go away over time.

Here’s an article about the clicking:
https://bonesmart.org/forum/threads/clicking-clunking-knee-joint-after-surgery.13534/

Try to hang in there, you are in the worst of the worst days right now, what we call The Angry Tissue Stage. Things will improve. This recovery is not a straight forward, every day gets better, recovery, but more like a rollercoaster, ups and downs, with some sideways, too! We all understand, we’ve been right there where you are now.:console2:
 

sistersinhim

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Had to put plastic disk/button on back of kneecap as a result and said patients he has done this to before have complained of clicking in that knee even after it is healed
This isn't necessarily true. I don't have any kneecaps and my tkr knee clicks. Almost every tkr gets a plastic button on the underside of the kneecap, so it isn't anything unusual. As your tendons and muscles heal and get stronger, that clicking should diminish.
 

Helizabug

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A positive attitude can be a big help, but sometimes it’s important to acknowledge the misery. This is hard work, and it takes a while. You deserve some tea and sympathy.
 

Jenn3319

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Julia, I’m so sorry you are in such pain and feeling discouraged. I’m thinking of you! The pain WILL get better. It will.
 

Celle

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Yesterday, PT told me I'm supposed to "walk into Dr's office Monday (2 week mark) to get staples out using cane only," not walker.
That's not true. There is no deadline for giving up the walker. Some people use it for months. Use it until you feel confident enough to manage with a stick. It's better to keep using the walker than it is to risk a fall.

Pain at night is the worst and excruciating, even if I take 2 Rx strength Naproxen and 1 OxyCodone before bed and start with ice packs on front and back of knee. Wake up every 2-3 hours from pain and so sad I have to ask 70 YO hubby to get up, go downstairs and get new ice packs.
Pain at night is usually an indication of one or both of these:
  1. Doing too much during the day.
  2. Under-medication.
You're taking your medications on a regular schedule, so it seems pretty obvious to me that your therapist is asking too much of your new knee at this very early stage of recovery. Honestly, all the exercise that poor knee needs right now is what you give it when you walk to and from the bathroom.

Cut right back on the exercises. Doing that won't harm your progress at all.

In fact, my surgeon doesn't allow any formal PT at all for the first month after a knee replacement. He says your knee needs that time, to start on its journey of healing. For that month, we rest, ice and elevate our leg, and walk around the house. The walking is our exercise and we increase it a little each week.

After that month, we just go to PT once every 2 weeks, where we are shown a few new exercises to do at home each day.

His patients all do well and achieve good ROM, as I did, and he hasn't had to do a manipulation to help with ROM for the past 4 years. I think that speaks for itself.

hate, hate, hate back sleeping-- and leg up, straight AND some PT exercises have just completely aggrevated it and sciatica ) and right knee pain (4 weeks overdue for quarterly cortisone shot in it and stress of doing all the work pre-and post surgery work for left knee).
You don't have to keep your leg completely straight. I know how painful that is. It's perfectly OK to have a slight bend, like this:
1581043404874.png
or this:
1581043444116.png


And stop all those exercises. In case you think you can't do that, read this article:
Saying no to therapy - am I allowed to?

Remember what we advised you in the recovery guidelines: - If it hurts, at the time or later, don't do it.

Sorry to be so whiny, usually bounce back quickly and feel pain becomes manageable by this time.
It's a long recovery and you can't bounce back from it quickly. If you stop doing the things that are aggravating you rinees, I'm sure you'll start to feel better before long.

Oh, and doc says will probably have "clicking" sensation in left knee. He said there was much more arthritis and more thruout the knee than he could tell from X-rays, and the back of kneecap was very erroded. Had to put plastic disk/button on back of kneecap as a result and said patients he has done this to before have complained of clicking in that knee even after it is healed. Plus he said probably will still have some knee pain even when healed, just much less.
A knee that clicks is perfectly normal. It happens because, instead of the relatively softer bone and cartilage, you now have hard metal and plastic pieces moving over one another.
Clicking/clunking knee joint after surgery

Your surgeon's a bit of an old pessimist, isn't he? It's true that some people do have a small amount of residual pain, but not everyone does.

I've had three knee replacements and the last two were TKRs, with the plastic button at the back of the kneecap. I have no pain at all in either knee, unless I twist it by accident. Most of the time, my knees feel so good that I forget they're artificial.
 

Lindylee

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Sorry you're having such a tough time. After my first TKR I had so many different aches and pains all over that I started each morning with a guessing game: 'where will today's pain be?'

As everyone says it's not a linear recovery, it's up, down, back and forth and it messes with your head. I was told only to move from one appliance to another when I felt confident and avoid anything thar caused pain. Discomfort OK, but not pain. Night time is uncomfortable still and wakes me every couple of hours, but it will improve. The first month is tough, but it does get better.

Don't think that the next knee will necessarily be the same as this one. I'm a week ahead of you with my second and it's been so much easier than the first that was done a year ago. Sleep has improved for me this last week. I still wake feeling uncomfortable every couple of hours, but most of the time I can drop off again, although last night wasn't so great, but I had been doing more yesterday, which echoes what Celle and Jockette are saying.

I had no cartilage at all left behind my kneecaps and have no clicking from the first one now. It seems a bit early to me to massage a scar. I was always told to leave them for at least 6 weeks and then use Bio Oil if I wanted to gently massage.

I hope things start to improve for you soon.
 
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Julia1911

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Thank you all for your encouragement. It brings good tears to my eyes.

I have just been so down.

Pain has NOT been well controlled and different PT (young 20ty somthing with no surgery ever) started telling me "to engage my core" and how these exercises that were hurting my double fused spine would help me get a firm tummy!!! (I am 67 and only 135lbs at 5'3") and at day 4, I should be "working off the percocet pain-killers" (only take 1 at night so can sleep some, 1 before every other day PT and only 1 extra every other day the first week when pain was unbearable. Take Rx strength Naproxen too, but it didn't even help my knee pre-surgery and gives me reflux. After that comment I gave her a lecture on pain and how I have had many joint (and other) surgeries and had NEVER had a drug problem. At least regular, middle-aged PT had rotator cuff surgery and she told me she just cried all day the day at home after surgery.

Just worry when I get staples out at 2 week mark Monday stupid doc will start on stopping pain killers too as I move to out-home PT (with jostling of knee in care to and fro).

It is like responsible people in US with surgery now have to suffer to make up for the drug addicts these same doctors over-prescribed to.
 

InkedMarie

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Geez, sometimes I wish PT’s would just shut up.

so sorry you’re dealing with them. Tell them you are in charge, you will say yes or no to what they want and cut them off if they start up again.
 

Helizabug

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Good job educating the PT. She needs to know when she’s not being helpful.
 

Jockette

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This is exactly why I won’t be dealing with any formal PT next time around. I’ll do my own at home and be just fine. Been there, done that!
 
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Julia1911

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Ok,

Finally felt like making progress Thursday and Friday (although nights were still awful waking every 2 hours). Took extra OxyCod in morning when pain was bad. Felt like a overall (not PT) progress Friday, then Sat night thru Sun was horrible again. See doc tomorrow for staple removal.

Now really worried about ROM and scar tissue building up due to taking day off (do some exercises, just not really painful ones) between every other day PT visits. PT said scar tissue builds up from the moment they cut you open, so how does the slow/gentle method keep that from happening?

Had 90 -94 bending ROM after surgery until 6th day after surgery when developed lots of swelling and tearing/popping in right back of knee. bending ROM went way down and hard to get back again. Really, really painful and worried ligament back of knee will tear.

Now worried about leg straightening ROM and having permanent bend at front of leg. Already short -- don't want legs to be bent forward permanently. I do back of knee push downs thruout the day but can't get anywhere near non-surgery knee. Seems like knee does not loosen any.

Is this permanent? By not doing all excruciatingly painful exercises every day but being gentle do I now have scar tissue that will not let leg straighten again?

Just don't see the light at the end of the tunnel.
 

katies12

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I just had my KNR last Monday, and my surgeon prescribed Tylenol every 6 hours and Ibruprophen every six hours. I offset this every three hours. eg Tylenol 8am, Ibroprophen 11am, and continue from there. I was given a 'happy pill', but only take when needed, which is four so far.
I too am concerned about my fat knee and lack of movement, but it does take time.
Hope this helps.
 

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