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Knee Infection* Knee #2 Vent

Starsfan22

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I realize no one hear knows me, I joined a while back and have read religiously but have not created my own thread. I had LTKR July 29, 2019, I'm a full 3 mos. out and am discouraged big time! I completed fairly aggressive PT and at the end of 6 weeks my numbers were very good. OS released me at 6 wks. and said keep working on extension (it was a 1) and see you in a year. I felt good about my progress and was well on my way.

I have progressed but have pain every...single...day.... It often takes me until afternoon to loosen up the knee icing and elevating, stretching, and once full of tylenol and advil, I can actually move around with much less pain. Standing and cooking is very painful after a few min. for both knees as my right knee needs TKR as well. I walk every morning for 10 to 15 min., part of the loosening up process. Some days I do my exercises, somedays I rest all day with only normal light house work etc. The nurse at my OS ofc. said by 3 mo. I would be so happy I did this, but I'm not. I feel like a hostage in my own house. I have done some grocery shopping and other short outings but only on good days and I ice and elevate as soon as I'm home. I've had a few good days but they are few and far between as the saying goes. My spouse was supportive the first few weeks but he believes I should work through the pain and stiffness and just get over it. I've always been a positive upbeat person but now find myself depressed and angry more often than I want to admit.

I realize no one can offer me a solution and I hope time will lead to the progress I read about here everyday. Honestly at this point I don't see that happening. Ok, my pity party is over, as I said I just needed to vent....or drink a bunch of wine :)
 

Jaycey

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@Starsfan22 Welcome officially to BoneSmart! This is not an easy recovery for some. Please don't get hung up on the time frame or any numbers in terms of range of motion. Three months is actually pretty early days for a process that can take 12 months or more.

If you are back to activities of daily living (ADL) I would not do any extra exercising. That knee is telling you that you are doing too much.

Are you icing and elevating throughout the day. Sounds like you still have some swelling that needs addressing.

Even though you are 3 months out these article still apply. I'll leave them here for you to refer to.
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 Activity progression for TKRs

6. Access 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 a 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 history before providing advice.
 

Jockette

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The pain/discomforts you mention are pretty common at 3 months. That nurse was probably trying to encourage you, but I wish they would word things differently, like some people are happy by 3 months, which leaves room for those of us who were not, to still feel normal.

I’m sorry your spouse feels the way he does, but we’ve had other members who have the same situation. Maybe ask him to read some of the Bonesmart articles to better understand what your body has been through. Or, ask him to watch a video of this surgery. :yikes:

We understand and are here for you any time you want to vent. :console2:
 
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Starsfan22

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Jockette, I guess I just thought I was doing so well, then progress seemed to stall.... Hate it that I am one of the slow ones. Guess I need to invest in some more books.... I decided since I'm basically the same whether I exercise or not I should exercise? I miss exercise, I have started lifting weights again that helps. I have a floor pedal that I use every morning and I believe it helps with tightness.
 

Jockette

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You aren’t slow, you are right where many of us were at your timeframe.

Do some exercises, but listen to your body. If you have additional pain and/or swelling, back off for a week or so, then try again at a slower pace and gradually increase.

Just be careful lifting weights as that can put stress on a new knee. It was months before I could handle heavier objects.
 

Macknit

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@Starsfan, welcome and sorry to hear your frustrations. I'm about 3 weeks behind you and feel like I'm in a stall also. I read somewhere on here that one of the OSs out there says the hardest time is 8-16 weeks, because we have good days and we tend to overdo it, then we have to slow down and rest for a week or so. Recovery is truly a loop-d-loo roller coaster and 95% of us are in the same boat!

I saw a theory about a good old-fashioned bell curve and how most of us are not the 5% outliers that take 3 months or 3 years but the 95% that take 12-18 months. I look at this time as one of the few moments we can take a break and listen to our knee...

I'm sure I over did it today, it was one of those crisp autumn sunshine days and we have a fairly large garden, that had leaves and pine-needles everywhere! It felt so good being out there, and hubby did most of the work, but I held the big contractor bags open and carried them about...

my poor knee is definitely speaking to me. (I'm thinking I'll call her Mrs. Doubtfire...because I do have days I doubt I'll fully recover, plus days when she tells me she's angry and on fire!)

Hang in there, and wine is good :SUNsmile: (just watch the pain killers with wine)
 

Celle

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@Starsfan22 - I'm sorry you're still in pain.
I think part of your problem is that you were too conscientious in working hard at PT, to get those early ROM numbers the therapists get so hung up about.

All that aggressive PT set up long-lasting inflammation in the soft tissues around your knee and now they need to calm down. Initially, in the early weeks after surgery, your soft tissues were wounded and they need gentle treatment and time to heal. They didn't get that, so now they have a little catching up to do in the healing department.

I suggest you stop any formal exercises you're still doing, and just let your normal activities of daily living be your exercise. Above all, don't try to push through the pain - that;s not an appropriate thing to do after knee replacement.
Myth busting: no pain, no gain
What we suggest instead is "No pain, more gain."

It's unfortunate that the nurse led you to believe you would be all healed and happy by three months. Knee replacement is one of the most major surgeries you can have and it's not something you can bounce back from in a short time. Complete recovery takes a full year. Although most people can do most things by three months, their knee is still healing and it will still swell and be painful if you do too much for it.

So, at only just over 3 months post-op, your knee is only a quarter of the way to full healing. There's still plenty of time for improvement. Progress from now on will be slower than it was in the first few months, but your knee will continue to improve, as long as you don't do too much to upset it.

Hate it that I am one of the slow ones.
No, you aren't one of the slow ones. You're just one of the people who were, wrongly, led to believe that recovery should be complete by three months post-op.
I decided since I'm basically the same whether I exercise or not I should exercise? I miss exercise, I have started lifting weights again that helps. I have a floor pedal that I use every morning and I believe it helps with tightness.
Please stop lifting weights until your new knee is much older. If you keep doing weights, you'll be continuing to irritate and upset your knee. Give weight lifting a break until about a year post-op.

The floor pedal/cycle is OK, as long as you set it with no resistance (if it's that sort). It's useful for loosening up your knee - but only do it for about 15 minutes at a time.
 
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Starsfan22

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@celled, sounds like good advice re: resting knee. The weights are only upper body, arms, chest, so legs not involved at all.
 

Celle

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OK. Thanks for the clarification. Upper-body weight-lifting is all right, so continue to do that, if you feel it helps you.
 

Poctdb

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@Starsfan22
First of all GO STARS! I have tickets to the Cotton Bowl game on NY Day....can’t wait. I planned TKR specifically toward that goal....

Second....have you tried some massage with the icing and elevating and OTC meds? Assuming you are in Dallas/FTW....look for someone who advertises sports massage. The gym I belong to in San Antonio has a masseuse that does massage specially for joint replacement patients.

RE: spouse... there is an on line video of a TKR in the OR. Many people do not realize it is like construction in the OR with saws and hammers and drills. The arthroscopic surgery that most equate with joint surgery is a long ways from our TKR reality. He might have a bit more perspective if that is viewed.

Good luck and my wish for you is more pain free days.
 

Nothappy

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I realize no one hear knows me, I joined a while back and have read religiously but have not created my own thread. I had LTKR July 29, 2019, I'm a full 3 mos. out and am discouraged big time! I completed fairly aggressive PT and at the end of 6 weeks my numbers were very good. OS released me at 6 wks. and said keep working on extension (it was a 1) and see you in a year. I felt good about my progress and was well on my way.

I have progressed but have pain every...single...day.... It often takes me until afternoon to loosen up the knee icing and elevating, stretching, and once full of tylenol and advil, I can actually move around with much less pain. Standing and cooking is very painful after a few min. for both knees as my right knee needs TKR as well. I walk every morning for 10 to 15 min., part of the loosening up process. Some days I do my exercises, somedays I rest all day with only normal light house work etc. The nurse at my OS ofc. said by 3 mo. I would be so happy I did this, but I'm not. I feel like a hostage in my own house. I have done some grocery shopping and other short outings but only on good days and I ice and elevate as soon as I'm home. I've had a few good days but they are few and far between as the saying goes. My spouse was supportive the first few weeks but he believes I should work through the pain and stiffness and just get over it. I've always been a positive upbeat person but now find myself depressed and angry more often than I want to admit.

I realize no one can offer me a solution and I hope time will lead to the progress I read about here everyday. Honestly at this point I don't see that happening. Ok, my pity party is over, as I said I just needed to vent....or drink a bunch of wine :)
Drink a bunch of wine sounds good!!!!!! I had my LTK in May of 2018 and my RTK 10/22/19. When I was three months out I was not ready to go to work but it was time. I still used a cane and would come home and go to bed. Believe everyone when they say a year to feel better because it’s true. At three months I was still questioning why I did and days that I wished I was “dead”. It is a very tough surgery and just because your staples are removed there is a long time to feel yourself. I even had to have a manipulation under anesthesia at week 10 which was not a picnic. Don’t feel like you are having a pity party. No on can understand the pain and sleepless nights unless you have been through it. This surgery is going much smoother after two weeks and am bending almost 90 degrees. I feel for you and will continue to follow your progress
 
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Starsfan22

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Thanks @Poctdb and@Nothappy! I have wondered about massage because it felt awesome when done during PT. I'll look into it.
@ nothappy, it sounds like you and I have experienced the same recovery timeline. It really helps to have someone who understands my concerns. At this point, 13 weeks out, I'm trying without success to find the fine line between doing things to loosen up the tightness and relieve pain. I still have pain when doing most things. Example: cooking dinner, by 10 min. in of standing I'm in enough pain I need desperately to sit for awhile. At that point I can go another 10 min but pain returns and I need ice! If I go for a walk the knee feels better for awhile then hurts again and needs ice. I know my statements are going to elicit calls for more rest.... just how long can I be expected to sit around doing next to nothing? Such frustration! If I knew for sure that at X time all would be well I think I could deal with recovery much better. As you can see patience is not my strong point.
 

luvcats

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I think the fact that our doctors release us so quickly sets up in our head that we should be 'better'. That is so untrue. They release us when the primary healing is going well and we are past most of the common complications. There isn't anything they can do to make our legs heal faster.
My spouse was supportive the first few weeks but he believes I should work through the pain and stiffness and just get over it.
Your spouse is dead wrong, and 'working through' is precisely the wrong approach here. I agree with @Poctdb. Get him to watch a video of the surgery. I like to tell people I have been "spindled, folded, and mutilated". lol

I had my LTKR on July 1 and I'm still constantly surprised at how much grief she gives me. I've done too much this week and so today I'm hanging out with my friends Ice and Pack. lol
 
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Starsfan22

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@luvcats, my LTKR was a month later than your, sounds like I have awhile to go before I'm better. I realize it's going to take a yr. to be "normal?" I need my right knee done and was hoping to do so in Jan., now I'm not so sure. I have followed your progress and see you had yours pretty close together. Not sure I could walk at all if both were healing....
 

luvcats

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It sounds like you're having more trouble on a daily basis than I have. At 3 months on my first one I was all fuzzed out with pain meds for the second one, so I missed all that fun! And at 64 days on the right leg, she's always been much easier through the whole process. It helps a lot that I now have 2 good knees to be recovering on. My knees were both so horrible that I knew I wasn't going to get much benefit from only having one fixed.

It is so very hard to be patient. I just try to focus on what I can do, and not things like my Beloved still has to carry the laundry up and down stair, and he still has to carry in the heavy grocery bags after I shop still using a convenience cart.

For me, no matter how bad a day in recovery is, it's still better than a normal day pre-replacements. I hold on to that in the hard times.
 

InkedMarie

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I wish you had heeded what you read about PT and not let aggressive PT take place. I hope things improve.
 
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Starsfan22

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@InkedMarie, I didn't find bonesmart until I was a month into PT and was finished at 6 weeks. I did refuse a couple of exercises at that point. Who in their right mind invented the lie on belly and hang legs off table? Cruel and unusual punishment.
 

InkedMarie

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@InkedMarie, I didn't find bonesmart until I was a month into PT and was finished at 6 weeks. I did refuse a couple of exercises at that point. Who in their right mind invented the lie on belly and hang legs off table? Cruel and unusual punishment.
I’m sorry....I read it that you read religiously before your TKR! So sorry. I tried the table thing once, actually my bed....nope.
 

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