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TKR Livingston's (Cam's) Recovery Thread

Livingston

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Hi All
Well, it's day 14 for me and I get my staples out tomorrow (yay!). I must say the first couple of weeks have been long but (thanks to this site) nothing really came as a surprise.
The swelling/bruising is going down and my ROM is good...it would be better but the swelling in the actual joint persists while swelling everywhere else is diminishing.

As for pain, it is there...more of a constant ache (frustration) than any real acute pain. It tends to be a distraction, meaning I can't REALLY enjoy reading my book or watching a movie. IMHO, I suspect this is a contributor to people feeling "down" after surgery. I tend to compare things using the week before as a reference, so I am happy with the pain progress (for lack of a better word). I am taking the occasional Tylenol 3 (usually at night) but trying to wean myself off of them.

I have been keeping up with my exercises but I am really following the recommendations of this website...I am letting my knee dictate the regiment. If my knee starts hurting, I slow down or stop altogether. I am in fairly good shape so I am focusing on ROM rather than strength (for now). I am able to walk around the house and climb/descend stairs without the use of an aid and am taking increasingly longer strolls outside (I still take a cane with me). I am showering without a bench but still need the raised toilet. The limp is certainly there but I am concentrating on my gait.

One thing I am doing regularly throughout the day is ICING (and elevation). I bought a "Cold Rush" Ice Therapy Machine and it has been absolute GOLD! Aside from pain killers, this has been the one thing that has really made the last couple of weeks bearable. It is easy to use, quiet and effective. One god batch of ice will serve for several icing sessions throughout the day. I began with longer (45 minute) sessions immediately after surgery but now I average 20 minutes/session.

I am in COMPLETE AND TOTAL agreement with most posters on this site....sleeping sucks! I hate sleeping on my back and (as yet) can't find a comfortable position on my side. I tend to only catch an hour or so and then wake up, shift around due to the "ache" until I eventually fall asleep for another hour or so. If I get 5 hours of sleep that would be a good night...this has happened only once. Mentally, I feel a bit exhausted. I have nodded off during the day but only briefly.

I would like to thank everyone on this forum. I have been perusing it each day and I have found information everyone has provided to be invaluable. Particularly the "hang in" bits, letting us newbies know that there is in fact light at the end of the tunnel. I'm still early in but am very happy to have chosen this path...no pain no gain, eh? :) I'm keen to see how the next few weeks go and I will post again if anything profound happens.

Cheers
Cam (Livingston)

P.S. Not that I recommend TKR as a diet aid, but I have lost 30 lbs preparing (working out/diet) for surgery as well as a reduced appetite after. I am at my age 35 weight and that is amazing!! What a side benefit!
 

luvcats

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It tends to be a distraction, meaning I can't REALLY enjoy reading my book or watching a movie.
This was definitely a problem for me in early days. I wound up watching a lot of streaming tv shows that are absolutely not to my normal taste. I just couldn't follow anything really meaty. I recommend "Canadian Gas" as a pleasantly amusing and fluffy show to help you through the last part of the really horrible days.

Although, I found week 3 the hardest because I started to feel better, but I still couldn't really do anything and that's when I got bored. I've learned to knit specifically so I won't have that trouble next time.

I envy you the weight loss! I never lost my appetite a bit. Enjoy your side benefit.
 

Roy Gardiner

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Sounds like you don't need these, but everyone gets their own copy...

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
elevate
ice
take your pain meds by prescription schedule (not when pain starts!)
don't overwork.
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. Here is a week-by-week guide for 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.
 

sistersinhim

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Just noticed how many posters actually post in the wee hours...the world is full of sleep-deprived knee replacement zombies:yawn:
That's what's so good about Bonesmart, someone is always here 24 hours a day. I slept like you did, up and down. I wake up and come to the recliner and pull up Bonesmart and chit chat with others. Soon, I'd fall asleep in the recliner. When waking up from there, I'd go back on here and find others to find comfort with. 24 hours a day someone is always here!
 

LindaO

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It sounds like you have had a good start and were prepared for what you would be experiencing. You seem to be handling it well! Congratulations on that! Do keep us posted on your progress. As you say, it helps those of us experiencing it or to be experiencing it soon! Best of luck!
 
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Livingston

Livingston

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Well, I am on Day 17...had my staples out on Friday and my check-up went well. My ROM is not bad (97 and -3)...I should note that I am not strenuously doing exercises, more letting the knee heal and give me what it can...I do heel pushes for 5 minutes three times a day but not really too much leg straightening...I'm following the "gravity" method, simply letting gravity do what it does and pull my knee down. I had issues with PT's in past surgeries and, even though I have now been directed to begin with one, I am in no hurry...later on they can help me with ROM if I need it. So far, I'm not sure I do. I am walking well around the house without an aid. Practicing heel to toe steps but the swelling in the joint still prevents a good natural stepping motion. I still take a cane with me on my outdoor strolls which I'm trying to increase distance a bit each time. Have been able to go up stairs using my new knee (VERY carefully and not too many). Been pleasantly surprised with the lack of pain when I put full pressure walking on my new knee. When my knee starts aching it actually helps to get up and walk around. The "iron strap" feeling is always there but I had it many times with previous surgeries so it's not really bothering me too much...that's a lie, I want it gone ASAP, but I have come to terms that I will have it for a bit more.

Sleeping still sucks (mostly on my back), although I am now able to go short durations on my side with a pillow between my legs). I am now down to one or two Tylenol 3's/day and only if aching gets tedious...will be moving to regular Tylenol soon. Still elevating and icing often (approx. 8 times/day) and I feel this is really helping.

I'm going to head in to the office for a bit on Tuesday and see how that works (how long before I need to get ice on it).

Again, I am very thankful for this site. Fortunately, I was able to get insight prior to my surgery and have directed the flow of my rehab. I do believe that not pushing anything has made this recovery easier, although I'm sure each person has to evaluate their own progress. I do see people having more issues than I seem to be having and I truly hope they improve quickly.

Looking forward to what week 4 will bring.
Cheers
Cam
 
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Livingston

Livingston

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I'm now on Day 24 and my mobility has increased significantly. I can now walk without an aid (although I still bring the cane for longer walks) and can walk over 1 km. Knee is still swollen and stiff but continues to improve. When I am sitting or lying and the aching gets a bit to bothersome I actually find getting up and walking around makes it feel better. Absolutely no pain when I put full pressure on my knee.

I still have to shift around when I try to sleep but now can lie on my side and this has improved my sleeping greatly. Getting a good 6 -7 hours/night.

As for pain, again it is just the constant dull ache within the knee rather than any real acute pain. This, coupled with the swelling makes it frustrating as I, like everyone I'm sure, just want it to go away. I stopped taking the Tylenol 3's on September 1st and have only needed a couple of regular Tylenol since.

My ROM is good and I'm going to my first PT tomorrow...hopefully they will help with strengthening rather than focusing on ROM.

Still icing and elevating any time I feel the knee stiffen up. Incision is healing well. All in all I am happy with my recovery to date.

Cheers
Cam
 

kneeper

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Sounds like you're doing great. Just listen to the knee regarding your activity. Although you're doing well, it can be easy to overdo on strengthening this early. Mostly it comes pretty naturally as you're able to increase activity.
 
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Livingston

Livingston

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Good points Kneeper and believe me I will be heeding them...so far my recovery has been due to me not really doing anything but listening to my knee...only trying what it allows. I refuse to push things and will make sure my PT understands that...this is my 9th surgery on this knee so I know a little bit about regaining ROM by letting the knee heal.
 
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Livingston

Livingston

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Day 31 and all is going well (touch wood). I am walking more without an aid and less limping. I have been back to work (office) since last Monday and leg isn't aching like it did before...much more comfortable while I'm at my desk. ROM is coming along well...spending less time on the formal exercises and more time working my ROM throughout the day in various situations...spent 15 minutes on the elliptical today (Yay!) at 7 incline 7 resistance (1500 paces). Knee felt great and it was good to start exercising again. Will now be making it a daily routine. I am not pushing anything and continue to let my knee dictate my activities. Still some swelling and stiffness but I am finding it much easier to manage. Am off the "Cold Rush" icing machine and now only need a quick wrap once in a while. Sleeping much better as I can now sleep on either side. Enjoying daily showers and the occasional bath now. Can put on socks and shoes without aids.
 

Jamie

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Just a bit of caution for you on the elliptical. Your soft tissues and bones are still healing inside even though everything looks good on the outside. It takes at least another month for that cycle to complete. Please resist the temptation to start strength training (which is what you're doing on the elliptical at the levels you've set) until that healing is complete. You may be fine, but it also can cause you problems. The fact that you still have some swelling and stiffness indicates that you have inflammation in your knee still. If you use the elliptical machine, I suggest you do so without resistance and incline until you're past this stage. If you have any swelling or pain in the 24-48 hours afterwards, stop the exercise because your body is not ready for it just yet. I also suggest you not do it daily, at least for now, to allow your body a "rest and recoup" day in between the exercise. You are still very much in a healing mode.

Please read this article that was left for you in your general recovery guidelines and you'll see more of what I'm talking about in terms of your healing process.

Healing: how long does it take?
 
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Livingston

Livingston

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Thanks Jamie
I'm going in for my 6 week evaluation with my OS next week. I'll slow down a bit until then.
 
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Livingston

Livingston

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Hi All
Just over 7 weeks and things are great. Had my six week evaluation with my OS and everything good...I'm happy - he's happy. My ROM is 120 and can straighten out completely. I took Jamie's advice and switched to my spin cycle instead of elliptical (my OS agreed). Am doing 20 minutes/day (10 km) as well as plenty of walking. No limp and very little pain. There is still a bit of stiffness but that is expected. For the most part, unless I'm walking or working the knee I actually forget I had the surgery, something I have to be careful about as I am still healing. Bottom line is that my knee is much better than it was pre-surgery and I can only look forward to further improvement.

This will be my last entry in this forum. I do realize that many are still facing challenges, even those that had their surgery before me. I wish all of you the very best in the future.

Thanks to all of you...this is a great forum.

Cam
 

Jaycey

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@Livingston All the best to you Cam! You have had a stellar recovery and will continue to see improvement. Stop by once in awhile to update.
 

Celle

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Best wishes for your continued good progress, @Livingston .
I'm glad everything has gone so well for you.
 
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Livingston

Livingston

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Hi All
It has now been 7 months since my surgery and I couldn't be happier...can walk as far as I want with no pain, work out on elliptical, spin cycle and rower daily, and have near normal ROM. Still feel it when I try to bend knee too far but apart from that things are good. Have been scuba diving and hiking and can't wait for the snow to leave so I can go biking and fly fishing. For me, this has been the best decision I (and my OS) have made. I still find myself being careful on stairs, slippery surfaces and situations where I fear I will torque the knee, but I think this is simply a healthy respect for potential risks to my new knee....I hope I never lose that! To everyone still recovering with pain, tightness, etc., hang in there and to everybody, please stay safe and healthy.

Cam
 

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