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Bilateral TKR Look Mom, No Crutches!

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Mrs. Ciz

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Today it is 4 weeks since my double knee replacement surgery. Recovery has been much harder than I thought it would be, but my attitude is still positive even though I have good days and bad days. Sleeping comfortably at night is really hard, and I’m exhausted. But after 4 nights of not sleeping and 2 nights of taking 9mg of melatonin, last night I finally SLEPT!!!! Victory!!!

I can do little things like go downstairs and make myself lunch, but showering, washing my hair, dressing, and getting ready makes me so shaky I have to stop and rest. I’m still using a shower chair for those longer showers, but I’m able to stand on my own for the quick rinse showers. My scars are healing well, and I am making progress with PT. I can now walk with just one crutch; my extension is only a couple degrees away from normal, and my flexion is 105 degrees (needs to get to 115-125). My balance and strength are also much improved. I’ve even lost 10 pounds since surgery thanks to the delicious healthy meals brought over by so many wonderful friends.

The absolute hardest part has been trying to taper off the pain meds while I’m still in pain. Ice and Tylenol are just not enough most days, and I’ve been rationing my meds for this whole last week. I have my 4 week follow up appointment with my surgeon tomorrow. We’ll discuss pain med refills then. My left leg gets stiff, sore and heavy, but there is not really pain. However, I am still struggling with behind the knee pain - which radiates to my calf, shin, and foot - in my right knee. My therapist can even feel the muscle knots in my right lower leg when I’m having a bad day. I know I’m supposed to move more in order to feel better, but when I’m having a bad day painwise and don’t have enough meds, it’s hard to even walk because I just want to stay iced and elevated all day long. This past Thursday was really bad, so I skipped my home exercises on Friday and Saturday and only did walking in order to recover. Then even though my legs felt better, I felt guilty for skipping 2 days. I’m really hoping I turn the corner soon.

So please keep me in your prayers for pain, sleep, and continued progress. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the advice and support!
 
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Just on last update after PT today. I told my therapist that the 8 min bike warm up last week kicked my butt for 2 days following PT. So we backed it down to 5 minutes today. I also showed him again where the pain behind the right knee was because the biking aggravated it again. He spent a lot of time massaging my right knee and lower leg. He told me that my hamstring is very tight, and that is what is causing the behind the knee pain in the right leg, which is also holding my right knee recovery back. I don’t have this problem with my left leg at all. He gave me two new stretches/exercises to do to help my tight hamstring. The walking backwards exercise (focusing on toe then heel, and stretching the heel) instantly made a difference in the back of knee pain. I am so excited that we finally figured out what the issue is and now have steps to address it!!!! Come on right leg, catch up to my left leg please!!!!
 

leejaa

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How wonderful to find something that is helping. Who would have thought walking backwards is the answer when all we want is to keep moving forward. I hope you have a peaceful night.
 
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I have a question about home PT exercises. I’m 4.5 weeks post op for bilateral TKR. The home exercises started out small (3 sets of 5 exercises like sitting & lying heel slides, leg lifts, passive stretches). At week 2, a few more leg lift exercises and 2 standing exercises got added for a total of 2 sets of 11 different exercises. This week my therapist added 3 very badly needed hamstring stretches. So now I’m up to 2 sets of 14 exercises a day. Because there are so many now, I do 2 or 3 exercises every time I get up to walk. And I do all 14 every day, but sometimes I don’t do a second set of every single exercise though. I’m kind of focusing on the hamstring stretches and the different types of heel slides. I’m I short changing myself?
 

kneeper

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Sounds good to me. If you run through all of these across the day (and the knee doesn't object) I think you're doing well. The knee will really be your guide.
 

leejaa

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You are not short changing yourself. You are listening to your body and your knee and doing what works for you. Sounds like you are doing great so early in the recovery journey. Have a peaceful evening.
 

Klassclown321

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Today it is 4 weeks since my double knee replacement surgery. Recovery has been much harder than I thought it would be, but my attitude is still positive even though I have good days and bad days. Sleeping comfortably at night is really hard, and I’m exhausted. But after 4 nights of not sleeping and 2 nights of taking 9mg of melatonin, last night I finally SLEPT!!!! Victory!!!

I can do little things like go downstairs and make myself lunch, but showering, washing my hair, dressing, and getting ready makes me so shaky I have to stop and rest. I’m still using a shower chair for those longer showers, but I’m able to stand on my own for the quick rinse showers. My scars are healing well, and I am making progress with PT. I can now walk with just one crutch; my extension is only a couple degrees away from normal, and my flexion is 105 degrees (needs to get to 115-125). My balance and strength are also much improved. I’ve even lost 10 pounds since surgery thanks to the delicious healthy meals brought over by so many wonderful friends.

The absolute hardest part has been trying to taper off the pain meds while I’m still in pain. Ice and Tylenol are just not enough most days, and I’ve been rationing my meds for this whole last week. I have my 4 week follow up appointment with my surgeon tomorrow. We’ll discuss pain med refills then. My left leg gets stiff, sore and heavy, but there is not really pain. However, I am still struggling with behind the knee pain - which radiates to my calf, shin, and foot - in my right knee. My therapist can even feel the muscle knots in my right lower leg when I’m having a bad day. I know I’m supposed to move more in order to feel better, but when I’m having a bad day painwise and don’t have enough meds, it’s hard to even walk because I just want to stay iced and elevated all day long. This past Thursday was really bad, so I skipped my home exercises on Friday and Saturday and only did walking in order to recover. Then even though my legs felt better, I felt guilty for skipping 2 days. I’m really hoping I turn the corner soon.

So please keep me in your prayers for pain, sleep, and continued progress. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the advice and support!
Id be careful with the tylenol you shouldnt be taking more the 3,000 mg a day. Not good for your liver!
 

Celle

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As long as you spread your exercises out over the day, that's probably all right. Just don't get trapped into doing two long exercise sessions each day.

If your PT keeps adding exercises, have a talk to him and suggest that for each exercise he adds, he cuts one exercise off your schedule.
 

Celle

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Id be careful with the tylenol you shouldnt be taking more the 3,000 mg a day. Not good for your liver!
It's safe to take up to 4,000 mg of Tylenol per day, as long as you keep track of all your medications and account for all the Tylenol/Acetaminophen/Paracetamol in them. For example, each tablet of Hydrocodone contains 5 mg of Hydrocodone and 325 mg of Tylenol. Many medications for colds and flu also contain Tylenol.

The US FDA has recommended 3,000 mg per day as the safe maximum dose for Tylenol, because of their concern that people may not check their other medications for Tylenol.
Other countries, such as the UK, Australia and NZ, have a recommended safe daily dose of 4,000 mg per day.
 
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As long as you spread your exercises out over the day, that's probably all right. Just don't get trapped into doing two long exercise sessions each day.

If your PT keeps adding exercises, have a talk to him and suggest that for each exercise he adds, he cuts one exercise off your schedule.
This is a really good idea! Thank you.
 
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Yes, I take 2 Tylenol every 6 hours except for when I take a hydrocodone. Then I only take 1.5 Tylenol to account for the 3.25 in the hydrocodone.
 
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Now that I am done with my 30 days on blood thinners (Xarelto), I am allowed to take Advil. I started taking it, along with Tylenol, today. I have to say, I think the Advil may make me feel better than the Tramadol does! I’m very excited about this!
 

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I did well alternating Tylenol and ibuprofen. Just be sure to always eat something when you take medication.

Here’s a tip about using the quote feature, it’s not necessary to quote entire posts. It is more for singling out a specific line or two that you’d like to address, especially when you respond in the very next post.

 
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Quick question -
Even though I wear socks, my poor little feet are getting so cold they ache. Is this normal?
 

Jockette

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I am rarely cold, but I was for a while after this surgery. It’s fairly common.
 

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My surgery was in June but I would have to go outside in 90+ degrees to get warm. I think the icing had a lot to do with it. Some have suggested a heated throw. I will buy one before my next TKR.
 

leejaa

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Normally I don't wear socks and am barefoot all the time but after the surgeries I would wear the skidproof booties (thick ones I ordered on Amazon) all the time including at night. I normally hate anything on my feet plus I would have a blanket over them. If they are that uncomfortable you can throw a heating pad over them for a brief period or put on heavier winter socks warm from the dryer.
 
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If they are that uncomfortable you can throw a heating pad over them for a brief period or put on heavier winter socks warm from the dryer.
I’m going to try using the heating pad. Last night my husband rubbed my feet. Just the heat of his hands made them feel better, so I think a heating pad would feel really good.
 
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7 weeks post op tomorrow! I’m walking around my house and around the PT clinic with no crutches now. I still bring one crutch with me everywhere I go in case I get tired or sore, but the only times I really need the crutch is when I first get out of bed when the knees need movement to loosen up.

I’ve also gotten through the last two nights without taking any pain meds to sleep! This is huge! I’m not sleeping through the night yet. I still have to get up, loosen up the knees and reposition every 1.5 to 2 hours because I get sore being in one position. But since I started taking melatonin, I’m able to fall back asleep pretty easily after I get in a new position.

I’m not really worried about extension now as I’m within 5 degrees of zero. But I’ve stalled out the last 3 weeks with flexion. I’m still 105L and 100R. I’m really ready for these numbers to start moving again!

Mods - Will you please change my title to:
Look Mom, No Crutches!

Thank you!
 

leejaa

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You are doing great for 7 weeks. Very smart to carry the one crutch along when away from home. Sleep was always the hardest for me to achieve and then suddenly there it was I slept for longer periods.

As you get more active there is internal inflammation that causes swelling which may make flexion more difficult. I hope you are continuing to elevate and ice regularly as it will help with the inflammation. Also make sure when icing it is for 45-60 minutes. My basic plan was always to ice when sitting, reclining or laying down.
 

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