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[BILATERAL TKR] Loving new knees!

possum65

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Hi everyone. I am exhausted! Had Right hip joint revision Oct 1018, Left hip joint revision six weeks
later, and Bilateral Total knees on March 4. Hips feel amazing now (they were failed metal on metal prostheses)
Compared to my hips surgeries, the knees are so much more painful! Taking regular Panadol and Celebrex which only just manages pain - anything opoid causes side effects of agitation and anxiety /restlessness.
I know I shouldn't compare the hip and knee surgeries, but at this stage after hips (day 12) I was able to fully mobilise comfortably and gently use my recumbent exercycle. The knees, no way. I just feel like lying around in my recliner, only getting up to get food and use the bathroom. As far as any exercise goes, all I am doing are gentle flexion movements a few times a day, and concentrating on walking properly, heel to toe as advised by my physiotherapist. Just all feels too hard. Is this OK?
 

Jockette

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As far as any exercise goes, all I am doing are gentle flexion movements a few times a day, and concentrating on walking properly, heel to toe as advised by my physiotherapist. Just all feels too hard. Is this OK?
Hi and Welcome to Bonesmart!

Yes, these activities are fine. You really don’t need anything more than that at this time.

I’ve never had a hip replacement but from what I understand the knees are different and more difficult.

I will leave you our Recovery Guidelines. Each article is short but very informative. Following these guidelines will help you have a less painful recovery.

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. At week 4 and after 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.
 

Celle

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Hello @possum65 - and :welome:

I'm sorry that no one warned you that recovery from a knee replacement is harder than recovery from a hip replacement - but it is, much harder. Knees are much more complex joints than hips, and so the work done on them is more extensive.
TKR or THR: which is more difficult surgery for recovery?

So, try to stop expecting your knees to recover as fast as your hips did - they can't.

It sounds as if your recovery is progressing normally for recovery from knee replacements.

Have another look at this article, which Jockette gave you in her post, and see what you should expect to be doing in the way of activity - it isn't very much yet:
Activity progression for TKRs

This is going to be a long recovery - as long as a full year for complete recovery of all your tissues, although you will be feeling much better long before that.
It will take a lot of patience, though.

One more thing: You've now had four major operations in less than 6 months and that is bound to take a toll on your energy. Most of that energy is now being directed towards healing your knees and your hips.
Energy drain for THRs
Energy drain for TKRs
Just exercise very gently, but rest as much as you can, so you give your body a chance to heal.

We'll be here to help you through this, so hang in here with us, read the articles, ask questions, talk to other people going through joint replacements.
 

maryo52

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The knees, no way. I just feel like lying around in my recliner, only getting up to get food and use the bathroom. As far as any exercise goes, all I am doing are gentle flexion movements a few times a day, and concentrating on walking properly, heel to toe as advised by my physiotherapist.
Perfection! That's exactly what you should be doing, that and icing many hours of the day, which will go a long ways toward pain control. I found that doing as little as possible (same as you) + the NSAIDs and tylenol worked very very well. I didn't have a hip replacement to start with like you did, I had a bad knee replacement recovery first so I had no where to go but up, and this one has been a picnic by comparison. I noticed a good change after 2 weeks, but every day there was some improvement. Try to focus on those little gains.
 
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possum65

possum65

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Thank you all so much for your helpful replies, much appreciated! OK, I see I am going to have to be very patient and kind to myself (not my forte) Obviously pushing myself is going to work against recovery, so I will just listen to my body. And stop the comparison with my hip surgeries!
 

Jockette

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You can vent to us any time you want to!
 
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possum65

possum65

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Thanks! Is a burning feeling on inside of knees normal. Skin ultra sensitive here, and feet feel hot and burning too.
 

Jolease

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This is a very hard recovery physically and mentally. I have a tough time also as I compare my last 2 surgeries to this one as well. Got to dig deep for patience and listen to our bodies. I wish you a very smooth recovery. Our new knees will get stronger as time goes on.
 
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possum65

possum65

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Thank you, it helps to have that message reinforced. I am very hard on myself and expect rapid results! Did a lot of physical therapy in the months prior to surgery, and naively assumed that my fitness would make it much easier.
 

NavyGunns

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@possum65, you are doing amazing for all you have been through in such a short time! Just think, it won’t be too long before those new bionic joints will be letting you go do things you haven’t been able to do for a long while!

Patience, that is a very important and very difficult part of TKR recovery. Keeping your BoneSmarty friends up to date on your progress, frustrations, and concerns will help. There is always someone on, no matter the time of day or night.
 

Jaycey

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Are you icing your knees? Ice will help ease all that burning, swollen feeling.
 
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possum65

possum65

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Are you icing your knees? Ice will help ease all that burning, swollen feeling.
Yes, icing twice daily for a minimum of 45 minutes. Front and back of knee. Wonderful relief.
 

NavyGunns

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@possum65, during my first 2-3 weeks recovery from PKR, I used a cryo machine and used it whenever I was sitting and elevating (which was pretty much all the time back then). I’d have it on for 30-45 mins or more then off for an equivalent time). As swelling got better and pain reduced, I’d extend the time between sessions.

After 3 weeks, I had to return the unit and moved to using freezer gel packs (flexible kind). I’d keep them on until they were no longer cold. Since I was up and about more by that time, I wasn’t icing quite as often, but usually whenever I’d spend any significant time in my recliner or bed, I’d have a gel pack on my knee.
 

skigirl

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I also agree that you could use ice a lot more that 2 45 minute sessions. I did very little the first three weeks or so after surgery, mostly lay on the sofa watching Downton Abbey and pride and Prejudice!!

Don't forget you have had four major surgerys in the past 12 months---that is a huge amount of anesthesia and stress on your body. I remember skiing one day and walking into the locker room and just feeling like I was going to fall over. I realized that I had had two major surgeries in 12 months---you have had twice that. No wonder you are tired!! Your body wants and needs rest---don't worry about fitness, you can regain that when you are healed from this surgery and have less fatigue.
 
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possum65

possum65

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I also agree that you could use ice a lot more that 2 45 minute sessions. I did very little the first three weeks or so after surgery, mostly lay on the sofa watching Downton Abbey and pride and Prejudice!!

Don't forget you have had four major surgerys in the past 12 months---that is a huge amount of anesthesia and stress on your body. I remember skiing one day and walking into the locker room and just feeling like I was going to fall over. I realized that I had had two major surgeries in 12 months---you have had twice that. No wonder you are tired!! Your body wants and needs rest---don't worry about fitness, you can regain that when you are healed from this surgery and have less fatigue.
Yes, I am starting to realise that 4 surgeries in just under 6 months has taken a toll. Because I bounced back quickly and smoothly from my hip revisions, I assumed I was fully healed, but I now understand the stress is actually cumulative and has caught up with me. I am going to relax and let my body work its magic. Going to take a while, but I am excited thinking about getting back to activities that my arthritis had stopped me enjoying. Thanks for the support everyone!
 
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possum65

possum65

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@rosieNZ I am a kiwi too! Had bilateral TKJR on March 4, 6+ weeks post - op now. Very similar story to yours re spinal and post op drugs. Also had Panadol and Celebrex, but not Tramadol , I just can't tolerate it. My recovery has been good, and I think frequent icing was the key. I used an Aircast, but have heard the GameReady is really good. I still take Celebrex and Panadol, should probably cut them down now. Had both hips done (revisions) 6 weeks apart before Xmas 2018, so I have been really tired. But - NO arthritis pain, yay!
 

rosieNZ

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Hi. How lovely to hear from you xxx
I can't believe how good I am. No pain. Occasional panadol and Celecoxib. Sometimes I overdo it (and dive back to ice!). Most of the time I am unaware of any knee problem at all. My first TKR 2 years ago was ugly with swelling ++++ It made me crazy to prevent that happening again.
Game Ready is a game changer. I think its the difference but how can you tell.
Aircast doesn't wrap around the knee (swelling at back of knee is a pain) and it doesnt compress as much but Im still using mine a few times per week (surgery 5th March). If I had my time again I would have kept GR longer!

How are you coping with bilateral?
 
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possum65

possum65

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@rosieNZ I am coping really well with bilaterals. So glad to have it over and done with, and so looking forward to getting back to the things I enjoy doing without pain. Yes, the Aircast has limitations, and I found that I needed to put a bag of frozen peas behind each knee when I was using it. I didn't know about GameReady until 3 weeks post surgery, sounds like the best option. I am certain that effective icing while elevating is crucial to recovery.
I am pain free, just have tightness when going up and down stairs mainly, and on waking and getting up from a chair.
My main issue is that I get tired easily, but I have had both hips and knees done in within 5 months. I just need patience! Looking forward to a full recovery, and I am grateful for my new parts!
 

Pumpkln

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@possum65 and @rosieNZ ,
You'll notice that I have moved your newest posts in another members pre op thread with possum65's original recovery thread. That way, we have all your information in one place, for your recovery journal. This also makes it easier to go back and review your history before providing advice.

So please post any updates, questions or concerns about your recovery here. If you prefer a different thread title, just post what you want and we'll get it changed for you.
If you need an urgent response to a question, just tag a member of staff.
How to tag another member; how to answer when someone tags you

Here are the instructions on finding your thread, How can I find my threads and posts? . Many members bookmark their thread, so they can find it when they log on.
 
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possum65

possum65

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Hi everyone, I am now 8 weeks post BTKR and 6 and 5 months post THR revisions. I am doing well, ROM 125/0 left knee, and 130/0 right knee. Have followed the Bonesmart approach to recovery, going to PT weekly for massage and gentle exercises No issues with swelling or pain, just that tight band, stiff feeling. Sleeping well now too. . I am doing more now, but honestly, vacuuming half the house, going up and down stairs 2-3 times and I am just exhausted. I was anaemic after the knee replacements, and am taking iron /vit C supplements. The fatigue is the limiting factor now, is that normal at this stage?
 

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