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TKR LTKR April 1 - bending knee hurts

BBCG

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Indeed! That membership in the ODIC is WAAAY too easy to earn! I had a doc visit, then PT then walked about 1.2 miles two days ago and really paid for it that night, too! But, today was a light day, so doing better tonight...
 

doxiemom2017

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Ski Bike Hike Dude,
I have loved reading your recovery thread. All the forum interaction snd recovery stories have me smiling snd filled with hope for better knee days ahead!

Thank you and wishing you a continued good recovery journey.
 

FCBayern

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I know it feels slow to you @SkiBikeHikeDude, but 2 miles going slow is a fantastic place to be at just over 2 months into recovery.
 
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SkiBikeHikeDude

SkiBikeHikeDude

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Thanks Ghostpipe, doxiemom, FCBayern, BBCG and all. This recovery is so frustrating!! I've cut down my activity again for the past two days (going about life but no biking or extra walking) because my knee is acting up, and it still woke me up last night and I actually had to take a hydrocodone to go back to sleep! The good news is my functional ROM is staying good, but clearly something in my knee is not happy.

I had been planning to go to a nearby lake to camp this weekend, but have now cancelled that. Going wouldn't require a lot of car time or much extra activity, but I have been uncomfortable enough I want to stay home where it is easy to elevate and ice.

But, I REALLY have hopes of going on a canoe/paddle board camping trip in Grand Teton National Park on June 23. It would involve carrying equipment, paddling a canoe, and even a 75 yard portage from one lake to the next, then setting up tents and cooking and living mostly sitting on logs and sleeping on the ground. It would be hard to have ice for my knee, or to elevate my leg. It is beautiful there and not really a difficult trip for a healthy person, but I'm now worried my knee will act up and I'll be miserable with no good way to relieve symptoms.

Can I count on much change between week 10 and week 12 (in other words does healing ever speed up)? Thanks!
 
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MerlinWizard

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You aren't that much older than I and I think between us we probably could write a book on "how not to recover from knee replacement"!

I've done many BWCA trips and I am at 16 weeks out, I don't think I would be able to commit to doing one just yet. The portaging for me would be easy, regardless of the weight. It could be getting in and out of the canoe and sitting in the canoe for long stretches that would get me.

I can do long drives now relatively easily now but I have to stop and stretch every few hours. I couldn't see following a drive up and then taking on a BCWA trip the same day.

When we go in, it's about 4-6 hour trip in to the campsite. But, the first and last lake are rather large and I don't think I could canoe comfortably that long. There are also about 7 portages, the longest being about 125 yards. In the canoe, out of the canoe, I will wait until next May if I get the chance =).

The other thing to take into consideration is falling on a portage. Typically it isn't level and there are rocks and being that you are in that later range of bone healing (they say at least 8 weeks but up to 12), if you fall on that knee, it could be very bad. I fell on grass in week 8 and performed a MWA (not MUA) Manipulation Without Anesthesia on my right knee and bent so that my foot hit my butt! I wasn't concerned about bone damage because it was soft grass as much as I was in sheer whiteout pain for about 30 seconds. I don't recommend doing that!

I am pretty stubborn too and I am pretty sure I have pushed myself well beyond what I should have but I am no worse for the wear.

Whatever you do, do so within what your knee will allow without much pain and remember that it's still early days for us.
 

FCBayern

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I hate to be a wet blanket @SkiBikeHikeDude, but two weeks this early in recovery is not likely to make a big enough difference for that to be a comfortable trip. I’m sure you could do it but there will be a price. So the age old question, just because you can do something does that mean you should? Only you can answer that question.
 

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I wasn’t brave enough to be the first to answer your post, because my first reaction was no way! I may be a bit older than you, but am pretty sporty and game for anything, and have two healing knees, but even so would not contemplate an activity weekend now.
Things do speed up at week 10 onwards, but maybe from snail to tortoise speed only.
There’s lots of summer left, I keep telling myself when I want to go diving.
 

Sisterpat

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And you have the rest of your life to enjoy activities with your new, painless knee, so why take that chance? I could never attempt that all at this point with either knee, and my first one is over 4 months old. I know it’s difficult for you, but I would listen to the others and give it a pass this time around.
 

Jockette

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You are just recently better after a very rough time, it’s too early after that to attempt a trip like this.

I had a rough start in my recovery. I went away for a weekend at 4 months and It literally took me a month to recover from it. It was so not worth it.
 

Homemadesalsa

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Ok friend, I'm gonna tell you that the mental benefit is just as real as the physical penalty. It's gonna hurt and swell up, you're gonna have to rehab and ice more afterwards, but the freedom and the views have a very real healing power. Plus those lakes are so cold, stick your leg in the lake and it will shrink right down!
 
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BBCG

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You have so many friends here who care about you with such great insights! You will make the right call…whatever it is that you are “supposed” to do and take the consequences for, I dare say!

I also can understand wanting to get going; I’m kinda in the same boat. When my knee has healed, I’ll be ready for all of those now-missing activities! I’ll have a different dilemma then: my husband isn’t able to go with me… and may never be able to. So, then I’ve gotta wrestle with how to take care of me and still be fair to him! Not sure how we will resolve that, yet. I may get up super early like I used to… But, only you can decide if you don’t do something now, will you get another opportunity? I didn’t used to consider this, but I’ve learned now it needs to be one of my considerations.
 

liam2015

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Hi ~ you might want to look up a member here that I followed back in 2017, Kayaknlady. She was in her 70's, very physically fit before and after her bilateral TKR's and I was just reading one of her posts where she first went hiking, biking and kayaking within 3 months or so. She is very inspirational and I would say above average in her healing and her fitness level.

Obviously you will see how you feel a couple days before the trip, as to whether you will be able to handle it. You'll be in the interior, not so easy to get out if something happens to any of you, but if the trails are easy, you should be fine. Your friends will be able to help you if you need it getting in and out of the canoe. You'll know before you go whether you can do it or not. p.s. on her last post, she mentioned she won 1st place in a kayaking competition with 20 ad 30 y.o.'s at her 6 month post op update.
 
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GiantFinnegan

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Oh, SkiBikeHikeDude, I'm watching your recovery anxiously! You are a few weeks ahead of me, and similar to your canoeing trip, I want to go on a boating/camping trip about 12 weeks in to my recovery. My trip would involve carrying some gear, getting on/off a boat from the dock (climbing up and over the sides), getting from that boat into a zodiac for a bit, a shore landing in potentially rough seas (hopping onto the beach in a couple of feet of water with waves), then camping out on a rocky beach. I really want to go on this trip, but I'm at 4 weeks out right now and I feel like it's 50/50 on whether I'll be able to go at 12 weeks - and if I go, will I be so miserably in pain that I won't enjoy it?

Ugh, I hope we both get to go on these trips! But I keep telling myself that if it turns out that I can't go, it's all worth it, because the surgery means that I won't have to worry at all about doing trips like this in the future (I hope!)
 
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MerlinWizard

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Ok friend, I'm gonna tell you that the mental benefit is just as real as the physical penalty. It's gonna hurt and swell up, you're gonna have to rehab and ice more afterwards, but the freedom and the views have a very real healing power. Plus those lakes are so freakin cold, stick your leg in the lake and it will shrink right down!
This needs to be underscored!

Going in I knew the all about the physical pain, limitations and length of recovery. My GP mentioned the mental part, she didn't push it, just asked if I was ready for it being that I have a history of anxiety and she was worried about that. I was like - "I am good to go!".

No one talks to you about the mental roller coaster! I am not an emotional person when it comes to my own limitations or whatever. But - this surgery sure has gotten the best of me in that regard. Now, I am working on mental exercises when I want to do something that I know I can't.

Not being able to get on my knees and do things has really been tough. A lot of the things I do with my grand kids involves getting on my knees. Whether it be playing or putting up and taking down something - that has been really hard for me. My grand kids of course understand "why". I've managed pretty well putting up and taking down things without getting on my knees but otherwise if it isn't in the pool, I can't rough house with them like I want to.
 
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SkiBikeHikeDude

SkiBikeHikeDude

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Thanks for the great support and suggestions all! I really appreciate everyone's thoughts.

I saw my PT today and he said he feels the swelling and increased pain I'm experiencing is from too much time on my feet and too much walking around doing errands and ADLs. He highly recommends trying to cut back walking and time on my feet, replaced with more elevating and icing, for a couple weeks to see if we can get the swelling down. He feels the lake trip would set me back and slow down healing and recommends not going so I can heal faster and get back to activities sooner.

But, I also see real mental health benefits in being in such a beautiful place for a few days.

So...I've decided not to decide - yet:). I am stopping some home projects I was working on to see if I can get things going the right way (swelling and pain have been increasing for a few weeks now), and will ice and elevate even more. I'll see how I'm doing in a week or so.

For those who had surgery more recently and are wondering about their own recoveries, I think I'd be doing really well if we hadn't inadvertently put a tape tourniquet on my upper calf for 24 hours within the first week after surgery. I think a lot of my swelling is coming from that, and I still feel nerve issues in my lower leg and pain where the tape band was. So avoid hurting yourself and you should be ok to do things by 12 weeks or so!
 

liam2015

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That is sensible to "decide not to decide - yet". Could be that once you take a good rest, mostly off your feet, the swelling and pain will subside or at least lessen and you can experiment gradually with easy exercises.

You will improve and be stronger than before. It may take longer than you have anticipated ~ be patient, you will get there.
 
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SkiBikeHikeDude

SkiBikeHikeDude

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Taking it easy seems to be helping as my ROM before stretching yesterday was 119, and after stretching it was up to 125.

Interestingly the pain I feel now is not in the joint but in muscles and tendons nearby. My IT band is very tight, as is my hamstring. This feels like progress that my knee now bends enough and feels good enough that I am feeling all of the other issues in my leg.

I am trying to be careful and am still not walking for exercise but I'm up to 30-40 minutes of low resistance biking indoors at about 80 rpms, and do about 2000 steps a day or more. Both my PT and surgeon encourage me to ride (indoors for now) to keep blood flowing. If I can get inflammation down a bit more, hopefully my pain will be even less (I rarely take Tylenol anymore but there is still some pain) and I will be able to increase resistance and start to do some strength training. I am getting closer and closer to going back to more normal life.
 

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