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[TKR] My Knee Odyssey<

Discussion in 'Knee Replacement Recovery Area' started by Murry, Jan 29, 2018.

  1. Gel-girl

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  2. Josephine

    Josephine FORUM ADMIN, NURSE DIRECTOR Administrator

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    I've done it for you.
     
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  3. AThom10731

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    @Murry While eating out, I ask to be seated at a booth. I scoot in on my good side, pivot my body towards my bad knee and elevate my leg using the remainder of the seat. Short people can do this. Hopefully this helps. If seated at a table I ask for a spare chair and place my leg on the spare chair.


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  4. Murry

    Murry junior member
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    UPDATE: Wish I had a more cheery update to share, but I’m nearly nine weeks out and continue to experience intense, boring, burning pain after I sit in a chair with my leg bent at any kind of normal angle. I can sit in a recliner but after 20 minutes in a non-reclining chair, the crampy pain begins in my knee. It steadily intensifies until at 30 minutes, it is a deep, boring, burning pain that is intolerable (and this with me still taking narcotic painkillers).

    I have ok ROM and flexion (not perfect, but improving) and am otherwise seeing slow improvements in strength and mobility. I discontinued formal PT two weeks ago and am just riding an exercise bike for 15 minutes most days and doing a little walking and mild stretching. I ice my knee off and on throughout the day.

    My friend who is a phys. therapist was over yesterday and I demonstrated my sitting problem. I tried to sit in an otherwise comfortable wingback chair and we set the timer. By 30 minutes, no matter how I positioned my leg or used cushions, I was writhing in pain. I could barely get up and walking was difficult for quite a while after that. She suspects bone pain and wonders if my surgeon should order some kind of scan to check for problems with the bone or replacement component.

    Any thoughts?
     
  5. Murry

    Murry junior member
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    I have a technical question: I keep trying to edit my profile info but when I go to that page, it tells me I don't have permission to edit the fields (even though I'm logged on). The main thing I need to change is that I am a female, not a male. Heavens, no, I'm not a male. My hubby (see pic left) would be horrified. Can you please change this for me or tell me how I can change it?
     
  6. Jockette

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    9 weeks is still very early in your recovery and having the pain you describe while sitting with your foot on the floor is par for the course. As you heal it will get better.

    It was maybe 4 months before I was comfortable in that position briefly, and even still when I’m sitting with my feet on the floor I have to have my foot out so my knee has much less of a 90 degree angle.

    For a long time I would take my cane to a restaurant and prop my foot up on it, just to “elevate” it even that much.
     
  7. Murry

    Murry junior member
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    Thanks for responding, Jockette (a username I can certainly relate to as I played many sports, especially tennis, for all my life until my knees wore out when I was in my late 30s). I've tried propping up my leg, as you suggested, but there just isn't an angle that keeps that awful pain from setting in, unless I am also reclined. This is making it impossible for me to go out anywhere, unless it is to a friend's house where I know I can sit in a reclined position. I am blessed that I can write my newspaper column from home, but I am really getting frustrated and sad about this soul-draining pain and the limitations it is placing on my life. I know in the big scheme nine weeks isn't long, but both my surgeon and PT friend say they've never seen anyone with my particular issue -- or at least not to this extent. That's the part that is scaring me a bit. The thought of possibly enduring more medical torture and mayhem to fix this is ... well, I can't go there.
     
  8. Jockette

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    I think what you are feeling is more common than what your doctor and friend have told you. Please try not to worry.

    I still have issues sitting with my feet on the floor, and often it’s the chair itself that is the issue. Some are too high and some have too long a seat. But it’s getting better for me. I still prefer sitting with my feet up on an ottoman!

    I have learned that surgeons are very skilled at installing our implant but didn’t bother going to the class in medical school about swelling and recovery! Often their advice about recovery doesn’t help us at all. I could list examples from my surgeon but I won’t.

    And I think many physical therapists have not trained specifically to rehab knee replacements, which are very different from a sports injury.
     
  9. Jockette

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  10. SusieShoes

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    What Jockette is telling you is on target: every recovery is unique and what you are feeling is most likely nothing to worry about. It’s still a good idea to have your surgeon check out your implant, to set your mind at rest and also to rule out a problem. Keep in mind, though, that at your stage of recovery it’s not unusual at all to feel pain in a knee that’s been in a sitting position.

    I had two knees done at the same time, and both of them would yammer at me when I sat at the table for too long. What constituted “too long” was as little as 10 minutes in the first month, to a half hour at two to three months, to 45 minutes to an hour at four months. I would move my legs under the table, try lifting and bending in different positions, and rub them to try to help, but the pain would always set in. I’m 9 months out now and can sit for a couple hours or more and only be a little stiff when rising. What I’m getting at is the pain will get less and less as your knee heals.

    Surgeons and PTs are well-meaning, but unless they’ve worked extensively with the recovery side of TKR, they may not have “heard it all.” In fact, chances are especially good that surgeons haven’t, simply because they see patients infrequently post-surgery and might not have heard about all the ups and down between those appointments. At my six week appointment, I just told my OS I was thrilled with my knees and never mentioned any of the things I wrote about here!
     
  11. Jockette

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    Funny story:

    I am not the least athletic and never have been!

    A couple of years ago I joined a bowling league, which I have come to love, and for some reason I had more ball speed than my friends. Most of them are between 4-7 miles an hour where mine was 10-11 miles an hour. My one friend says to me, “you’re such a jock. No, a jockette!” :rotfl:

    At about 12 weeks post up I carefully started bowling again and within about a month I was back to bowling 3 games twice a week. My average is still lower than before surgery and I still get too many gutter balls, and my speed is usually 6-something, occasionally 7- ish, but I’m having fun. (as long as I don’t get well meaning men give me “constructive criticism.” I need a shirt that says “if I want your advice I will ask for it! :bignono: I know what to do, pardon me for not being able to execute it!)
     
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  12. Josephine

    Josephine FORUM ADMIN, NURSE DIRECTOR Administrator

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    I would tend to think this is neuropathy rather than bone pain, an opinion supported by your report that the general run of pain meds don't affect it. For this you need gabapentin or pregabalin. I suggest you report this to your surgeon or your GP to get this medication.
     
  13. Murry

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    Thanks Josephine! I am starting on Neurontin today and praying it both helps us diagnose and fix my pain problem. I am worn out from 10 weeks of unrelenting intense pain and an unresponsive surgeon who is such a perfectionist, he can’t seem to handle atypical recoveries like mine.

    I’m concerned that he only has me on Neurontiin to see if it's nerve pain and he has stopped prescribing any pain medication. I can’t imagine that neurontin will eliminate all the pain and I was just beginning to be able to go out and enjoy life a bit.
     
  14. mlwreader

    mlwreader senior

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    @Murry One thing I noticed in your posting is that you are on the bike 15 minutes a day. That was a red flag for me. About four or maybe six weeks go I was experiencing intense pain and fairly sharp zingers, and another member on this forum mentioned that I might want to dial back the time on the exercise bike. I was doing 10 - 15 minutes, and he suggested I go back to 2 mins with no resistance. And you know what? My pain and discomfort got a lot better. Might you want to try that as well? Can't hurt, right? Anyway, glad you are here and posting.
     
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  15. Josephine

    Josephine FORUM ADMIN, NURSE DIRECTOR Administrator

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    It's quite usual to stop all other pain meds for a few days in order to ensure it really is neuropathy. You can always start them again if it proves not to be the case.
     
  16. Murry

    Murry junior member
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    Thanks so much for your response, Josephine! It’s reassuring to know that discontinuing pain meds while trying gabapentin is standard procedure. I thought my surgeon was just being uncompassionate ... because well, let’s just say he’s definitely NOT like Mother Theresa in every way :) ... but it’s good to know I can stop ranting about him in my head today. Praying the gabapentin helps and that I avoid the dozens of scary potential side effects.
     
  17. Murry

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    Update at week 10: I’ve been on gabapebtin (Neurontin) for five days now and I think it’s helping ease the sharp, boring pains I was experiencing deep in my knee (felt like it was in the bones).

    I cut back to half the pain med I’ve been prescribed. I was able to sit with my foot down for longer today at church, which is a major victory (applause). Then I walked slowly on our treadmill for 20 minutes and used the exercise bike for 10 minutes. Afterwards, I definitely needed to ice it and was getting these sudden “zingers” of pain shooting in my bones/knee joint again.

    Used the tens unit on my quad muscle and that helped. I’m wired to love sports so it was mighty good for my spirits to use the treadmill and bike. I’ve also been doing some light weightlifting work with my arms to make me feel like I’m doing something athletic.

    I’m encouraged by the Neurontin results and praying this s-l-o-w and long recovery can speed up now. I’m tired of being in the slow lane!
     
  18. sistersinhim

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    I'm sorry to say that nothing will speed up your recovery. It takes as long as your knee wants it to take. It's not the exercising that gets you your ROM, it's time. Time to recover, time for swelling and pain to settle and time to heal.

    One thing that seems to be missing from all the PT's protocols is that all your ROM is there right from the start, just waiting for all that to happen so it can show itself. In the general run of things, it doesn't need to be fought for, worked hard for or worried about. It will happen. Too much exercise is counter-productive and in the early weeks does more harm than good. Normal activity is the key to success.
     
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  19. Murry

    Murry junior member
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    How long would you all (all forum users who read this) consider the "early weeks of recovery" to be? I know I'm impatient about this process and need to be careful not to push too hard or overdo, but it seems like 11 weeks out isn't early anymore. Am I thinking wrong about this? One thing I do love about this forum is that it encourages impatient types like me to be more patient, but I've had 12 orthopedic surgeries now and am pretty indoctrinated in the typical PT/orthopedic surgeon time frames. It's hard to reorient my brain to lay off exercise and not push myself. Thoughts?
     
  20. sistersinhim

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    11 weeks out is less than 1/3 of the way of a year long healing. So, I'd say you are still in the early days. Once you hit 6 months and the halfway point, then I think you'd be out of the early days. If patience doesn't come to a person naturally, then this recovery will certainly try and teach that very thing!
     

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