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[TKR] My Personal Recovery Insights

Discussion in 'Knee Replacement Recovery Area' started by tool guy, Jan 12, 2019.

  1. tool guy

    tool guy new member
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    I recently had a TKR on both knees (1st 9/11/18 and the second 8 weeks later 11/8/18) due to 50 years of abusing them with sports, a physical job and too many squats in the gym.
    I had put off the procedures for 5 years due to fear of surgery, and had dealt with constant pain and frequent knee collapses while walking. the inner portion of the meniscus was totally gone on both knees and they were grinding bone on bone.
    I wish I had found this forum sooner, it has been a great source of real world information instead of the boiler plate TKR websites that are out there.
    The biggest point is that everyone's recovery and recovery track is different. what works for most may not work for others!!!
    1st procedure RTKR: a total disaster!
    1. I stayed in the hospital 2.5 days, and the bed and sleeping position ignited a sciatica attack, OMG!
    2. The in home PT arrived the same day as my release and had me doing deep squats, weighted leg lifts and similar exercises. my knee down to my foot turned into what I would describe as a pork shoulder that would feed 50 people.
    3. the pain became excruciating from that point lasting until the epidural for the second procedure that I almost backed out of!!
    4. I went to outpatient PT at 6 days post discharge, he told me to come back in a week and started light stretching with no exerting exercises. the sickening swelling disappeared and I was able to start working on my recovery.
    2nd procedure: what a difference!
    1. I discharged myself the morning after the procedure while the nerve block was still effective.
    2. at home PT showed up within 24 hours, when after explaining what happened last surgery he insisted on doing the heavy exercises, I unceremoniously showed him the door and told him not to return.
    3. immediately went to my outpatient PT that I came to trust and have been going 3x a week with great results.
    65 days post 2nd op: (at this same point none of this was possible with the 1st)
    walking 2 miles with no issues, taking the 6 flights of stairs at my apartment instead of the elevator, SLEEPING THE NIGHT! riding my bike, I have very minimal swelling even after a day at work and a PT session. (I was able to return at 6 weeks)
    My own recovery was different from most but some can relate.
    Opioids did nothing for my pain: I found acetaminophen in combo with ibuprofen worked better than any narcotic. (yes you can take both and in the EU is very common at the chemists)
    Ice did not work. made me completely stiff and unable to bend my knee. elevation was key. 5 minutes of heat before PT made everything easier to move.
    I found a PT I could trust, one who understands that everyone is different. So many times he said "that looks like it hurts, STOP! lets try something different".

    The point is do what works for YOU! I found that out the hard way.
     
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  2. Jockette

    Jockette FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    Hi and Welcome to Bonesmart!

    Isn’t it so great when we find the right combination that works for us! I’m glad you took control of your recovery, many of us don’t realize we do have a say in how things go.

    Every new member gets their own copy of our Recovery Guidelines. Each article is short but very informative. Following these guidelines will help you have a less painful recovery.

    Knee Recovery: 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

    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.
     
  3. maryo52

    maryo52 FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    Good information. I do like the icing. My first TKR had totally inadequate icing, and I paid the price. This time I've been in the polar ice unit (wrap around cuffs with cold water pumped through) most of the time, pretty much abolishes the pain. Did you have the same surgeon for both?
     
  4. tool guy

    tool guy new member
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    I did have the same surgeon for both procedures. He was very supportive and actually listened to me when I had questions or concerns. He also has a great bedside manner. I referred him to a few people and they liked him as well.
    I had some issues with icing that it would actually get painful after about 15 minutes like I froze the prosthetic in my knee.
     
  5. Pumpkln

    Pumpkln FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    Rather than Icing, you can try cold packs from the refrigerator. They will be cool not freezing.
    Glad you found a PT who works for you and respects your limits.
     
  6. maryo52

    maryo52 FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    I have a polar ice unit. We use bottles of frozen water as ice. I can control how cool it is by how many bottles I put in. I do know what you mean about too much cold. My surgeon had OK bedside manner as long as you don't ask questions. He actually had a meltdown in pre-op, said I was th most difficult patient he's had in years, and wasn't sure he would do the surgery. I had it anyway and am glad I did. His skill, not his personality, is what I needed.
     
  7. sistersinhim

    sistersinhim FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    I never heard of a doctor reacting this way. What in the world did you ask him?
    I'm so glad his skill outweighs his personality!
     

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