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TKR Odd sensations

WomanOfGrace

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I had my right TKR on October 1st. My 6 week check up and X-rays showed everything where it is supposed to be. I've just finished my formal PT. My ROM is 126 unassisted and 128 with a push from the PT. Everyone says I am doing great. I don't feel that way. I have that tight band feeling from one side of the knee across the front to the other side. Sometimes I feel like it's going away, then it comes back. Inflammation, weakness? I also still have a lot of numbness on the outer part of the knee down into my calf. A lot of stiffness and some days very sore and achey. I also have this feeling of hardness in the front of the knee. Like I can suddenly really feel the knee cap. And, I find if I sit for too long in one position, when I get up the knee feels like it wants to give out a bit. PA at the doc's office says it's not the actual joint, but due to the stiffness. I am confused. Has anyone else experienced this? Is my leg just still regaining strength? I developed sciatica in the operated leg from sitting too much and walking funny. Originates in the butt. When that spasms, I get shooting that skips the thigh, goes to the outside of the knee and down the calf. That makes the knee even stiffer when it happens. I've read here that full recovery is an entire year, but I am concerned.
 
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sistersinhim

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Welcome to Bonesmart. It sounds like you are doing quite well for being less than 3 months out. That numbness is a common reaction to this surgery. It will eventually go away. The tightness is swelling. You might not see it, but there's still lots of swelling inside that small knee capsule. That makes it feel stiff and tight.

The following are our basic guidelines and should help get you started. As you read more on other members recovery threads, you’ll get a better perspective of what to expect and what not to do, especially regarding PT.

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
ice
take your pain meds by prescription schedule (not when pain starts!)​
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 Activity progression for TKRs


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 a 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 history before providing advice.
 

Pumpkln

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What you are experiencing is normal, you are still very early in the yearlong+ recovery. Most of us start feeling better at 3-4 months, some sooner some later, every knee is different, even on the same person.
"Tight band" feeling across the front of my knee is normal, it goes away with time, again everyone recovers at their own pace.
Numb area after TKR: how long will it last? Numbness is common, Josephine has chronicled her slow return of sensation after her first TKR in the link.
 
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WomanOfGrace

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Reading these forums has been helpful. It is comforting to know that many others have experienced many of the same things I am experiencing. I severely underestimated the recovery time for this surgery and my doc, although amazing, did not prepare me. Somehow I thought 6-8 weeks I would be back to normal. Couldn't be further from the truth. I'm definitely not myself and seems like I won't be for a time. I thought pain would be gone by now. Hurts differently on different days. Nothing horrific to cause concern, but sore enough to need Tylenol. Certain movements hurt. I notice improvement where there was pain in one area is gone, but still hurts in other areas. The knee feeling like it wants to give is a little freaky but my husband thinks the holidays were too much and my leg is objecting.
 

Pumpkln

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The knee feeling like it wants to give is a little freaky but my husband thinks the holidays were too much and my leg is objecting.
Your husband is right, you leg is objecting to all the Holiday activity. New day, New Year coming, give your leg a rest and it will start to feel better. :elevate:
 

Sara61

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We are almost at the same stage in recovery- I'm feeling a bit Like you, everything has been going smoothly until today I think pre,-christmas and Christmas itself has taken its toll and tired me out, and created aches and pains that were minimal before, my knee has swelled up and it feels extremely uncomfortable to touch - one tends to forget how much tlc our knees need in this recovery- my husband reminded me today that I wasn't icing or elevating enough and that I should just take it a bit easier- (sometimes easier said than done) lol...just taken a iberbrufen so hopefully that will kick in soon and knee will "Thank me" it's so jolly hard - like you I was never told how long recovery would/will take am seriously questioning whether it was the right decision or not to have operated on it- hopefully 1 year today I can say:yes!:
So hang in there you are not alone and hopefully after a few days of tlc we can look on the brighter side xx
 

Celle

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I think that everything you're experiencing is normal.
It's just that you weren't prepared for such a long recovery. That idea does take a long time to get used to.
 

sistersinhim

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I was very blessed to have found Bonesmart 6 months before my tkr, so I was prepared for the slow recovery. It didn't make it any easier going through it, but at least I knew it was normal. Being prepared makes it less stressful, especially if we have patience.
 

sistersinhim

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I went to youtube and watched one after I was about 6 weeks out. Those videos give you a whole new understanding of what's going on inside our poor knees and makes you realize that it will take a long time to heal all that damage.
 

kneeper

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Think of 6 weeks as the end of stage 1. Your knee has graduated from infant to toddler stage. ;)
It will still be easily aggravated and stiffness with either a lot of sitting or a lot of activity is normal. It's telling you to back off a bit. You probably did overdo during the holidays.
But you will find that gradually you can do more with less stiffness and one day you truly will find the knee is the last thing on your mind.
 
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WomanOfGrace

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I just read in another recovery thread that the knee giving way sensation has to do with the body adjusting to the new knee. I must admit this is the most unsettling feeling for me. I'm trying not to over-think it. There are so many weird feelings with this recovery. I never know what to expect.
 
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WomanOfGrace

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Happy New Year to all here. Today marks three months since my RTKR. The holidays were tough. So busy, so much running around, standing, etc. I am really feeling it. My knee has pain in all different areas, very stiff. I also find that when I do a lot, the entire leg hurts. I guess using so many muscle groups. I know, as discussed, this is a long recovery, but I am wondering when some of you farther out really started to have less pain. I am hoping for a big family trip over the summer of 2020 that will require a lot of walking. Bad idea?
 

Jockette

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I am hoping for a big family trip over the summer of 2020 that will require a lot of walking. Bad idea?
It’s hard to tell how you will be by summer, you will have had a lot of healing time between now and then. Just be prepared to listen to your knee and make any necessary adjustments to your plans, if you’re still having some issues.
 
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WomanOfGrace

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I'm really struggling with how long this is taking. I never, in my wildest dreams, thought I would still be struggling with pain at 3 months.
 

Jockette

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I understand. I had a partial, promoted to be a quicker recovery from a total ( however long that was, in my inexperience!) I thought I’d be recovered at 2-3 months.

It was not until I found Bonesmart, at 4 weeks post op, that I learned that recovery, from either a partial or a total, took an average of a full year. I was very unhappy to learn that.
 

Rockgirl4

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@WomanOfGrace I'm still struggling with stiffness, swelling, and some discomfort at 7.5 months. I knew it would be a long recovery, but I get tired of reminding myself what I already knew----this could take 12+ months.

Many here find a good "normal" by the 6 month mark, but I've seen enough to understand that we shouldn't compare ourselves. It truly is a lesson in patience. We spent most of 2019 building a new home and plan to move in mid-February. I am SOOOOO glad we didn't finish sooner, as my knee just couldn't have handled it.
 

Sara61

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So relieved to hear that I'm not the only one at 3 months with so much stiffness - like you I never dreamed this would be taking so long - it's quite frustrating...
I'm hoping the warmer weather in the South will help - think maybe my knee wasn't prepared for the cold /damp and this has stalled my recovery.
Is it warm or cold where you are ?
Here's hoping to a brighter 2020 xx
 

Helizabug

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While it’s probably not much comfort to you guys, you’re helping me set reasonable expectations for that three month mark. Goodness this is a long haul!
 
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WomanOfGrace

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@Sara61 I am in the Northeast, and while it has not been brutally cold, it certainly isn't balmy. A rainy day gives me more stiffness, more pain. Severe cold as well. My PT gave me a great illustration. If you go outside in cold weather without a glove on, how hard is it to close your hand into a fist? The same is true for our joints, especially when they've seen the trauma our knees have.
@Rockgirl4 I was hoping for a dramatic progression by the 3 month mark. While it's definitely better, it's not where I want to be at all. Everyone said this would be the best thing I ever did. They never told me it would take 12 months to be able to say that. I am hoping to start traveling in March. Not sure it's a good idea.
 

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