Knee Infection* One Good Leg.


Former BoneSmart staff member
Apr 20, 2015
Pittsburgh, PA
United States United States
I'm new and 17 months from my debridement surgery that took place 29 days after my original TKR surgery. My infectious disease dr. diagnosed staph after growing the cultures and thank God the antibiotic wash, immobilizer as well as IV and oral antibiotics knocked the infection out. Currently I am on a low dose of doxycycline (100mg). I have been feeling good, have a good ROM since last winter, ride my bike 4 miles a day, but still need a cane some days and for long distances particularly. I don't know if it's a "crutch" for me or if I truly need it.
Hi Karri, welcome! Great place here, pretty soon someone will pop in and link you to all the good stuff, read and enjoy.
I am glad they caught it in time. I have a coworker who had a staph infection in her TKR and it was a very hard recovery. They had to go dig the infection out of her bone. If the cane makes you feel better than carry it but I am thinking if you are able to bike you may not need the cane.
Oh my gosh KarriB, sounds like you have been through a lot, and that you have been very brave, hold on and these very wonderful folks here at Bonesmart will be along shortly, and shower you with support, you have found a great network of support here, as I did just before my first TKR in March, and now I am armed and ready for my second TKR in May. hope you like this site as much as I have..!
Welcome. Like everyone else, I'm so glad they caught your infection in time and treatment knocked it out!
Hi KarriB
:welome: to Bonesmart, glad you found us.
You have been through a lot with your TKR and infection, glad to hear you were able to rid yourself of the infection with antibiotics.
but still need a cane some days and for long distances particularly. I don't know if it's a "crutch" for me or if I truly need it.
If you feel you need the cane for long distances, then you probably do need the cane. If your gait is not normal after a long distance, you need a cane, if you are fatigued after a long distance, you need a cane, if you have swelling or pain with distances, you need a cane.
Everyone heals at a different rate, your TKR combined with an infection, may mean you are going to heal slower than most. You may need more time until you are ready to give up the cane for distances.
You could ask a PT to take a look at your walking, maybe the way you are walking could be contributing to your needing a cane.
It is a little late in your recovery, but here is the post op reading, the articles are short and will not take long to read.

First are the BoneSmart mantras ....
- rest, elevate, ice and take your pain meds by the clock
- if it hurts, don't do it and don't allow anyone - especially a physiotherapist - to do it to you
- if your leg swells more or gets stiffer in the 24 hours after doing it, don't do it again
- if you won't die if it's not done, don't do it
- never stand when you can sit, never sit when you can lie down, never stay awake when you can go to sleep!
- be active as much as you need to be but not more than is necessary, meaning so much that you end up being in pain, exhausted or desperate to sit down or lay down!

Next is a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) thread.

And here are some very crucial articles
The importance of managing pain after a TKR and the pain chart
Myth busting: no pain, no gain
Swollen and stiff knee: what causes it?
Activity progression for TKRs

Healing: how long does it take?
Chart representation of TKR recovery
Energy drain for TKRs
Elevation is the key
Ice to control pain and swelling

Home physio (PT) and activity progress: suggestions
Myth busting: the "window of opportunity" in TKR
Myth busting: on getting addicted to pain meds
Post op blues is a reality - be prepared for it
Sleep deprivation is pretty much inevitable - but what causes it?

And then some wise words from members who have shared their experiences ...
Where are you in recovery?? (TKR)
Five “P’s” of knee recovery
TKR: work “smarter” and not “harder”
Recovering a knee - from one who knows!
It's never too late to get more ROM!
It's worth the wait for ROM
Kari, what a journey you have made. It sounds as though you are doing well---many people carry a cane in public areas to avoid being bumped. It makes sense and if it helps you who cares?
Welcome, canes can be very classy. But functional to help you is its primary use. So glad you got past that ordeal.

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Hi - You may like to browse these articles :)

I thought you might like to get a snapshot of where you are in the process of healing.

The following is a link to an article which provides the current science regarding the healing beneath and around the implant and the medically acknowledged approximate timeframes for our bodies healing phases and processes.

Healing Phases & Nutrition

Nutrition plays a huge part in surgical recovery, in fact it is one of the 'forgotten topics' of recovery..

This second link is to other nutritional articles which you may find interesting, including one relating to bone health.

Nutritional advice for pre op and recovery

This third link refers to my ongoing research..

Thank you, everyone. I've been reading many posts and decided to join in. It's only a matter of time before I need to get the left knee replaced, but I'm waiting as long as I can due to all the issues I had. I'll be reading the articles and the mantras are RIGHT ON. I didn't know about this site until recently but tbey definitely hold true. It's important to find the right dr., but also the right PT who doesn't hurt you and send you spiraling awkward.
Thanks again!
I believe part of the reason I still use the cane is balance. My PT had me doing balance exercises, but I was awful at it. I'm remembering some things I probably could do here at home to help with balance and definitely should get busy as I'm going to have to have my left knee at some point in the next year or so. Balance issues with two new knees could be problematic! My PT also works on my gait while walking on a treadmill, but of course I was holding onto the rails.
Hi @KarriB
It doesn't matter if you still feel you need to use the cane. there's no need to rush to get rid of it. Even when I didn't truly need to use y cane, I would take it with me if I was going to be out in a crowd. It helped to remind people that I needed a little extra distance - and it was good for fending off rushing people. :heehee:

So we can see it at a glance, please will you add your operations and their dates to your signature? I see you have the dates already, so adding the operations will make it even clearer. Here's how to do it:
How to create a signature Thank you.
I'm 17 months out, however the debridement surgery, being immobilized for a month due to continued infection may be another reason along with the balance, as someone on here mentioned. I'm going to work on it, though.
Has anyone experienced heel pain after their TKR?
Yes, but it is more from the realignment of my knee and me walking like I should finally. I have to get a new insert made by my foot doc, my only one was for when I had the bad cricket knee.

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What kind of heel pain? In the bone, the ligaments or the pad of the heel?
It's in the bottom of my heel, so it is the pad. I can't even stand to have pressure on it in bed. I have to situate my foot so it's sideways. I don't wear heels, always good sneakers or sandals in warm weather. This was not an issue before the surgery. Driving is the worst, with my heel sitting up right on the floor of the car. I mentioned to my OS once but he didn't seem to know what it could be, then I was just so relieved when my infection was gone and I was able to get back to my life that I never mentioned it again.
I cant figure out how to change the title of my thread and I know I shouldn't start a new thread. But I am wondering if anyone else has experienced the heel pain I've been having on the pad of my heel.
Being new to Bonesmart, but well into my recovery I've noticed many worried about getting their ROM where they want it quickly. After my original TKR surgery I left rehab with a 95 and had a 115 four weeks later. But four weeks later was when the staph infection reared it's ugly head. So when my infection was diagnosed, 2nd surgery & knee placed in an immobilizer I wasn't allowed to bend my knee until signs of infection were gone. Surgery occurred on Nov. 29th, seeping began again when half of the 52 staples were removed, seeping continued with the other half being removed a week later (seeping was bad enough to warrant frequent bandage changes). After lots and lots of prayer (God is good) and seeing my OS twice a week the seeping stopped after a month.
But throughout the process I asked my OS "will my knee bend?". His very clever reply every time was, "it will bend when we tell it to bend." And it did! It wasn't easy and I had very gentle PTs and began with "non-aggressive" bending (drs. orders) but I thought this might be good for those to hear who are worried about ROM early on. Not sure I'll ever squat, but I was never comfortable doing that anyway. But I do ride 4 miles a day on my bike. That's a good ROM!

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