TKR Over exercising 21 weeks post TKR

@ChillTime I do not know how much sage advice I can give you but I really identify with your experience and concern....and your frustration. I am 23 weeks and I've been writing about the same type situation on my thread, too. So what I can offer is empathy and let you know I am taking the same advice that has been given to you. I am about the same age as you and have been very active so it is very hard to back off, not exercise for a time and just let my knee heal. I mean - it is like reading my own post. I've been trying to focus on what has improved and surrender to my body and just let it take the time it is needing. Mine is the lower knee cap is very sensitive, sore and jumpy nerves in the knee when I overdo. My surgeon said it was bone stress and will go away with time. I'm surrending to I can't walk long distances/times right now and am slowly building up steps/time at a snail's pace. It is so counter intuitive to not do strengthening exercises to get the knee "better". So if I may - it sounds like you've had QUITE a lot of activity on the vacation and wedding...and that may have really increased your discomfort. I know it seems like when I overdo takes quite a bit longer to settle it all down again. I wish you the best of recovery and I would say speedy recovery but I don't think either one of us needs to hear that. :) I am a landscape photographer and am missing my camera and road trips...for now.
Thank you @BlueSkiesHere for your supportive comments. I am definitely in your camp! I went back and read your thread and will comment on it very soon when I'm not slammed with work (maybe in a few days -- I want to gather my thoughts). My weeks consist of days that are high and then days that are low -- it's almost comical how much my moods change based on my daily knee sensations! Tomorrow I will be 28 weeks completed. I know that 3 weeks ago, my activity during the trip to Montreal put my knee in a more active scenario and then upon returning home, I overdid it by exercising at the gym (minor exercises) immediately. I sat out and nursed my knee for 1-1/2 weeks. This past weekend (3 weeks after Montreal), my husband and I had booked (last year) a trip to the mountains, and we stayed in a wonderful B&B and rode a zip line in the mountains. The young people working at the zip line said that our adventure would be "entirely doable" and that I would be walking approximately 1 mile. I knew 1 mile would be doable for me. They failed to tell me that I would be climbing rustic stairs up the side of the mountain for 400 feet! My watch told me I climbed 19 flights of approx. 8 stairs each flight to get to the highest platform. I am certainly out of shape but was proud that I stayed with the group and didn't quit (and I couldn't have anyway -- we were too far up for transportation). I worried about my knee and what it would bring later in the day or even later, but other than a little soreness, NOTHING happened. I was and am amazed! I stayed away from the gym on day 1 once back home and went back today (day 2). 10 minutes on the bike has made my knee achy and a little painful, so I know that I can't do that much even two days after a major workout. I am very hopeful but also a little deflated that I haven't arrive at the point of NO MORE PAIN. I'll hang in there. The elation over 19 successful flights of stairs up the side of a mountain with 25-year olds who were huffing and puffing alongside me and (my husband) has made my week! Also the beauty of riding that zip line high in the sky with the Blue Ridge Mountain range in my line of vision was the best.

It sounds like you have a great vacation and your knee behaved very well. Yay!
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10 minutes on the bike has made my knee achy and a little painful
Using a bike to gain ROM is pretty simple:
  • Set the bike to zero resistance
  • Set the saddle low enough so that a single rotation is a challenge; difficult but not painful. When a rotation becomes easy right from the start, lower the saddle a max of 1cm.
  • Gently turn the pedals, through discomfort but without pain.
  • Continue until the knee is 'warmed up' and the rotation is now easy, or for 2 minutes, whichever is the shorter time.
  • Repeat several/many times a day, but don't go mad. Diminishing returns will apply; my guess is that half a dozen reps would be enough
  • Do not pedal fast or for more than 2 minutes, this is a stretching exercise, not training.
  • And if you get any pain or swelling in the 24 hours after doing this, cut it down until you don't
Here is a bit more chat and some pix and how 'healing' and 'training' are different
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How did your doctor's appointment go today? I think it was today.
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Hi @BlueSkiesHere - thanks for thinking of me. It is so helpful to know that there are people who care. Bonesmart has been a game-changer for me.

My doctor appointment went "okay" (nothing new suggested), but he did take more x-rays. He said he watched me walk in, and that I don't limp and my alignment looks very good. He said that everything looks completely normal, including the x-rays and his exam of both of my knees. I did have a little swelling from a major overdo -- again -- two days ago (3 miles walked sporadically during the day and very, very light pedal-turning on the stationary bike). He is a little perplexed that I'm still having pain and that I can't do more at this stage, but he said he has had some patients in my same situation. When I pressed him, he said some recover completely and some do not. He said to give it more time to progress with healing and see him again in 4 months (that will be 11 months completed). Since all looks normal, he wants to wait until a year to do any additional testing, and I have decided that I can live with that.

Knowing I was about the see my doctor, I focused recently on how my knee feels when I move it and when it's at rest. Moving it does not cause pain, and I rarely even think about it when walking or riding a bike, etc. Only if I have overdone it previously will moving my knee cause pain. It's when I am at rest that I have the low-grade, achy pain or the soreness.

Yesterday after the appointment, I took some time to think through things. I'm tempted to continue feeling sorry for myself (ha!) or to get on with life. I want so badly to have a normal TKR -- why couldn't I have won the Mega Millions lottery instead of the knee pain lottery, lol?!! I will try to get on with life and try to not place all my waking energy on my knee. I have decided to try really hard to have a positive attitude about this. More thoughts to come later! Thanks again for checking in.
@ChillTime ...thanks for the update. I do care, strangers we are not...sisters in recovery...or shall I say slow recovery.
Well, sounds like the doctors appointment at least let you know your gait and alignment is good. I know folks on Bonesmart says the knee discomfort after "overdoing" it is just the knee's way of saying it is still healing and just too much activity. I am right there with you...even your sporadic 3 miles and light cycling is not excessive but sounds like the knee thinks so.
I like your positive attitude about getting on with life and change what you can...which is your attitude. I am also holding to the belief that we are just slow healers and a year from now we will BOTH look back and say "well, it took awhile but it healed". I believe we will recover completely. I think the fact it does not hurt when you walk or cycle is a step forward in healing.
I still ice ALOT and throughout the day. I myself try to creep forward with more steps each week (ever so slightly) and takes breaks between.
In the same attitude as you...I have planned a small road trip to the mountains with my camera and will not hike so much, but I know the area enough I can get out, walk a little and take my photographs. It is a step forward to me. You are like reading my diary.
I have decided to just surrender my body to the healing process, in it's own time and keep being patient. I will keep you in my thoughts and keep sending you the healing "vibes".
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@BlueSkiesHere I LOVE that you have planned a trip to the mountains and can do what you love, even if it's on a smaller scale! It is amazing what getting out of a regular locale can do to improve the mind and body! Please let me know how it goes. Fresh air and a change of scenery, yay!!

I have not needed to ice every day, with the exception of the days that I overdo it. I am about five weeks ahead of you, so maybe that's improvement that you have to look forward to? Maybe that has helped me stop focusing on my knee so much lately, too? I have done it so much less recently that I really enjoy it now -- go figure! I'm getting ready to "hook up" soon, with a glass of Chardonnay and a visit with my son who is home and just graduated from college, so life is good.

I forgot to say that I went to a running store yesterday after my appointment and bought a new pair of running shoes as a special treat to myself. I love being in a running store -- brings back wonderful memories!

I too believe we will recover completely and look forward to comparing stories about the trials we went through. Hang in there, let's stay positive and keep me filled in ... and I do LIKE the term "sisters in slow recovery!"
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@ChillTime ,,,enjoy your son and Chardonnay! That sounds wonderful. I'll let you know how the trip goes. As for visiting running shoe stores...that's the same as me visiting camera stores. :) Nature puts everything in perspective for me.
Enjoy and let's keep each other posted. I look forward to not icing. Geez.
I think your doctor's plan makes sense. Many people even at 6 months aren't 100% back to normal.

My doctor warned me that it would probably take a year, even though I'd be able to do most things I wanted to well before then. It sounds like you're doing well enough that you're prone to overdoing it. It's annoying to still have to pace yourself a bit, but that may help. Often you don't realize you've overdone until after the fact, because you feel pretty good while doing the activity.
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Thanks for your thoughts, @kneeper -- I am 7-1/2 months into recovery mode now, and a 3-mile walk on Monday (spread out over the day) and slow turn of the stationary bike pedals for 15 minutes set me back for 5 days. My knee does not tell me when I am doing too much -- only after. Three miles is not a long walk (in my mind) -- and this walking is all ADL -- sporadically done, but it IS a form of exercise and is irritating for my slow healing knee. I haven't attempted any formal walks lately. I am frustrated, but taking a look at the health app on my phone, my walking activity has been higher than is "normal" for me all week. I need to pull back!

I am taking the weekend to chill out, ice and elevate, and track my walking from now on to make sure I don't overdo things. Being a former athlete, I've been so surprised by this recovery, that still at 7-1/2 months, I am having to hold myself back. But, I have to remember that I've had some really good days, and I'll hold onto that for now.
My knee does not tell me when I am doing too much -- only after.
That is so true! I had many visits to the (ODIC) Overdid It Club that happened the day after on outing during which I felt just fine. The swelling and pain always seemed to come after the fact.

Your plan to track your walking is a good one. After a week or two of data, you'll be able to find the sweet spot between doing enough and doing too much.

Hang in there. This truly is a year-long recovery. It does get better.
Hey everyone, I’ve had a difficult three weeks with low grade achy pain that is always with me except when I’m sleeping. I have iced and taken it very easy - not much exercise at all except for ADL. Last night, I woke up to get water and once I got back in bed, the aching pain kept me awake until I put an ice pack on my knee and fell back asleep. All day, my knee has felt tight — like a vertical band stretched up and down across my knee cap. There’s also a deep pain inside the knee. I really wanted to walk a bit today for exercise but held back, knowing it would hurt me more if I did. I am almost 8 months along (next week) and feeling very, very discouraged. Has anyone else experienced the vertical band sensation? The long, slow recovery that I wonder if will ever improve?
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Hi ChillTime. It's 9 months since my LTKR. I have a diagonal band sensation across my knee cap. So I know what you are going through. It's very very frustrating and stops me from doing extra activities. Hopefully in time it will settle down and we will reach full recovery. Take care Jcx.
@ChillTime, unfortunately, I cannot recall when that tight feeling across my kneecap dissipated but I can tell you that it did go away eventually. Until very recently (like just several weeks ago), my scar continued to have a pulling when I rubbed it. I went back to massaging it daily and it is much better now. I also couldn't do squats without pain until the last couple months. All to say, there may be things that you think your new knee should handle that it is not ready to manage ... yet. Really you need every minute of the year (and sometimes a bit more) to fully heal from this surgery.

Here's my link at about 9 months I fired PT several times during this recovery because it took days to recover after each session but I was committed to my recovery, which sometimes required days of rest. Every knee is different, even my two, but I think at 8 months, you're just about 2/3 of the way there. If you hold back now to stay within your current knee limits, you'll be at full capacity quicker. The recovery rollercoaster is real.
@hawk2go thank you for the encouragement! The tight band feeling has disappeared but residual pain deep inside my knee is still there. I’m icing, elevating and resting, which has been a constant process now for almost 8 months. I’ll check in again soon.
Glad to hear your tight band sensation has passed. (Only to be replaced by another mystery pain, ugh)

I still get that tight band issue and I'm at 7 months. It is definitely a constant process of icing, elevating and having to step back a bit a lot of times! For me the most important aspect of this recovery has been patience and not comparing myself to others! :wave:
Hi @ChillTime . I thought I'd check back in on your thread to see how you are doing. I can hear your frustration. I don't know if I'm much help however you are still my source of inspiration since you are a few weeks ahead. I'm still pretty much where you are at 6+ months and am taking the same measure as you. Counting my steps, doing what I can and if I overdo it...step back and rest a bit more. Like a couple of folks have mentioned I still have the tight band feeling across the knee especially if I overdo it or even just after walking awhile. I additionally have that lower knee cap and shin discomfort. The end of the day my knee is ready to stop. Stiff and tired. Like you though...if I concentrate of how it is better, I do see I am slowly recovering and I mean s.l.o.w.l.y. However I notice there are things I'm doing now I could not do in the past few months that do not cause me trouble the next day. I swear - I'm hanging in there with you and you are the light ahead of me.

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