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PKR PartialFix -- Recovering...

Jockette

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That is amazing for 8 weeks post op!
 
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partialfixFeb

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@pumpkin Actually, the pain (felt like a bad bruise) was where an additional incision was a couple of inches above my knee. I asked about it at my recent post-op (phone call) and she (the PA) said that it was to be expected since I was pinned there -- drilled through the quad to anchor down the bone. Anchored the shin also but that didn't cause me post-op pain. Yikes.
 
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partialfixFeb

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11 weeks post-op today. My bend, stiffness, and kneecap sensitivity are all improving and I feel as if I turned another corner.

I have been gradually increasing my mileage. I logged 7 miles of brisk walking Saturday and again today. Yesterday was a rainy, rest day where I limited myself to housework, watching television, icing, and elevating to make sure I didn't overdo it. Still trying to do my PT home exercises to build strength.

I am truly grateful for my recovery thus far but I am not naive enough to realize complications can and do occur. I am also excited that, from all I have read, I will continue to improve.
 
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partialfixFeb

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Monday was 13 weeks and my knee is feeling amazing.

My passive ROM seems to be very close to the pre-op range and I attribute this to the fact that some of the residual swelling from the surgery must have subsided.

I notice a lot less stiffness. It used to be that when I bent beyond a certain point, I felt stiffness/discomfort (active vs. passive ROM) and I don't notice any of that anymore. The knee is weather-sensitive though - a bit stiff on rainy days - both knees in fact - but I can live with that.

I can easily take brisk walks most days of 6 miles or so (2 days a week, I walk 2 miles or not at all as I know myself and my tendency to do too much too fast) and I have experienced no problems during or after my walks (knock on wood). I will take the occasional aspirin in the morning but that's pretty infrequent.

Still doing my home video tapes to strengthen the thighs, glutes, core, and upper body. It's all mat work at this point so no stress on the knees. I find myself regularly pivoting in the kitchen (without meaning to) and am still surprised how there is no pain as pivoting and twisting was one of the biggest pain triggers pre-surgery.

I am still nervous/cautious about putting too much strain on my knee - mainly because of the surgery tissue trauma and because I want to preserve the non-operated knee and the non-operated components of the operated knee. After all, a PKR is often used as a "bridge" to buy time before a TKR (as was mentioned during the Bonesmart video conference on Saturday) Yep, replaced our 14" toilets with ADA comfort tall (nearly 18") ones as an added measure to take stress off the knees. (They were original, low water flow and needed replaced anyway as they didn't flush properly and we repaired them too many times.)

I have learned from this forum that improvement continues for a year or so. However, if this is as good as it gets then I have no complaints. I am so glad I got this done but then again my knee hurt so much before the surgery that I didn't feel I had any choice but to go under the knife. But a part of me feels guilty that my recovery has been smoother than most and I am really sad about some of the struggles and complications others have faced and I hope they resolve quickly. I feel like I should send a note to my OS to thank him for giving me my life back if that doesn't jinx it for me.

Oh, and I still ice and elevate most days when I sit to watch TV. Why not?

I am glad I found this forum post-op as it has given me some good information/advice.
 
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partialfixFeb

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@Andypandy I am with you. It is so hard to balance how much activity is too much.

Up until recently, I was really lazy with household chores and FULLY enjoyed the break (kept reminding my hubby that this is not a "linear" recovery. :heehee: With the quarantine, who is going to visit anyway and see the unkempt home?

Lately, I've been much more active re: mopping, vacuuming, power washing the deck furniture, just much less time in the recliner and lots of trips up and down the stairs (up normal foot over foot; down the baby way.) Lots of errands (climbing in and out of the car.) My walks have been erratic (2-3 days of no walks - some days 5/6 miles or just 2 - depending how my body feels). Getting much more stamina back - post surgery fatigue is real! Other days I have done nearly zero and my Fitbit clocks in under 500 steps - lazy, rainy days.

HOWEVER, recently I have noticed a little tenderness in the medial knee area. I had skipped days of icing and elevating but now I am back to it. I am 100% okay with the *temporary* tenderness physically (pain level maybe a 2/3 on a scale of 1 to 10) but MENTALLY there is the fear that it won't disappear eventually or will get worse or that maybe something isn't right. Or, maybe I just notice it now that the swelling, stiffness, and tightness feels nearly gone? I can easily passively bend to nearly 140 degrees and extension is still 0 so I doubt there is much swelling left.

I scheduled an outdoor PT session yesterday so that she could evaluate my gait as I feel my arch caving in by the operated medial knee (same as pre surgery). Next week, I get fitted for new orthotics (mine are 25 years old and not fitted for the new knee) so until then I have paused the long walks until I am confident that my gait is proper. And until after she evaluates whether my Asics are a good fit.

In the meantime, my PT gave me standing exercises to strengthen my glutes, hips and thighs -says I am not engaging them when I walk and stressing my knees. Nothing aggravated the knee that we worked on so I guess I will try them. My PT was not worried about the tenderness, she thinks that my body is still compensating to protect it after limping for so long? Definitely have to focus on walking heel - toe, etc as catch myself walking flat footed mindlessly. Also, with the gym closed, I don't have access to a bike to get a little non weight bearing exercise vs. just walking. I think it's important to change it up.

I am fine with the mild tenderness but the difficult part is me trying to convince myself this is temporary and will go away with rest, good orthotics, and a proper gait and not happening because something isn't healing right.

This forum has been helpful to keep reminding me that it is a bit of a roller coaster. Guess I will be told to back off the domestic chores! It would be more understandable if I had pushed myself and a little tennis, pickle ball or a light jog triggered. :loll:Activities that I will likely never return to.

Sorry for the longggg post.
 

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@partialfixFeb wonderful post. It surely helps when hearing others progress doesn't it. Like you, yes carry on doing this that and pretty good, but then my poor knee obviously felt neglected and reminded me to get real. Been on a real downer as it feels gone backwards a little. I have cbd oil which gone back on for good old anxiety. Stupid thing is I know I have done wrong, so now to put right. Don't like sitting around and this virus going around hasn't helped us. Back to ice and more ice and listen to my knee. I hope you are ok, sounds like you have been busy, busy. Aren't we silly. What were the standing exercises, I have back issues and have to be really careful. Take care xxxx
 
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partialfixFeb

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@Andypandy So easy for us to beat ourselves up, isn't it? Hard not to dwell on your knee when every move you make you have to take it into consideration. Trying times, yes, with anxiety regarding the virus, the isolation, the knee progress.....

The standing exercises are:

1. Lateral side stepping- leading with one leg and catching up with the other with a band above the knees....then the other direction. 200 feet with straight legs and then 200 feet with slightly bent knees. PT never wants me to use band around the ankles FYI.

2. Controlled toe tapping a yoga block set a bit in front of you while actively engaging the opposite hip. 3 sets of 8 - 10 taps each leg.

3. Curtsy lunges using a TRX strap to take stress off of the knees bending no more than 45 degrees. Alternate legs each lunge. (This one worries me a bit but didn't hurt just don't trust knee yet.) Forget how many to perform.

Thanks for the kind words! We will get there!
 

sistersinhim

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Each knee would be different. If they don't aggravate your knee, then you should be OK. The next person to try them might not be. Bands and lunges put a lot of stress on your knees and should be used with care.
 
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partialfixFeb

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@sistersinhim Okay, good to know. What are your thoughts about side steps without a band? Lunges scare me as well....even with the TRX strap to help.
 

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If it were me I'd wait a couple more months before using a band. You can try it if you really want to and see how the knee reacts. I don't think it's that necessary at your early stage.
 

sistersinhim

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I think that's a good idea. You don't want to do anything to slow down that healing!
 
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partialfixFeb

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I am wondering if others are comfortable sitting but have marked stiffness going from sitting to standing after sitting for a bit.

If I've sat in the car a while, I have to carefully pull myself out of the car and stand a moment or so and when I start walking, the stiffness makes me visibly limp for about 10 -15 steps or so and then completely (100%) subsides. Until the next time I sit too long. I can't say it's painful, just stiffness/discomfort and rely on my upper body to pull myself up to standing. I'm very careful for fear of hurting something so I don't rush trying to get up or get out of the car.

Hoping I won't always exit my car like a 90 year old (and chairs) - the struggle is visible to others no doubt. :loll:

I can still take long walks and feel pain free and can't complain about my recovery. I still am a baby about trying to descend stairs properly and won't even try yet. I'm also very careful not to do activities that cause twisting and pivoting - the PT says not for at least 6 months. I wonder if other PKR's or TKRs experienced this and had it disappear over time. Some days are worse than others - no rhyme or reason. I can live with it but just curious if others have experienced this. Wonder if it's just because getting moving gets the synovial fluid going?
 

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@partialfixFeb Plenty of our members report this stiffness for quite awhile post op. But in most cases this eases off with a bit of time and patience. You will continue to build strength that was lost while you waited for surgery.

And yes, the stairs are often the last bit in this recovery. Sounds like you are doing really well if you are taking long walks, pain free!
 
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partialfixFeb

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...and when I say "sitting for a bit of time" I don't mean after just sitting for hours. I mean maybe 20 -30 minutes even between errands....
 

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