TKR Poking My Head Above the Water - New Knee 11/5/13

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Judlepip

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Um, stiffness, um ........ Well, swollen feeling, as if knee is too big for the leg. I feel it most when I wake in the morning, but it's there most of the time. Also, I s'pose as if the knee is too 'stiff' (unbendable) to move properly, although it ain't necessarily so!! Anyone else got a better description?

Apparently to change name of thread you have to ask an administrator to do it. If it's your thread @vhoudy, perhaps you could choose a name and ask someone.


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@vhoudy, to change the title of your thread: 1) go to the top of the page, 2) on the right hand side you will see an oblong that contains the words "Thread Tools", 3) hover mouse over it, 4) drop down menu will give you a choice to "Edit Title", 5) click on this and make your change.

Maybe this article from the Library will explain "stiffness": Swollen and stiff knee: what causes it?

Hope this helps.
 

judgar

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I will be 7 months in a few days. I still have pain and the tight feeling.I also thought it would be gone. My husband keeps saying but your better than a few months ago. I don't see it but he seems to think so. I was never on pain pills because I had a reaction to them so that kept me down on the exercise. I do it now my bike, walk and if I do deep knee bends that seems to help. I guess there lots of us having this problem. I hope it goes away soon
 

GimpyGal

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Okay, so now we're approaching the 6th month mark. For me, that would be tomorrow. I still have to take ibuprofen or even a Tramadol if I'm on my feet all day. Still worried about walking a ton in DC and NYC in a few weeks.

But . . . this is what I did last week, which puts recovery into perspective. Golfed 18 holes (with a cart) four days, dug up 4 dead shrubs and one small dead tree and cut it all up for the trash can. Helped husband dig a three foot deep hole to plant a new, large shrub. Walked the pup at least a mile every day. Cleaned the house top to bottom - scrubbed bathrooms and floors, changed beds, cleaned closets, grocery shopped and did 10 loads of laundry. Cooked most meals. And . . . ta da! . . . .distributed my share of a load of 5 TONS of large gravel - hired someone to put it in piles around the yard, but my husband and I shoveled it around to the tune of 5 hours each over three
days.

So, basically, life has returned to normal, except when I ask the world of my knees I still need pain meds and ice.

My OS said at 6 months (tomorrow) I'd forget about the knee. He's wrong, but I'm asking a lot of it considering my activity level and the fact that I'm overweight. At least now that I can be active, I can start getting some of my excess weight off and I think that will be the final step towards a full recovery. I'm still stiff and sore at the end of the day, and repeated stair climbing makes my knee unhappy.

@vhoudy I think you are so very right when you say improvement is really slow this far out. Just when I feel I'm not getting better, I read a few of my earlier posts and realize I really am. I think you are doing really well. I hope your two days of walking Chicago is painless. I've a whole week of walking NYC and DC. Ice, elevation, plentiful breaks, and pain meds will see us through, right? Right?

@Judlepip I caught myself limping the other day, too. I do think when we catch ourselves limping, it's important to correct it. We don't HAVE to limp anymore so we must stay aware. 5 miles is quite excellent!

@Spiritbee51 It's good to see another golfer here! Hooray for golf. I figure the activity is better for me than being inactive, so I, too, take a Tramadol before a round. Two pills a week will do no harm. I'm curious if the '51' in your name is your birth year. If so, we're the same age! Is it possible (and wise?) to treat your restless leg with a medication specific for that, rather than pain meds?

@judgar You're getting there, too! It just takes some of us longer than others.

@chereb I'm still numb on the outside, too, to touch, anyway. My lingering pain is also on the outside - ligaments or something, I don't think the implant is at fault. It's improving ever so slowly but I'm not there yet. I have a feeling it WILL take a full year.
 

Pjmc

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I think you have done more in one day than I have been able to do in months . Very impressive.
 

Spiritbee51

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Well "way to go" to us all, we are up and going and making great recoveries. In the last 3 days I have felt great and almost forgot how difficult it was. Five months to the date of surgery I can say the memories of all that pain have faded and I don't want to call them back. Way to go everyone!!
 

Spiritbee51

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Stiff knee to me is when I get out of bed, out of the drivers seat or get up from a chair I still feel that need to take a few steps to get going, it goes from the knee into the calf muscles. I had it before TKR accompanied with huge pain, now there is no pain and the leg straightens out and is not stiff with only a few steps. I think I just have to build those muscles up again after so much inactivity.
 
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vhoudy

vhoudy

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@Judlepip and @Spiritbee51 thanks for your definition of "stiff knee". I have had all kinds of other pain and interesting sensations after my knee replacement, but fortunately I don't think I have had that.

Glad to hear you are feeling better Spiritbee51. Maybe we will all get past this slow-motion recovery phase after all!

@GimpyGal, OMG! You are doing terrific. I suspect you will do well on your trip to NYC and DC, but I don't blame you for worrying. My husband and I recently retired with lots of plans for traveling. When my knee issues started to become serious, I think the one thing that made me feel the worst was that I would be the one to make us change and/or cancel some of our travel plans. I still worry that because of me, my husband will not be able to do all the things we want to do. However, it sounds like you are really doing well and your recovery, although difficult, is still moving forward. Way to go!
 
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vhoudy

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OK... It's now almost 7 months since my TKR and it still hurts. It is getting better, but at what I call glacial speed. It hurts the most when I bend my knee past 90 degrees. In PT I had up to 130 degree bend so I don't think that is a problem. I think I will start taking OTC pain relievers on a daily basis. What is the difference between naproxen and ibuprofen, or are they basically the same thing? I like the idea of only having to take the naproxen once a day. Anybody have any thoughts?
 

GimpyGal

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You know, I think outside of the US, Tylenol is the preferred drug. It brings me no relief. And neither does Naproxen. The only thing that works well for me is Ibuprofen. So, I think it's a very individual thing. I worry about how much Ibuprofen I've taken, though, to the point where I had my internist check my kidney function (which was fine.) I've actually pretty much quit the Ibuprofen now that I'm not afraid I'm going to run out of my Tramadol. I'm more inclined to take one of those instead.

I understand about the 'glacial' improvement. I'm about 7 months out, too. My doctor said at 6 months, I'd forget about my knee. He was wrong, and I was pretty concerned about a vacation I took to DC and NYC last week. I went armed with Ibuprofen and Tramadol and decided if I needed to buy a cane while there, I just would. There were days we were mostly on our feet for the good part of 12 hours, and I did okay. I also realized that at 6 months I could not have done that, but I could barely three weeks later.

I guess what I'm trying to say is find out what works for you and take it when necessary. But don't be surprised if you see significant improvement soon. I'm so surprised at the difference one month made this late in recovery!
 
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vhoudy

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Hi @GimpyGal, so glad to hear your trip to the East Coast was a good one. I know you were worried about how your knee would hold up. That is very encouraging to me. We leave on Friday for our trip to Chicago and to visit family in Southern Michigan. Since we are doing a lot of sightseeing with other family members, I'm concerned that my knee will keep me from doing things and I will keep other people from doing and going places. I bought a fold-up cane to put in my suitcase, and will bring my prescription pain pills (which I haven't taken in a long time) and some OTC pain reliever too. I suspect it will go better than I think it will. I am a world champion worrier so I usually do better than I imagine I will. I am going to try the naproxen for a couple of days and see how those work for me. Thanks for the encouragement!
 

Spiritbee51

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Here I am at 6 months and can say I feel pretty good, my knee still hurts with long walks, but so much improved over the last few weeks. My experience with Ibuprofen vs Naproxan is that Ibuprofen is a better pain reliever, but I have to take it regularyly and 3 at a time to get good results. I have stomach issues so neither is a great choice for that. Tylenol never really did much for the knee. I also wear good comfort shoes with orthodics for now as the operative leg/foot works differently and I believe that walking incorrectly can cause pain. Cute sandals are only a few hours at a time.

After talking with many TKR folks here, only a very few are whiz kids with this surgery. It takes 4 to 6 months to feel better and then even 9 months for some. Even though I was back golfing at 3 months, I can't say I felt really good. Now at 6 months I am starting to get my energy back and pain levels dropped significantly. I still swell when I overuse and still ice, my pain pill is Ibuprofen.

Good luck and soon we will forget we had this done.

SB
 
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vhoudy

vhoudy

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@Spiritbee51, so glad to hear you are getting closer to a pain free knee. It is very helpful to hear from others at the same stage of recovery. Yes, things are getting better, and it's good to reflect back a few months to get some perspective on the current level of pain.

I took an Aleve (naproxen) today for the first time just to see how it would work. I think it actually helped a lot.

You're right about getting energy back. I really have a lot more energy now than even a couple of months ago. I do marvel at those who seem to get better very quickly, but I guess I am just one of those people that takes longer to heal. I'm hoping in a few more months this will all be a fading memory.
 
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vhoudy

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Just returned from a three week vacation that involved A LOT of walking. I am happy to report that I did just fine! I was so worried my knee wouldn't be up to all of that walking and that I would hold my husband back from being able to do all we wanted to do, but we were able to do it all so I could not be happier... Woo Hoo!

I did start taking one Aleve (naproxen) each day, and it really helped a lot. We have another big vacation in a week and I'm wondering if taking one Aleve a day for an extended period of time (a month or so) will be harmful? Anyone have any experience with taking naproxen for an extended time, or have any information about this?
 

scaredinCA

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If you are going to take NASIDs then you should have a blood test every so often.. I took ibuprophen and it messed up my kidneys for a time, so my doctor won't allow me to take any NASIDs for the rest of my life. I don't think most people know the damage they can do to a person. (I loved taking ibuprophen) I stick with Tylenol.
 
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