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Question for Josephine

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gatiger

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Josephine, you may have answered this before and I didn't see it but could you do so again? Several of us have talked about the tightness we feel inside our new knees. It has been described as a tightness, a balloon, rubber band, swelling, etc; it is not really pain, but since most of us have been taught to 'listen to our bodies', what is going on in there and is it something we should be 'listening to'? Personally, I don't see a corresponing amount of outer swelling that reflects what I 'feel' inside the joint. Any ideas?
 

Josephine

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Could be any number of things, gatiger, but this is my best scenario:-

When tissues have been divided or otherwise interfered with, or stretched in an abnormal way (this happens during surgery) they are naturally bruised and contused as a result. Now if you think about a more normal situation - perhaps you have had a fall where you grazed you knee, got bruises or pulled a ligament. Afterwards does it not feel constrained and stiff? In other words - it hurts!! But the mind plays tricks and interprets this into things such as you describe like the rubber band feeling when in actual fact it is simply pain and needs dealing with the same according to intensity. People who have had lesser ops like rotator cuff repairs or even as simple as carpal tunnel decompressions suffer the same kind of illusions. Even the pain from a tooth extraction can make you imagine a clamp on the side of your jaw.

So, provided the knee is not visibly swollen, or that you have pain and tightness to the degree that movement is almost impossible or intolerable, then simply use the tools you have at hand - elevation, ice, TENS, meds - to get it under control if you feel the need.

Hope this explains it a bit.
 
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gatiger

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Thanks, I appreciate your help. I had been thinking of it as a resistance or stiffness that needed to be worked out. In your scenario, it would seem that t would be more of a 'caution signal' that requires some remediation.?
 

Skeet

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I think the ligaments and tendons are also adjusting to the new knee and some of my pain is from them being shortened or lenghtened and getting used to the new positioning.

Skeet
 

Josephine

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Yeah, thanks, Skeet - forgot that bit!! Especially if you had bone loss pre-op. That will make it feel tight for sure. And the longer that existed, the longer it will take your ligaments etc., to adjust.

As for if being a cautionary signal, that was not my point. I was trying to explain that it will happen anyway. Just carry on with the PT/rest cycles is my suggestion.
 
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