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[TKR] Recovering nicely

Mrty2019

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I had left total knee replacement 8 weeks ago on 8/26/19. My knee had been fine-no joint problems but in mid-April I went for my regular 3-4 mile walk and the next day my knee was in pain. The joint then locked in a 90 degree angle. Doctor ordered PT, and I could almost straighten my leg, but it would give out without notice leaving me in pain and in a wheelchair for the summer. I had an MRI that showed a stress fracture. Xrays showed bone on bone.

I started PT immediately following my joint replacement with the same therapist that I trusted when my knee locked in place. It started with easy stretching and massage, but moved to torture. He would put my heel on a towel and push my knee down either with his hands or 10 pound weights putting me in excruciating pain. One session he strapped me to the table and raised the table to flatten my leg and kept it there which made we cry. He said tears were a milestone. I read Josephine‘s article showing what not to do and the PT had me do all of those with more at home. By the end of my 2x a week session, I could barely walk and was in pain.

My PT has a doctorate and was completing an 18 month residency so it has to be the protocol used. I put up with it because I thought it was necessary for recovery. Then I found this site and read all the articles and cancelled all my future appointments. I have good bend with my knee, but extension is harder for me. Saw my OS at 6 weeks and he was glad to see me walking and said extension will come over time.

In the midst of this my 44 year old son and only child died somewhat unexpectedly on May 14. He had been ill but I hadn’t expected him to die.

My problem now is lack of energy. No pain and I am sleeping 7-8 hours, but feel tired and drained and need to rest several times/most of the day. Also due to my inactivity I have been careful what I eat since before surgery not wanting to put extra weight on my joints. I have lost 15 pounds without much effort. If I go grocery shopping or out to dinner with my husband it takes me two days to recover. When will this improve?
 

Jaycey

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@Mrty2019 Welcome to BoneSmart! You have come to the right place for support.

First can I offer my sincerest condolences. Our kids are not supposed to go before us. I very nearly lost my 45 year old son in April. My heart goes out to you!

I am appalled at how you were treated by that PT. That was pure brutality. I am so sorry you had to suffer through that and I am very glad you stopped the sessions.

With all that you have been through I am not surprised you are feeling drained. The stress of losing a loved one and then a very rough start at what can be a difficult recovery - no wonder you are tired. My best suggestion would be to build up activity very slowly. Plan a rest day following any active day.

Have you seen your family doctor recently? You might want to get a blood test to see if anything is going on that contributes to your lack of energy.

Please know we are here for you.
 
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Mrty2019

Mrty2019

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@Jaycey I saw my nurse practitioner prior to surgery and all my blood work was normal. I checked the test results yesterday to be sure. I guess I need to lower my expectations as to speed of recovery. All the things I do to make myself feel better like riding my bike etc are out of reach right now. Thanks.
 
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Pumpkln

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@Mrty2019
My condolences on the passing of your son.

Joint replacement recovery can take a year or more. With everything that has happened this year and the aggressive PT, your recovery has been set back. It just takes time, more than we would like. :console2:

Here is your copy of the Knee Recovery Guidelines, the articles are short and will not take long to read.

Knee Recovery: The Guidelines
1. Don’t worry: Your body will heal all by itself. Relax, let it, don't try and hurry it, don’t worry about any symptoms now, they are almost certainly temporary
2. Control discomfort:
rest
ice
take your pain meds by prescription schedule (not when pain starts!)​

3. Do what you want to do BUT
a. If it hurts, don't do it and don't allow anyone - especially a physical therapist - to do it to you​
b. If your leg swells more or gets stiffer in the 24 hours after doing it, don't do it again.​

4. PT or exercise can be useful BUT take note of these

5. At week 4 and after you should follow this

6. Access these pages on the website


The Recovery articles:
The importance of managing pain after a TKR and the pain chart
Swollen and stiff knee: what causes it?
Energy drain for TKRs
Elevation is the key
Ice to control pain and swelling
Heel slides and how to do them properly
Chart representation of TKR recovery
Healing: how long does it take?

Post op blues is a reality - be prepared for it
Sleep deprivation is pretty much inevitable - but what causes it?

There are also some cautionary articles here
Myth busting: no pain, no gain
Myth busting: the "window of opportunity" in TKR
Myth busting: on getting addicted to pain meds


We try to keep the forum a positive and safe place for our members to talk about their questions or concerns and to report successes with their joint replacement surgery.

While members may create as many threads as they like in a majority of BoneSmart's forums, we ask that each member have only one recovery thread. This policy makes it easier to go back and review history before providing advice.
 

judgar

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I had my done aug 20. So your right behind me.like they say on here everyone is different. I do things one day then the next day iam on the couch with ice and knee up. Yes this can be very depressing. Just hang in there it will get better. I did not go to physical therapy. Someone came to the house for a couple weeks but he was very gentle. I hope you soon will see improvement every day soon.. I see improvement weekly.
 

sistersinhim

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I am so sorry about your son. That is probably contributing to your exhaustion. Sleep as much as your body wants to. When you are asleep your body can concentrate on healing your knee instead of all the other parts of your active, awake body.
 

Tykey

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I know we talk about 6 months or a year for recovery, but if you follow the advice on here, the pain and real discomfort should be over in a few short weeks. It might be months before the stiffness is gone and your strength had returned.
I know you've had a bad start, but you'll be amazed how improvements keep arriving.
But only if you are active, yet gentle with your knee.
Good luck.
 
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Mrty2019

Mrty2019

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I had my done aug 20. So your right behind me.like they say on here everyone is different. I do things one day then the next day iam on the couch with ice and knee up. Yes this can be very depressing. Just hang in there it will get better. I did not go to physical therapy. Someone came to the house for a couple weeks but he was very gentle. I hope you soon will see improvement every day soon.. I see improvement weekly.

It’s helpful to hear that it isn’t just me. I can’t return to my usual routine and feel like a shut in. Very depressing. Thanks.
 
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Mrty2019

Mrty2019

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@pumpkin I went into this thinking it would be 6 weeks of recovery like other surgeries. My husband had his hip joint replaced a year ago and recovered in no time. Very different from knee replacement. Thx
 
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Mrty2019

Mrty2019

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I know we talk about 6 months or a year for recovery, but if you follow the advice on here, the pain and real discomfort should be over in a few short weeks. It might be months before the stiffness is gone and your strength had returned.
I know you've had a bad start, but you'll be amazed how improvements keep arriving.
But only if you are active, yet gentle with your knee.
Good luck.
@Tykey - I read your story and you recovered amazingly fast. Very envious. Fortunately I am not in pain now.
 
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Mrty2019

Mrty2019

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@sistersinhim I think you are right in that it is the surgery plus the loss of my son that is making this worse. Won’t feel guilty about resting.
 

Rockgirl4

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I agree with most of the other posts.. There is no way to know if you will have a quick recovery with less pain and easy return to a normal life, or a longer recovery with more pain/discomfort, etc. ---but life events can DEFINITELY slow things down and make it harder. I can say I was one of the ones that had major pain and discomfort for at least 12-13 weeks, and my energy didn't return for 4 months.

Luckily I did easy PT with no force, and I waited on all strength training until the 12 week mark....even then, I needed a STRONGER, prescription-strength anti-inflammatory from my surgeon to gain more range of motion and lower my pain. I was on opioids easily until the 10 week mark and needed the occasional one for sleeping until 13-14 weeks. I did everything right and had a wonderful surgery, but my recovery just seemed slow and long in comparison to many here. Luckily I knew not to compare myself to others, though it took a lot of effort. :) I think part of my issue was I was mentallyand physcially drained from my own battle with grief earlier in the year....I lost my mom last December (a few days before Christmas). This was the day before I was originally supposed to have my TKR. I had to postpose it until May while I settled her estate and sold her house. Her death was sudden, and the grief afterwards was absolutely devastating. I had lost my dad 4 yrs before, and this was MUCH MUCH worse, as she and I were much closer. I think you are super normal in your reactions/energy level, especially given you've just had major surgery. Even before my May TKR, I just wanted to sleep, eat, and cry for months because of my mom. My TKR recovery did get my mind off of it somewhat for a few weeks, but when her birthday rolled around in July (9 wks post-op for me), the grief came back in full force, and I cried/slept/ate again like back in January. it took 4 wks to get out of that valley of grief.

Knowing what it did to me to lose my mom, I can't even IMAGINE what it would do to me to lose my child. :console2: I think you are doing wonderfully so far, and give yourself a hug. I will be thinking of you.

--Lisa
 

Jockette

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I’m so very sorry about your son. :console2:

I’m also sorry you had that kind of PT experience.You are not the first member here to go back to a PT that they worked well with for another issue, then found that same PT to be very different with your recovery from a knee replacement. Good for you for taking charge of the situation!

Just to let you know, ROM can continue to improve for a very long time. I’m 2+ years post op and I still occasionally see an improvement in my ROM!

The energy drain is very real and emotional issues can also exhaust us. I’ve been there, too.


Hang out here with us.
Bonesmart has a wealth of advice, information and support.
We will offer helpful suggestions, :idea:

Cheer your accomplishments :happydance:

And send hugs when you are feeling down. :console2:

Best wishes!
 

Macknit

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I really am so sorry about the loss of your son! Grief definitely takes a physical toll on your body and sadness alone can drain your energy. My sympathy in this major life transition.

I had my TKR just about a week after you and my body still has moments when I just have to nap!! Also, any physical activity requires a day of rest afterwards. I've even found that driving has irritated my calf, shin, hamstrings and quads!

I'm appalled and mortified at your PT experience....strapping you to a table??? What is wrong with this person? I'm so glad you stopped all your future appointments...and as @Jockette states:

Hang out here with us.
Bonesmart has a wealth of advice, information and support.
We will offer helpful suggestions, :idea:

Cheer your accomplishments :happydance:

And send hugs when you are feeling down. :console2:

Best wishes!
I'm sending you my hugs now!!:friends:
 

Motherbone

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You have had an assault on your heart as well as your body. Grief takes a toll and a long time to abate. Be gentle with yourself and know that we are with you in spirit.

Your PT experience sounds outrageous and I'm glad you cancelled your future appointments. Check out my recovery thread for how wrongly things can go with PT. One thing I discovered months after my two surgeries was that I was very anemic, which explained my chronic fatigue and lack of energy. I know you referenced your pre op labs, but do you know if your post op blood count was still within normal limits? I think blood loss from these surgeries is often underestimated.

I'll follow along. Don't abandon hope. Just keep plodding along, just like me!!
 

Roy Gardiner

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The loss of a family member or close friend is horrible and will affect anyone deeply, I know. My sympathies.
All the things I do to make myself feel better like riding my bike etc are out of reach right now
If you have a static bike you can use it to gain ROM. If you haven't, your local bike ship will be able to find you one:
  • 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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Mrty2019

Mrty2019

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The loss of a family member or close friend is horrible and will affect anyone deeply, I know. My sympathies.
All the things I do to make myself feel better like riding my bike etc are out of reach right now
If you have a static bike you can use it to gain ROM. If you haven't, your local bike ship will be able to find you one:
  • 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
Roy - Very helpful and the photos helped too. Will see what my husband can come up with. Thx. Marty
 
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Mrty2019

Mrty2019

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You have had an assault on your heart as well as your body. Grief takes a toll and a long time to abate. Be gentle with yourself and know that we are with you in spirit.

That is a good way to phrase it as an assault on my heart and body. I will give it a week or so and then ask my nurse practitioner to order blood work to check for anemia.
 
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Mrty2019

Mrty2019

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I agree with most of the other posts.. There is no way to know if you will have a quick recovery with less pain and easy return to a normal life, or a longer recovery with more pain/discomfort, etc. ---but life events can DEFINITELY slow things down and make it harder. I can say I was one of the ones that had major pain and discomfort for at least 12-13 weeks, and my energy didn't return for 4 months.

Luckily I did easy PT with no force, and I waited on all strength training until the 12 week mark....even then, I needed a STRONGER, prescription-strength anti-inflammatory from my surgeon to gain more range of motion and lower my pain. I was on opioids easily until the 10 week mark and needed the occasional one for sleeping until 13-14 weeks. I did everything right and had a wonderful surgery, but my recovery just seemed slow and long in comparison to many here. Luckily I knew not to compare myself to others, though it took a lot of effort. :) I think part of my issue was I was mentallyand physcially drained from my own battle with grief earlier in the year....I lost my mom last December (a few days before Christmas). This was the day before I was originally supposed to have my TKR. I had to postpose it until May while I settled her estate and sold her house. Her death was sudden, and the grief afterwards was absolutely devastating. I had lost my dad 4 yrs before, and this was MUCH MUCH worse, as she and I were much closer. I think you are super normal in your reactions/energy level, especially given you've just had major surgery. Even before my May TKR, I just wanted to sleep, eat, and cry for months because of my mom. My TKR recovery did get my mind off of it somewhat for a few weeks, but when her birthday rolled around in July (9 wks post-op for me), the grief came back in full force, and I cried/slept/ate again like back in January. it took 4 wks to get out of that valley of grief.

Knowing what it did to me to lose my mom, I can't even IMAGINE what it would do to me to lose my child. :console2: I think you are doing wonderfully so far, and give yourself a hug. I will be thinking of you.

--Lisa
Lisa - so sorry about the loss of your mother. I am often on the verge of tears. Thank you. Marty
 
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Mrty2019

Mrty2019

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@Macknit Definitely hanging out here. I have learned so much. It gave me the knowledge and courage to stop PT. If he wasn’t hurting me, there wasn’t much left to do at PT. Thx
 

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