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TKR Recovery Week 7 - June 9.2021

beesknee

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You have the bend but not the strength and I have the strength but not the bend. I think I would rather have to build strength than work on bending.

I have been "walking" for a week without a walker (very carefully), but am limited because lack of a natural bend and lots of stiffness.
 
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Gunu_21

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Hi Moone, I have been reading your thread.I have similar issues to you regarding walking as I feel my knee buckling , so I still use my crutches but I have started walking without them at home for short spells but i walk slowly without walker or crutches and make sure I have furniture or walls to hold on to in case my knee buckles when I practise walking bend,heel , toe . I could not do this till a week ago. My knee also swells up and hurts after exercise. Climbing any kind of steps was hard but I can do a few steps now using "up with the good and down with the bad leg " :). I have been doing twice a week outpatient PT since two weeks with leg presses , stretches with bands and stationary cycle which seems to be helping . I had my surgery a week before yours .

May I suggest using both your crutches and trying to walk a few times a day and increasing the duration slowly . Walking more even with crutches will strengthen your leg muscles more and continue doing other PT that does not cause you too much swelling. I wish you the best and hope you reach your goals . Sometimes things take a bit longer but hang in there . You are not alone .
 

kneeper

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You have to "toddle" before you can run. :heehee: I like @Gunu_21 's suggestion to use both crutches for a while longer for stability when you're walking. If you feel more stable you'll be more likely to feel you can walk around a little bit more.
As you feel more confident, the random buckling feeling won't faze you. For me it got to the point where it wasn't even quite a buckle and then just was gone.

The clicking (which is just strange, but not problematic) gradually went away too but that took longer.
 
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Moone

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Thank you @Atkinson8 for your great words of encouragement, I will try and be patient! I am doing much less walking, absolutely panicked going down our step yesterday, buckled and twitched. Then I had to demonstrate my technique at physio which was worse though had bars to grab. It was hard to walk out and the mini ramp made the knee buckle more. Then got home and panicked about going up the step. Sat in the sun and when I plucked up the courage it was shaky but fine. So my plan is to walk less, short walks around the house, basic exercises (which I've gotten much better at) and 5 min bike rides, and being kind to try and ease my anxiety. Doesn't help my right knee is sore and shaky.
Physio gave me a tens- neurotrac machine to use both for pain and muscle stimulation. Has anyone used these? Thoughts? Helps a bit with pain, not sure with muscles but will try anything!
 
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Moone

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@best have the bend but not for walking! It still catches and doesn't move properly...hopefully when the swelling goes down more. So challenging isn't it? Keep working on it - we'll both get there!
 
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Moone

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@Gunu_21 thank you so much, your comments give me hope! I am thinking I was doing too much to soon! Was definitely told to work hard and push, I was walking to the end of our block every day, then was told to go to one crutch, which I did clinging on to my husband or daughter. I think this must have been a tipping point! I will cut back and rebuild - wish I had found this group sooner!
 

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Moone, you are going to do fine! So many people here wish they had found the site earlier! But, BETTER LATE THAN NEVER! Just adhere to the guidelines, icing, elevating, medicating when necessary. Activities of daily living are enough to rehab your knee, and time will take care of the rest. Do not push too hard, nor let anyone else push you too hard.
 

Irongirl56

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Physio gave me a tens- neurotrac machine to use both for pain and muscle stimulation. Has anyone used these? Thoughts? Helps a bit with pain, not sure with muscles but will try anything!
Moone, My physio is using an EMS unit on my quad and I really like it. It helps to stimulate my muscle to fire and strengthen. I have a lot of quad issues as this is the 3rd surgery on this knee in the last 18 mos or so, so even though I thought it was pretty strong going into this surgery it is not. Quad lag is not uncommon in knee surgeries and using a TENS can assist with regaining some strength by getting the muscles to fire in addition to the exercises. Hope your TENS helps too!
 
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Moone

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Thanks @Irongirl56 may I ask where you place the four pads? My physio was very vague and the booklet I have says nothing about knees!
Appreciate your comments
 

Irongirl56

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@Moone, the machine he uses only has two pads but they seem to randomly place them on my thigh, one right above the knee and one on the upper thigh. these pads are about 5 inches in diameter.
1628174501862.jpeg

Do you have to use all 4 pads? doing some research I found they need to be place at least 2 in apart. do a search under “how to place tens unit pads on quad” and you will see some pics as well as some You tube videos to help figure it. Let me know how it goes!
 

beesknee

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I actually own one of these I bought cheap that they were demonstrating at a Las Vegas conference years ago. I have used it a few times but only to help release a neck or low back spasm.

I need to dust it off and give it a try on the quad. Mine has 4 pads but will work with 2 pads also.

If it works well, when this is all done I'll put them on my abs so I get my 6 pack back while I read a book!
 

Jamie

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Thanks @Irongirl56 may I ask where you place the four pads? My physio was very vague and the booklet I have says nothing about knees!
Appreciate your comments
We have a whole section with information about Post Op Care and pain management via a link in the blue tool bar at the top of the page. Here is the section that talks about correct usage of a TENS machine.
 
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Moone

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Wonderful thanks everyone for info and links. I have been slightly better the last couple of days, my goal today is down my step to make massage appointment. Trying to invoke calm as have been very anxious about walking and my step in particular.
I also had someone suggest you tube clips with Sukie Baxter - not really about knees but calming the nervous system and overcoming trauma. I have found these helpful too... will let you know how I manage!:)
 

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This recovery is really stressful. Good to see that you feel a bit better and are finding a way through the anxiety of it all.
 
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Moone

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Would still love any tips overcoming anxiety particularly down steps? I am 9 wks since op and back on 2 crutches. My operated knee still buckles and scares me. The other knee is weak(future op?) and am distressed it won't hold either. Have limited myself to staying inside walking the hallway but walking is hard. Good flexibility, bike ok for about 10 min and can finally do straight leg lifts. I'm finding it hard to find a balance as I now seem to do less and less... I managed our front step since early op days but the half dozen times I've tried in the last week and a half it buckles then buckles when I try to walk. Any suggestions for making this easier? Help pls!!
 

Atkinson8

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I understand your anxiety, and I'm sure at this point you were looking for more progress. My unofficial suggestion is to work on strengthening your quads and hamstrings. While your legs are straight out (on a couch or bed) sqeeze your knee cap area and muscles - hold for 5 seconds, release. Repeat 20 times, at least 5 times a day. Then try rolling a towel under your knee to create a bend; try to lift your leg using the knee as a fulcrum (sqeeze the quad before trying to lift). Repeat 10 times if you can, and keep working on that. You have good flexibility which is great - so try to strengthen those other areas. I maybe wouldn't worry about the stairs too much at this point. I hope this helps!
 

kneeper

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I may have said this before but even at 12 weeks I was doing down steps a bit gingerly.
I like Atkinson8's idea of doing what my PT called "quad sets"--the squeezing of the quad muscles. That shouldn't be too aggressive, but can help with your quad strength. I'd do it with both knees.


Congrats on the leg lifts! :yes!: That's a positive sign.

Remember to pace yourself re: the exercising. As always, listen to the knee.
 
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Moone

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Thank you @Atkins and @kneeper I really appreciate your words and advice. Yes these are on my list but might up these exercises a bit. Have noticed improvement with exercises - everything but walking. Can I ask about walking method? Putting it out there for everyone? Have heard some mention, heel, toe - am thinking I have been a bit flat footed as still have some swelling in foot. How did others find walking and what did they practice. I am quite straight legged even though I have good flexion as I have pain behind knee. Feels like it catches but am thinking that is swelling as is worse as day goes on? Exercises or practices for this?
Thanks again, the support is very helpful!
 

Ghostpipe

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I had a bilateral and walked with no aids at all after day 7, which I’m glad that I did because I was forced to walk properly and still had a muscle memory from pre op. However, as the weeks went by, those muscles got weaker. What helped me, from about 10 weeks onward, was walking up and down slopes. It’s weird at first because you are reluctant to engage the muscles because everything is sore, different and the knees don’t seem to belong to you, but gradually you relearn how to co-ordinate and use the right muscles for the job, and the buckling lessens.
Thereafter, steps become easier, but that mental barrier stays a while. It took me months to have the courage to go down even one step without support, even after five months it is often a bit painful.
I still occasionally have a bit of minor buckling now, and have to remind my legs to engage their muscles.
 

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