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SBToothfairy

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I had my right tkr 2/18/2020. I had major underside patella wear. My pre-op troubles were using stairs, but not on flat surfaces. I walked 3 miles daily with no difficulty previous to surgery. I am 6 weeks out tomorrow. I am miserable! Just ask my poor husband He is thrilled to go to work!! Even with corona! That horrible tight band feeling started about 2 weeks after surgery. My knee also throbs doing nothing. I had horrible insomnia that started about 3 or 4 weeks post op. I had to start taking a prescription sleep aide out of desperation! I need hope that this tight band feeling is temporary! It forces me to walk like a peg leg, with a cane of course!! Any suggestions??
 

Stiff knee NC

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@SBToothfairy: I want to give you hope! And I’d like to give you a *virtual* hug! Tks for a laugh in these crazy times. I have BEEN there ❤ The physical therapists told me to quit “walking like a pirate” and would snarl “arggg” bc I was walking w/a pegleg. I’d suggest contacting one of the moderators (they are ALL excellent) for specific suggestions on how to help w/tight band problems. (And you might want to read the lengthy post by a woman named Carol who chronicled her problems w/tight band in abt 2014 or 2015 on the Bonesmart website...it was very helpful). And pls know that I’ve had all kinds of complications...so I am healing at a slower rate than others. It took abt 6 months (and I KNOW when you read that “6” how it feels to see that number) until I started to notice, little by little, that I could stand for a little bit longer and my knee wasn’t so stiff afterwards. I didn’t say anything to my husband for 2 weeks, thinking I was imagining it. But 7 mos post op, the tight band WAS better. I honestly think that the only thing that helped w/that tight band feeling is TIME. I had pretty aggressive PT 3 x/wk for several months and, looking back, I think that contributed to my slow healing (not saying to stop PT tho; and my ROM improved, but at the expense of the tight band, I think). My poor husband is retired and waited on me hand and KNEE! He’s as anxious as I am for me to get back to “normal.” RICE is very important: rest; ice (crucial; I still do it at nearly 9 mos); compression (the regular compression stockings were too much for me; I ended up using a length of “turbigrip” think that’s what it’s called (got it from PT) and, even tho it’s as raggedy as could be, it still helps); and elevate (I still do this, too). Good luck! We are ALL here for you. Feel free to reach out when you need a boost! We have ALL needed that at various times as well
 

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Hello @SBToothfairy - and :welome:

I've moved your post from someone else's recovery thread, so we can talk about your knee without disrupting that thread.

I'm afraid that what you are experiencing with tightness is very common after a TKR.
Tightness is one way in which you feel pain, too.

It's only about 6 weeks since you had this very major surgery and it's possible that you are expecting too much, too soon, of your new knee. Complete recovery of all your tissues takes as long as a full year, although you will be able to do most things long before that. Recovery really is a marathon, not a sprint.

At this early stage, all your knee tissues are still angry and inflamed. They need time and gentle treatment, so they can start to settle down and heal. Make sure you get plenty of rest, don't overdo your exercise, and spend as much time as you can icing and elevating your knee. There are articles about your problems in these recovery guidelines:

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. Try to follow this

6. Access to 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 the 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 the member’s history before providing advice, so please post any updates or questions you have right here in this thread.
 

Sara61

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I can assure you the tight band feeling is temporary but will take a few months yet.. I'm nearly 6 months post surgery and finally it's gone, occasionally if I overdo things then it pops back for a day or too, on some people it takes longer and my surgeon told me that it can take up to a year for complete recovery.
I never had any aggressive PT and mainly left my knee to heal in its on time with ADL and gentle exercising to include walking always remembering to walk heal to toe.
Plenty of rest, Ice and elevating is also key to reduce the swelling, unfortunately sleepless nights happen to us all but this with time will improve too, meanwhile try and take the odd nap during the day at night don't fight it, just read or watch a movie or just chat on BoneSmart there is always someone online somewhere around the world on BoneSmart ready to help you 24/7 we've all been there :tiredwheel:
Stay safe and relax it will get better :)
 
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Tykey

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Yes, heel to toe. Even with this you should avoid swinging your leg out, like Chester did when chasing after Matt Dillon in Gunsmoke.
I found using my crutch very useful, placing it where I wanted my foot to end up( ie next to my good foot, but about 9 inches away. Then you have to bring your bad leg straight forward inside the crutch. If you don't, you hit the crutch, and look daft
 
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SBToothfairy

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Hi, I appreciate the responses. I am brand new to this and trying to figure out this great site!! I am currently having PT 3 times a week. I just finished my first week with a physical therapist close to home. My previous one was an hour away. This physical therapy group seems so much better! They spend so much more time with me! They actually do some manual therapy on me and assess me each time! They don’t just direct me to do 30 mins of exercise and then send me on my way! Do you think it’s too much with this tight band feeling? Walking like a pirate is so exhausting My husband is working lots of overtime that is required right now. He must be doing a happy dance at work! I wish I could get away from my miserable self! A friend had his done at the same time as me and never got this horrible tight band feeling! He has no pain and feels better than ever! I think I need new friends.... So glad I found some here!
 
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SBToothfairy

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Yes, heel to toe. Even with this you should avoid swinging your leg out, like Chester did when chasing after Matt Dillon in Gunsmoke.
I found using my crutch very useful, placing it where I wanted my foot to end up( ie next to my good foot, but about 9 inches away. Then you have to bring your bad leg straight forward inside the crutch. If you don't, you hit the crutch, and look daft
Thank you, heel to toe will be my new mantra in between my cursing in my head
 
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SBToothfairy

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I can assure you the tight band feeling is temporary but will take a few months yet.. I'm nearly 6 months post surgery and finally it's gone, occasionally if I overdo things then it pops back for a day or too, on some people it takes longer and my surgeon told me that it can take up to a year for complete recovery.
I never had any aggressive PT and mainly left my knee to heal in its on time with DLA and gentle exercising to include walking always remembering to walk heal to toe.
Plenty of rest, Ice and elevating is also key to reduce the swelling, unfortunately sleepless nights happen to us all but this with time will improve too, meanwhile try and take the odd nap during the day at night don't fight it, just read or watch a movie or just chat on BoneSmart there is always someone online somewhere around the world on BoneSmart ready to help you 24/7 we've all been there :tiredwheel:
Stay safe and relax it will get better :)
Thank you! What is DLA? I have discovered that everyone’s recoveries are so different! I have had several orthopedic surgeries and somehow they prefer to have troubles versus smooth recoveries how much outside walking should I do daily ? Is once a day adequate?
Hearing that the tight band feeling can last so many months is discouraging but it is what it is. Things can always be worse!! This nightmare of Corona, and the heartbreaking losses of life are far worse than me walking like a pirate !! Stay safe everyone !
 

Jockette

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! I am currently having PT 3 times a week.
I’m surprised your PT office is still open, many have had to temporarily close. Doesn’t your area have a stay at home order?

A friend had his done at the same time as me and never got this horrible tight band feeling! He has no pain and feels better than ever!
It’s really hard but try not to compare recoveries. Most of us have the issues you are having. It takes a long time to heal after this surgery.
 

sistersinhim

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With you so close to the epicenter of this virus, you really should be staying home and not going to PT. Your health is much more important than going to PT. You don't even need it. Many of us never took formal PT or did exercises. I am one of them. I had 12 knee surgeries, 2 of them kneecap removals and 1 tkr. Even after those I never took formal PT. But, I didn't just sit around and do nothing. I used my knee as it was intended to be used by walking around to take care of my daily needs. As I healed I was able to do more. Icing and elevation was a huge part of my recovery.

Listen to your knee. It will tell you if you're doing too much by increased pain and swelling. When that happened to me, I found that resting, icing and elevating helped. Your knee knows how to rehab itself without being told what to do.
 

Celle

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@SBToothfairy - Please stay at home and don't go to PT. This Covid-19 virus is very infectious and every time you go out you are exposing yourself to the risk of catching it.

Your knee does not need PT 3 times a week. It will get all the exercise it needs with your Activities of Daily living, plus walking around your house and garden.
If you want to do exercises, these are the only ones you need:
Extension: how to estimate it and ways to improve it
Heel slides and how to do them properly

It's not exercising that gets you your Range of Motion (ROM) - it's time. Time to recover, time for swelling and pain to settle, and time to heal. Your knee has the potential to achieve good ROM right from the start, but it's prevented from doing so by swelling and pain. As it heals and the swelling goes down, your ROM (both flexion and extension) will spontaneously increase.

I think you might even find that if you stop going to PT and cut your exercises back, your feeling of tightness may even decrease as well, because much of that tightness is caused by swelling.
 

Sara61

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Thank you! What is DLA
Yes Sorry for the confusion it's means "Daily living activities"
I'm only doing a walk once a day and I live in the countryside with no close neighbours depending where you live you need to adjust your outdoor activities so that you are safe from contact with others at all times. There are several gentle indoor movement indicated here on BoneSmart, with time the tight band feeling will go - stay safe and positive xxx
 

Jamie

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Let me add to the suggestions that you cancel any therapy for at least a couple of weeks. Your state (as is most of the country) is projected to go through a real surge in virus cases in the coming 2 weeks. You don't want to risk catching it. If your husband is working, he too should be thinking about ways to work from home at least for this period. The virus is nothing to fool around with.

Your therapist can email you some exercises to do from home. Recovery takes a long time for knee replacements, so a couple of weeks right now isn't going to make a difference and staying home just may be the thing that keeps you virus free.
 
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SBToothfairy

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@ Jamie administrator. I have been having mixed feelings about going to PT 3 times a week especially with Covid 19 around our area in Ct. I know it’s very contagious and scary to think about getting it. I sense that all surgeons don’t recommend PT right after surgery, as mine did. I always thought if flexion and extension wasn’t worked on by a PT early on Post surgical,that long term results wouldnt be very good. I will talk to my PT Monday. Thanks for your quidance! Hope everyone stays safe! Kathy
 

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Good morning. I am just about 1 week behind you and also in Connecticut. This is hard!

I am walking with a cane but really only need it because I don't trust my knee yet. I've had issues with my knee since I was 10 so never did trust it!

My PT has been closed for 2 weeks. My PT had corona. I was lucky and did not contract it. They called yesterday to say that they are reopening. I've decided not to go. I am not going to risk it again. Just going to do the best that I can at home.

At 6 weeks today, I am ok but not as good as I had expected. I just can't seem to get the knee to bend past 70. Reading here helps to try to be patient. I haven't posted much because my keyboard has decided that the letters R and W are not necessary. It is so aggravating! I have to use the onscreen keyboard to fill in those letters.

Your post just sounded like what I am experiencing and wanted to let you know that you're not alone.

Are you going to go to PT?
 
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SBToothfairy

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Hi!
This is very hard! I am going to PT, wearing gloves and mask. My PT is also wearing a mask. I am so sorry to hear that you are having a tough time as well! My knee is bending pretty well, 107 degrees today. The problem is this horrible band like pain across the front of my knee.It feels so tight! It makes walking feel so uncomfortable! I am trying to focus on walking heel to toe, instead of my peg leg gaitIt feels like my patella has a 3 pound weight on it, too. My PT said that my patella is moving fine, which is surprising.
My PT says that by keeping it moving a lot, will get rid of that strong band like feeling faster. Many people on this site say that they believe in not doing PT and to rest, elevate and ice. Some limited exercises, too. I am so perplexed! Everyone has different opinions!!
I have been having increasing anxiety this week. So hard to still have this much pain and not know when it will improve? Some people have responded and said it could be 6 to 12 months The Covid 19 situation is adding to the anxiety of course. I feel so sad for the world‘s heartaches!
We are in this together! Hang in there!
 

Celle

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@SBToothfairy , I can understand how confusing it is when you're getting differing advice.

Not all surgeons believe the same as yours does.
My surgeon doesn't allow any formal PT at all for the first month after a knee replacement. He says your knee needs that time, to start on its journey of healing. For that month, we rest, ice and elevate our leg, and walk around the house. The walking is our exercise and we increase it a little each week.

After that month, we just go to PT once every 2 weeks, where we are shown a few new exercises to do at home each day.

His patients all do well and achieve good ROM, as I did, and he hasn't had to do a manipulation to help with ROM for the past 4 years. I think that speaks for itself.

I've had three knee replacements and I followed my surgeon's protocol each time - except that I didn't go to PT at all after the last one. I already knew what exercises to do and I knew my knee wouldn't bend until some of its swelling had gone down.
Both my knees are strong and reliable. They bend to over 125 degrees and they straighten fully. In fact, I think they are fitter than I am.

It's your knee and your decision what to do, but I know that, even when you and your therapist are both wearing a mask and she/he is wearing gloves, you are still exposing your self to the risk of catching Covid-19 every time you go. You're still very early in recovery and your resistance to infection is still low. Your knee will recover just fine if you don't go to PT. You could even ask your therapist for some exercises to do at home, if you like, so stay home and stay safe.

It's not exercising that gets you your ROM - it's time. Time to recover, time for swelling and pain to settle, and time to heal. Your knee has the potential to achieve good ROM right from the start, but it's prevented from doing so by swelling and pain. As it heals and the swelling goes down, your ROM (both flexion and extension) will gradually increase, whether you do formal exercises, or just let your activities of daily living be your therapy.
 

sistersinhim

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My PT says that by keeping it moving a lot, will get rid of that strong band like feeling faster.
I'm sorry, but I disagree with your therapist. All that moving keeps your knee inflamed, which leads to swelling. That is what that tight band feeling is...swelling. If you get the swelling reduced, the tightness will come down. If you keep up all those movements then it will take longer to get the swelling down and your knee will keep that tight band feeling longer. It has been proven over and over again.
 

Sara61

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Seriously think twice before going to any gyms or PT centers even with a mask or gloves, here by law they have all been closed even the PT facility within the hospitals, the virus can be contacted via the eyes too and unless you are in a full body suit you are not protected, at this stage you can still exercise at home, once the swelling goes so will that tight band feeling.
Listen to the seniors on this forum they have had years of experience, read their posts and most importantly please stay safe :):)
 

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