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[TKR] Searing pain when trying to straighten - 8 weeks post op

Discussion in 'Knee Replacement Recovery Area' started by Mhroamers, Mar 13, 2018.

  1. Celle

    Celle FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    You only had your TKR in mid-January, so it's only been 2 months. That really is a very short period of this year-long recovery, and it's too soon to start thinking that something is wrong.

    And there is your answer! Your muscles were weaker and they have a lot more recovering to do before they regain full strength. Meanwhile, they aren't supporting your knee properly, so it feels unstable.

    If your physio is any good, knowing your past history, he will make allowances for it and stop telling you that what's happening is not normal. It is!

    Give your knee a little longer, so that your muscles are stronger, and you could well feel that your knee is more stable. Just don't try to rush things.

    Meanwhile, keep using the crutches, so you don't fall. Your knee will tell you when it is ready for you to give them up.

    Don't compare your knee and your progress with your mother's TKR journey. No two knees are alike and no two recoveries are alike. For all you both know, your knee could have needed much more work during your surgery. I bet your mother didn't go into surgery with muscles already weakened by waiting 6 years for the surgery, either.
     
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  2. Beckadeez

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    I had that problem but the more I walked, the better it got. I used my walker and I still use it at night to go to the bathroom. I think my problem was weak muscles. I walked around as much as possible instead of sitting all day. There’s nothing wrong with still using your crutches. Whatever makes you comfortable. I don’t do exercises so walking has been my only activity.
     
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  3. Mhroamers

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    Thanks everyone. Yes it is a like a wobble I guess, it just gives way and makes me feel like I’m going to go flying. Physio and surgeon are saying it’s muscular and yes I had x-rays done at 4 weeks. I am having another Physio session next week and after that I will email my specialist with my concerns of the ongoing ‘wobble’. Because I can’t at all rely on my left knee I just don’t know how to proceed as I don’t feel the ‘new’ right knee is strong enough to handle the left being done. This dilemma is slowing me right down.
    As for the squats, they are only mini ones and far less strenuous than going up stairs.
     
  4. Mhroamers

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    Sorry only just saw last two replies. Celle is right, my mum only had knee pain for a few weeks before having the surgery. Mine went on for 6 years of weakness and pain and another 10years of discomfort prior to that. Maybe I am simply asking too much too soon. I will try to be more patient and kinder to myself.
     
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  5. jboles

    jboles graduate

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    I agree with what the others have said. I know it's not what you want to hear, because it's not what I like to hear either. I put off my surgery for years too. Now, it's like I'm having to relearn to walk all over again. Slow and steady wins the race. There's a nursery rhyme out there somewhere about the tortoise and the hare, but I want to be the hare, not the tortoise!
     
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  6. Mhroamers

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    Haha the tortoise and the hare, it’s actually our catch phrase for a house sitting site we are members of...me obviously being the hare :tantrum:. I’m curious Jboles, you had surgery one day after me. How’s it going for you?
    Do you have pain and exhaustion when walking? Do you have crazy muscle pain especially at night (hamstring mostly)? Do you have ongoing ligament pain? I have now gone back to 2 crutches and feel safer but it is annoying as it’s so hard to do things or carry things with them. It will be 10 weeks this week. My scar is also so ugly and angry.
     
  7. jboles

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    @Mhroamers I guess I’m doing well. I get tired very easily. I’m working and by the end of the day, I’m pooped! My right foot pronates, which alters my gait and hurts my back. I got my walker back out and have been working on my gait using the walker. I wake up in the middle of the night, every night, with leg pain, more than knee pain. I really think us putting off having surgery has caused our recovery to be slower and the ligament pain also. In my case the OS said he had to do a lot of repair work. But I think the worst for me is the mental aspect of it. Sometimes I just cry because I’m so frustrated. I just want it to be done!!:dead:
     
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  8. Mhroamers

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    @jboles so you are going through a very similar thing. It’s incredible. I work but only casually and from home but I find if I sit in front of pc longer than an hour at a time I’m in trouble. I get so stiff and the leg pain is incredible. Today I cried at the pool because I just couldnt keep my balance and it felt I was going further backwards. Hmmmm, I hope your recovery speeds up. . . As well as mine because I’m sick of it.
     
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  9. SusieShoes

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    Personally, I found the time between two months and four months to be the most grinding part of recovery. I was recovered enough I no longer had to spend all day in my recliner sleeping off the meds and energy drain, but... I was not recovered enough to do much of anything else! It was frustrating. My brain had just enough fog to mean I couldn’t work properly (try writing creatively in a brain fog... doesn’t happen), neither could I read. TV was boring. I couldn’t go anywhere for very long without ending up with painful knees AND exhausted. It was a no man’s land of just waiting for my knees to get better already.

    And they did get better. Finally, they did. Oh, I was plucky about it all and made lemonade out of my lemons, but boy was I glad when that doldrums of recovery passed and I could once more walk like a normal human being, begin working again, do things again, and start having a life again. It was really nice. You’ll get there, too. :)
     
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  10. Mhroamers

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    @SusieShoes so you mean to say another 2 months and this might get better? I will be able to walk more than a few metres and maybe without crutches and won’t be in pain 24/7? That would be so amazing. You’re giving me hope.
     
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  11. SusieShoes

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    Most people will be walking more than a few meters and without aids after three months (some much earlier, of course). You have every reason to think you will be one of them! At two months I still tired quickly and needed the cane for walking longer distances (we’re talking around the block, not three miles). I still had enough pain I took Tylenol three times a day. That all gradually, yes slowly, changed to where by the end of five to six months I was almost completely pain free, taking no meds at all, not tired all the time, and could walk for miles. Recovery takes a full year, but after a couple more months you should see significant improvement.

    The best thing to do for yourself at this point is rest, elevate and ice as much as you can, and also walk every day for whatever distance your knees will accept. At first I only walked up and down my driveway (it’s short). Then it was down the block for a driveway or two. Then it was down the whole block. Then around the block. Then for two blocks, etc., etc.. Just what the knees would accept without hurting. The walking made my legs, and knees, stronger and also gave me something to look forward to each day. :)
     
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  12. jboles

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  13. jboles

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    @Mhroamers What choice do we have, but to keep on keeping on. I'm sorry you felt so down and out at the pool, that should be a happy time. But we can't control how we feel. I'm going to try to take what @SusieShoes said and walk more consistently. It can't hurt.
     
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  14. Mhroamers

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    I had a completely different experience at the pool yesterday. I felt so good and confident. I swam and walked and bent and pushed for 45 minutes and I was in heaven. Felt like a 10 ton whale when I got out though haha. In the afternoon I had about 5 minutes where walking around the house was not a nightmare and I almost felt ‘light’. Then it went back to normal, giving way, limping, heavy....but never mind that because yesterday’s experience has given me a glimmer of what is to hopefully come in the not too distant future. My Physio also explained something to me which might help others. He is convinced the reason I continue to collapse / buckle is because I don’t have a perfectly straight and natural extension yet. It’s hard to explain on here but I am using a swim noodle on a hard surface and place my knee on it and then try to straighten it. At this stage I’m not able to lift my leg any further (to me it looks straight already) but there is a definite difference with the left leg which I can lift higher, as in heel off the ground. The Physio says once I can get my heel off the ground confidently my knee should get stronger.
     
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  15. Mhroamers

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    Hi all, just looking for some more reassurance. It’s now exactly 3 months since surgery and my Physio is so frustrated with my lack of progress.
    The use of the local pool over the last 5 weeks hasn’t increased my strength at all despite me going 5-6 days a week. Walking is still a disaster with my knee feeling like it doesn’t belong to me and my brain not communicating to make the leg go forward properly. I feel a bit like a drunk the way I stagger. Solid walking is up to 600 metres now before the leg turns to jelly and won’t go any further.
    My Physio wants me to go back to the surgeon as he says he’s not come across a case like me. You guys are sayings it’s early days and to be patient. It’s hard to be patient when you’re in so much pain with knees, bilateral chronic plantar fasciitis, nerve root compression in the lower back causing nerve pain all the way down the legs, arthritis in the spine and stupid insomnia.
    I’M SO OVER THIS!!!!! Im terrified to even contemplate the left knee but know it must be done. Sorry for the rant.
     
  16. Mutti3

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    Look back at Susieshoes post, month 2-4 is the hardest. Very true and accurate. It takes while for muscles to regain strength. Your physical therapist is being hard on you, ask him how many total knee patient he has treated with all your other issues. He should be treating ALL of you! Bilateral plantar fasciitis , nerve compression in your back. I have had them all before. As for sleep, this is what I did. Only a suggestion: I mentally set my self, there is 24 hours in a day, when I slept , I slept , when I was a awake, I was awake, it didn’t matter. I was not any any schedule. My baby knee converted me to a baby ! You will recovery, and be fine!
     
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  17. SusieShoes

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    It’s okay to rant. You’re feeling frustrated with your recovery, and in pain, so have every reason to rant.

    It is early days, yes, but a visit to the surgeon sounds like a good idea. He can make certain the implant is in good working order and maybe adjust your physio. To me it sounds like you may be doing way too much activity. Pool work 5-6 days a week is a lot. Is this pool work what you are doing with your physio, or is that in addition? What do you do on your own at home?

    I think the question is whether your problem is one of pain and swelling, or one of strength only. If your knee is swelling and painful, and that’s what is causing you not to be able to walk well, then you need to rest the knee until it can function better. You would be treating the swelling in that case by resting, icing, and elevating the leg. If the problem is weakness, though, you might need a different kind of therapy.

    Did you try resting more and doing less exercise (no physio) for a few weeks to see if that made your knee happier? It could very well be that your knee is simply overworked. That can happen. After all, it’s tempting to think that if a little exercise isn’t getting the job done, more might do the trick. Physical therapists often have this view, too, and it can be difficult to push back and say, “I’ll just rest the knee.”
     
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  18. Jockette

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    3 months is honestly still very early in this year+ long recovery. A pool takes way more energy than we realize. How long are you in the pool each time?

    My surgery was March 13, 2017. I live in a 55+ community and our pool opened Memorial Day. So mid June for me, last year, was 3 months post op. When I went to the pool at first I only spent 10-15 minutes, and only walked. Then, within a couple of weeks I was spending up to an hour or more in the pool, just hanging out talking to friends, but I found I was constantly stretching and bending my knee. It was way too much! My knee was not happy and it was draining my energy.

    I started trying to just literally hang on my noodle in the deep end, trying to relax my legs, but it’s hard to stay still in the water. By the end of July I finally stopped going to the pool.

    I am 13 months post op now and still “not there” yet. I m still improving and gaining strength.

    It’s taking me a very long time to recover and I don’t have all the other physical issues you do. Give yourself more time, be gentle with yourself. This recovery takes what seems like forever at times, but it does happen.
     
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  19. sistersinhim

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    I think you are pushing your baby knee way too much. Working out in a pool is added resistance and just like using weights. Your knee is too young for that. Try backing off all PT, and out of the water, for a month. Let your normal daily activities around the house be your PT. It has worked for thousands of us!
     
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  20. Celle

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    I think your physio is being way too impatient and is expecting you to do too much.

    Quite honestly, I think it's completely unnecessary to be going to the pool so often - once a week would be enough - and you are being encouraged to try and do too much. Your knee is still only a baby and it needs rest and gentle treatment, so it can continue to heal.
    It's wounded, not lazy and unfit, and it doesn't need to be exercised so much.

    Doing what your physio recommends hasn't worked, so why keep on doing it? Why not try a change of tactics and give your knee a break from both physio and all the exercising.

    Just use your knee normally, for your activities of daily living.
     
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