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[TKR] Steelergal's Recovery Thread^

Steelergal

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Thanks @lovetocookandsew and @Bionic! Surgery went well today (my doc said it was a bit difficult because my ligaments are also a mess. There hasn’t been extreme pain, just dull throbbing and weakness. However, unlike the his surgeries, i can move around better and get out if bed without assistance! Right now i have so many things wrapped around it (ice machine pad, dvt machine pads, and compression stockings. All of that makes it hard to bend. I’m glad it’s done and ready to heal! I know recovery will be hard, so i don’t have high expectations. I really appreciate all the support!!!
 

lovetocookandsew

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Congratulations on your new knee! Your life will be so much better in the not-too-distant future. :yay: Remember to :ice: and :elevate: and :alarm: when you get home, along with ADLs. I'm leaving you with your reading, when you're up to reading.

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
elevate
ice
take your pain meds by prescription schedule (not when pain starts!)
don't overwork.
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.
 

Celle

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Welcome to recovery @Steelergal
I'm glad things are going well.

I've moved your post and started a recovery thread for you.
 
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Steelergal

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Thanks @FitGal! I’m glad it’s over and am just working though the pain and muscle soreness.

Good luck with your new knee!

-Sara
 
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Steelergal

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Thanks @quicklabs!

I’m home which is nice. The knee feels ok. My thigh muscles, on the other hand, are a mess. Bruised, tight, and painful. I’m hoping that gets better soon. I’m trying to be patient and remind myself that it’s only been about 30 hours since surgery!

The hardest thing right now is getting my leg straight. It’s going to take a while. My surgeon ordered a polar care cube ice machine and it’s been so great. It keeps the ice pack cold continuously.
 

Jockette

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The hardest thing right now is getting my leg straight. It’s going to take a while.
Yes, it will take a while, but if you treat it gently and have patience, it will come along fine. Don’t try to force it, and don’t let anyone push down on it.
 
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Steelergal

Steelergal

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I woke up this morning feeling very discouraged. This is a lot more pain than i remember from my hip surgeries. And for some reason my surgeon prescribed less pain meds (only 30 pills), so i feel like i have to ration them. Taking just one at a time is not cutting it. I’m also worried about elevating it correctly. Every position hurts and I’m not sure what to do. The knee/thigh/upper calf area is pretty swollen and completely bruised. My knee was in really bad shape prior to surgery and he had to fix ligaments while replacing the knee to there’s a lot of muscle tightness in addition to the trauma of the surgery. I’m trying to stay upbeat and positive because i know this all will pass, but while I'm in the middle of it, i find it hard to be anything but emotional and frustrated. I’ve read the articles, but any other advice would be great! Thank heavens for this forum!
 
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Jockette

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kneeper

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I woke up this morning feeling very discouraged. This is a lot more pain than i remember from my hip surgeries. And for some reason my surgeon prescribed less pain meds (only 30 pills), so i feel like i have to ration them. Taking just one at a time is not cutting it. I’m also worried about elevating it correctly. Every position hurts and I’m not sure what to do. The knee/thigh/upper calf area is pretty swollen and completely bruised.
Hi @Steelergal. What you describe is pretty typical of the early days of recovery--though that doesn't make your pain less. Keep trying positions for icing and elevating--remember your leg doesn't have to be completely straight.

Sorry you are getting limited pain meds. It can be tricky these days. Sometimes OS' write a short prescription but do write new ones if you need them.
 

luvcats

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I'm sorry you're feeling discouraged. The early days are so hard. I would check with your doctors office and see if you will be able to get a refill when you need one. As long as you take them as prescribed, I'd be surprised if you won't be able to get at least one refill.

I have a Lounge Doctor, but for the first week or so, I couldn't get comfortable with my leg elevated that much. I used 2 soft pillows under my leg, staggered a little like the article that's been linked, and ice. Ice ice ice, pretty much 24/7 the whole first week.

I hope you find something that will work for you.
 
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Steelergal

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Thanks for the advice everyone. This afternoon was slightly better and i was able to shower and take a nap. I’m trying to get mobile every couple of hours to keep things loose. My leg is still very swollen and tight so bending or straightening the knee is out of the question right now. I’ll call my OS in a couple of days and ask for a refill. It’s silly to ration and only take 1 pill when I’m allowed to take 2 as needed. I’ve learned that i need 2 in the mornings! Thanks again for the encouragement. My rational side knows this will pass and I’m doing all i can, but my independent side is annoyed. Haha
 
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Steelergal

Steelergal

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Hi everyone,

Quick question. I’m guessing it’s normal but i want to ask anyway. Pretty much my entire leg is purple from bruising. The color is shifting and moving, which is encouraging because i know there is circulation. But the bruising is from upper thigh to mid calf. Is this ok? I think the swelling has gone down a tiny bit but my knee is still swollen and tight. We’re taking photos each day to document the differences. My scar is longer than i expected and looks like Frankenstein right now. Just wondered if there are signs to look for that require a call to my doctor. Thanks!
 

InkedMarie

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Yes that is normal. I was bruised on top, sides and underneath my knee and five days post op a nice very long oval appeared on the top of my shin. Some people don’t bruise at all, some bruise badly.
 

Celle

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I woke up this morning feeling very discouraged. This is a lot more pain than i remember from my hip surgeries. And for some reason my surgeon prescribed less pain meds (only 30 pills), so i feel like i have to ration them. Taking just one at a time is not cutting it. I’m also worried about elevating it correctly. Every position hurts and I’m not sure what to do. The knee/thigh/upper calf area is pretty swollen and completely bruised. My knee was in really bad shape prior to surgery and he had to fix ligaments while replacing the knee to there’s a lot of muscle tightness in addition to the trauma of the surgery. I’m trying to stay upbeat and positive because i know this all will pass, but while I'm in the middle of it, i find it hard to be anything but emotional and frustrated. I’ve read the articles, but any other advice would be great!
Knee replacement is a more extensive surgery than hip replacement and the recovery is harder, so try not to compare your recovery this time to your recovery from your hip replacements.
TKR or THR: which is more difficult surgery for recovery?

It does take a bit of trial and error until you find the most comfortable way foy you to elevate. Maybe elevate a little less high for a while? You don't have to keep your knee completely straight while elevating. A little bend is OK. Elevation: the do's and dont's

I'm sorry your surgeon gave you fewer pain medications. Can you phone him and tell him that what you have isn't working well?

Quick question. I’m guessing it’s normal but i want to ask anyway. Pretty much my entire leg is purple from bruising. The color is shifting and moving, which is encouraging because i know there is circulation. But the bruising is from upper thigh to mid calf. Is this ok?
Yes, bruising is normal. Have a look at some of the examples in this article:
Bruising after surgery
 

Rockgirl4

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I was bruised from my upper thigh all the way to my ankle---front and back. The worst of it lasted 3-4 wks, but the bruising on the back of my calk/ankle lasted for a full 5 wks. We kept taking pictures to see if it really was improving, plus family members thought we were embellishing things. My husband nipped that in the bud right now and texted them the photos, asking them if they wanted to go through "this" ---with pictures attached for the visual effect!!!! :)
 
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Steelergal

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Hi everyone,

New question for you. Over the past two days I’ve been dealing with pretty intense dizziness, nausea, sweats, mild fever, diarrhea, and zero appetite. I called the after hours line yesterday and the doc on call said I shouldn’t worry since the fever wasn’t too high and I didn’t have any other signs of infection. But I’m pretty concerned because it seems these symptoms aren’t going away. I’m very weak and supposed to have my first PT appointment tomorrow. Should I be alarmed and go to the ER?
 

Rockgirl4

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@Steelergal Considering your symptoms, I'd think it's possible you have a nasty viral infection or bacterial infection. As to whether it's related to the knee, only a Dr could tell you. I know in my first 9 wks post-op, I caught a nasty Upper Respiratory infection (URI) that led to a nasty secondary sinus infection requiring antibiotics, AND a stomach bug. It's so easy to blame it all on the knee though. I was shocked to get an URI in summer, but I wondered if my knee was so busy working to heal that the rest of me couldn't keep up. :) I hope you feel better soon.
 

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