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MUA Steelergal's Recovery Thread

Macknit

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I'm so pleased to hear how you are progressing and that you have such a great OS! I see mine next Friday for my "almost" 12 week check in. I have a few questions for him, but overall I am plugging along! It sounds like you are moving ahead now!! have a good weekend!
 
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Steelergal

Steelergal

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Just a quick check in! I’ll hit the 5 month mark next week. I’ve been cane free for the past couple of weeks (though i keep it in my car just in case) and finally started sleeping with my gravity blanket again (oh how I’ve missed it!). I can now tolerate tights for a few hours at a time which is nice as the weather is getting colder. My ROM is still improving VERY SLOWLY, but I’m trying to be patient. I love the stationary bike and am working through a bit of muscle soreness as i learn to walk correctly again. My extension is still pretty lousy but I’m working on light stretches. My scar is still sensitive and I’m still aware of a sometimes heavy feeling in the kneecap area. But I’m starting to get where i can get out of bed or stand up from my desk and not think before i take a step. It’s amazing! Still a long way to go but I’m almost halfway there!
 
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Poctdb

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Keep reporting that good news....
 

Helizabug

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@Steelergal your story is helping me a bunch! My ROM has been hanging in the 70s and the teens, and my surgeon said I probably need an MUA. I have been very happy with BoneSmart folks’ assurance that there’s usually no reason to ‘hurt’ your knee in the quest for a ROM, but I also have been happy with my surgeon. So, I’ve been looking for success stories with MUAs. Thanks!
 
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Steelergal

Steelergal

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@Helizabug I'm glad I've helped in some way. Keep communicating with your doc and don't rush it too much. Mine was more than 3 months post surgery, so I really gave it time. I'm so glad I had it done, but it's not a magic solution. While it was very successful and I did improve quite a bit, but still have a lot of work to do! Good luck with whatever decision you make, you'll know what's right for your body.
 
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Steelergal

Steelergal

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I thought I's stop by for a quick update. I'm just over 6 months and saw my OS this week. I won't go back until my year mark. The past few weeks have been very frustrating. My knee seems to be really mad that I'm wearing clothes that touch it and my scar is being very tender and sensitive. But it's cold, so Ms. Knee is going to have to get over it. I think more of the nerves are waking up so my knee cap and surrounding area are more sore than usual. I'm also at another standstill with my ROM. My flexion is hovering around 100-105 with a VERY tight quad and MCL. My extension is still around 5-7. My OS still says everything is fine and he's not at all worried. He took x-rays, everything looks great, healing well. He says there's still swelling (even though that's supposed to be better after 6 months), so I'm back to being more diligent with the ice machine. He says my muscles were a mess prior to surgery so it's just taking longer. I'm still at PT about once a week, and doing Pilates once a week to help stretch things out. I'm going to try dry needling to see if that makes any difference with this stupid quad.

My biggest frustration is that I still can't walk down stairs foot over foot. That's literally all I want to do and I'll be completely satisfied with this surgery. But the stiffness just isn't going away. If I sit or lie down with my leg straight for too long it's sore and hurts to bend. If I'm sitting up too long, then I can't get it very straight. I just don't understand why there's not more progress. I know, I know, it takes a year to recover, blah, blah, blah. But at 6 months, I'm very frustrated that things aren't progressing. In fact, in some areas they feel worse. So I'm trying to do my exercises without joining the over did it club. And I'll go back to icing more. And I'll try to find patience and not compare myself to others who are pretty much healed by 6 months and doing just fine. But it just sucks sometimes, ya know?
 

Helizabug

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I know, @Steelergal, I know.

I’m just six and a half weeks out, and I’m so ready to climb stairs. I never wanted to climb stairs so much!

Hoping your stiffness eases more and more, soon.
 

Starsfan22

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@Steelergal, we had our tkr basically the same week. I'm about where you are. I'm so tired of hurting...my numbers when I stopped PT at 6wks. were 125/-2. I have no idea where they are now. I initially overdid PT so I took it really easy for awhile. I couldn't really tell any difference. As time goes by I do see progress, it's just so slow. My unopetated knee is really unhappy with the extra work it's had to put up with. I just can't face another tkr until the original is better.
 

Macknit

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@Steelergal, I'm sorry things are going so slowly for you.... I have some understanding, even though I'm at 4 months and generally my ROM is OK...I try not to focus on the numbers. I do some exercise, but I'm still finding that walking aggravates the knee the most. My non-TKR knee too!

I get very stiff every day at around 3 PM. I'm guessing I'll start watching the time each day and see if it gets a few extra minutes so I can say I'm progressing. It's going so slow right now, I can't clock it! Each of us tries not to compare with others, but that is almost impossible when we read that someone at our stage or with an even later surgery date is doing better! I literally just stop reading and move on to a post where I can help someone whose newer in this process! There's even science behind this... if you're in pain and you help someone else, your perception of pain lessons.

Good Luck on this journey! We all do have ups and downs!
 

Poctdb

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.I seem to remember you had an MUA.....I think that sets the clock to zero as far as your recovery time. I have read this in other posts.

So aren’t you really about 3 months from where you had “surgery?”

At almost 5 months with great numbers, I went back to PT to fix the items that were muscular. The knee was great....The OS said “You were so far off that you may have to fix things in the order they break.” If I remember right, you had a issues with ligaments and previous hip surgery, and your OS says the muscles were a mess.

Are you taking any drugs at all? I totally understand the pain makes it harder to see where you have come from.

I agree your current lack of progress sucks...but I still believe with my whole heart you will be glad you did this.

P.S...... I am one of those people who is doing pretty well at 6 months....but my foot over foot stairs ability still is not consistent. One day, I don’t have to use the rails....the next day, I will have to place one foot on the stair and follow it with the other gripping the rails like they are a life preserver.
 
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Steelergal

Steelergal

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Thanks for the encouragement everyone. Yes, I have to be patient. But at 6 months, even the members that have been used as examples of slow ROM progression were mostly past 100 degrees. Hahaha.

@Poctdb Yes, I did have an MUA, but for the few weeks right after that procedure, my knee felt much better. I don't feel like it set me back to the beginning of recovery at all. I'm not taking many pain meds, just Celebrex (and sometimes I add Tylenol). And I'm trying to remember that my muscles/ligaments were a hot mess prior to surgery. And clearly they're still a mess! But I'm glad to hear you're doing well!

@Macknit YES, it's SO HARD to keep myself from comparing. I feel like I'm the only one who's taking forever to feel better. For me, walking is pretty good, it's when I stand still too long or have my leg propped up straight too long. Then I get very stiff. And the general soreness on and around my kneecap area just will not go away! :tantrum: We need to figure out some stiffness remedies.

I'm just really tired of this some days. But I know you all know that. :tiredwheel:
 
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Steelergal

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Does anyone have any tips on desensitizing the area on and around the scar? I'm still having a really hard time wearing anything that's too constricting (like tights, but it's COLD). And as the numb areas keep waking up, there's a lot of sensitivity. Any recommendations would be great! And how long before people could kneel? I realize I have a quite a while before I can do that, but wondering what the time range might be.

We tried cupping (just my quads) at PT yesterday. It's not fun at all, but I do feel a bit looser. Still no significant improvement in ROM from the first session, but we'll keep trying and see if it helps loosen up these tight, tight muscles. I'd debating trying dry needling too. My therapist suggested adding some moist heat into the mix so I'm looking for a gym with an indoor pool to see if that makes any difference. I'm not a great swimmer, but I can tread water, so hopefully that will be good start!
 

Celle

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Does anyone have any tips on desensitizing the area on and around the scar? I'm still having a really hard time wearing anything that's too constricting (like tights, but it's COLD).
You may be able to de-sensitize the area by touching it and gently rubbing it. Start by using some very soft material and when you can tolerate that, move to something a bit harsher. Gradually increase the harshness of the material, until your knee has become much less sensitive.

As for kneeling, some surgeons prefer their patients not to do it, so it would be a good idea if you ask first. I don't think there's a specific time when you could start trying, and you're probably past the early stages, when it would be a bad idea.

I started by kneeling on a pillow on my bed and I gradually decreased the softness of what I was kneeling on, until I could kneel on a cushion on the floor and, finally, on a carpeted floor. I really don't like the feeling, though.
I can kneel on a hard floor for short periods, but it feels so uncomfortable that I try not to do it - doing that is for emergencies only, as far as I'm concerned..
 

Helizabug

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Those desensitizing exercises with different materials can be very helpful.

During the day, while I wait for those to work, I find an Ace bandage protects those weird spots on my knee. I think it’s the firm, constant pressure delivering a steady sensory message to the skin, but I’m not sure.

Some people say the idea of wrapping their swollen tender knees sounds like torture, so I might be an outlier, but it really helps me.
 
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Steelergal

Steelergal

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Thanks @Celle and @Helizabug for your input. I’m trying to figure out what my knee can tolerate and then how to get it desensitized. I can wear a compression sleeve with no problem but tights or skinny jeans drive me crazy. So strange. Overall I’m still feeling sensitivity and some pain in and around the knee cap area and it’s just frustrating that I’m not using free yet. I’m slowly taking stairs foot over foot now. It doesn’t always work but i always try. I have to hold on but the tuners bit of progress is a victory at this point. We’re still holding strong at 102 flexion.

i have to fly a lot in the next week. California tomorrow and then Miami on Wednesday. The Miami trip involves a lot of work events and I’ll be on my feet a lot. I’m anxious about it but will just do the best i can! I haven’t flown since my Europe trip so I’m hoping Ms. Knee behaves better than she did for that trip. Compression stockings and ziplock bags are ready!
 

Macknit

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I was debating about the compression sleeve for me. I used a soft sleeve before the surgery, because the knee was constantly slipping....I have no slipping now, but the sensitivity is weird. I wear leggings always and jeans only sometimes, however the jeans irritate quite a bit. I have leggings that are mostly cotton and they feel great on the knee.

What do you use the compression sleeve for?
 

luvcats

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It looks like your cold weather problems are solved for the next week or so, but if your wardrobe contains any longer skirts, particularly A-line, a longer skirt with a cotton slip is actually very warm. Wear your compression stockings to protect the lower leg. Also wearing lycra based leggings might help instead of tights. It might not be the touching, per se, but the friction. I still have trouble with friction, even when it's just my hand.

Good luck with the pool. Try your local rec centers. Fairfax county rec centers have been very well equipped, but every area will be different. I always feel much looser when I walk in the pool. I try to do an exaggerated walk in the safety of the water and that helps.

Another possible help would be to apply magnesium oil to your quads. It's a natural muscle relaxant. I've been applying it to my super tight ankle that is still learning to walk again. It seems to help and things are slowly improving when I do stretches the next morning.

Like you, my muscles and posture were a hot mess before surgery. Like you, I'm not anywhere near foot over foot on stairs. I'm still step. step. step. Like you I am terribly frustrated that its Not Better Yet! All we can do is keep on keeping on. :tiredwheel: is exactly right.
 
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Steelergal

Steelergal

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Well my travels went well. No swelling after long flights and no pain after a lot of walking and standing. Definitely stiffness but not actual pain. I’m working hard at walking down stairs. I’m still slow and have to hold on but it’s slowly progressing. As you can probably guess, my ROM is even slower at progressing. I’m now averaging between 98 and 102 flexion and 6-10 extension. I’ve had two dry needling sessions and can feel my muscles loosening up so I’m hoping that soon translates to more bending.

I continue to get more feeling back and there’s just one small section left that’s still numb. Also working hard on desensitizing the area around my scar. Everything is frustratingly slow but i try to remind myself of the early days when it took me so much effort just to walk down the hall. I hate being a “special” case where things take much longer than usual, but at least i can walk and I’m no longer in constant pain. I’ve come to terms with the fact that i may never have excellent ROM but hope to continue to gain flexibility!
 

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