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[TKR] Thatlldo's recovery thread

Discussion in 'Knee Replacement Recovery Area' started by DEL2019Aug-6, Feb 27, 2019.

  1. DEL2019Aug-6

    DEL2019Aug-6 junior member
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    Hi everyone I'm at week 4 today with my new right knee. I read the forum a lot last year and have been visiting again this year for all of the great info that helps me calm down about stuff that's normal. No questions right now but I'm sure stuff will come up.

    I had a partial done last year on my left knee. The partial was really easy to recover from and has been great ever since. I was back competing in my sport 3 months after my surgery last year. The TKR has been a lot more work and a lot more resting but so far so good. I haven't had the 'omg I've ruined my new knee' panic yet. Last year that was at the 2 month mark. Hopefully I'm more prepared to not freak out this year.

    I tried to set myself up for success before the surgery by taking spin classes every day. I couldn't walk much the last couple of months but I was able to ride and I maintained good ROM. Had some minor complications involving the spinal but once those were resolved I was able to go home the day of the surgery.

    I was at 110 for flexion and 0 for extension on day 2. Flexion has continued to improve. It's at about 125. Probably better after I'm warmed up and extension has stayed at 0 except when I'm walking. I can tell I'm walking on a bent leg. My gait is not good and that's causing my SI joint to get annoyed so I've been doing some PT specific for that and farmer walks to work on it.

    The right leg is about ½ inch bigger than the left all along the length of the scar. The rest is the same size as my left though it's possible that the left is more muscular and the right is actually just swollen to the same measurements. I do have pretty good quad strength on both legs, my glutes and calf muscles need a lot of work.

    Had to quit the pain meds after the first week (except for extra strength Tylenol). I don't like them and I was lucky enough to go home with a nerve blocking pump for the first 3 days so that got me through the rough patch.

    Still icing with the awesome cube machine and elevating a lot. But also respecting that as good as a numb knee feels, blood flow and movement are important for healing.

    Probably my biggest challenge has been that sleeping in weird positions is giving me migraines that don't respond to any medications. I've had chronic migraines my whole life but these are an extra special variety. Had a great nights sleep last night YAY! And I have a Dr appt tomorrow to problem solve the migraine issue.

    I started walks around the block the first week using the walker. I didn't use a walker or the crutches for the other knee but this one definitely needed it. Then transitioned to the crutches for week 2. Now I'm not using anything though I do bring my walker when I take my dogs out for a swim or to play disc with them. I'm not worried about them but just in case someone else's dog comes up I have something to hide behind lol.

    I got kicked out of home PT after 2 sessions lol, and sent to group classes but haven't gotten on the schedule for those until tomorrow. I love PT, it inspires me. I love goals and setting criteria. FWIW my experience with PT has been really positive. I've never had a PT push me to the point of pain or give me dangerous exercises or unrealistic goals. I have had them tell me to slow down more than once. :)

    I've been hitting the gym every day. This knee is a whole lot slower recovery road than the partial was so I don't push what I'm doing with my knee at all, just general PT exercises and rowing and spin bike with no/light resistance. Hoping to get to a pool soon. Never pushing through pain or even up to it if possible. And I'm trying to keep up the rest of my body with weights and core work in ways that don't work my right knee unfairly.

    My surgeon has been really supportive of me and positive that I'm likely to be able to return to the activities and sports that I love. So I am investing in my recovery mentally and physically.

    My job involves a lot of standing/walking around with a lot of unpredictable movement around me so I'm determined to stay out for a full 3 months. Its hard for my head to do that but I want to do right by my knee.

    Thank you to everyone for sharing your journey. It can be really scary and overwhelming and I appreciate everyone's stories.
     
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  2. Josephine

    Josephine FORUM ADMIN, NURSE DIRECTOR Administrator

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    Well now, that's what I call an update! You seem to have all your ducks in a row and no mistake!
    Well done you!

    But here are the Knee Recovery: The Guidelines anyway!
    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

    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.
     
  3. maryo52

    maryo52 FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    I hear you as far as headaches. I have cluster headache syndrome and after my original TKR they emerged with a vengeance due to my narcotic pain medication. So I had to take a high dose of my headache preventative medication, leaving me with hardly any blood pressure. The sleep position challenges are interesting. I still am mostly on my back but have been able to do a little bit of side sleeping. Gym every day is fine as long as you're not doing anything that's painful or results in increased swelling. The fastest way to get back to a full life is by doing as little as possible in the first 2-3 months of recovery. You seem pretty happy with how it's going and that's a great sign.
     
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  4. Trailers

    Trailers new member

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    Well done you ! Sounds like you're well on the way to being able to resume those activities you are looking forward to. Am trying your advice re disc under the heel - thanks. You're right the bike is a bonus but conscious that sometimes I should not spend so long on it. May have been a bit too positive in my reporting on "normal" coming down stairs in the morning ! Its more "normal" than before the op certainly but not so normal if I don't hold on to the rail and there's a bit of a jump with the downhill leg helped by the hold on the rail. Anyway best wishes for continuing progress.
     
  5. DEL2019Aug-6

    DEL2019Aug-6 junior member
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    Had my one month check up on the new knee with the surgeon's PA and it was all good news. The implant looks beautifully seated and like it's integrating nicely. The PA was super fun to talk to and we had a long discussion about ligaments and muscles. He said I should probably be about 90% healed at the 3 month mark and that the last 10% tends linger until about a year out.

    We went over my competition goals for later in the year and he feels confident its do-able. The best part was that he told me repeatedly "this is your knee now, we want you to use it, we want you to have fun with it, please enjoy your new knee :)". I couldn't be happier with the entire team of people who have been working so hard the last year plus to get me living a life without constant pain.

    Yesterday was a long day and after my Dr's appointment I took my pack of dogs to the beach and we ran wild. Well they did but I had a great time chasing them around. Got up early this morning and did a 2 hour beach walk. I didn't even realize how long we were there because my new knee felt so normal. Then I went shopping and @Trailers in tribute to you, I walked up and down multiple flights of stairs! Holding the rail but otherwise normal! So fun.

    Also about the extension exercises--what my PT has me doing now with the little core disc under the heel of my foot is to kind of lightly bounce my knee/leg down with my hands and using my quads. Not shoving down hard or holding it for prolonged periods, just light movements down asking a little more withoout making it unpleasant. Then get up and walk and then go back to do some more. When you've got it working right you will feel it as soon as you get up to walk it will feel so much more normal.

    @maryo52 Thanks! Had an appointment with my regular Dr and he started me on a new daily medication to try to stop the migraines. I've done daily before and they tend to stop helping or make me to stupid to function. This is a new one but I'm really liking what he told me about it, so fingers crossed it helps.
     
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  6. maryo52

    maryo52 FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    Yes, fingers crossed!

    I am still babying my knee to a degree. My big thrill has been walking in the woods. Our woods is uneven so you have to watch and adjust every step but I figure that's good for me.
     
  7. DEL2019Aug-6

    DEL2019Aug-6 junior member
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    Newest knee is 3 1/2 months old now and the oldest new knee is 15 1/2 months old. Cant believe how lucky I am to be able to go hiking again. Its been years since Ive been on a real hike with my dogs. Im a little bit of a scaredy cat on steep down hills. lol I think Im going to buy some hiking poles.

    I work out every day, mostly spin classes or the elliptical machine, with some weight lifting and lots of squats on a bosu. My proprioception on the right leg is not great so Ive been doing foot work exercises and single leg balancing on unstable objects. Both knees feel great, the right knee is a little slow but doesnt hurt. Flexion on the new knee is perfect but extension is something I still have to work on. Just a few degrees off of straight which throws everything off for movement. I can get it straight but if I slack off on working on it, it defaults back to a slight bend.

    I set a goal of running around a soccer field by the end of may and beat that goal by a full month, just a light jog but I made it all the way around. Im looking forward to june when I can start to go hard and get back into training for real. Having both of my knees replaced in a year span has been hard. Sitting on the sidelines when I just want to be out there competing has been really hard for me. I think I would probably be a very different head space if I didn't have so much support and encouragement from my awesome pt's and surgical team. They all think I can get back out there. Im still not convinced but I remind myself what they keep telling me "This is your knee and we want you to use it."

    Anyone have a favorite running shoe they are using post surgery? I wont be running for exercise but the sport I compete in has a lot of short sprints involved. Ive always worn salomon speedcross I like the flexibility of the sole and the way they hug your foot and they're great on grass, dir and indoor arena surfaces. But Im open to new suggestions that might be more tkr friendly.

    Tried rock climbing for the first time at the gym 2 weeks ago! Super fun, makes me wish I had gotten into it before getting two fake knees. I'll never be good at it but Im defiantly layering it into my workout rotation. I know theres been a few people posting about rock climbing I would love to hear how you're doing climbing after surgery.

    Any one conquering, working through, problem solving their workout, sports or fun goals? Please share them with me Im looking for inspiration!
     
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    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 19, 2019 at 3:32 PM
  8. DEL2019Aug-6

    DEL2019Aug-6 junior member
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    Went for a speedy 4 mile hike on some twisty steep trails with the dogs today to celebrate the 4 month mark. Ive been a little bit of a baby on the downhill sections so I bought hiking poles. They're kind of annoying to walk with but they saved me from wiping out on a slippery steep part and my time on the trail was much faster. Ive been working out hard 5 days a week and Ive been able to really bump up the difficulty level and time over the last month. Excited to see where I am in a month.
     
  9. DEL2019Aug-6

    DEL2019Aug-6 junior member
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    Wow, Im really becoming more and more aware of how important what I put in my body is for how it feels. Ive been focusing on eating as much real food as i can, keeping my protein levels high and avoiding processed and inflammation causing foods. Had some processed sugar(ice cream sandwich) yesterday, today I have achey joints (everywhere except my knees lol) and swollen ankles. But I know its temporary so Im even more motivated to eat cleaner today.
     
  10. sistersinhim

    sistersinhim FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    All I can say is "Wow, you are amazing!" All this activity you are doing at only 5 months out is very usual. Enjoy it.
     
  11. DEL2019Aug-6

    DEL2019Aug-6 junior member
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    @sistersinhim I am totally enjoying so many things! I have about 5 friends who have had replacements over the last 2 years and everyone of them is doing really well, running, hiking, traveling, so my recovery feels pretty normal compared to my small sample group. The recovery from the total is a lot slower than the partial replacement recovery. I compared video of me running last year at the 4 1/2 month mark after the partial and video from today at the almost 4 1/2 month mark after the total and theres a big gap in what I can do.
     
  12. KarriB

    KarriB FORUM ADVISOR Forum Advisor

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    The difference could be the total vs the partial, however we have seen partials that took as long as a total to recover. What we have seen, is that every knee (even on the same person) recovers differently. But I’m so happy to read that you’re enjoying your life. Isn’t it great to get back to living?
     
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  13. DEL2019Aug-6

    DEL2019Aug-6 junior member
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    @KarriB Its pretty incredible. I went for a walk the other day and realized I wasn't even thinking about my knees, I was just walking, quickly. :)
    The partial for me was a piece of cake. I think in part because it was caused by an injury, was replaced relatively quickly and before that the knee had been fine. My right knee was bad for a lot of years, I was walking on a seriously bent leg and in pain on it for a long time.
     
  14. DEL2019Aug-6

    DEL2019Aug-6 junior member
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    I do agility running with my dog now that I have both knees replaced. I'm way behind where I was last year, at this point I was already competing again (even though my right knee was in terrible shape). I am 12 pounds heavier and I know that's affecting my movement a lot. My proprioception with my right foot is also really poor right now.
     
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    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 19, 2019 at 3:36 PM
  15. newpartial

    newpartial junior member

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    My kids rock climb and rather sit and watch was thinking of having a go when my knee is up to it. Probably just bouldering. As you said you had done it was there any problem with you knee or was it fine???
     
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  16. Atlas_aus

    Atlas_aus member

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    Well done.

    There need to be far more people writing about their great recoveries as people usually only write when they are having issues.

    Enjoy your new knees, you certainly seem to be ! :)
     
  17. DEL2019Aug-6

    DEL2019Aug-6 junior member
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    @newpartial No problems so far but I haven't done very much. Just small moves. There are some climbing forums (outside of bonesmart) with people talking about climbing after replacements.

    @Atlas_aus :) thanks its still early days yet and I have a lot of work to do still. Having community makes a big differrence. Looking forward to watching your recovery!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 19, 2019 at 3:37 PM
  18. Benay

    Benay graduate

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    I love this forum as it is an anonymous outlet to tell it exactly how you're experiencing the convoluted recovery and knowing that there are others out there feeling, either right now or before, exactly what you are. For me that's especially comforting being that I don't have to burden those closest to me on a daily basis any more than I already am and that mostly my recovery is a mirror image of our forum buds. Good and not so good I love the unadulterated honesty, the encouragement and support.
     
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  19. Ceegee

    Ceegee junior member

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    It's nice to see someone else running agility after a TKR! You seem to be ahead of me at 4.5 months; I was back competing but I couldn't run anywhere near as well as you at that point. And you have a Golden Retriever too! Congratulations on your recovery.
     
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    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 19, 2019 at 3:37 PM
  20. DEL2019Aug-6

    DEL2019Aug-6 junior member
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    Hi @Ceegee Yay Im happy to see another agility competitor on here. What venue(s) are you trialing in? Hows your knee doing? I was running pretty well after last years replacement but not very well after the one this year, yet. I would say Im 80% behind where I was a year ago, so not close to competing, yet. My dog is actually a working bearded collie - kind of like a longer haired border collie.
     

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