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TKR The Sloth's TKR Recovery Thread

TheSloth

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If only I had found this page before my surgery!!

At 7.5 weeks post TKR, I am ok to walk around the house in the morning but once I stop, the swelling is so bad I can't walk but a few feet. I still use a cane.
My ROM is about 90 ish
Maybe I'm in the depressive stage, but I'm devastated my recovery is so bad.
I'm less than 60 years old and I can't believe this is happening.

The Sloth
 

Celle

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Hello @TheSloth - and :welome: to recovery.

Which knee did you have replaced? If you tell us that, we'll add it to your signature.

I don't think your recovery is bad at all. In fact, you sound as if you're right where you should be at 7.5 weeks post-op.

Maybe you weren't told beforehand, that it takes a long time to recover from a knee replacement? That happens to many people and it results in a lot of anxiety and frustration.

But the truth is that complete recovery from a knee replacement can take as long as a full year. It's a major surgery, and not one you can bounce back from in six weeks or so.
By about 3 months post-op, you'll be able to do most things, although your knee will probably still swell and you'll still tire easily. The secret is not to try and rush things, but to let your inee take as much time as it needs.

There's no need to rush to get ROM (Range of Motion) because it can continue to improve for a year, or even much longer, after a knee replacement. There isn't any deadline you have to meet:
Myth busting: the "window of opportunity" in TKR

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 is capable of achieving good ROM right from the start. Its ROM will gradually increase as your knee heals and the internal and external swelling decrease.

Are you still taking plenty of rest, and icing and elevating your knee? All those things will help.
I'll give you our recovery guidelines in my next post.
 

Celle

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And here are the promised guidelines, as well as some very useful articles:

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. At week 4 and after you should 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 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.
 

tlfiore

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@TheSloth Welcome to the website and these wonderful forums! Yes, I hear you...I know I'd be lost and devastated if I'd not found this website just prior to my right TKR on 10/30/19. I'm almost 3 weeks post-op and the recovery is very hard.

I suppose no one can totally prepare another for what this surgery and journey are like, even with pre-op teaching and classes. My pre-op preparation was very very poor. I don't know what I would have done had I not stumbled upon this site.

Give yourself time. This is a very slow recovery and each person is unique. When my OS told me, "Well, it's not necessarily the surgery that's difficult but the arduous recovery afterward," I had zero idea what he was talking about. I'm starting to understand what he meant.

Many of us will have to do this all over again with our other arthritic, or bad knee...so it's rough.

I'm trying to be patient with myself and go with the flow. I try taking one day at a time. I try not to feel like a failure, like things should be progressing more rapidly, or more smoothly with me. Some days are definitely much better than others. I still cry every morning and every night 'cause those times are the hardest.

You will get lots of support here. There are many good people.
 
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TheSloth

TheSloth

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@Celle Thank you for the warm welcome! I feel like I've landed in the place where we all understand the struggle. The references look wonderful and I'll read them all.

@tlfiore you are spot on - the OS and hospital totally understate the surgery and recovery. They made it seem this was no big deal. Were they trying to set the expectation to make you try harder to recover? Also, people keep telling me that they 'turn the corner' and things get better quickly. I'm still waiting and I'm sure you are too. 4 weeks post was my toughest time.

My outpatient PT was canceled at 6 weeks and I do my own at home and at times I feel lost. Why can't a trained professional take the lead? I'm whiny today...

I had a right tkr.
 

judgar

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Give it another 5 weeks. You will see a difference. Iam at 13weeks. I still swell just not as bad. It will be better
 

Starsfan22

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Sloth, at 15 1/2 weeks I've seen no corner. I have seen curves in the road and they are pretty constant. We all heal differently.
 

Jaycey

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@TheSloth are you icing and elevating regularly throughout the day. Ice for 45-60 minutes. It will reduce the swelling that is causing you pain.
the OS and hospital totally understate the surgery and recovery.
One of my colleagues is an OS specialising in knees. He said he had no idea how complex the recovery was until he helped his Father post TKR. They don't see the other side of surgery.
 

Celle

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My outpatient PT was canceled at 6 weeks and I do my own at home and at times I feel lost. Why can't a trained professional take the lead? I'm whiny today...
As your knee continues to heal, increase the amount of walking you do, first around the house, and then later up the street and back. Walking is good exercise for a new knee,as long as you don't overdo it.

Here are a couple of exercises you can do at home. These are really the only exercises that you need to d, when combined with your activities of daily living.
Heel slides and how to do them properly
Extension: how to estimate it and ways to improve it
 

LindaO

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As Jaycey said, please ensure you are elevating and icing on a regular basis. Elevating is so important for swelling.
Walking heel to toe...slowly if needed, will also help with your range of motion. Hang in there!
 
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TheSloth

TheSloth

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This may sound really weird, but does anyone else feel as though they have 'bands' inside their knee? I feel like I have one above the knee cap, one on it, one below it and one on either side of the knee? They feel like they're an inch long.

My neighbor said he felt the exact same 'bands' after surgery.

What are they?
 
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TheSloth

TheSloth

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For once I'm normal! Thanks Celle, that's the best news I've had in a while! :loveshwr:.

Yesterday my husband and I went to a Christmas show and I took my cane and set of crutches thinking I could shuffle along. After a few rows I went to the crutches. Soon, a stranger walked up to me and said, 'you look like you're in a lot of pain, they rent wheelchairs here for $1.' So, we rented a wheelchair and finished out the show. I'm still struggling that this is my life now. Maybe I'm being taught a lesson in not being in control and in patience. Almost 8 weeks post surgery and I'm a sloth. But everyone's stories inspire me because the struggle is real and it's real that other people have the same issues and we all heal at different rates. Again, this website saved me - thanks for being here.
 

judgar

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I think you did great at eight weeks going out like that.
 

Celle

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I'm still struggling that this is my life now. Maybe I'm being taught a lesson in not being in control and in patience. Almost 8 weeks post surgery and I'm a sloth.
This may be your life right now, but it won't be your life for ever. This is only a temporary stage, while your knee is healing.

You may think that you're a sloth, and making very slow progress, but actually you are doing very well. At only 8 weeks into a recovery that takes about 52 weeks, you're doing more than many of us could.

Do try to be patient with yourself and with your knee. Let it take the time it needs and it will reward you in the end.

It's normal to feel you should be further along in recovery than you are:
Where are you in recovery?? (TKR)

In reality,
Where you're meant to be.jpg
 
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TheSloth

TheSloth

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Last night I tore part of my 'band' below my kneecap and it was like a small pinch and surprisingly it didn't hurt that bad. I was standing still and decided to walk left and I guess my decision was rather abrupt to my sloth knee and I felt something 'give' and POOF that stricture was gone. The rest of it still is there. Of course my mind races to gee, what else can I do to make the rest go away and I caught myself. I can see me standing on my head trying to displace weight and bend the knee...LOL

Ice, ice baby has been my mantra over the past 2 days and it truly does its job. I'm trying to ice every other hour along with elevation when I'm active. It truly renews hope and potential!
 
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TheSloth

TheSloth

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Update time and some reflection too.

Every third day I am riding my recumbent bicycle to see my flexion recovery. So, I started out with the seat so far back in order for my right knee to be able to make a complete rotation. I needed my cane to push the pedal for my left leg because I couldn't reach it. As a reminder, my OS stopped my PT at 6 weeks because the swelling/inflammation prevented my leg from bending, which was caused by PT. The whole catch-22 thing. I've moved the seat forward 6" so far! I quit worrying about what seat position I was at last time and just go with how my knee feels right now. It works for me.

Every second day I used the foot slider for about 15-20 reps only. I do it to see how I'm coming along and push at the last 2 reps.

Every day I just try to live my life and bend, reach, try on the last stair to bend my right knee (can't do that yet) but I just try and see what I can do. Yes, I pay the price and the Sloth will swell incredibly large and I can't walk the rest of the day without a cane or crutches.

I have increased my ROM without really trying as a result! No one is more surprised than me. So, at this point in time recovery is good. Walking two blocks is still a chore and I've started walking short distances. I still can't put my shoe on. I don't sleep well due to the pain. There is still miles to go before I rest, but I see progress and I have greater hope in getting to whatever the new normal is.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone and stay the course!
 

NFenske

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I think your doing great and one thing is definite you cannot speed the recovery up it takes time. I have been thru 6 replacements and looking at #7 next month. I wish I could say recovery is fun but that would be a lie. Its good to walk but only what you feel comfortable with if it starts to hurt you did too much. My last revision after 2 months I could go for short drives and short walks but had to use my cane. Sleep gets easier as the pain lessens what worked for me put a pillow between your knees it helps!! with the pain. Swelling is going to go down but it takes time my last revision was June 2018 I still have swelling but not as bad as before. I have found when dealing with pain an ice pack works wonders yes pain meds help but in the long run the body builds up a tolerance and before you know it your hooked. Once you hit the 3 month mark you will start feeling better not perfect but better. If this is your first TKR you could be fully functional by 6 months but that is by no means set in stone. Whether you get tired of doing PT or not keep it up, the stronger your leg muscles get the faster you will heal. Really hope you continue to improve.
 

Macknit

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I just made the 12 week point and I use the analogy of turning the Titanic for seeing any improvement. Milestones seem to come every few weeks, not on a daily basis, and the progress is so slow that you don't even notice it at times....

Somewhere in the last couple of weeks the tight band feeling left, I was a bit miffed that I missed when it exactly stopped:sorry:??

You have chosen your name @TheSloth quite aptly for this recovery....most of the people on this forum can relate!!
 

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