TKR thneed's Right TKR

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thneed

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I hated my compression socks too! The hospital measured my ankle to assess the size required and told me I should wear them for two weeks. But they were always tight for my calf and when my knee swelled then the top of the compression socks really cut in and was terribly painful. I decided to abandon them all together and it was such a relief! I’m no expert but it would seem more sensible to remove the compression socks whenever you can lie down with your legs raised (including at night) and wear them in the day if you are on your feet.
That does make sense! I thought about doing the same, but they were so difficult to get on I didn't want to go through that hassle every day. I'm glad I didn't have to wear them the full 30 days, and I'll remember that for the next knee.
 
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thneed

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Doing better today, I am still taking Tylenol but no oxy since Friday (I think?). I worked out in the yard a bit this weekend, and rearranged 3 closets in the house, so I must be feeling better, right?

However, I tested positive for covid this morning, which sucks. I only have a runny nose, hopefully that's all I'll get. I had to cancel my PT session tomorrow, I might or might not make it on Friday depending on whether I still have symptoms.

But at least I have a lot of exercises I can do at home. And something I've noticed lately, my knee feels better after doing the exercises. I ease into them (like the first few reps every time are terrible but then they get better), then I try to challenge myself with the last few reps. And after I am all done with all the exercises, my knee is warm and it's a bit sore but not painful at all. The ice afterwards is always something to look forward to as well.

My knee is still stiff, still feels swollen inside (though it looks great outside). It probably feels a lot less stiff every week, but sometimes it's hard to remember from one week to the next to compare. Oh, and the scar is more sensitive the last few days. I am wondering if it's because some of the scabs have fallen off and the scar itself is more exposed? Not sure. Hopefully it's a temporary thing.
 
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Can a mod change my thread title please? thneed's Right TKR
 
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sistersinhim

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A sensitive scar is normal. What I was told to do was to run material across it to desensitize it. I started with very soft material and then slowly moved to more course materials. It took a while, but soon nothing bothered the scar.

But at least I have a lot of exercises I can do at home.
You don't need to do a lot of exercises. Just walking around doing your daily activities is all the exercise you need. Your knee is still swollen because of doing too much too soon. Take this time to rest your knee and increase your icing and elevating. The stiffness should start to go away in time.
 
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Today it feels better than it has since the surgery. Well, pain-wise it does. There's hardly any pain at all, and even more interestingly it feels less swollen/tight.

But of course because this is TKR, it can't be that easy. I now have a new sensation on the anterior part of my knee. It's not pain, it's not sore, I just... feel something there under the skin. I wish I can describe it better. I am wondering if the swelling is now down enough that it's starting to feel like it did before the surgery, and in the ensuing 6 weeks I forgot how that felt like. I don't mean the arthritis pain, just the sensation of it moving around like a normal knee would.

And I'm not gonna lie, I get easily creeped out by weird sensations involving my knee, I always have. So maybe in my subconscious I know it's the implant directly under my skin instead of bone? Does that even make sense? I know I'm rambling, I don't even know if anyone can relate to what I'm saying (I swear I've been off the oxy for like 5 days, lol).
 

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I now have a new sensation on the anterior part of my knee.
Don't be concerned -- those sensations are normal. It's not just the bones that need to recover from surgery; all your muscles and soft tissue as well as your nerves sustained trauma.

Those sensations are an indication that you are healing. You should expect them to continue -- and to change -- over time. But, it can take a long time for those odd feelings to resolve. I still have the occasional tweak (and I just passed 10 months).

Remember: this is a year-long recovery!
 

InkedMarie

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@thneed you ramble all you want. I’m three month post op today and I get new weird feelings all the time.

Marie
 
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thneed

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Been awhile since I posted here. I had my 8-week appointment with the OS this week. They weren't too happy with my progress. Not super upset, but they definitely said I could be better. They wanted me at 125 and I'm only at like 95. And not quite at 0 for straightening. They said I might have to get an MUA during the surgery for my other knee (about 6 weeks from now) if it doesn't improve.

So naturally I freaked out and cried when I got home. And doubled-down on my heel slides. And started walking more. All of which made me feel better. I went to PT today and told them about it, and they were very sweet, said I was doing fine and they think I'll be fine by the time of my next appointment and probably won't need an MUA. Both the therapist and the OS said there doesn't seem to be any/much scar tissue, so I don't know the point of the MUA.

Anyway, just wanted to vent here a bit. I know this forum is all about gentle healing, and I agree for the most part. Luckily my therapists are not super-aggressive, they realize everyone heals differently. But I do feel better after doing my exercises, especially after going to PT. My knee feels warm and looser and more trust-worthy, if that makes sense. I just hope I get to 125 in 5-6 weeks, I am really going to focus even harder on walking more and doing my exercises.
 

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You're doing great and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. There's no set time to be at any random ROM number-your ROM will improve as you heal and your swelling dissipates, both the external you can see and the internal you can't see. They can "want" you at any random number at a set time frame, but everyone heals differently and your knee will heal at it's own pace. Just because your surgeon fixed your knee doesn't mean he now owns it. It's your knee, your recovery, and your decision alone on any further procedures. Personally, IMHO, at 2 months you're doing great, and will continue to do so. This is a year long recovery, and you're just at the beginning. Most people feel much better somewhere around three months, but they're still healing. ROM isn't something that has to happen by a set date or it's too late, that's a myth.
https://bonesmart.org/forum/threads/myth-busting-window-of-opportunity-in-tkr.6895/

You can continue to gain ROM for a year, and even longer, so let your knee guide you in recovery. Don't overdo, let it tell you what it's ready for. I never let anyone measure my ROM as I wasn't worried about random numbers; I judged my healing by how I felt, how much I could once again do, and how my knee reacted to activities. As time goes on you'll be able to do more and more, and at some point you'll begin to forget you ever had knee problems. 95 is perfectly fine at 2 months, and that number will improve over time. If your OS wants to do an MUA, you can just tell him no. He can't do it without your permission, and if he tries to push it on you, stand firm and say you're not going to do it.
 

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I agree. Why pay for something extra that is not needed? Most OSs won't even think of doing a MUA after the knee bends at 90 degrees. You are past that and you will continue to bend better as your knee heals. Don't overdo your exercising or your knee will swell and your ROM will get worse. You see, it's swelling that holds back ROM, not adhesions.

If you go ahead with a MUA during your new tkr surgery, then you'll have 2 bad knees to heal. Forcing a knee to bend further than it is ready to do will cause soft tissue trauma with increased pain and swelling. I think you are doing great and need to tell your doctor, no way on a MUA!
 
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thneed

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Thanks for the kind words. I do understand the knee will heal when it heals, there shouldn't be a time frame. But I am the type that needs some sort of goal or I'll just stagnate. So I don't mind the exercises and pushing a little more each time (NOT to the point of pain, just discomfort). Otherwise I would still be using my walker and spending 90% of my time in my recliner.

I am just glad the folks at my PT are understanding and seem to be more about the gentle approach. I am just going to do the best I can do and not worry about it.

On another note, I am in week 8 now and finally feel pretty good. Not back to "normal" but certainly I feel more confident and more like a human again, lol. No pain at all (just stiffness). I need to remember this for the next time, because weeks 4-6 were tough for me. Still a bit of pain but mostly just discouraging and depressing. Now I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel!
 

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I don't mind the exercises and pushing a little more each time (NOT to the point of pain, just discomfort)
That's a good way to do it-discomfort is fine, actual pain and then swelling are not, so you're on the right track. Stiffness is from the swelling; maybe there's no visible swelling, but as long as your knee still feels stiff, there's swelling, and if it's not on the outside where you can see it, there's probably still some internal swelling, which is very normal.
Otherwise I would still be using my walker and spending 90% of my time in my recliner
We don't want you to become a couch potato, we just don't want to see people overdo it to the point of pain and swelling. Walking around regularly, doing daily activities, gentle stretches and exercises are all good for recovery. You're doing great-keep it up!
 

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So I don't mind the exercises and pushing a little more each time (NOT to the point of pain, just discomfort). Otherwise I would still be using my walker and spending 90% of my time in my recliner.
You are doing it just right! But, you don't have to do exercises to get off your walker. After 12 knee surgeries, I never did exercises. But, I used my knees in my daily activities. This is what is known as natural PT. Many of us don't and didn't do PT and still had a very good outcome.

Have a goal is a good thing as long as it's not an unreasonable one! You are doing just fine with yours!
 
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thneed

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My bend is getting better (103 on my own, a bit more with help), my extension is almost at 0. I think I'm doing okay, even though it's slow. I have 2 more weeks of PT and then I'll be on my own until the next surgery.

I have a question. I am doing good with most of my exercises and stretches, but one in particular is giving me some problems. It's so simple, too, I am frustrated why I can't do it. It's the one where you stand on one leg (the surgical leg). I can't do it for more than 2 seconds without holding on to something with my hands. There is NO pain, I just can't do it. I don't know if it's a trust thing, or weak muscles, or both.

I saw someone else in my PT place doing it for like 20 seconds only 2 weeks out, and here I am almost 9 weeks out and can't do it at all. I know I shouldn't compare, but I really want to be able to trust that leg and I don't know how to get there. Or is it only trust? Is it just poor balance and weakness? Argh, it's so frustrating! Any tips would be appreciated.
 

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The hardest part of this recovery is patience! Our heads are ready to do things well before our knees are ready. Because your knee needed replacing, it was obviously giving you problems, so prevented you from being as active as you would have liked. Over time, that may cause changes that need to be recovered, and will be over time as you recover, and as your leg regains it's needed strength. The surgeon also cuts muscle, tissue, bone, etc, and those need time to recover also. This recovery takes, on average, a year, and sometimes longer, and you're only at 2 months. It will get there, and you will learn to trust that knee as it heals and proves it's now a good and strong knee once again. Also, don't compare your recovery to anyone else's at any stage; that's a recipe for frustration and over-doing what your knee is ready for. Just listen to your knee and move at it's pace and you'll have a good recovery over time. Continue with your daily activities, stretches, and so on, and before you know it your knee will be much stronger and working well once again.
 

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I am doing good with most of my exercises and stretches, but one in particular is giving me some problems. It's so simple, too, I am frustrated why I can't do it. It's the one where you stand on one leg (the surgical leg). I can't do it for more than 2 seconds without holding on to something with my hands. There is NO pain, I just can't do it. I don't know if it's a trust thing, or weak muscles, or both.
Your frustration is why we advise people not to compare their recovery with anyone else. My guess is that your knee declined gradually over a long period of time, leaving you with less than perfect strength in your body to maintain proper balance. This is really common. As we age, balance and core strength are the two most important things that must be addressed to stay strong and healthy and to help prevent falls.

The Stork (which is the name for this particular exercise) is something that is basic to good balance and stability of your body's muscle interaction. If you notice, you'll see it appear in movements with yoga and tai chi because when you develop good muscle tone that enables you to balance on one leg, your whole body benefits.

It's good that you don't have any pain when attempting this exercise. That means your muscles just need to get engaged again. It can be a very slow process. When someone is just beginning, it's common to only be able to hold it for short periods of time and need to steady themselves with a counter or back of a sturdy chair. Don't get discouraged!! This is one exercise you should take away from your therapy program that will serve you well all through the rest of your life. As you gradually get stronger, the balancing is done on a less-than-firm surface like a balance sponge, wobble board, or bosu ball. That may be years down the road for you. But what you're doing now is an excellent beginning to a stronger body and good posture.
 

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It's the one where you stand on one leg (the surgical leg). I can't do it for more than 2 seconds without holding on to something with my hands.
It may be too soon to attempt single leg stance, ask your PT for some balance activities that you can do, and will help you build up to single leg stance.
For single leg stance you need a strong core, PT can help you with some simple core exercises.

You can slowly build up to single leg stance by holding on with both hands, as you get more comfortable, lift one hand, then lift one finger at a time until you are only using one finger, then try with out support from your hands.
This can take awhile, but eventually you will be able to do single leg stance.

This recovery takes a year+, be patient with yourself.
 

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I’m so glad you’re making progress with your ROM. I, too, worry about that even though I read here every day that I don’t need to. I’m a few weeks behind you; my surgery was June 27. My flexion on my own is at 92 but I can get it to 97 if I’m doing stretches on the bike. My extension is 4 - it wasn’t 0 before my first surgery so I’m not sure what I’ll end up with there.

I enjoyed reading through your recovery thread. We’re the same age I wish you luck with your next surgery and I’ll continue to follow your journey.
 
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thneed

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@lovetocookandsew Thanks for the encouragement. I do know it will take time, and patience (something I am short on), it's just frustrating that I can see progress everywhere but that exercise.

And as @Jamie pointed out, I should NOT compare myself to others. And I know that! But at times it doesn't stop me, lol. It's just human nature I guess. I agree, Jamie, a big part of it stems from how bad the knee was and for how long (a few years). I had adapted my walking and posture and everything to alleviate the pain and discomfort from that knee, and it will take awhile to overcome those habits. And to learn to trust. You mentioned the balance sponge and wobble board. Yesterday was the first time my PT had me try those. The sponge didn't work for me at all, since I can't do the stork even on solid ground. But I did really well on the wobble board, so that's a start anyway.

Also, @Pumpkin you are absolutely correct, I need to strengthen my core. Not gonna lie, I am not in the best shape. I used to walk and run until my knee got too bad, and since then have not only put on weight but also became less active and my stamina and energy-level are just so low. It will take time to build all that up again.

@agsmom Thanks for the kind words! I can't say I'm an expert but I do see progress with the ROM, just a little bit every week. Since my PT knows I'm overly concerned about it (even though they're not), they measure me quite often. A few degrees every week, and it adds up. Keep at it, you will do great! Oh, and like you I wasn't at 0 flexion before the surgery, either standing or lying down. I think that's part of what is giving me trouble, it felt VERY weird and wrong at first when my knee would straighten while I was standing or walking. I've gotten used to it, but at first I would panic and immediately bend it a bit, because in the past when it would get that straight there would be a lot of pain and it wouldn't support me. So I am slowly learning to get rid of that (literal) knee-jerk reaction.
 

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