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Bilateral TKR Three Years Post Op...REGRET!!!

leahmlove

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I am a 49 year old woman and I had total double knee replacement in Nov 2014. I am 5’3, 115 lbs and have genetic degenerative arthritis. It decided to attack my knees starting about 10 years ago. So I will get to the point. I regret this surgery but didn’t feel like I had a choice. If knew then what I do now I would have put it off as long as possible. This surgery has had such a negative impact on my life that I am barely the same person. A difficult and long recovery initiated what turned into severe clinical depression. I was finally diagnosed last month. On anti depressant now (Wellbutrin) and it’s really working. I feel more like myself now then I have in many years.

I work full time and am on my feet most of the day (personal banker). Now that I am coming out of this depressed state I am trying very hard to make really healthy changes in my life including exercise. This is where I have the problem.
My knees hurt more now then they ever did before surgery. The chronic pain and stiffness has become my “normal”. I can straighten my legs almost completely. No one would think they are bent. However my bend is horrible.
I am barely at 90 degrees and if I try and push further it’s the kind of pain you have when first starting PT after surgery. If I catch my toes or foot on something that causes a deeper bend I literally scream in pain. I am able to “hop” down stairs if I have a railing but typically take 1 step at a time. I have a finished basement and laundry room in is there so am up and down daily. Going up not a problem.

I have 2 grandchildren (5 & 2) with more to come and I am so healthy and active otherwise, but I can’t get down in the floor and play w them and if I do (sit or lie down to play with them), getting up is like a scene from a comedy.

Have always been thin but not necessarily in a healthy way. With all of the positive changes I’ve made in the past months, my knees and the pain seem to trump the good feelings I have. Trying to do yoga and some cardio. I can do Some poses but when I see the instructor go into child’s pose I am just sad that I can’t come even close and never will again. I mean I will NEVER be able to sit Indian style or sit on my ankles w my knees bent. That reality has really hit me hard lately.

I would love any feedback. Is the constant pain/stiffness normal? Is it too late for more PT? What kind of exercise, other than walking or bike, can I do? I really love yoga and Pilates but when I try and get through these workouts I just get so discouraged. The depression has sort of masked all of these feelings over the past few years. I slept a lot, drank a lot of wine and just lived w it. Didn’t bother me so much. Gave me a reason to lay around and feel sorry feeling for myself. Now that I’m finally back in the light I don’t like the way I feel(physically) at all.
Sorry so long but I hope someone out there has some advice. Thanks for reading to the end!!
 

alexthecat

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I'm from the hip side of the forum, so I can't say much about knees. Your post touched me though and I couldn't move on without commenting. I'm going to tag my friend @skigirl to come talk to you. Like you, she is a beautiful person, inside and out, and I have a hunch she'll have some good advice for you.
 
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leahmlove

leahmlove

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Thank you so much! I don’t want to spend one more day in the fog I’ve been in the last few years and i feel like I am getting back to the light. If this is as good as it gets so will deal with it and move forward and continue the be grateful for all of the wonderful things in my life. Bit if there is a chance that I can overcome at least some of these knee issues I am ready to work hard for it. God Bless and thanks again.
 

sistersinhim

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Have you seen a doctor about your knee pain? It doesn't sound normal. Your knees should be feeling better, not worse. And if you go, I suggest you choose a new OS that has no contact with your old doctor. You need someone brand new to look at your knees.
 
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leahmlove

leahmlove

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I did see another doc about a year ago. He seemed to think I might benefit from more PT as he was able to increase my bend as he worked on it. But overall he was kind of like “oh well this happens sometimes...it is what it is”. Seemed like he was maybe too busy to deal w a new “whiney” patient. But I could try someone else.
 

Pumpkln

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@leahmlove ,
Welcome to BoneSmart, glad you joined us!!
I think it is time to find another second opinion for your TKR, this time from a surgeon specializing in Revisions, they have the education and background to determine what is happening with troubled knees. Look for a surgeon specializing in complex joint reconstruction or revisions. They should have no relationship with your present OS, not even golf buddies. If you would like some help let us know.
 
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leahmlove

leahmlove

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Yes I get what you’re saying Pumpkin. In order for me to find someone who doesn’t personally know my OS I will need to travel at least 4 hours. Ironically, my surgeon is considered the top in his field in 3 states and has received national recognition for his work as a surgeon as well as helping to develope a state of the art partial replacement that is now used nation wide. So...unless I go a few states away any other OS us likely go at least “know if” my doc
 
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leahmlove

leahmlove

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Know OF my doc I mean :umm:
 

PolarBear60

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Hi, Leah!

Your knees aren't much older than mine. Since you're experiencing pain and limited range of motion, you may have a problem that needs to be addressed via medical professionals, but I have a few things to share that may be helpful (or not).

I use about a six inch cushion for my knees and I can sort of do a child's pose for less than a minute, but better than that, I have a yoga instructor who provides alternative poses that accomplish the same thing. I think with practice and patience, I'll be able to improve time on my knees and maybe reduce the depth of the cushion I need. It's not a huge priority, but it may happen someday.

I'm just now working on being able to squat since being able to do that when I need to pick things up off the floor will take a lot of pressure off my lower back. I was limited in practicing this until last September, because I was recovering from a cracked patella. The primary tool for improving this area for me was standing in front of my kitchen sink, a comfortable arm's length away, placing my feet about should width apart, holding onto the sink and slowly bending my knees and squatting as low as I could go comfortably then holding it for a little while. Then raising up, using my hands and arms to pull me if necessary. I would stop short of anything causing pain. Now I'm able to practice without the sink, and I'm slowly seeing improvement in my flexibility. I don't think it's enough that anyone else would notice, but I notice.

Your last sentence of your second to last paragraph points to one possible reason for this. If you weren't moving around much after your recovery, you may be a little out of shape and have probably stiffened up. What you may be experiencing are some of the usual things you experience after a layoff without much activity when you resume working out. Hurray for you for seeking treatment for your depression.

I know just what you mean about a scene from a comedy while getting up and down from the floor. I was that way until just recently. I'm still not very fluid getting up or going down, but I've noticed I've gotten better since I've been practicing the squats and taking a beginner yoga class once a week. I've been working on opening my hips in yoga. Is it possible yours are tight?

As for the pain and limited range of motion, I second sisterinhim's recommendation to seek a second opinion from an OS not associated with the one who performed your surgery. Ideally, it should be someone experienced in problem TKRs. Your knees may be just fine, but you'll feel better if you have someone give you a thorough exam to verify that. Also, if you should go to PT, make sure you find an office and practitioner interested in YOUR goals for the sessions. They should ask what your goals are and they should be able to explain in terms you understand what each exercise they have you do does to support achieving your goals. They should also tell you to stop if you experience more than mild discomfort and they should be willing to offer you an alterative that isn't painful for you.

Good luck and keep us informed.
 
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leahmlove

leahmlove

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Wow. Thanks so much for your advice. How long since your TKR? I feel like it might be too late for me bc I’m so far out...? Maybe not. Like me I said I am willing to do whatever it takes. I will def keep you posted. Oh assume the cushion goes right under your butt in order to make child’s pose a little more doable...?
 

PolarBear60

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My left knee was done in April 2015 and the right in June 2016. You put the cushion where you need it most. I need it under my shins/knees. Kneeling is still pretty sensitive on the knees. If it would work better for you under your butt, then that's where you'd put it. I actually have a 2" deep square foam cushion and two folded yoga blankets (actually, 2 Mexican style blankets purchased from Love's gas station on a 2 for $15 deal). In your case, the blankets (or maybe a bolster?) could be used exactly as you suggest to provide support. Always look for modifications to help you in your yoga practice. If you have the luxury of shopping around for a yoga instructor, find one who suggests these to you. I don't have a lot of flexibility in available yoga classes, and I've been looking for the one I just found for ten years. The instructor has blown me away with how many great modifications he suggests that make yoga easier for me to adjust to.

The bulk of my improvement came in the first year after surgery, but I'm still improving all the time. It's just in little things that I don't think anyone but me would notice. Patience is hard, but, coupled with persistence, it pays off. Sometimes less is more. I had to stop most things from Jan to March 2017 while I sat in my recliner with a brace and let my cracked patella heal. Amazingly, all my little nagging post-surgical pains were gone after that. I could do sit-to-stand from chairs with no trouble and climbing stairs became pain-free. I can only conclude I hadn't rested enough during my initial recoveries for all those nagging things to heal.
 
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leahmlove

leahmlove

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I am going to see if I can start doing some PT again and research what doctor I sold try and see for a 2nd opinion. I will do whatever it takes if I can improve my ROM an alleviate some of this chronic pain and stiffness. I’m determined to try and make this better. I have too many good years ahead to waste feeling physically inadequate and to be in this pain. I will keep you posted!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

robhunt3

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I feel for you @leahmlove, you have really been through it! Understandably that has taken it's toll on you physically and emotionally. I am so glad to hear that you are now emerging from that.

It sounds to me (from what you have described, and please bear in mind that I have no expertise at al) that it is more likely to be a problem with the 'new' knees themselves than with PT or your range of ROM, but of course it worth trying to fix it from all angles.

As good or respected as your surgeon may be/have been, they won't always have all the answers and someone new may well be able to help you improve your situation - I am sure of it in fact.

I wish you all the best, take care and stay as positive as you can be, and don't take no for an answer! We are all here to support you.
 

skigirl

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I can relate to some of your problems right now myself. My husband died in June and I have not done much exercising since myself. I do feel stiffer than I used to feel. I also use a pillow for yoga, it is a kidney shaped pillow filled with some kind of seeds or shells. When I do chld's pose, I knee with my knees beyond the pillow, off the ground. I can get down fairly far, but it is cumulative. Start out doing whatever feels comfortable. Yoga itself is not about envying the 25 something in the front of the room!!! LOL. I find that I have to do lots of variateions, but hey, I am 73 and am still doing yoga. Hardly anyone even notices that I am not doing what they are doing anyway. I find that if I start a regular yoga practice, I can see improvement in three to four weeks. So, take your time.

I ride a bike every day---it really does keep my knee moving. Try riding for a few minutes and work up to 20 min or so a day. Take your time, there is no gold star coming your way for being the fastest or the best!! (mine either!!)

And, yes, I would make an appt for a doctor who is not a close friend, golf partner nor in the same practice as your doctor. It will be good to have some new eyes on your knees. sometimes I wonder if the spacers are too big in knees like yours---but I am not a doctor and am not sure how much differene that would make. However, you do have a problem and need a doctor to look at your situation. I also get up like a two year old. I roll over and knee on one knee (often with a pillow under it) then I put my hands down and push up so that my hands and feet are on the ground, then I just raise up my upper body. a Pretty picture indeed!! however, no one NEEDS to watch!!!
 

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