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TKR TKR March 4

Mickeymac

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Hi, just checking in, I wish I had found the forum a few weeks back when I just had the op. There’s loads of great info here! It’s 5 weeks yesterday since I got TKR on my right knee. I was bone on bone and my leg had taken on an obvious bend before. Now it’s straight again and both my feet are pointing straight ahead which is great! I had got accustomed to the pain over the years so this new pain is quite the surprise!

Due to Covid , my physio only consulted over the phone and emailed me the excerises to do. I did them strictly and was doing well. After 2 weeks, I was able to go to one crutch, then after 3 weeks I could get around without a crutch. I was overdoing it obviously because after 3 and a half weeks , I got a sharp pain in the inside of my knee , about 2 inches below the joint. It stopped me walking and I had to lay up, elevate and ice for three days until the pain went away and that is when I found Bonesmart!

Now, I am back to the start again and am confused. The swelling and stiffness is bad, I really still need the one crutch to get around - do I return to my home physio regime or just do no exercise (except walking)? My next consultation is with the surgeon over the phone in 2 weeks and I know if I contact my physio he will just tell me to go back to the regime!
 

Jaycey

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@Mickeymac Welcome to BoneSmart! I assume you have been reading around the forum as you seem to know what we are going to say about all that physio. Your knee is telling you loud and clear that it is not liking the exercises. The decision is yours. But if it were me I would lay off the exercises and focus on getting all that swelling under control. Ice and elevate for at least 45 minutes several times per day. Go back to using the crutch if you need it. And remember - you are not in training, you are healing.

Here are your recovery guidelines:
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 Activity progression for TKRs

6. Access 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.
 

Jockette

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Hi and Welcome!

I agree with Jaycey, you are not in training, you are healing, from a surgery that caused a lot of trauma to your leg. Too often our PTs give us too many painful exercises, they want us to strengthen our leg before it really has a chance to heal. I will never understand that theory.

Movement is important for your knee as it heals, but that movement should be gentle enough so that it doesn’t increase your pain level. There is no need for exercises that cause pain.

Walking is very good, though not to excess. As you continue to heal you can walk further and/or do other types of exercise.
 

Tykey

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At the risk of being repetitive, you are healing not training.

But many of us make the same mistake, relief at getting the job done, but then overconfidence sets in and we adopt the "I'll show myself (and everybody else) how tough I am" approach.
Then reality sets in, with the continuing swelling and pain, and we become kind to ourselves
Then magic makes an appearance, and we get better.

But it takes months not weeks
 
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Mickeymac

Mickeymac

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Thanks for your replies all. I suppose I know in my head rather than in my heart at this stage that you’re right! It is difficult to just rest after being active for so long. I will have to find the balance now. I like the forum’s emphasis that every knee is different as it is difficult not to compare with other’s anecdotes of quick recoveries and fast healing. I really wasn’t prepared for a convalescence and the pain, had I known, I would have still went on with the operation but at least I would have known. Thanks to the forum again for all this information.
 

Jockette

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Most of us don’t know what to expect from this recovery because few tell us honestly what to expect.

My recovery was a huge shock! I have a partial, and all the information I got about partials before surgery made it seem like it was not a big deal. Well, it is a big deal! I was expecting a 2-3 month recovery. It’s been 3 years and I’m not fully recovered yet, though I did see much more healing in my second and third years post op.
 

Sara61

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I have come to the conclusion that many surgeons don't actually tell you what the after is like .. like you had I known maybe the expectation of a quick recovery would not have been so important, I was literally led to believe I would be up and running within 3-4 weeks ...6 months on I'm walking and life has improved but still far from running, my advice is rest your knee, swelling and pain comes from an irritable joint, follow Jayceys & Jockettes advice they really know what they are talking about as they have a fast amount of experience.
Stay safe and treat your knee kindly xxx
 

pamsknees

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I was only prepared because of reading this forum for months before my bilateral knee replacement on Mar 16. If not for that I suspect I’d be feeling very frustrated at what I can’t do, but since I was prepared , I’m delighted with what I am able to do as it’s more then I expected. It’s probably been helpful for me that all PT is shut down too. Like everyone has said, take it easy, be gentle with your knee & know it’s a long recovery.
 

eliza61nyc

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lol, my surgeon actually did try and tell me what it was going to be like. His exact words were "you're going to make a kewpie doll of me and start sticking pins in it". the problem is IMO knee surgery is a bit like childbirth, until you actually go through it there is no conceivable way for you to really know what it's like.
 

kneeper

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Thanks for your replies all. I suppose I know in my head rather than in my heart at this stage that you’re right! It is difficult to just rest after being active for so long. I will have to find the balance now. I like the forum’s emphasis that every knee is different as it is difficult not to compare with other’s anecdotes of quick recoveries and fast healing. I really wasn’t prepared for a convalescence and the pain, had I known, I would have still went on with the operation but at least I would have known. Thanks to the forum again for all this information.
You don't need to be immobile--activity means something different while you're recovering. Mostly people find taking it slow and steady is the best recipe. Depending on what exercises you've been given, you may be able to start back with some of them, but usually the physios give you much more than you're ready for. I found it a constant re-assessing of what the knee could handle and slowly doing more.
 
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Mickeymac

Mickeymac

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Thanks again, I will try take it easier now.
Just another issue that I have noticed since surgery:
My left little finger and half of the finger next to
it have had reduced feeling and numbness since the operation. Initially I thought it was due to
my watch being too tight, but when I went to
my doctor for the post op Med prescription he told me that it wasn’t He said it was something to do with the ulnar nerve and it could have been from pressure during surgery. Is this normal and will it go away itself?
 

kneeper

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Probably it will take a while to go away.
 

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