TKR: Where are you in recovery?


Former BoneSmart staff member
Dec 21, 2007
Northern Part of the Buckeye State
United States United States
How many of you have been in a shopping mall or an amusement park and have seen a map that says, “You are here.” It tells you where you are so you can locate what you have to do in order to get to where you want to be.

Well, here is more realistic chart of the “You are here” for a TKR.


Too often you think, “Hey, I have been in recovery 5 or 6 weeks, and I should be here. After all, I have been at this PT/recovery thing for what I think to be long enough---why am I still sore, still stiff, still not where I want to be with my ROM? Why don't I have the stamina to do the things I should or want to do?”

You keep asking yourself the question, “Why am I not where I am supposed to be?” You are, in fact, actually just where you are supposed to be; the aspect to consider, though, is why you are where you are.

You need to consider what has been done to your knee. There was a tourniquet applied; your knee was sliced open TWO BONES WERE SAWED!!!; your OS and his assistants pounded and man-handled you while you were under anesthesia (they most likely were not very gentle!); things were glued to you, and finally---you were closed up! You have to consider what has happened to your knee---it has been surgically assaulted and it is angry. It will also take quite some time for its anger to simmer down somewhat. It is the real “You Are Here!” Marker---not the one where you think you should be.

The key issue here is to understand that the knee is in charge of the recovery; it sets the time-table for recovery. Most of the time, it is slower than we would like it to be. But when you consider what has been done to your knee, you can understand why your knee is angry and why it will take longer than you think it should to fully recover. We tend to rush our recovery timetable and think that our knee can move forward faster than it actually can.

We have to be much more realistic in the “You are here” vs. the “You should be here”----you have to realize how long it may take to get to “Fully Recovered.” Once you come to terms with the idea that your knee sets the timeline for recovery as well as the actual slow speed of many TKR’s, the markers make much more sense and are much more understandable.

Just keep it in mind---the “You are here” is from the knee’s perspective, not from yours. The knee is in charge. You will reach the “Fully Recovered” aspect in your life, but your knee will set the schedule; your knee will set the speed, and your knee will let you know when you arrive.

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