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TKR Total Left Knee Replacement

Jamie

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That's much more helpful! Thank you.

I can clearly see the irritation where the bandage was. Listen to your Mom. :) These reactions normally appear pretty soon in the recovery process, but it's not unheard of for them to pop up a bit later like yours has done.

Your incision looks very good. It's healing nicely.

You do have a lot of swelling yet, so be sure and ice your knee as much as you can. Just be sure to keep a kitchen towel between your skin and the ice source so you don't damage the skin. Ice helps with pain and discomfort too. You can even ice when you're sleeping. Also, don't forget to ice the back of your knee as swelling occurs there too.

Congratulations on your weight loss! What an accomplishment. :yay:
 
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flacie1

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@Jamie Thank you for the reassurance. Should I do anything about the irritation? Anything I can do to help it go away? I was told once my scabs were gone I could put vitamin e on it. My OS doesn’t recommend putting anything on it but he ok’d the vitamin e.
 

Jamie

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The Vitamin E oil will help with the dryness and flaky skin. It may make you generally feel better. As long as your incision is completely healed, it's okay to use it. It just takes time for a skin condition like this to go away. There really isn't anything you can do to make it heal faster. Let your knee breathe as much as possible (don't use any bandages or coverings over the blistered area. If you're icing your knee, be sure to keep your skin dry. Take a few "patience pills" and try to relax. You're doing fine. It's just that this recovery can have many ups and downs and it definitely takes lots of time. It's usually at least 3 months before you start to feel like yourself again....sometimes even 6 months.
 
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flacie1

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7-1/2 weeks post op. I have days where I feel like I’m doing great and others when I know I’ve over done it. Last week my leg was not happy and was twice the size of my non surgery leg. I was able to settle it down and come Friday I was able to squeeze myself into a pair of my skinny jeans. The boss was taking us out for our holiday lunch and I just didn’t want to wear my yoga pants. I was happy to get them on but by the end of the day I was wishing I had brought my yoga pants to change into after lunch. The lengths we go to in the name of fashion. Lol. All in all I feel prettt good though.

PT has been going well, I’m only going 1x a week and I’ve been able to try going up and down the steps like normal. Going up is easy, down is another story. Still not able to do a full rotation on the bike, but that is close too. The knee feels strong and my quad feels like it’s getting stronger every day. My one concern is that I always feel like I’m going to get a charley horse in my calf. Is this normal? Do I need to do more stretching? It doesn’t hurt when I’m sitting on the couch, only when I’m on my feet.

My scar looks great and my sleep is finally getting back to a normal routine. Of course my semis typically interrupted by the 60 lb poodle hogging the bottom of the bed. Whenever I move to get more space he is on me like a magnet, I have no escape from him. Lol
 

sistersinhim

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My one concern is that I always feel like I’m going to get a charley horse in my calf. Is this normal? Do I need to do more stretching? It doesn’t hurt when I’m sitting on the couch, only when I’m on my feet.
Has your calf always felt like that or did it just start? It could be that you are over-stressing it and it just needs a little extra tlc. Have you tried ice or heat? Either one might help that feeling.
 
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flacie1

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@sistersinhim no it’s new. I have been more active yesterday and today and I notice the pain when I get up from sitting when I start walking. Maybe I’ll give heat a try. Going to be resting as much as I can for the rest of the week. I’m off work for the whole week so that will help.
 
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flacie1

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9 weeks post op. Been back to work since week 5, worked for 2 weeks then had the week of Christmas off which was a nice break from the routine. I’m off my cane but still have a pretty good limp. Icing and elevating as much as I can. My boss has been very accommodating with my need to leave when necessary. Sleep has gotten better as well as long as the dog isn’t hogging the bed.

At therapy this week I was finally able to get a full rotation on the bike, both directions.

Still having a lot of pain/soreness in my knee. I’m guessing it’s the all the soft tissue. It’s frustrating because I feel like I shouldn’t have pain at this point in the game. I don’t really classify my discomfort as pain, it’s more soreness, like I’ve over worked the muscles. I’ve been putting some Vitamin E on my scar and massaging the area, feels so much better when I get done doing that.
 

Rockgirl4

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@flacie1 At 9-10 weeks post-op, it is VERY common to still have LOTS of daily pain....and for some of us, it was ALL the time.:hairpulling: Most will agree it's not as severe as right after surgery. Most will also agree it gets less each week.....but MANY are not pain-free for months to come. :yikes: I think too many of us were misled by Drs or friends/co-workers. I was one of the lucky ones who was correctly warned it could take a full year and maybe even 18 months (because of my specific surgical history on that knee). We are all soooooo different.

The frustrating concept is also how one defines "pain." From reading other posts, when someone says they are back to normal activity, they may not specifically say they're 100% pain-free, though their post sounded like it. Many work through pain when they shouldn't, and many wait until they ARE pain-free to go back to certain activities. I also think many people exaggerate their TKR recovery so as to not sound like a wimp. I've even caught myself doing it with certain people who I don't feel like I can open up to about just how miserable my first 4 wks post-op were.

I'm currently at 7.5 months post-op and still get occasional pain, especially when I've been standing a long time (>20-30 minutes). I can do it, but I pay for it later with swelling. It's improved each month though. I had quite the pity party this morning about not having the flexion (bend) I want. Does it affect my life much???? No. It does keep me from biking for exercise though, and it gets annoying at times. Plus, the longer it takes to improve, the more I stress about the "what if it NEVER improves????":hissy: This recovery truly is a mind-game and takes an emotional toll.

I wish you the best and hope you continue to see improvement quickly/soon. Just remember it may not happen quickly at all, and that's just reality. Time really is your best friend, even if we rant and rail against it. :)

I forgot to add that I noticed you're close to me in age. I've also found us "younger" folks to be misled about length of recovery....as if our youth speeds things along. NOPE!!!! In fact, I think many of us in our 40s here are shocked at the length of recovery. There's nothing like a surgeon to mislead us, suggesting our age will miraculously fix what he hammers/drills/saw, etc. Again, I was lucky. My surgeon is a reconstruction/revision specialist who works with lots of RA/Lupus/Psoriatic arthritis patients, plus younger patients that had traumatic injuries from youth or their teenage years. He's seen it ALL!!!! In his experience, he says we're his WORST patients because we falsely believe youth grants us miraculously quick healing and return to activity----and many THINK it should. He tells all of his <60 patients to forget about age and athletic/fitness ability pre-op. It gets you NOTHING in the post-op period but frustration and stress.
 
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flacie1

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@Rockgirl4 OMG everything you said in your post I couldn’t agree more!! You put into words everything I want to say. I feel better about my recovery after reading your post. I think I’m finally letting go of the stress of recovery and just accept where I am, and realize that I am getting better every day and I shouldn’t discount that fact because I don’t think I’m where I should be. I need to look at how far I’ve come. My quad was not cooperating for several weeks post op, I think 4 weeks before I could actually do a small leg lift.

I often wonder how much to push myself, but my knee reminds me who’s in charge, I just can’t wait for the day that my knee isn’t something I think about. I’m back to work, glad to be there, but frustrated with my wardrobe. The things I want to wear become torture as the day goes on. I have lots of flexibility and if I want to show up in sweats I can. I’ve been forcing myself into my presurgery jeans and by the end of the day I’m wishing I’d worn my yoga pants! Lol.

Taking a deep breath and accepting my recovery.
 

Jockette

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Plus, the longer it takes to improve, the more I stress about the "what if it NEVER improves????"
Because all my PTs and my surgeon pushed my bend to get the highest measurements, my numbers appeared to be good the first few months. However, I didn’t have the function those numbers implied because I couldn’t bend to those numbers myself.

After a major set back at 4 months, and again at 5 months, my ROM was poor the rest of my first year, causing me a lot of stress. I, too, feared the “what if this is all I get.”

I am happy to report that my bend improved a lot in my second year post op, as I continued to heal and my whole leg relaxed. I have even had more bend in my third year post op.
 

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@Jockette Just a wink and a nod to you each time I read about your knee loosening up into the 2nd year post-op. You give me hope every time. :angel::thankyou:
 
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flacie1

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Just left OS. He was not exactly thrilled with my progress. He ordered 3 more weeks of therapy 3x a week. Says my bend should be better than what it is right now. I’m not to the freaking out stage yet, but if I’m not where he wants me to be come Feb, I might be faced with MUA.
 

Jockette

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What is your ROM right now?
 
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flacie1

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@Jockette currently on my own I can get to 95, with help 100.
 

Jockette

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That ROM is fine. With that number I personally wouldn’t even consider an MUA even if my surgeon wanted to do one. It will improve with time and normal activities, on its own timeframe, not your surgeon’s timeframe.


Regaining our ROM is more about Time than repetitions of a list of exercises.

Time to recover.
Time for pain and swelling to settle.
Time to heal.

Our range of motion is right there all
along just waiting for that to happen so it can show itself.

In the general run of things, it doesn't need to be fought for, worked hard for or worried about. It will happen. Normal activity is the key to success.


This is what @TortiTabby experienced:
Just an update for those who are apprehensive about gaining ROM:
It has now been 26 weeks and all I do is ADL and this is what my ROM has done:
3.5 wks: 75
6 wks: 85
7 wks: 90
10.5 wks: 95
14 wks: 100
17 wks: 105
20 weeks: 110
26 weeks (where I am today): 120!!!
I did it! My goal of 120! No "pushing through pain", no PT after the first 3 visits, and most importantly to me: No MUA! My surgeon who said I would never get beyond 85 ROM without pushing through pain was wrong, wrong, wrong. I'm excited to see if it gets even better. :happydance:
 

sistersinhim

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The majority of OSs won't do a MUA if you reach a 90 degree bend. You have already done that and proved that it will bend more than that. You don't have adhesions because your bend is improving. It seems some US doctors are gungho on doing MUAs. It's a shame because that just sets recovery back to almost the beginning time of your tkr.

Aggressive PT won't help with that bend, it'll just cause more swelling which worsens bend. Gentle movements and time is what helps ROM. Working on gait with your therapist can be very helpful.
 

Jockette

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Don’t overdo the PT. You are back to work and all that entails gives your knee plenty of the mobility it needs. Adding more PT is going to put you in the Over Did It Club and not only maintain your current swelling, but also increase it.

Normal activity (not to excess) is the key to gradual improvement and healing.
Saying no to therapy - am I allowed to?
 
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flacie1

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Thank you everyone. I completely agree with everything you all have said. I am going to continue with therapy 2x a week starting back next week for 3 weeks. Depending on how I’ve progressed since my last therapy session on 12/31 will determine how I proceed. I felt a little set back this week due to my stumble on Sunday and my knee is still very sore from that. As I sit here, on my desk just swinging my leg I feel like it’s going back farther than it has in the past.b I also feel like I was already behind the curve from the start with my sleepy quad, it took a good 4 weeks to decide to really wake up. I will talk to my PT about what we will do during my sessions. No point in me doing the exercises with her that I can do at home. I have a high deductible plan which will drive what and how much I do at therapy. OS didn’t seem to push the MUA and he even said as long as I improve he won’t push for it either.
 
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flacie1

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10 weeks 5 days post op. Back to PT yesterday and determined to avoid MUA. Therapist measures me after I do my heel slides. I’m still getting to 95 on my own, with a little bit of help I was able to get to 103. I feel so discouraged. I know it’s a marathon and I just need to be patient. But I am still supposed to have swelling and pain at this stage in the game? Still walking with a limp, trying to get out everyday and walk around the block, about .34 of a mile. Today I went a little further and almost got a half mile in.

Just managing my pain with ice and Tylenol. I’ll occasionally take ibuprofen but I don’t notice a difference in the pain reduction so I’m sticking with the Tylenol for the most part. It’s not the big bad pain from right after surgery just aches. Like my soft tissue and muscles are sore. Of course pain depends on what I did the day before. I jay long for the day that my knee isn’t the one thing I think about throughout the day. I guess today is just a down day because I was hoping for some progress with my ROM from my 12/31 appt to yesterday. And there was none on my own. That being said, I was able to get full rotations on the bike and PT had me scoot the seat a little closer, so there is a win.
 

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