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TKR TS’s lopsided recovery'

traceys

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Hello all. New member here. Discovered you all from Twitter and browsing looking for some people that are going through what I am recovering from Sept 11 surgery. My avatar was my last xray pre-surgery. I suffered for 37yrs and 17 other surgeries before someone agreed to do my TKR

I always thought I was a strong woman but have learned a LOT about myself past few weeks.

Some background where I’m currently at:
I don’t and haven’t really had daily pain. Blessed with the fact I have an insanely high pain tolerance and OS that medicated me well. Instead I get sensations that freak me out.
I am between 70-80 degrees flexion and not quite straight yet
Still using crutches or a wheeled walker because of the lack of straightening and psychological issues about my knee and stability.
Worried about pain med addiction so not taking as many meds as people say I should be.
Physio 3x a week but not seeing any large improvements.
Spend my days in my recliner with my leg up and doing home stretches very sporadically due to the tightness. Sleep nights about 3-4 hrs at a time but so exhausted all day.
Right now I’m trying to get thru horrible depression

Hope to meet a lot of you and say hi and maybe...just maybe... find some peace and knowledge from everyone!
 

Mom2Lucy

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Hi, fellow Canadian! I haven’t much advice to offer as I’m new here too. I had a tkr on Oct 04, the right knee. Like you I suffered a lot of years before a surgeon agreed to do my surgery. I am very swollen, too and the exercises defeat me due to having a leg that feels more like a tree trunk than a leg, lol. I’m seeing a little progress each day though, and the thought of walking and enjoying next spring and summer is so amazing to me after years of chronic pain. I too get a lot of weird sensations beyond ordinary pain, which I assume is coming from nerves that are all fired up from the surgery. I wish you well, and hope more advice comes from people on this forum far more experienced than I. Maybe the depression is a sign more pain management is needed?
 

Kiwigirl62

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@traceys , Hi, I had tkr on Sept 19, so just a week behind you. I also been blessed with not high level of pain either, more the spasmodic sensations. I know what you mean about psychological block to walking. I had Physio yesterday and she wanted me to walk between parallel bars - freaked out and took a lot of sheer will power to lift hands of bars and step. Thought I'd collapse, although i didnt and it was ok. Long story short my brain was messing with me, so i understand your dilemma. Today i have been fine with practising walking in short bursts in the house. Was scared leg would not support me as also leg not straight yet. Also with depression, i think lack of sleep also plays a huge role. I have never suffered from depression, but woke at 1am and no sleep after, but bawling my eyes out since then til bout lunch today. Ive been surviving on 3 hour blocks - its great when i manage to have 2 in one night. Feel like i have a massive hangover. But of reading stories here i know it will pass......hang in there....well really no other choice really :tiredwheel:
 

beachy

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Hi tracys and welcome to Bonesmart!
Lopsided is a good description of recovery. I had TKR on 10/11 not quite a week ago.

Very soon a forum advisor will be along to give you information about your TKR and recovery.

You will get excellent support from everyone on this forum! Glad you found us!
 

Softtail

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All real scary observations from all that have replied. Lack of sleep, depression, pain, afraid of PT. They are a real part of having that knee replaced. It’s a struggle to get thru the day, and nights are awful ,or can be , in the beginning. I am nearly 6 weeks out, and having experienced all those things, know how scary it is.

Now my pain level is 0 to 3 ,with 1 being my regular friend, and 3 only popping up occasionally. I sleep pretty much regularly as I did before surgery, and look forward to the little gains that come weekly. Sometimes it’s 2 steps forward one back , but pretty much weekly I see an improvement in one area or another . Pain less, little more ROM. Point is the more you read here , the more comfortable you will become with your own progress. Not the same as mine or someone else’s , but gains none the less.

All the pain and suffering you are going thru now at least is heading in the right direction, so keep telling yourself that cause before the surgery, it was only headed down
 

DLR

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Welcome @traceys from another fellow Canadian. Let me assure you everything you said is normal or as normal as a TKR recovery can be. As you read recoveries you will note many of us struggle with depression and feeling like we are so done with this. It is a rollercoaster journey but there is light ahead. One of the admins will be along and I am sure will encourage you to use your pain medication. I have found for the home stretching less is more. Concentrate on a good stretch rather than the number of repeats. Repeats with pain only increase swelling which decreases range of motion. Your ROM is great for how far along you are.
Strange sensations are aptly named zingers here,they can make you jump at times.
Just remember (and I say this to myself too because I’m impatient) this recovery is a marathon not a sprint and it has lots of little backsteps along the way. Thinking of you
 

Jockette

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Hi and Welcome to Bonesmart!

I am going to tag @Josephine
our forum administrator and nurse director to address your concerns.

I will also leave you our Recovery Guidelines. Each article is short but very informative. Following these guidelines will help you have a less painful recovery.

Knee Recovery: 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
elevate
ice
take your pain meds by prescription schedule (not when pain starts!)
don't overwork.
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. Here is a week-by-week guide for

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 the 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 the member’s history before providing advice, so please post any updates or questions you have right here in this thread.
 

sistersinhim

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Welcome @traceys! Sleeping poorly is unfortunately a common thing after this surgery. Read the articles Jockette left for you and you'll find many answers to your concerns.
 

skigirl

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Welcome to Bonesmart. Depression is not unusual here---think of it, you had major surgery with anesthesia just a few weeks ago!! Of course you are tired. And really, resting is a good thing for you right now. I had a limited number of PT visits, so I save them for when i was further out and needed strenthening with my knee.

Right now you need rest, lots of icing and elevation to get rid of the swelling.
Ice to control pain and swelling
Elevation is the key to controlling pain and swelling
 
OP
OP
traceys

traceys

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Ah thanks all! These responses are helping me so much knowing I’m not out here floundering around alone. All of the online articles I read make it sound like everyone is the same at the same times and I was thinking I was so failing. Today at physio I took my first steps with a cane. Starting bawling with pride :rotfl: What a dork I can be ... I played national level vball growing up and now I get emotional taking a “big girl step”
 

DIYSteve

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I am between 70-80 degrees flexion and not quite straight yet
That's about where I was 5 weeks post-surgery.

Re depression, I experienced an emotional dip 4-5 weeks post-surgery. Things started getting better after that.

Hang in there. TKR surgery recovery is a marathon.
 

Clairebear

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@traceys , Hi, I have my tkr nearly 4 weeks ago and can totally relate to what you're going through. Initially I was terrified of my new knee and at times still find it hard to overcome the anxiety. I'm not sleeping well either, the weird sensations seem to escalate the minute I'm in bed. I can't tolerate the duvet or my pj's touching the scar.
The main thing I've learned only recently is to take the pain meds regularly even if you don't feel you need them. They build up in your system and make movement alot more comfortable. Well done on walking with the cane, that's brilliant !
I'm sure @Josephine will be in touch with you soon to offer you some great advice.
In the meantime, as we say here in the UK, "keep your chin up".
 
OP
OP
traceys

traceys

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@traceys , Hi, I have my tkr nearly 4 weeks ago and can totally relate to what you're going through. Initially I was terrified of my new knee and at times still find it hard to overcome the anxiety. I'm not sleeping well either, the weird sensations seem to escalate the minute I'm in bed. I can't tolerate the duvet or my pj's touching the scar
In the meantime, as we say here in the UK, "keep your chin up".
I get the weirdest phantom sensations. Water dripping on leg. Ice pick stabs. Burning heat. Vibrations. Once I learned it was normal nerve activity it actually became funny. Hubby and I now play “guess the nerve”
 

DIYSteve

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Cool. I always wanted to run a marathon!
Ha ha. Well, actually, I ran many marathons and ultramarathons before my knee pooped out. My OS strongly advises against running again. I have read accounts of few post-TKR patients running marathons.

I get the weirdest phantom sensations. Water dripping on leg. Ice pick stabs. Burning heat. Vibrations. Once I learned it was normal nerve activity it actually became funny. Hubby and I now play “guess the nerve”
Yeah, phantom sensations seem to be the norm. Mine have decreased with time, but I experience them most days.
 

Kiwigirl62

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Today at physio I took my first steps with a cane. Starting bawling with pride :rotfl:
I so get that feeling.....mine was the day i realised that i could completely weight bear while standing unaided....could not wipe the grin of my face for a day as i would stop randomly and do :egypdance:
 

kmak81230

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Congrats on using the cane! My teary-eyed moment came at week 6 when I made a full revolution on the stationary bike. As others have said most of us have experienced all the things you are going through - perhaps at different times in this humbling journey. I was foolish enough to think that since I was active and athletic that I would breeze through recovery - ha!!! Hang in there and soak in the support from the folks on this forum. :bicycle2:
 
OP
OP
traceys

traceys

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It’s 7am and I’m wide awake due to not being able to get comfortable. Heaven knows I’m still tired after only 3hrs sleep but I’m so limited in positions and the body is starting to ache elsewhere from that. Of course I sleep on my right side but having the Right TKR I can’t lay on it yet.
Anyone else missing sleeping in certain positions? How do you compensate?
 

Larryhg3

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Good morning
Sleep is like a long lost friend in this journey. I find that I take it when it happens. I will be laying in bed icing and elevating watching TV and suddenly it is an hour later. It is so inconsistent I take it when it comes. I too am a side sleeper and have had to modify a great deal. My in home PT has had me lay a pillow lengthwise with my heal just barely off the far edge the top edge is about 3/4 way up my thigh (don’t mock me cause I’m short). I find I still wake every 3-4 hours sometimes more often but doze right back off.

The most difficult thing for me is patience. Even having done this once already I want it faster. But then my knee let’s me know that it is in charge. I agree with others who posted that quality of stretches tops quantity. If I do 10 reps but am in pain and suffer from swelling after I have gained far less than if I do 2 gentle stretches with no ill effects. In everything I do I do the absolute smallest amount and add 1 until I get to a good spot. If something bothers my knee it goes on the shelf for several days before I try it again.

This is not an easy journey but there are wonderful people here who have walked this road before us. Those people are angels from my view as they have lifted me up so many times when I knew I couldn’t take it anymore. Good luck on Your journey. I am sure you will be great.
 

DLR

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@traceys many of us slept in recliners for the first 5 or 6 weeks. I would trybed each night but move to the recliner after a couple of hours. I also napped everyday. Now at 9 weeks I’m in my bed and sleeping 7 hours but it is a toss and turn event with one or two pillows between the legs for side sleeping and one long pillow under the leg for back sleeping. My cover look like a hurricane went through each morning but at least I am sleeping :)
 

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