TKR Two hour ride home day after TKR


junior member
Oct 13, 2016
United States United States
Had a super surgery- my second- and it went much smoother I think because I knew what to expect. However we now live 2 hours away and ride home has made my knee immobile. I’m exaggerating slightly. I have been up three times to restroom. But much stiffer than at lovely hospital. Any reminders/ tips on transitioning from hospital to home?? Thanks as ever amazing Bonesmarties!!
Wow, two hours in a car so soon after surgery makes me cringe. Sorry you had to do that. Someone else may have better advice but my instinct is to suggest calling whoever will be doing your PT, asap, and asking that person for advice.

Do continue to get up and use that leg regularly, I would say, in short sessions, and be sure to stay on your pain meds by the clock. Then there's also the standard advice of icing and elevating.

I had a continuous passive motion machine (CPM) after both of my TKRs this year; something like that might help you but I understand they are being prescribed less and less. Apparently the research is showing insignificant difference in healing, comparing those who use them and those who don't.

I too had a much easier time of it with the second go-round. Much less anxious about it.
Good luck with your healing!
Thank you @yesyvonne and @Dizzy
Despite having been through it all 2 years ago and despite reading up on Bonesmart in advance- I was still caught off guard by the pain. So hopeful that my recollections of first time- first week the hardest- are correct. Thank you both for the great reminders. I never used a CPM machine as it was never offered to me. They look really interesting. I know someone who had the circulating ice machine years ago after her surgery and my doctor has never provided that either. Wish there was a magic solution for first week.
Hello @Jlawless - and :welome: home.

It's often the way that your knee gets more swollen when you come home, but you can help to lessen eh swelling with rest, ice, elevation, and medication on a regular schedule - as Dizzy said.

Here is the post-op reading we give everyone - with lots of useful advice and informative articles:
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:
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 Activity progression for TKRs

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

Please don't be overwhelmed by the list. The articles are not long and they and contain information that will answer many questions and help you make your recovery much easier on your knee and on you.

We are here to help in any way we can: answering questions and concerns; supporting and encouraging you from start to finish.

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.
Rest as much as you can, right now short walks are all you need, like to and from the bathroom.

In case you were told to do exercises, keep in mind, it’s not exercising that gets our range of motion back, it’s Time:

Time to recover.
Time for pain and swelling to settle,
and 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. Exercise as in strength training is counter-productive and in the early weeks does more harm than good. Normal activity is the key to success.
Ice, elevation, and pain meds are most important now. You don't need to be doing any exercises. Just getting up and walking around taking care of your daily needs is all your knee needs for the first few weeks. Going to the bathroom, getting a snack or drink, brushing your teeth, washing off, all these types of things are all the exercise it needs.
If you want an ice machine, go for it, though you don’t need one to recover. I never used one, but people who have sure seem to love them!

Elevating your legs toes over nose is one of the best ways to reduce swelling. Swelling in the knee is what makes it so immobile. I had a wonderful foam wedge and used it all the time, literally any time I was not on my feet. Even slept with it. It really helped keep down the swelling and pain.
Ok awesome Bonesmarties... This is a new one from left field!! My husband burst into tears today - I've probably seen him cry 5 times in 15 years- because he feels so overwhelmed caregiving. He took care of me after my 1st TKR two years ago. It was much more difficult and he had no issues at all. This time he's trying to do everything at once; laundry, care for cats, groceries, help me and he hit a limit today. Any ideas on how I can I help him relax and realize he doesn't have to be Superman??
@Jlawless, this is kind of meant as a joke, but also a bit serious. Tell him to chill! Go get a cold beer, sit and watch some football or go play some golf while the weather still allows (oh, wait, you live in Arizona where the weather ALWAYS allows golf!). Better yet, do what my wife does to me.... tells me to get the, well can’t say cause our filters will block it, out of her way and go do something.

I can’t say I’m able to relate to your husbands situation as my wife knows she’s super-woman and insists on doing everything herself, even when hurting. Of course she does a flip on me when she is bed-ridden following surgery and becomes the most demanding, moody person I’ve ever met (still love her dearly though).

Us guys are not wired to tackle multiple issues at once. Tell him to pick and focus on one job at a time. Once that is done, re-evaluate the situation and then tackle the next priority. If he is trying to be you (or any woman I know) he’s going to fail (us guys hate to fail). No wonder he’s a wreck!
NavyGunns is right, it’s the multi-tasking, and the not knowing when it will ever end. When I was a caregiver to my elderly FIL, who had significant issues, it was like I had nothing for myself. Everything revolved around him.

Everything didn’t REALLY revolve around him, of course. It was that I let everything revolve around him, even that I insisted on it. The caregiver puts more pressure on himself than the patient does. So what he needs from you (and from himself) is permission.

Yes, tell him to chill. :) You’ve got this. You’re getting better every day. He needs some “him time.” Tell him to go to a movie with friends or family members, or alone if he chooses. Or plan a two-of-you-together afternoon or evening of watching movies or shows at home. Bowling. Golf. Attending that air show that makes him perk up whenever he sees it on the news.

When I told Mr. Shoes I was feeling trapped by Dad and like I couldn’t do any “me” things, like go to a convention in Kansas City with my best friend and fellow author, he said, “Then go. We’ll work it out.” And they did. And I went. And it helped.

When we get overwhelmed, and we all do at times, it helps so much to take a deep breath and do something normal to remind ourselves that our regular lives aren’t gone, just waiting around the corner.
@Jlawless If you have a sibling, adult child or friend who can come over to visit for a couple of hours, send your husband to a movie, a sports bar, for a hike or a round of golf. I was lucky in that my kids live nearby and were around to help my wife. Microwave meals are a big help, too, because you can fix them yourself without having to stand too long. After a couple of weeks, there should be less for him to do.
Hi @Jlawless - congratulations on the 2nd knee. This surgery takes it’s toll on the entire household. My hubs has been doing double duty in our house since my first surgery last October. Although I have been able to help more in the last 6 months, he still carries the bigger load. We both just needed to let go of our “normal” need to have a pristine house, yard, etc and just be sure the basics were covered. While I was laid up, I would order our groceries on-line and he would go pick them up. He never had to get out of the car! We hired a simple cleaning of our house every 3 months. And hubs kept up the yard. He can fix very basic meals so neither one of us starved. We worked together on this whole recovery cycle. I made NO demands on him and he needed to keep busy because it bothered him he could not help me recover faster. We both knew time was what we needed too. However, when we found out we had to go thru this again so soon, neither one of us were over-joyed! But we both understand it is the only way we can get back to our “normal” life again. You 2 can get thru this. You learned an awful lot the first go around and I’m sure this time is much more steamed lined, by default. Just grab a hold of him and give him a big hug and say thank you. That might be all that he needs. By the way, I live in Chandler!
Any ideas on how I can I help him relax and realize he doesn't have to be Superman??
Tell him that you are fine and he can go back to work. So many of us went through this alone and made out just fine. You can get up and take care of things and he will see that you are OK alone. Even if he doesn't go back to work, he can leave and do something fun for himself. The more you are able to do things for yourself, the more of the load will be off of him. Just don't overdo and have a setback! Your knee is the #1 concern right now!
@NavyGunns It was so great to hear things from a mans point of view. Thank you so much for your feedback. When you said after surgery your wife could be the "...most demanding, moody person I’ve ever met (still love her dearly though). " I did laugh out loud! Apparently she and I have this in common :) I utilized your feedback in a brief but loving chat It really helped. I could almost see his shoulders relax. Yay!!

@SusieShoes Thank you for the practical reminders. After getting back everyone's great advice, he and I had a family fun night where we both got into bed and binge watched a favorite show and I have a friend scheduled to come over in a few days so he is free to do whatever he wants!!

@MtnSearcher Another mans point of view! Thank you. I was able to set that "friend relief visit" up and will continue to do so.Breaks are good for both of us!! As for meals, a friend surprised us by bringing over an amazing home made meal and that was WONDERFUL! My husband is a great cook and enjoys cooking but I think we need to find that balance- like you said- sometimes a microwave meal works!

@Desertgal Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I think lowering the level of expectations of how the house needs to be, that "normal" you mentioned, will really help. We moved to Payson from the Valley a little over a year ago and our home now is about half the size of our old home. Because it's smaller we seem to be more perfectionistic :) because if we don't keep on top of things - you can tell LOL! But you are 100% right. It's temporary and not worth unhappiness!! Thank you for the reminder to be aware of what we have learned. We have become a pretty good surgery team!! Finally thank you for the reminder to just show him how much he means. He is amazing!!
Hi @Jlawless - You learned an awful lot the first go around and I’m sure this time is much more steamed lined, by default. Just grab a hold of him and give him a big hug and say thank you. That might be all that he needs.
@Jlawless, it is great to see that everyone’s suggestions were able to help improve your situation! Reach out anytime you need feedback, want to vent, offer advice, and especially when you need a guy’s perspective. I especially love those as I find many women don’t really want a guys perspective :rotfl:.
When we want it, we will ask for it.
Amen, sister!
I do believe that having men as advisors on here is a benefit to other men and to women, too. As we all know men and women are different and many times look at things differently and we girls need a different perspective sometimes. So NavyGuns advise on!

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