Bilateral TKR VA Mom March 2023

VA Mom

junior member
Mar 6, 2023
United States United States
Hello all! I had my BTKR done on 3/15/2023. So, today I am POD 5. I know it’s still early days, but I am definitely spending the majority of my time just resting, icing, and elevating. I get up to the bathroom every 2 hours or so, relying heavily on my walker. I do not fully weight bear yet. And, when I sit and elevate, I am usually just in the recliner. I do “toes above nose” only a few hours a day. Do I need to be doing that big elevation all the time? And my bend is very minimal. My heel slides are pretty tiny. They are like little anthills, definitely not big bends. I just feel like my knee is so tight across the front. I have been following these boards for about a month now and I have so appreciated your stories. Thank you! I keep hearing that the first two weeks are pretty rough but I would love to have some idea of what things look like in those first few weeks, as one gets past day 5, 8, 12, etc, keeping in mind that everyone is different, of course. But, maybe a general idea of how people progress.
Also, how can I find the March 2023 knee people? I think I’m in that group, but don’t know how to access it. ☺️
Thank you all, you fantastic BoneSmarties!
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Knee Recovery: The Guidelines

We are all different, as are the approaches to recovery. The key is, “Find what works for YOU.“ Your doctor(s), physiotherapist(s) and BoneSmart will offer advice and are there to help. The advice may vary, but YOU are the final judge as to the recovery approach you choose.

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!)​

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

6. Access these pages on the website

The Recovery articles:

There are also some cautionary articles here

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.
@VA Mom Welcome to BoneSmart! The March knee group is here. At the end of the month the entire thread will move to a recovery thread so that you can stay in touch with other members who had surgery in March.

Please don't worry about any exercises or milestones at this point. You are right - the early days can be daunting. Rest, ice, elevate, medication and repeat. Better days will come!
@VA Mom - Those early days will surely test your endurance. I don’t think there’s a limit on how often or long you can ice and elevate. Of course get up every hour or more to move around and walk a bit. As long as you’re protecting your skin with enough fabric that you don’t damage your skin with the icing, you can keep it up. It’s worth increasing that to see if it does improve your swelling some. I think I’m suggesting the same things Bonesmart does and it did help me. Be double kind and patient with yourself and your progress, it was Bilateral, right?
Keep up the good work and rest, sleep, hydrate, take the meds, ice and elevate. Eating nutritiously is helpful too. Take care and let us know how you progress!!
@VAMom, I like @RaeRae1 's advice. Be careful about making your skin too cold with icing. Wow, you had a bilateral, and even though you are young, it is double-tough. The recovery process for knee replacement is very slow, and patience is key so that we don't get depressed. We all get the blues because it's a slow and painful recovery. I am 4 months post op with my right knee and doing well but still have that band-feeling across my knee. It will go away in time. Best of luck and better days are ahead.
On another note, anyone else cry during physical therapy? Or, just me?
Yes, we’ve had many members cry during PT because they were being hurt, pushed to do more than their knee was ready for. This type of pain is not necessary and you should not allow them to hurt you.
Saying no to therapy - am I allowed to?

Regaining our ROM does not require forceful bending or painful exercises.
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.
When you get to that point, you've gone too far. PT should not hurt.
Please refrain from engaging in movement that causes discomfort or pain and do not allow anyone to forcefully manipulate your leg. While your range of motion is currently limited, it will naturally increase as the swelling subsides and the pain eases. Give it time. Right now all you need is lots of rest, ice, elevation and short walks around the house every hour or two. That's it!
Wishing you lots of comfort as you begin the journey!
On another note, anyone else cry during physical therapy? Or, just me?
Absolutely not. Agree with everything above- it definitely shouldn't hurt either physically or emotionally.
I have private pilates lessons instead of physio/ PT and it is never painful and incredibly supportive and nurturing. I have great ROM ( over 140 flexion at 5 months and 0 extension) and I have always been told to stop and back off if anything starts to hurt. We are only recently doing slightly tougher strength building work with a resistance band and tiny weights.
EalingGran, your private pilates lessons sound helpful. I'm leaning in the Pilates direction.
Thank you @RaeRae1 @Roy Gardiner @Jockette @Layla @EalingGran. The crying was due to both emotional and physical reasons. The therapist never directly manipulated my knees, but she repeatedly asked me to do exercises that caused pain. She told me I should be at a very high level of pain during physical therapy. I think this therapist and I may be parting ways if this continues. Thank you, Bone Smarties, for your experience and advice.
Recovery can be emotional, VAMom. We are often tired, dealing with discomfort / pain, swelling and post op blues can come into play early on. Days can be long, boring and frustrating at times so hopefully those tears were a healthy release.

Please do not stick with this therapist if she pushes you at all. PT should NOT be painful. Consider letting the therapist know in no uncertain terms that if anything she directs you to do causes pain, you will stop.
Good Luck!
Check this article out from the Recovery Guidelines -
Activity progression for TKRs
At one point, one of my PTs (who I won’t go to any more) once repeated to me something one of his other patients said.

At the end of the PT session she said, through tears, that one day, when he died and woke up in Hell, there would be a long line of his former patients waiting in line for a chance to give him PHYSICAL THERAPY.
No, you should not be at a "high level of pain" during PT. IMHO it's ok if it hurts a bit and is challenging, but it shouldn't make you cry. Also my PT told me if I hurt for more than an hour after PT I had done too much.

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