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TKR Vice grip like around the knee

Lota

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I had my TKR on Dec. 7 so I am starting week 5. I am doing PT and exercises as told. My ROM is good. Extension is lagging but I hope to get there.
what is most bothersome is the vice-grip like around the knee that prevents me from concentrating on improving my gait. The surgery apparently went very well, will see my surgeon on Jan. 20. I haven’t discovered what could lessen this grip but maybe someone else experienced it?
My energy level is fairly low since the surgery. I am unable to eat too much. Just very little food satisfies my hunger. FYI - I had general anesthesia.
please share if you experienced this feeling of a tight band around your knee. What made it better? What made it go away?Maybe just time?
Many thanks.
Lota
 

Pumpkln

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@Lota
Welcome to BoneSmart, glad you joined us! :welome:
The tight band feeling is common after TKR, "Tight band" feeling across the front of my knee
To lessen this grip suggest you cut back on your exercises and let the your knee settle down.
What your knee needs is time to heal, your tight vice like grip should ease with healing.

Here is your copy of the Knee Recovery Guidelines, most of your questions will be addressed, the articles are short and will not take long to read.

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:
rest
ice
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:
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.
 

Sara61

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:welome:The tight band feeling happens to all of us and can last for several months, especially if you overdo things, plenty of rest, elevation and lots of :ice:will help solve this, eventually with time it will lessen xx
 

Roy Gardiner

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:welome: to BoneSmart
FYI - I had general anesthesia
Did you have a spinal injection + anaesthesia or full GA?
please share if you experienced this feeling of a tight band around your knee. What made it better? What made it go away?Maybe just time?
Time makes it go away.

If you have a static bike you can use that to loosen up the knee.
  • Set the bike to zero resistance
  • Set the saddle low enough so that a single rotation is a challenge; difficult but not painful. When a rotation becomes easy right from the start, lower the saddle a max of 1cm.
  • Gently turn the pedals, through discomfort but without pain.
  • Continue until the knee is 'warmed up' and the rotation is now easy, or for 2 minutes, whichever is the shorter time.
  • Repeat several/many times a day, but don't go mad. Diminishing returns will apply; my guess is that half a dozen reps would be enough
  • Do not pedal fast or for more than 2 minutes, this is a stretching exercise, not training.
  • And if you get any pain or swelling in the 24 hours after doing this, cut it down until you don't
Here is a bit more chat and some pix and how 'healing' and 'training' are different
 

Cjackso21

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Bike was my savior with the tight band feeling. My first several knee replacements took me 5 weeks before I could sit comfortably and get my knee around. Last one was 2 weeks and was amazing, was told it might be due to the robotics used on me for the first time.

As for anesthesia, I have always had problems until they came out with the great anti-nausea drugs. Before it took weeks to feel better. Pain meds also caused nausea and lethargy with me.

Good luck!
 
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Lota

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I had GA only. It went really well. No side effects, nausea.
No static bike here. What could replicate this exercise?
many thanks!
Lota
 
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Lota

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I definitely walk around but hard to have a good gait with this tight band feeling around the knee. I can’t seem to shake it off at all.
Still working on my extension. I will have it measured today but I think I still have a bit of a lag.

thank you.
 

Jockette

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It’s still very early days in this year long, on average, recovery. All this will improve as you heal.
 
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Lota

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Thank you for your kind words.
Lota
 

JoanneC

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Hi I had this and it is only now easing. Squats and stretches really helped , warm heat pad also helped. Nurofens and time.
 
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Lota

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Warm heat pad directly on the knee? I may try it. I have been icing but maybe heat works too?
Thanks.
Lota
 

TKRsharon

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@Lota - I am about 13 weeks since surgery and still have the tight band feeling. Today, it actually felt less tight for several hours. A couple of weeks ago I started using heat, mostly on the back of the knee and my calf. Not too much as heat can cause swelling. I use heat before I go for a walk - it helps loosen things up. Then ice and elevate after the walk.
 
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Lota

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Thank you, Sharon. Good to know I am not alone. I have rheumatoid arthritis and wonder if the “tight band feeling” in mostly with RA patients...

Lota
 

TKRsharon

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@Lota I have osteoarthritis in that knee. From what I read, everyone who has thais surgery has this awful feeling - like tight rubber bands wrapped around the knee. If you use heat, I think moist heat is best. Good luck with your recovery. Take it easy and do not do anything that causes you pain and do not let anyone else do anything that causes you pain. Ice is your best friend. Be well
 
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Lota

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Thank you so much. Will try moist heat!
Lota
 

Jockette

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Warm heat pad directly on the knee? I may try it.
Heat directly on the knee can increase the swelling, which is something to avoid, this early in recovery.

I did try it once, later on in my recovery, and wow, my knee got very upset really fast, it actually caused me pain, but maybe that’s just me, as my knee has always been overly sensitive in my recovery.

Using heat on other areas of your leg can be helpful.
 

kneeper

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Thank you, Sharon. Good to know I am not alone. I have rheumatoid arthritis and wonder if the “tight band feeling” in mostly with RA patients...

Lota
The tight band is pretty universal, especially as early as you are. Your overall recovery should not be affected by your RA. If your rheumy had you go off any of your meds for the period around the surgery you might have issues related to your RA, but not to the surgery itself.

And I agree--avoid heat on the knee itself. I did use it away from the knee to help relax the hamstrings and thigh. I know for me there was a tendency to unconsciously tense muscles when the knee was hurting and that just made things worse.
The other thing is to make sure you're taking something for the pain. For me, most of my pain once I was past the first couple of weeks was what I call a stiff achy feeling--and meds (whether prescription or tylenol) helped.
 
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Lota

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My PT seemed puzzled by the feeling I described. As if he has not heard it before. So he suggested maybe it was a function of RA but it seems counterintuitive to me that it would be RA related. I am glad to find this forum in which you know very well what I am describing.
Thank you.
Lota
 

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