TKR Week 1 Recovery


junior member
Feb 23, 2022
United States United States
My tkr surgery was on 2/18/22. Just one week ago . I’m trying to walk more each day. It is easier for me to set benchmarks in steps rather than feet. I’m walking about 150 steps on Day # 9.

I am going to try to increase the step count by 50 steps per day in week 2. Hoping to walk 1/4 mile by the end of week #3.

I do some of my exercises along with walking. Can’t do leg raises . Heel slides are a struggle . I working on knee bends . I can go up and down on tip toes . I can do lateral leg raises. Im just doing the best I can. I just need reassurance from folks that have been through this that I’m doing ok and it gets better.

In addition, taking prescription Pepcid, tramadol, Meloxicam , x strength Tylenol, ecotrin. My stomach bothers me off and on. I would appreciate any and all input. This is the first time I’ve ever posted in a patient forum.
Hello @EkMkBP70, welcome to our Bonesmart family. :flwrysmile:You have come to the right place to learn all about knee replacements and recoveries. Setting goals for yourself can be good or bad. Just like your pain, some days will be better than the next couple might be worse. Just let your knee be your guide. If you're finding increased pain after increasing your steps, then go back down after a day or two of rest.

You don't have to worry about your bend right now. Your main concern should be healing and keeping your pain and swelling down. I will leave you our recovery articles to help guide you through your journey.

Each person is different as is their recovery. Most find that the Bonesmart approach works best for them, but others find that a more aggressive therapy helps them more. It's your recovery and your choice on how you recover. As you read more on other members' recovery threads, you’ll get a better perspective of what to expect. The following are our basic guidelines and should help get you started.

Knee Recovery: The Guidelines

1. Don’t worry: Your body will heal all by itself. Relax and let it. Don't try and hurry it, don’t worry about any symptoms now; they are almost certainly only temporary.
2. Control discomfort:
take your pain meds by prescription schedule (not when the pain starts!)​
3. Do what you want to do BUT...
a. If it hurts, don't do it, and don't allow anyone to hurt you.
b. If your leg swells more or gets stiffer in the 24 hours after doing it, don't do it again for a few weeks.
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

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.

Try out our great new opportunity to improve your gait. It's OneStep. It's free and you will find it to be a huge help to you. Click here: OneStep
Welcome to BoneSmart!
Can’t do leg raises . Heel slides are a struggle .
Sounds like you have log leg, pretty normal after joint replacement. your hip flexors will recover as you heal, and you will be able to to do a straight leg raise.
You can try practicing lifting your leg with your opposite leg bent, push down with your opposite foot as you try to lift your log leg.
If you are doing heel slides in bed, you may want to do them in sitting. Here is a link for how to do gentle heel slides in sitting.
Heel slides and how to do them and Extension: how to estimate it and ways to improve it .
Keep us posted on how you are doing.
Hi @EkMkBP70 , I went over my post-op log and without doubt, the first week was by far the toughest one to deal with. From your report, it seems you're doing very well ... and I'm sure as your second week post-op comes to a close, there's a good chance you'll find yourself able to do more without as much struggle as during the first week.
In re leg raises, per my log, it wasn't till almost the 3rd week that I was able to tolerate/manage to do a few leg raises. Prior to that the only time I'd raise my leg purposely was to elevate it against a wall.

Walking/hobbling was the easiest of post-op activities and one that I found brought some much needed little respite from all the sitting I did. Like you, I tend to set little goals but tried hard not to be a slave to them ... sort of setting low bars to clear and declare victory! I found that helped me keep a positive mental attitude.

Getting up from bed in the morning was the worst part - despite usually not having slept well the night before - the leg/knee was at its most swollen state and lowering the leg to the floor made the lower leg even more filled with fluids. I had to get my mental state in the right direction early else it'd be a long miserable day ... so, I'd walk around a bit before heading downstairs for my first cup of coffee. While sipping my coffee, I'd check out YouTube post-TKR clips and also check various forums. Somehow those would help dig myself out of a "poor me" frame of mind.

Best of luck on your recovery! Looking forward to seeing additional updates!
My tkr surgery was on 2/18/22. Just one week ago . I’m trying to walk more each day. It is easier for me to set benchmarks in steps rather than feet. I’m walking about 150 steps on Day # 9.

I am going to try to increase the step count by 50 steps per day in week 2. Hoping to walk 1/4 mile by the end of week #3.

I do some of my exercises along with walking. Can’t do leg raises . Heel slides are a struggle . I working on knee bends . I can go up and down on tip toes . I can do lateral leg raises. Im just doing the best I can. I just need reassurance from folks that have been through this that I’m doing ok and it gets better.

In addition, taking prescription Pepcid, tramadol, Meloxicam , x strength Tylenol, ecotrin. My stomach bothers me off and on. I would appreciate any and all input. This is the first time I’ve ever posted in a patient forum.
My TKR was Feb. 1, your first week sounds very similar to mine and most others. For me i noticed an improvement in pain and mobility around days 10-12. I've only had 1 outpatient Physical therapy session, w 7 more to go, & have done the at home exercises, and this week have benefited from even more improvement. Walking mostly without a cane, and leg getting stronger. One thing that has been slower improving unfortunately is sleeping. Waking up like every 90-`120 minutes at night from either leg stiffness or just from being on my back too long. Can't get comfortable sleeping on my side. Hopefully this passes in time as well. In days 3-10 I was taking oxycodone with Lyrica, Celebrex and X strength tylenol for pain. The oxycodone was the biggest help. Don't need it since about day 14, even though I got a refill just in case.
Good luck to you, keep icing a lot, take the meds on schedule and do all the exercises without causing yourself excessive pain.
I could not do leg lifts or heel slides for many weeks - it just came back without me making any real effort. I do still hate heel slides at 4 months out. You sound like most of us at the start of recovery where we think that whatever is or is not happening can't be normal. You may or may not go through the 'wish I had not had this done' stage that's also normal and it will take you longer to recover than you were led to believe but you will recover and things will get easier you just have to be kind to yourself and that knee and not do too much but try to keep mobile doing normal stuff like walking to the kitchen to make a cuppa or walking to the toilet and when you are further into recovery walking out but not too far to start with. The Bonesmart advice is spot on but please keep asking for help and advice when you need it. I am glad you found this site. Good luck with your recovery xxx
Thanks everyone! Im 70 years old . Prior to surgery , I strength trained for 5 years 3x a week. No health issues except high blood pressure . .

I’ve talked to a few people who have had the surgery and they all seem to say they had very little pain. They all seem to have had an easier first two weeks. That’s definitely not been my experience. For the most part , pain has been manageable, but this surgery is definitely a challenge.

Im making myself crazy . I had a decent day yesterday. I walked and did some PT exercises . I read the articles and used the BOne Smart resources , and they were helpful.

Didn’t sleep well last night due to pain . Today was painful too . Pain on the outside of the surgical knee and stiffness (left knee) shin, and thigh.

Walking today was difficult. I’m anxious by nature , and I have no idea what’s normal and what’s not. I embarrassed to admit it , but I’m besides discomfort , I am worried about my progress and doing harm to my new knee.

Doctor wants me up and walking every 1/2 hr. Ive try . Im walking to and from the bathroom and kitchen and about 5 extra minutes 3-4 times per day . But I have no idea if that’s enough.

This forum is terrific. It helps just to discuss what’s on your mind and get advice from people who are going through the experience with you .

Thanks .
Sounds like you are doing fine. Don’t over do things. Slow & steady. Be sure to eat & stay hydrated & take your meds on a schedule. Staying ahead of the pain is the ticket. It is a beast for awhile- no doubt. But hang in there & keep posting & try & baby your new knee. Your body has been through a huge trauma. Be kind to yourself! Ice, elevate, medicate & rest! Keep your chin up- you’ve got this!
Walking every half hour sounds like a lot to me. Maybe give your knee some movement that often while you are resting, but we usually recommend a short walk every hour or 2 (that you are awake) at your stage of recovery.

I mention “while you are awake” because my surgeon‘s assistant told me they had a patient who came in and said how tired she was all the time, and she told them it was all the walking. She took them literally when they told her to walk 5 minutes every hour. This poor, sweet woman, was setting her alarm and getting up every hour of the day, to walk. So the assistant emphasized to me, “when I was awake.”
Welcome to the Forum! You are doing well for just a week out in being so mobile and being able to do the tiptoe exercise. Your friends were very lucky in not experiencing much pain. When you think of what occurs during surgery to the bone and surrounding tissues there has to be pain but of course we all have different tolerances. Also we are all in the dark as to what to expect and everyone’s experience is slightly different.
We all worried about doing something to the implant but short of falling or twisting on the new knee that implant is very secure and hard to damage. The internal tissues are easier to “hurt” by attempting too much. There is a lot of contradicting advice out there on the internet but I am here to tell you that I have healed well from 2 knee replacements using the slow and steady no aggressive PT bonesmart method. Continue on with the gentle approach and you’ll get there. Don’t listen to stories of 3 week recoveries they are not the norm. It can take up to a year or longer for full healing and function. Sending best wishes to you as you go through these first challenging, painful weeks. It gets much better!!
The gentle approach makes sense . I have PT in about an hour. The side of my left knee is hurting. I’ll tell him that when he arrives. I’m sure that I overdid it on Saturday. I’m going to not overdue it and be more realistic going forward. One day at a time. The doctor and nursing staff have been supporgive.

I am usually pretty stoic, so the emotion I’ve been feeling is also part of this unknown experience. I’ve never participated in a patient forum before , but being able to reach out the last few days have been a true blessing. Thy . It’s been so reassuring
If you read through the articles that @sistersinhim linked you will see there is one called Post Op blues a reality. Even the least emotional of us have bouts of the blues. Early on it can be due to the anasthesia we’ve got in our bodies and the body’s reaction to the major surgery. You can get the blues for a few days at any time and it’s all a normal part of recovery. Just try to take your meds on schedule and keep ahead of the pain, rest, relax and allow your body to heal.
I had my tkr on June 2, 2016. The following July 4 a friend add the day off and she came in and asked what we were going to do that day. (It was normal for us to go hiking or kayaking or something physical whenever she had the day off). Well, I was hardly able to walk out to my backyard, much less hiking and I broke out in tears. And not just silent teardrops, a real boohoo out loud. She felt so bad, not knowing that I'd take it to heart, but I did. Just an example of how depressing this surgery can be, but it does get better.
Celebrate with us each little improvement because they will come! They might be baby steps, but all those baby steps add up to bigger steps and then eventually adult steps.
The blues are part of the healing process. After my first surgery, I would just burst into tears for seemingly no reason. Now I realize that it is not just the knee that experienced trauma but my whole body. Now, with my second surgery, I welcome my tears as part of my healing. Why, sometimes I even throw myself a pity party!! Hang in there and feel free to share with us! We understand!! ❤️
Well, it’s Day #13 after TKR of left knee. This surgery is no joke . It’s been challenging. I’m making progress . Followed advice and started listening to my body. PT exercises are slowly improving. Doing more for myself. Terrific physical therapist . Taking antibiotic for. UTI thst i might have gotten from a catheter .

The pain level is manageable during the day. In fact , I started taking the Tylenol and Tramadol together . Meloxicam once a day . Two days ago I began taking Tylenol and Tramadol together six hours apart . Since then, after talking yo the doctor, I’ve been able to stretch it out to 8 hrs.

During the night the pain intensifies . Wakes me up . I elevate , ice , meditate . Lol. But pain is more intense . I called the doctor and I might take a prescribed muscle relaxer btw bedtime and morning pain medications if I wake up during the night. Anyone else experience this night pain?

Back to the we doctor for first post op check up tomorrow. I’m a little anxious . It will be my first outing after coming home from the hospital.

Definitely in a better place since my first post . I am so grateful that I have this forum. Anybody have any suggestions for natural ways to deal with during the night pain. Does melatonin help at all.
@EkMkBP70 Night pain is often a sign that you are doing more activity during the day than your healing knee is ready for. Try cutting back a bit and then you won’t need extra medication. As we go through the day we don’t always experience the accumulative pain until nighttime.

I moved your post out of the February Surgical Team thread as we reserve that thread just for surgery badges. Please keep all your updates here in your Recovery Thread. :flwrysmile:
Nighttime can be a real challenge. I think I move around more in my sleep than I thought I did which aggrevates the knees. The most comfortable position I have found is what I call scissor legs. I lay on my left side with my right leg over in front of the left leg. I cannot lie on my right side because of shoulder pain.
Thy for moving my post . I have a hard time posting in my same thread . I’ll try to figure it out. Lol. In the meantime thx for your patience
No problem, I didn’t mind moving your post.

Maybe this will help:
So glad to hear that you are progressing well with your recovery. Nights are often harder than the days and trying to get comfortable a real challenge. You are handling this in exactly the right way with more ice and elevating. Ice was my best friend. My OS suggested Melatonin and I did find it useful at first but not as good as Tylenol PM as part of my nighttime Tylenol plus Tramadol. So 1 Tylenol PM 500mg plus 1 regular 500mg Tylenol plus Tramadol was my nighttime cocktail for better sleep.
Sending healing thoughts.

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