TKR What should I expect in recovery?


new member
Jun 20, 2023
United States United States
I'm having TKR on right knee. Surgery date was originally 9/5/23, but I chickened out and cancelled. This morning, knee was feeling very wobbly (but no pain), so now the surgery is back on 9/18/23. I am wondering about walking. I'm going on a weekend cruise 12/1. I'll be 10 weeks post-op. Will I be able to walk in sand? Will I be able to snorkel? The PA says I can go on the cruise, but how will it really be? Will I be able to walk around downtown Miami for a couple of hours as we wait to board the ship? I'm looking for others' experiences.
Glad that you've decided to go ahead with the surgery, @Susieqroo! I know you will be glad to have a fully functioning knee again.

As to what to expect for your December cruise: that's hard to answer because every one of us is different and we all recover at different rates.

That said, here's my personal experience: At 10 weeks post-op, I was able to walk about 1/2 mile at a time before needing to rest my knee. I could climb stairs normally, but had to "double-step" down because my knee wasn't ready for the full load. I still needed to ice and elevate after activity and I was still using Tylenol -- although at a reduced dosage -- for pain relief.

10 weeks is still early in this year-long recovery, so I would suggest that you plan in time for icing and elevating. Be sure to pack some portable/refillable ice packs and medication for pain relief.

We have a few members who have traveled early in their recoveries; I'm sure one of them will stop by to share what they learned!
I agree... At ten weeks I could do about 3/4 mile walking before needing to rest, elevate, and ice. I have no idea how pedestrian friendly Miami is in terms of good public seating.
Hello Susieqroo,
Exactly one month to go before your big day. I wish you lots of comfort as you wait.

Regarding walking on sand. Your gait changes while walking on sand.
It's more of a workout. Beach sand provides an unpredictable and uneven walking surface. This can place increased stress / strain and loading on your joints. Walking in the softer sand requires increased energy expenditure, forcing you to work harder, compared to walking on an even, firm surface. The foot will sink slightly into the sand. This will provide the least amount of stability, which forces you to use muscles throughout your legs more.
10 weeks is still pretty early days.

You may be able to do things but may not necessarily be able to really enjoy them.
At 10 weeks I managed a 30 minutes tube train ride into Central London with my family to a shortish daytime children's Xmas theatre show. I was using one elbow crutch and it wasn't totally comfortable. I had to rest and ice after I got back. I wouldn't have chosen to do it except I didn't want to miss out or let my grandkids down.
You do have a dilemma. As it is right now, your knee won't let you enjoy your cruise, and if you have the surgery, your knee probably will keep you from at least some, if not most, of the activities. If it were me, and it was at all possible, I'd reschedule the cruise and get my knee taken care of first. Just think how much fun you'd have taking this cruise when your knee is replaced and recovered and not causing pain or keeping you from enjoying life!

10 weeks is still very early in recovery, and even though you'll be much better than you were at 2 weeks, 4 weeks, etc, you'll still be limited to some extent. I'd rather know I had the best chance to fully participate in any chosen activities than to worry if my knee would act up in the middle of them, thus spoiling my fun.
Thanks for all of the opinions. I am definitely going on the cruise, everything is booked. It's a very short cruise with 1 day at sea and 1 day at the private island. If I'll be able to walk 1/2 mile, I'll be good, because this cruise will not be strenuous, just sitting by the pool and bobbing in the water. I have no idea how I'd be able to transport ice packs on vacation..TSA doesn't allow any liquids, gels or aerosols. Frozen is OK, but pack would be melted by the time I got to Miami and I don't know how I would refreeze it on the boat.

Anyway, my surgeon also said I'd be good to go. I'll let everyone know!
@Susieqroo You should be able to put gel packs in your luggage.

There are also instant ice packs that are used for sports injuries. They don't last very long but I used them during a 6 hour journey to a new home. Pack them in your luggage you should be good to go!
I'm not checking a bag. TSA will only allow frozen packs in carry-on luggage. I'll bring a couple of baggies and have the bartender fill them with ice if I need a pack.
At 10 weeks for my second knee replacement I could easily walk a mile or two a day. I have been swimming/snorkeling since 6 weeks (unreasonably not allowed earlier in recovery). Walking around for 2 hours would be hard at 10 weeks and is still hard at 13. I need to sit down for short breaks and not stay up continually for more than an hour. I have not tried walking in sand but do fine walking on uneven ground.

My second knee has been quite slow to recover (IMHO) but not as slow as many on this site. For my first knee that recovered quickly none of what you plan would have been difficult.

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