11 weeks from total knee replacement and still very sore and stiff?

Posted , 10 users are following.

Is there anyone who is 11 or 12 weeks from surgery?  I would like to hear about others progress.  I am doing PT three times a week.  The pain meds made me ill so the medication hasn't helped.  many thanks

0 likes, 15 replies

15 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Clare

    I’m 11 weeks post op today with my left TKR. I had my right one done in October 2017 and my recovery was far better than with this one. I am in a great deal of pain still a d very stiff on it.  I cannot do without the pain meds and when I went to my physio appt last week I told the physio I was unable to do the exercises as it feels like I have a piece of glass or a knife sticking in the top of my knee. She gave me some different exercises which I am able to do and will go back in 4 weeks.  I have a ROM of 110 bend so I’m plsd with that but I can’t go up or down stairs on it at all.  I have been told every knee is different and it will take a whole year before it settles maybe but if this had been my first knee I would not have had the other one done. 

    I wish you a better recovery Clare, keep in touch and best of luck x

  • Posted

    Hi Clare

    I’m just coming up on 9 weeks from both knees TKR.  Whilst this may not be what you want to hear but I think it’s good to know that it’s not all pain etc. 

    I’m pain free now going on 2 weeks.  Except maybe at night if I wake up and knees are together if I’m on my side.   You will see so many on here saying everyone is different so just keep at it. 

    I personally pushed myself to the limits when I got home, and know maybe not everyone can do that but I figured I’d try and get the worst out of the way. 

    Back to work at week 6 and driving.  

    I bought a pedal machine (Reviver) from Amazon, it’s powered.  Set you speed and watch telly. Really helped the bend and ultimately the pain but was agony first few times. 

    Also bought two wrap around ice packs that strap to knee.  Used them 4 times a day after work outs. 

    Keep hanging in there.  It all comes into place and you will barely notice and will be hard to recall the hard days. 


    • Posted

      Thanks so much DJ, I appreciate your answer.  I also bought a bicycle from amazon and use it every day but for only 5 minutes since I think it is aggravating the swelling.  Good for you!  wow two at once, I could never have done that.  Your encouragement is what I needed.  good wishes on your continued healing, Clare
  • Posted

     Clare, I’m so sorry to hear you have so much pain.  I had my left knee replaced on January 16 and I have started taking Mobic - a prescription NSAID because I have so much tightness and stiffness in that knee.   When I had my right knee done a few years ago it was so much easier and I recovered quickly and fully.    I don’t know what it is about the left knee but I have read discussions from several who said the left knee was tougher to get over. 

    Right after my knee was replaced, I developed a small blood clot and a Baker’s cyst in that leg, Then I got a cold thena  sinus infection then severe vertigo with vomiting, and the UTI to top it all!   To say I did not have energy or feel like exercising is an understatement!   

    I also have a pedal machine which I purchased from Amazon for about $25 and I’m going to start getting back on it.  I sure hope everyone is right when they say that a little down the road I’ll heal  and forget about the discomfort and surgery! 

  • Posted

    Clare I truly wish you well. I had TKR last Dec on my right knee and I wish I never did it. So much swelling, so much pain. I feel useless, cant stand and cook a meal, cant go up and down stairs, cant run the vacumn or clean house. Thank God for my husband. Had 4 months PT and got my bend to 115 buthas never been straight. Purchased an eliptical/bike. Use it alot even purchased somethings they used on me at PT. To no avail. Then there are those that have no problems at all, wish I was one of them.
    • Posted

      Thank you so much Verna.  I also wish you well.    I’m sorry to read that this has been such a painful path.  Hopefully all will be relieved.   Clara
  • Posted

    This is an extract from my diary. ....

    May 17th (Ten weeks post knee replacement surgery. A patient experience)

    I haven’t been rushing to get rid of my crutches. This might seem odd, but I see them as a tool. The situation now is that I can go for a 40 minute walk, which is way longer than I could before surgery, with both crutches providing some support, and the buzz of being able to do this is far more than the buzz of being able to walk a shorter distance without them! It’s a taste of freedom to walk around freely. The presence of crutches are secondary! I don’t mind using them, as giving support to an operated knee seems just the right thing to do! It’s a way of offering some rest to it. I really do feel it’s just a matter of time and I don’t want to rush to do without a crutch/crutches. I am working on building up the strength of the leg muscles daily. Walking without support is also part of the process, and I walk around the house without any support/s for as long as I can, but when things start to get painful, I listen to my knee and start to use a stick to take some weight off the knee. I am in no rush. The bone is busy healing. I tend to use just one stick now, when outside for shorter walks of around ten to fifteen minutes.

    It's a long time ago now, I just took weight off when painful, it worked well for me but everyone is different.

    Now 14 months post op it's amazing...went for a 3 hour walk in the country yesterday...kept waiting for my knee to start hurting but it didn't!

    Soreness until 12 months when over doing things is not uncommon. Just keep listening to your knee..it will set the pace. Respect it.

    • Posted

      Thank you Jenny.  You give me hope knowing you had a walk for 3 hours.   Yes, listening to my knee is the best. She is speaking very loudly to me all of the time. Warm wishes to you.  Clara
  • Posted

    There are some TKR "rules" that you should be aware of:

    - Your recovery belongs to you.  Comparing yourself to anyone else is an exercise in futility that will screw with your head.  Don't do that.  Own your recovery.

    - There is no "normal"...everyone experiences their recovery differently.  Yes, there are some general guidelines but they apply statistically to entire populations of patients and NEVER to any individual.

    - Give up all your expectations an timetables.  They are meaningless.  This is the most Zen of all surgeries: "I will be better when I am better."  Period.

    - Never, ever use the word "should" as in: "I should be {fill in the blank} by now."  A TKR doesn't work like that.

    All of that being said...and after reading over 4,000 posts, there seems to be a general framework to this:

    - 0 to 3 months: Lots of pain at first with swelling and sleeplessness.  ROM work to get to 0 / +120.  Post-op depression is totally normal.  Done, or almost done, with the walking aids by 3 months.

    - 3-6 months: Levels of pain and swelling are way down and decreasing gradually...as is the stiffness.  Start to work on your muscle rebuild for your dead quads, glutes and core so you can walk correctly, regain your balance and do stairs again.  This takes many months because you start slowly and is mandatory.  Usually off all the heavy duty meds and down to Tramadol or plain ibuprofen.  Back to work in the 4-6 month range.

    - 6-9 months: You start to feel like your "old self" again.  If you've done the work, there should be minimal swelling unless you push the knee too far on any single day.  Stiffness continues to decrease imperceptibly.  As you get stronger, you can start mastering stairs again...takes all that quad strength.

    - 9-12 months: Pretty much back to normal.  The new knee may still look just a tad larger than your original knee but you have a 2 1/2-pound mechanical device sitting in there.  You end up just forgetting about it.  Dance at your one year anniversary party.

    - 12+ months: There still may be some stiffness up to 18 months or beyond.  Have to keep the knee active or you will experience stiffness even years down the road.  You will still feel nerve pain when you try to kneel on very hard surfaces.  Use a foam pad or knee pads.  That sensation may never go away.

    So that's the reality of this thing.  Hang this on your fridge...


    ...and don't forget your oars for the boat part...

    • Posted

      Hi Chico 

      Great advise . I’m going to hang it on my fridge and read it every day!

      Thank you 😊 

    • Posted

      Dear Chico!  Bravo and many thanks...this is exactly what I was looking for!  It is printed, and I grabbed my oars to get to my fridge and there it hangs. With gratitude I also add that I am doing stairs, walking without a cane, on no pain meds (maybe aleve once a week when I can't stand it any more) and will never use the word "normal" again. Owning my recovery and giving Chico Marx credit where credit is due.

      This site is a gift and so are you.  best wishes for your continued healing, Clare


  • Posted

    Hi Clare. I'm at 11 weeks post op too - second TKR 5/3/18 and other knee done in June 2017! Still taking co codamol 15/500 x 2 twice a day and stiff and sore at times especially during the night. I've got enough ROM to please my physio and am beginning to feel better in myself with more energy but still fade late afternoon!! Couple of weeks ago different physio gave both my knees a good massage and while sore the next day felt so much better after another day! Maybe PT 3 times a week is a bit excessive - are you in UK? If so you wouldnt be doing it - just your own exercises at home. I got into swimming pool last time at 12 weeks and it really helped - just walked up and down in the water. Read Chico's posts - really helped me first time round !! 

    • Posted

      Maryedna,  Thank you for responding.  I am not I the UK. I’m in the states. You are reminding me that it’s time for a massage.  I have a great masseur but have put it off since I have had so much pain.  You also reminded me to get in the pool.  As well as not being able to take pain meds I have three flights of steps.  That has made my leg that had no surgery sore.  Yes! I printed Chico’s tips.  Best wishes for a wonderful summer.  Clare
  • Posted

    I had a total knee 6 months ago and i still get sore and stff. It seemed to be getting better around 5 months and now is sore most of the time! Keep stretching and icing and it will get better. Keep it moving ! If you cant take pain meds can you take Motrin? It helps me alot for pain and stiffness.

    • Posted

      Hi Pamela.  Thank you.  I am iceing and stretching.   I take Aleve but generally don’t do well with pain meds.  When I do I’m not so stiff.  Have a wonderful summer and keep healing.  Clare

Report or request deletion

Thanks for your help!

We want the community to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the community are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the community is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.