13 weeks post tkr

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Hi guys. I'm 13 weeks post tkr and really struggling now. I have ROM of around 90 and +10. I have been able to walk with no sticks since week 7. only this week been able to do a full 360 on an exercise bike and can now cycle albeit slowly for 5 mins. due to COVID not had any PT. knee swells up regularly and feels like a ton weight. I do heel slides whilst sat on the floor but due to swelling I can only get about 75-80 degrees and get pain in the back of the knee. any help appreciated.

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  • Edited

    "Really struggling" means that you have to realign your expectations with reality. Completely rid yourself of any timetables you have envisioned. A TKR doesn't work like that, regardless of how fast you've recovered from any other surgery. You cannot extrapolate those experiences to a TKR. Most everyone does that and then hits a brick wall. I actually told my bandmates that I'd do a 4-hour gig the following weekend. DELUSIONAL!!! I was still drooling on my pajamas at six weeks.

    I started at -14 / +84 and ended up at -1 / +123 at 12 weeks (0 / +133 now)...but that was with PT at 2-3X/week. Being home because of the virus puts you at a disadvantage and actually doing the work at home puts a larger burden on you. Try these tips...

    ROM at Home

    Just note that 12 weeks is NOT some goal or reference point. This was MY experience alone...some lucky people with DNA that does not produce a lot of scar tissue will take less time while others can take more. It just comes down to time, work and patience.

    Swelling is very, very common early on in a typical one-year recovery. Find the activity that causes the swelling an back off, recover and restart gradually. This is most commonly associated with patients who overdo the walking and end up with a "balloon knee". Understand that time and distance are irrelevant; it's the number of STEPS that are critical as that's what puts the load on the knee. Get a pedometer or smart watch and track/graph your steps with the included software. Knee swells? Note the number of steps, recover and begin again at a lower step count. This is NOT a race and you CANNOT push a knee like you can a hip or shoulder. It took me 8 months and a balloon knee to get to 11,000 steps a day. Slow and steady.

    Once you are doing a bit better, you will need to start rebuilding all your atrophied muscles, especially quads, glutes and core. This you CAN do at home with a cheap set of progressive exercise bands...

    Muscle Rebuild

    You will absolutely need this to walk correctly, regain your balance, go back to work and do stairs up and down alternately again like you used to. Cannot skip the rebuild. I'm 4+ years post-op with zero pain or swelling, the latter of which goes away imperceptibly over 12-18 months. One day you'll just realize it's all gone...if you've done the work.

    Click on my name, Discussions, See All. I have about 30 out there on a wide variety of topics. Hope they help...

    Post this on your fridge...

    image

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    • Posted

      Chico

      another great, sensible and supportive post from you! We should all post your drawings onto our fridges. Recovery from tkr is never completely straightforward and we need to respect the enormity of what a knee replacement is and take things gently. Do our exercises, rest and see any setbacks as a warning that pushing ourselves too hard can put us back in our progress.

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    • Posted

      Thanks Chico. yes I'm inpatient as was always sporty, football, boxing, cricket and 12 years in the armed forces, probably why I'm in this situation. The knee feels strong although solid and recently seem to have problems with the front of my hip if I sit to long and toes feel like I've worn shoes too tight. will have to reset my goal I think however managed 10 mins on exercise bike this morning completing 150 rotations so getting better.

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  • Edited

    Hi Gary!

    I had TKR back in November, my therapist closed the facility due to covid 19. I was home for a whole with no pt, my knee was getting stiff, but then found out that Pivot facility was open through an email they sent me. since I was a former patient. please don't waste more time and pick up the phone to make an appointment. I'm doing much better now. I'm going to the facility in College park.

    hope you get better soon!!

    Regards

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  • Posted

    Gary

    check that you have not developed fluid behind your knee . This happened to me and is called a Baker's cyst. This caused sharp pain when bending the knee beyond a certain point and affects me particularly not so much on walking but on using the stairs,. Walking upstairs is the most painful. Because of Covid I can't get an appointment with consultant but I have been advised by physio that it can take months to disperse. Patience, icing and rest help or ultimately the fluid may need to be drained.

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  • Edited

    good morning x your still very early in your recovery x ice ice ice three or four times a day x keep it moving all the time x you should be able to have a virtual video call from physio at the hospital x i work at wrightington and thats what our physios do x i am one year post op full tkr and stikl get pain and stiffness x wxcercise all the time and i still have limited bend x its inportant to keep moving it even a little at a time x

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    • Posted

      Consider an AirCast. That way you can keep your knee iced 24 x 7. Fill up the canister with ice and some water, hold it up and feel the cold surround your knee. When it starts getting warm, put the canister on the floor, open the valve and have the water drain back down. Shake it up and then do it again.

      You just have to empty it and refill the canister with ice a few times a day plus right before bedtime. Use fresh ice and water, elevate and get to sleep. Feels good.

      Yes, there are electric pump versions of this to constantly recycle the cold water but they are expensive. The AirCast is manual but very effective.

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