14 weeks post TKR and still struggling. Help please!

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On 12th October I had a right knee TKR with a false kneecap. I felt from day 1 that there was going to be problems. I was totally fit and healthy before and in my mid 50's. At my 6 week check up  my surgeon said xrays were satisfactory and he was happy with my 90-100 bend and wasn't concerned that I could not straighten leg. Went to see him yesterday and I am still at 90-100 and still cant straighten leg properly and cannot do straight leg lift. He said my quads sustained damage (vastus medialis) in the op but he could operate but would prefer not to and has given me until my 6 month checkup to see how it goes. My knee is  always painful unless I am still and have it slightly bent. It takes me a few steps to straighten. I ice with a cryo cuff each day. have an exercise bike and treadmill at home. I have used a compex rehab machine for the last two months. I have exercised and swam but have now joined a gym so I can do crosstrainer etc and swimming more often . I cannot walk far if not on a treadmill and have only started driving in the last two weeks. I sat on my horse for the first time yesterday and will continue. Please someone tell me it will be alright in the end....that I will get my leg straight in the end..... that I will get a decent bend back and be able to get some of my life back. Anyone else like this at 14 weeks and have recovered well after? My surgeon says there is still swelling and does expect I will gain much more in the next few months....but I feel he is just saying that to make me feel better! I was given the new Attune knee that was supposed to be better! I suppose the one consolation was that he didn't suggest and MUA!

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10 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi I had my TKR at the end of September and my last appointment with my consultant was a couple of weeks ago. My flexion was only 90 degrees but my knee was swollen at the time I've had it as far back as 110. I'm continuing with my exercises because I believe it will get better. My leg is straight but not when I lift it because my quad and hamstring are weak so I'm concentrating on building them back up. I just feel it will get better over time, it's still quite painful at times so it just hasn't healed yet. It's all about managing your pain and just getting on with your life. Keep doing your exercises and all will come good in the end x

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your reply. I have been watching your posts with interest as you seem similar to me. Lets hope we both turn a corner and when we reach the one year mark that Chico is always on about we will be happy with how we have progressed!
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    • Posted

      I believe it will all be good in the end. I'm doing more steps everyday and getting away with it. I do at least 10,000 steps with no problems, and I'm icing and elevating less times during the day. Don't get me wrong it still swells up but I'm expecting it to do that for quite a few months I'm being realistic. Good luck with your recovery x

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    • Posted

      I had my year anniversary in December. Never did I think I would be pain free, walking without a cane or looking at a leg that wasn’t swollen.  Yes, Yes, it will be much better. You will celebrate and cheer!!  Be patient. Take the time to exercise, use your ice cuff and stay ahead of the pain. I cannot emphasize how great I feel.

      Ellie

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  • Posted

    Your surgeon expects that you will gain much more......

    He has more experience than you...trust him or her!

    It is early days....really!

    I do understand it must be hugely worrying this muscle tear matter, but somehow try and pack it away for the time being as things are hard enough as it is.

    Are you seeing a physiotherapist? I think I would personally want targeted professional input with respect to the muscle damage and how best to focus on it,

    It sound like it may be you need to also focus on rest....the temptation to overdo the exercising because you are anxious about your recovery. So maybe think about that a bit. If your knee is always painful it may need more rest...your body is going through a major healing process and rest is part of this.

    As there is still swelling, which is not unusual, notice when this gets worse and try and listen to your knee.

    With the leg lift matter keep persisting with that exercise ...but as said hopefully you are seeing physiotherapist? I found trying the leg lift when my leg already elevated to 45 degrees on the bed, and when being iced at the same time, meant I could get tiny bit of lift off. Literally even just pillow movement is progress!

    I also did something called the church pew exercise which is meant to help activate the quads. I did this in the early months...as it took a while for me to get lift off with the straight leg raise.

    Has anyone suggested using a TENS machine for your quads? Is it that the muscles are not activating properly because of nerve damage ...what exactly did your surgeon say?

    I am sure it will come out right in the end....but it does take time!

    I have an attune knee too..it's great...reaping the benefits now. It will be worth it.

    You may like to go to my profile by clicking on the image next to my name. I kept a journal of my own knee replacement journey, and I have been told by several people they found it helpful to read, or skim through. I may have suggested this in another post so sorry if a repeat!

    It was written to convey the need for patience, something our culture in the western world is not really geared up to! It has a lot of useful suggestions and information. But this is a long road...

    Please don't overdo things on the exercise front.... it takes a good year, the whole process, and sometimes longer. I still notice improvements at 10 months, so things are still happening.

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    • Posted

      Hi Jenny,

      Thanks for your reply. Yes I am trying not to overdo things and concentrate more on the important exercises rather than just say walking for long distances etc. I have had physio from day one, some private and some NHS, but at least once a week. Luckily I have had more sessions funded by the NHS so do have them weekly and will continue to do so. Both therapists are excellent and concentrate on manual manipulation for straightening and bend and ulstrasounding the area most weeks rather than doing basic exercises that I could do myself. I have hired a compex machine which is similar to a tens machine and I have been using this twice a day for the last two months. It costs £100 a month to hire so not cheap!

      I will give the leg lift a try from an elevated position, I think that will work! I will also look at your journal.

      I'm glad you still continue to improve for at least a year post op, Unfortunately I had read too many articles that said what you have at 8 weeks is what you get type of thing!

      Yes I will make sure I do not overdo things.

      Thanks for taking the time to reply.

      Teela

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    • Posted

      That's great to hear about your physio!

      I read somewhere on that vast expanse of the internet that lifting when icing at the same time helps...cannot remember for the life of me where, but I helped me. Even if just in the head, sometimes it makes a bit of difference!

      Good wishes and keep us posted!

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  • Posted

    At your stage I felt exactly the same. I was on this plateau for weeks and weeks and almost in dispare that the lump of concrete that was my knee would feel like that for ever and I would never get a good nights sleep. But I’m just at the 4 month point now and beginning to notice small improvements. Heel slides are slightly easier, I can walk a few miles and this morning I cycled for a couple of hours in the park. Now I have a bit more swelling so I know to take it easy for a day or so. But it feels like I turned a corner finally. You will too. Hang in there! Paula
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  • Posted

    Teela,

    I would suggest that one of the 1st things you do is ice with your ankle, foot up on the pillows and let your knee hang down without anything under there.  It does get uncomfortable so move it when it does get uncomfortable but keep it up.  As it straightens the rest will start feeling better.  The circulation around a normal knee stinks and it stinks even more with a false one.  If you keep your knee bent, the knee won't circulate.  Stand up and try to straighten your leg by pushing it back while on your feet and give it a good stretch.  I bet you notice the swelling going down right after and a better feeling.  While you walk purposely bend your knee.  I wish you well!

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