20 weeks post TKR, knee not bending

Posted , 13 users are following.

Hi, it's now been 20 weeks since my tkr and my ROM is still only 78 deg. I had MUA 11 weeks ago and the surgeon said it was a success and the tight band below the knee disappeared. Within days the stiffness returned. I have done all the exercises and I'm now at my wits end wondering if it will ever improve. I went for my hospital check up 2 weeks ago and the surgeon said keep trying to bend it and he would see me in 6 months! Has anyone else had this problem?

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  • Posted

    Do you have swelling? When there is swelling, everything goes haywire!

    Do you stretch throughout the day? That helps me A LOT! I move and stretch every few minutes. I know I probably look like a FIDGIT FANATIC, but I figure if it helps, it is worth it!

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    • Posted

      Yes, there is still swelling above the knee and it is solid. I spend a lot of time bending it on the stairs and stretching when sitting down. If I sit for more than 30 minutes it stiffens. 
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    • Posted

      I get stiffness even without having swelling if I am in one position too long. Also rainy and snowy weather brings lots of stiffness not only in my legs but everywhere I have arthritis! (Lower back, shoulders, elbows, HIPS)

      Try ELEVATING your legs WAAAAY above your heart. It will feel good and help any additional issues you may have with circulation. For me it helps with my varicose veins which, I have been told, have FAULTY VALVES!!!ūüėĪ

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  • Posted

    What was your ROM before the MUA? I'm curious because my tkr was on 11/16/15, and my ROM is about 102. 2 weeks ago, my surgeon told me I probably needed a MUA. I'm really stiff and have that tight band feeling. Did you have a lot of pain when you had the MUA? I'm just afraid it will be a lot of pain for nothing. Doesn't sound like it helped you much. I know just how you feel , being so worried that it won't get better.
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    • Posted

      My ROM was only 65 before the MUA. No, I didn't have much pain but the  side of my leg felt numb for a couple of days. The surgeon said he got the bend to 90 deg in theatre. I started exercising as soon as I was home from the hospital but the ROM decreased. 
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    • Posted

      I wish I could help Patricia. I am 12 days out from TKR and my bent is poor. I do my exercises but with very limited pain meds from the day of my surgery I hope this will get better when I return back to Australia as I had surgery outside my country.

      You have come to the right place for advice. The people on here understand what you are going through.

      This isn't an easy surgery people lead me to believe I would just get up and walk from the hospital how wrong they were.

      Hang in there and keep your eyes on the helpful replies.

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    • Posted

      Thank you Jodie for your kind words. As the op was a last minute cancellation, I hadn't done much research and had no idea what I was letting myself in for! Everyone told me I'd be running around in no time. Because I'm an active person, it's been so hard and I've shed many tears.                   It's still early days for you, keep doing the exercises and I hope your bend improves.
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    • Posted

      hi jodie you really need proper meds to get you bending it cant be done without them go to which ever doctors you can and get meds the more meds you have every few hours can dictate your outcome these ops are a huge op jodie i feel for you ,dont lose out on the important weeks to get that bend PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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  • Posted

    Hi Patricia.

    Nobody told me either that I wouldnt be running around in no time!

    Like you I thought I was quite fit and was not overweight so no problem there.

    Only I found this forum I dont know what I would have done at the start.

    The comments are what kept me going and being told off by some of them when I was doing too much exercising.  I thought that if I doubled and trebled the physio I would get better quicker.  Learnt the hard way that I was only setting myself back. 

     

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  • Posted

    Hi patricia67962, I'm way past 20 weeks but had trouble bending for quite a while. I thought I'd never get it to bend the way my good leg did. My PT started massaging my thigh and hamstring, before working on bending and it worked. Everything gets stiff and doesn't want to work the way it should. Maybe massaging would work for you also. It's worth a try. Even at home I would massage my knee with Palmers oil for a mininum of 5 minutes a day. By the time I was totally finished with PT, my bent finally made 130, which is about 5 degrees off my good leg. I still have some tender spots at 42 weeks but this is one h3ll of a surgery.  It's like your leg is in two separate sections while they hammer, cut, saw, cement/glue, and manipulate your knee during surgery. Everything is pulled, and cut, nerves, ligaments, muscles...it's no wonder it takes a good year to get back to 'normal'. Also, while I was getting PT, I was icing my knee, or I should say they did it at PT after all the exercising. I continued with the ice at home. Hang in there, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and we've all been there.
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    • Posted

      Hi, my PT suggested trying heat with a wheat bag on my thigh before exercising. I have been using an exercise bike 3 times a day but I can only do half turns. I have built up the strength in my leg but my hamstring still feels tight and my quads are not working as well as they should. I will try massaging my knee with oil, it sounds like a good idea. I would be happy with a 90 deg bend at the moment to be able to walk and sit without discomfort. 
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    • Posted

      My PT told me that it is mostly the hamstrings that cause problems with bending. They need to be stretched, so the knee can bend better. That's why she started massaging it. I highly recommend it. Good luck!!! Don't forget we've all been there and this is the forum to ask questions, bitch, complain, etc...biggrin As long as you're good with it being straight, which is more important than the bend, then you're on the right track and the bend will get better. This all takes time and patience, lots and lots of patience!!!
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  • Posted

    Hi Patricia

    I had problems with my second (bespoke) TKR.  It had got gradually stiffer and stiffer, and I couldn't straighten it (and therefore walking became harder).  I had an MUA after 6 months but I still couldn't straighten it. After a further 3-4 months, my consultant said that it must be excess scar tissue but I would need to wait until the year anniversary before it could be opened up again and addressed.

    I had the knee opened up again last Sept and excess scar tissue removed, and the spacer replaced.  My leg was finally straight again and I was doing well walking...up until I had chronic toothache for 3 weeks curtailing my exercise.  It then rained all the time and I couldn't get out regularly.

    I had 3 months off work, but now I am back sitting at my desk (at home) it's stiffening up again and I can't straighten it now. It's also really painful to stand on. 

    I don't know what the answer is, but I do wonder if bespoke has anything to do with it (my other knee isn't bespoke).  Also, I prefer to sleep with this leg bent anyway, so that probably hasn't helped.

    I would ask your consultant if it could be excess scar tissue.  He should also be doing another X-Ray, to check that it is aligned properly still.

    hope that helps.

    Patsy

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    • Posted

      Hi Patsyrose, so sorry to hear you are still having problems. When I had my check up 2 weeks ago he said it was too risky to open the knee again and he would x-ray it in 6 months at my next appointment. The only x-ray I  had was last September when they discharged me from the hospital.
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