3 1/2 weeks TKR

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I wrote before but don't know how to continue conversation. I am now 3 1/2 weeks TKR. I am not having a lot of pain unless I overdo walking or exercises. My question is when will it begin to feel normal? I still cannot sleep on my side, it hurts to do so. I am just beginning at home to use a cane instead of the walker, I only started yesterday but when tired I go back to walker. I started PT after 2 weeks and the therapists said my leg does well with laying flat and the bend is not bad for now but still needs work. I go to PT twice a week and do home exercises the other days. I have a very bad left hip and it's my left knee that was replaced so PT has to be slow and easy. If not for a bad fall I would have replaced the hip first, but had no choice. Went out to eat last night with hubby and daughter and her family. I sat in a booth with bad leg at outer edge. I did fine, but it was sore from holding it bent when I got home. First night I had a hard time sleeping. I don't like to take but one pain Med a day now and it wasn't screaming in pain, just being uncomfortable. I iced it, that usually helps but didn't do the job last night. I just over did it I guess. It was fine today and I tackled changing the bedding on our split King adjustable bed (no small feat under normal circumstance). Got it done though, they hadn't been changed since getting home from hospital and I love clean sheets. Should help me sleep tonight. I'm feeling restless but get very tired if I walk too much. That surprised me since walking is so elementary and it doesn't hurt much, just wears me out very quickly.  When does that change? I hope to be able to grocery shop or go to bank etc. soon. Doctor says I can drive our automatic since it's my left knee but that doesn't help if I can only walk a few feet after getting somewhere. Should I keep trying to build stamina walking? How long does it usually take to be able to do normal chores like grocery shopping? Hubby has his own health issues and is not much help with things. Doctor told me I'd need help for 2 weeks, now since that is over hubby expects me to be back to normal. I'm trying...

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  • Posted

    Happy healing. Prayers for a speedy successful recovery. I have not had my surgery yet. 👼👼👼
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  • Posted

    I was told to expect a 3 month recovery before anything appeared to be "normal".  That being said, recovery times are different for everyone.  Here are some thoughts...

    - Gotta do the PT.  Critical to get full range of motion defined as zero degrees straight and greater than 120 degrees bent (0 / +120).  I started at -14 /+84...took 9 weeks of PT to get to -1 /+128.  It will be slow...there will be some pain.  Have to break down the scar tissue that's forming so you can walk correctly afterwards.

    - After that, you have to continue to exercise to rebuild the muscles around the knee, especially your quad.  Recovery doesn't end when PT ends.  You have to keep working at this.

    - Things like occassional pain, the '"swollen knee look", clicks and pops, stiffness (especially after sitting for a while) and more are all normal.  Could take a year or more for all of that to resolve itself.

    - Swelling means you pushed the knee too far.  Back off, ice, rest.  Then start again.  There's a fine line between pushing the knee to recover and pushing the knee too far.  Listen to your knee...

    - Take your meds when you need them.  I discontinued after a month but that was just me.  Everyone is different.  Ice and elevation are key.

    - You're tired because all of the energy in your body is going into healing your knee...that's from a few docs I talked to.  Expect to sleep a lot and/or just rest.  EAT HEALTHY FOOD!!!  Lots of protein.  Your body needs lots of good nutrients to heal.

    - Set some short, medium and long-term goals.  Don't try to go too far too fast.  This recovery will be slow and steady.  Most people do it in the 3-6 month range...but that's just ballpark.  Everyone is different so don't judge yourself by anyone else's story.  Listen to your body, take it slow, work hard.

    It will all come together...

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  • Posted

    You are still very early in the process. Take pain meds as prescribed. Your body will tell you when it's time to stop. Don't overdo it. Most people try to push the healing to fast and have setbacks. I say it often but it bears repeating.....there are no gold stars given for rehab.....only agony for pushing it too fast too quick. All too often we listen to other tell stories of miraculous recovery, healing at the speed of sound, etc. We have it it in our minds that we will be considered slackers if we aren't up there with the leaders. In reality it's just so much hearsay and has no validity whatsoever. You may have seen one of my many posts. I have had 11 surgeries on my leg a and 5 rehabs. None have been the same. I'm a year out since my last one and still have pain and the leg has the stength I'd a new born calf. My surgeon has told me I won't have. Maximum healing for at least 1 more year and will be on opiate type pain meds The Rest of my life but should be thankful I can walk.

    So you see, 3 or 4 weeks isnt even a benchmark. 6 weeks is the 1st time you should think about even measuring your rehab. 13 weeks would be the next.

    Take pain meds as scheduled

    Ice several times a day


    Excercise as instructed but don't push it beyond

    Hydrate. Dr's. and therapists forget to explain the importance of keeping soft tissue well lubricated with water.

    Elevate the leg. Try and keep the leg slightly higher that the heart.

    Sleep whenever you can.....day or night. Your body has been through more trauma with this surgery than its ever known before. Give it a chance. Just show you really respect yourself..

    I started this process 2002 at age 65.....I'm now pushing 80 and can assure you it doesn't get any easier but you will heal in due time an above all else....don't beat up on yourself because you you think someone else is dining a better job, faster.

    Stay on this web site.....-many wonderful people on here that will help you and make you feel like one of the family. Have a :good weekend

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your advice and everyone else that replied. I now realize this is going to take a lot longer than the 2 months my doctor said. I "think" I am doing well however and am blessed that I have very little pain, it's mostly lack of stamina and some aching. Yes, I have been impatient but I do have reasons. My hubby is a disabled vet with a very bad back PTSD  and a case of kidney stones at the moment. He tries but he is better at getting me a cup of coffee then doing most other things. My daughter is in her 40's  with a high paced job, a teenage son and hubby of her own. She does not live on the same side of town either. She just returned from a 2 year planned trip to England so has not even been here for most of this. I am on my own for most things, such as laundry and changing the bedding. I did not do anything that hurt. My doctor told me to make that my guide, if it hurt to not do it. Doing the bedding was an all day project with much resting in between, but after 3 1/2 weeks it HAD to be done. slept so good last night on clean sheets! My pain Meds say up to every 4 hours as necessary. I don't want to contradict anyone, but I just hate to take pain Meds when I am not hurting. I take 1 a day so I can do my exercises and would take more if I were in pain, but other than the first few days I am not normally in pain. I hope that continues. My husband has taken opiates for years for his back pain and it has gotten where they have no effect on him. I feel by taking less they will help more when I truly need them. I am not trying to be brave, if I hurt badly I will not hesitate to use them. Taking them frequently causes me constipation so I am happy I don't need them more then once a day. I have IBS-D so taking stool softeners or laxatives is a recipe for disaster. Been there, did that, don't want to again. I get a lot of rest. I have been sleeping 10 plus hours a night since getting out of hospital. Hubby makes fun of me but I figure my body must need it. I have never been one to nap and still am not, but I have been sleeping a long while at night. I will take it one day at a time..

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  • Posted

    Peggy, pain meds are your friend. I am 14 weeks, nearly 15 weeks and just starting to feel like a normal human with minimal pain and some semblance of what my life may become. Take the pain meds, do the exercise, "bother" us here us much as you need to, but do not be brave! You are not doing yourself any favours! X

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  • Posted


    There, said it.

    At 3.5 weeks you are at the baby stages in healing and rehab.

    What you are feeling is normal for this stage,what on earth are you doing changing huge beds?

    If you put all your energy into trying to prove you are superwoman, you aren't leaving enough for your body to recuperate.

    Going out and sitting with your leg in an awkward position is going to pay you back with more pain.

    You are getting tired easily because that's your body's way of telling you to rest, which you don't seem to be doing much of.

    Just accept, the next few weeks and even months are about you slowly getting that knee right, it's not about how soon you can do the shopping, or you'll string out the pain and rehab so much.

    Can you shop online.

    Can your daughter change the sheets.

    If you carry on the way you are doing, both hubby and daughter will think you are quite capable of it and let you.

    I can't stress enough how much this period of time is important.

    It's not a race, it's the rest of your life, don't spoil the surgeons work.

    Excersice, rest, ice, and potter a bit. You can do the other stuff when your knee has recovered more.

    I really hope you take this in the way it's meant. People on here have been through this, and are good and will help with questions, but only you can be sensible with your knee.


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    • Posted

      I should have mentioned I am sleeping quite a lot, about 10 hours a night! However I do not nap during day. Hubby gives me a hard time about sleeping so much, but I figure my body must need it. My daughter is 43 with a job, a son and hubby, she is too busy to help me with housework and she is their major breadwinner, so her hubby does their cooking. My Hubby is a disabled vet with severe back problems and PTSD, he helps some but just can't handle much. He's happy to get me a cup of coffee but not wash bedding. I normally do that weekly, so going 3 1/2 weeks was driving me crazy. The first day I felt I could handle it I did. I slept very well last night on clean sheets!  I love that I found this forum and so appreciate the advice and help. My doctor told me I should use pain as a gauge, if I did something and it hurt, to not do it, otherwise it was okay. I managed with the bedding without any real pain, so I did it. It's more stamina that is the problem as I wear out, I did half of it, rested and then did the other half. I seldom have real pain, but my knee just gets this super tired feeling and then I know I need to rest. Usually when I first wake up my knee feels stiff and slightly painful until I move around a bit and shower etc. Today was the first morning I woke up and could have literally forgot about my TKR, my leg and knee felt normal! After the morning routine of shower, dressing, hair etc., it got back to the familiar slight ache, but it was nice while it lasted. I do rest with it elevated and with ice several times each day. I take my Meds once a day so I can do my exercises better but don't feel the need to take them when I usually have no real pain except during exercises. After PT I generally feel better, more limber with less stiffness. I wish that would become permanent.  I now know this is a long process. My doctor had told me a couple of months but from this forum I can tell it is much longer. I feel fortunate to not have a lot of pain and hopeful that continues. It's not perfect, I have discomfort if I try to sleep on my side or if I try to walk very far, which appears to be my big limitation. That is what I have been scouring these forums trying to find what is usual timing to be able to do normal things like grocery shop? No huge mall shopping trips, just short grocery shopping etc. trips. I do not really see it mentioned. We do not have grocery delivery here. Hubby is having one if his bad periods where he can barely walk and we need groceries. We've eaten almost entirely fast food since I got out of hospital, not very healthy but hubby can't cook and I cannot stand long. I wish we had a good meal delivery service around, but we do not. Eating out at a restaurant with real food was wonderful and even though my knee was sore from bending it awhile later, my P.T. Guy does that to it all the time, so I would think it was probably good for it in the long run. I iced and elevated it when I got home. I'm starting to be able to get around without my walker when I am well rested. I can walk a bit inside my home but often use a cane should I need it. If tired I use my walker but will be happy when I do not need it anymore. By the way, my night out to eat was for my 69th birthday and our daughter and Grandson had just returned to the US from England. They had a wonderful trip, had photos and had to tell us all about it. It was a school trip tour vacation they had planned for two years. Unfortunately it fell right after my surgery. I noticed this forum seems to be mostly from England. My daughter loved it there and hopes to return on another vacation next year without a tour. She had more fun when they were exploring on their own. I know it is early for my TKR but I do feel as it I have turned my first corner with many more to come. Life is by no means back to normal but it is becoming better. If I choose the right time, when rested I am able to accomplish things. My biggest frustration is that my stamina does not last very long, but I expect that to slowly get longer as time goes on. If I could cook a meal or grocery shop I would feel almost back to normal but those things require longer on my feet and I can't manage that yet. It will also be nice when I don't require so much sleep but have ever since the surgery. I got almost zero sleep my first night after surgery. I was in a shared room with lots of activity going on with my roommate. Very noisy, poor lady was in severe pain, many medical professionals in and out and overhead light on with a lot of noise. Ever since that first night I have slept about 10 hours a night with no problems. I've had insomnia for years but it appears gone, at least for now, as once in a horizontal position, I fall asleep easily. I have never been one to nap and have not done that since my surgery either, but make up for it at night. I am going with it for now but hope to eventually start to get up a bit earlier. 

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    • Posted

      If your body needs ten hours sleep, take it, you've been through a really big surgery, and your whole body needs the rest.

      Don't the supermarkets, or hyper markets, whatever they are called in the US deliver?

      It's difficult trying to eat healthily when you can't stand for long,,I have a perching stool,,that I can half sit and half lean on, and can put by the cooker, although I tend to put most things inside the oven and leave it to cook itself.

      Just now I'm buying all veg ready prepared or frozen, and even potatoes mashed ready to microwave.

      If we get one decent meal a day, and a couple of snacks that's enough.

      I changed the bedding before my op, and bought spares so the sheets could wait, no rush,.

      You will have more energy as the weeks pass, early days yet.

      I wish you well.x.

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  • Posted

    Hi, I too am 3 1/2 wks post right tkr. At the moment I'm doing ok, only because I've been here before with my left knee, I wouldn't dream of changing the bed yet or cut down on my meds! This is a slow recovery and there is no race.each one of us will heal at our own pace. Listen to old fat guy, he knows what he's talking about,he helped me many times with my first tkr which was worse than this one. Rest, ice, elevate exercise and potter, 12 wks is often a turning point for some and then 6 mths. I'm 1 yr with my first and it's still not quite right but I am starting to own it. Good luck and remember Potter!!!??

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  • Posted

    Hi Peggy, you are very early in your recovery. I am 15 weeks and this week am really feeling more normal, leg is not as heavy sleeping better, but it still gets stiff when I overdo it. I was told noy to change bed, hoover or heavy housework for 12 weeks. Before surgery I could not do shopping as could not lift the bags or push heavy trolley so since 5 mth pre surgery have shopped online and still do the bulky heavy  shopping online once a month and buy fresh as and when I need. My gp told me itcan take 18-24 mths to fully recover.  Listen to OFG he is brilliant in what he says and his advice is excellent. Just remember to take meds regularly, ice often, elevate and get as much rest as you can, ignore the house (but do agree clean sheets are hard to beat!!) you need to give this the chance to work and if you do too much will set yourself back. Take care xx
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  • Posted

    Peggy I am 12 weeks post op tomorrow. After reading all the comments thus far i must agree with each and every one. The main one being you are still very early in the healing process. You are doing way too much. I found at that stage of my process that the burning and uncomfortable feeling indicated i had overdone and needed meds, ice, elevation and rest. You have to have patience. If you are like me no one expkained to you that this was a lengthy recovery. Personally i thought after the first week I was going to be walking and enjoying a life that I had been without for a very long time - nope thats not what happened. I learned early on through this blog and research that i had to take it easy and keep building myself up. Every week there is an improvement to what I can do. I still sit where my keg can stretch out, bending for too long aggravates it. Yes, I sit witb it bent but I also know how to tell when it has had enough. My goals for recovery change frequently - but for now i am letting my knee lead the way. Follow the advice given on this forum, keep doing your exercises, take pain meds to take the edge off and above all be patient. Keep up the good work.
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