5 months out still having problems , what do I say to my surgeon?

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I can't believe 5 months have passed since my TKR. I am STILL having numbness on the left side of my knee. Also swelling, a feeling of having a tourniquet on my knee. The skin is so tight it feels like it is tearing. Some times I get electrical shocks in my knee. I want some answers this time. Have only seen him a few times since the surgery. "This is normal, everyone heals differently, yadda yadda yadda." It is not normal....... The constant pain and tourniquet pain is WORSE with each day. I have no pain meds, he won't prescribe any. I can hardly think sraight as the pain is CONSTANT. I am doing the home exercises, icing and even that doesn't help. Getting in the tub is like lifting concrete, going down stairs is hard, coming up easier, I can't bend over to work in the yard. Walking more than an hour is a killer.

I see the surgeon Thursday , what kind of questions can I ask him? Could it be scar tissue, Bursitis, something torn or something else? I need him to REALLY listen to me. And I WILL make him touch my knee. He never has. I have got to get something to make the tourniquet feeling get better or go away. Any advise GREATLY appreciated.

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  • Posted

    The numbness may never go away - I've been told this is normal with most TKR. As for the electrical shock it could be the nerve endings that were severed. You need to do whatever you can to make this doctor listen to you. I was very fortunate with mine - he listened at every checkup and prescribed pain meds when I needed them. I find it strange that he will not touch your knee. My doctor always felt around my incision to make sure I wasn't having a problem with a build up of fluid. If worse comes to worse and you can't seem to get through to your doctor, I would seek another opinion. I had quite a bit of pain for at least 5-6 months off and on but nothing like you are experiencing. Going up the stairs was always easier for me too - coming down was brutal at times - used to come down sideways! It's been a little over a year since I had my surgery and the outside of my knee is still somewhat numb and I still can't get down on my knees to garden or do Yoga. Hopefully that will get better with time. But please you need to make this doctor listen to you.........

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    • Posted

      Yup. There will probably always be some numbness at the incision line long-term as there will be nerve pain when you try to kneel on hard surfaces like tile, concrete and hardwood floors. Use a 4" foam pad indoors and padded tactical knee pads outside from now on. The chance of all those nerves regenerating 100% is virtually nonexistent. Personally...it's a small price to pay.

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    • Posted

      I had a right knee replacement last April and I still have numbness around the side of my leg. I just had my left knee done last Tuesday and I'm dealing with this stuff all over again. the numbness will always be there because nerve endings were cut.

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    • Posted

      Still not unusual. This takes time and patience. If you think something is really wrong then have him x-ray it and do an alignment check. This is usually done at six weeks. It's an x-ray of the hip down to the ankle. If you draw a straight line from the ball of your hip to the middle of the ankle and the line goes straight through the knee, then the alignment is correct. If there is no slippage or visible problem with the replacement then there's nothing wrong.

      Everything you're saying has been reported by thousands of people...some feel it more than others. There is no telling in advance how difficult the recovery will be. I suggest you have the doc do a complete check (as above) and if nothing is wrong, try the topicals. He might relent and RX some Tramadol which is a very mild opioid usually used to transition from the heavy stuff to OTC ibuprofen. You might ask for a few weeks of that med.

      The numbness will go away very, very gradually. People usually report "feeling more like themselves" around nine months...you're at five. This is a year-long recovery and there are no short cuts...

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    • Posted

      Deeruss63

      So the 2" X6" strip down the side of my knee will always be numb and painful?

      Bummer. I just can't believe my surgeon left me clueless about how my life would change after the TKN. It is devastating. So glad some have quick recoveries.

      I want to thank them all for their insight and support! Can't imagine going thru this without their input and personal sharing, THANKS EVERYONE!!!!!

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  • Posted

    If you have your 0 / +120 ROM back, it's probably not scar tissue. At this point, your exercising should be focused on rebuilding the dead muscles that support the knee...quads, glutes, core, etc. Doing this will keep the knee active, improve your ROM, enable you to walk without pain (the muscles will now do the work), regain your balance and eventually do stairs like a human again.

    Muscle Rebuild

    Your biggest problem right now is your expectation of what you would be like at this point post-op. Let it go...expectations just screw with your head and make you miserable. Between 4 months and one year, the process of getting past the residual pain, swelling, tightness, clunking noises and more is very, very gradual. There are no giant leaps in recovery. It's a slow and steady path. Your improvement will be imperceptible on a daily basis which is why you should track your steps (not time and distance) plus have the doc/PT measure your ROM monthly or more. You will absolutely see the progress in your step count when your device charts the steps. I was -14 / +84 to start, -1 / +123 at three months and now about 0 / +133 three plus years post-op. Time, work and patience.

    On the pain side, try some Voltaren Gel (RX in the US, generic diclofenac elsewhere...check for interactions first). Great topical anti-inflammatory. There's also OTC AsperCream 4% Lidocaine, topical patches (menthol, lidocaine, capsaicin) and even a cheap ($25) TENS unit at any pharmacy. Hydrotherapy can be a great help plus you can try some acupuncture. Unless an x-ray reveals something structurally wrong, you will not find the answers you are looking for at a surgeon's office as his/her work is done.

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    • Posted

      When I left PT my ROM was 124 . I am guessing it is higher now as I can bring my leg up more to put the stretch belt on to do the slides. I can slide my knee up to and sometimes past my bent knee. So that is improvement. I track my steps via Fitbit. I try for 6,000 a day. I was doing 8,000 before surgery. On days when it is so still and painful I am lucky to get 2000- 3500. Today I was stiff but did 5476 so far. I will be on the NU Step for 15 minutes before bed. We have 2 Ten's machines, even on low I feel like I am being electrocuted. Insurance won't cover voltaren Gel , diclofenc, or Lidocaine patches. I have tried CBD cream, it didn't do anything.

      " Unless an x-ray reveals something structurally wrong, you will not find the answers you are looking for at a surgeon's office as his/her work is done." Where then should I look? Should I ask for a muscle relaxer for the tourniquet pain? Why is it still swelling and stiff? I put my legs up as high as they go on my adjustable bed every night and put the ice machine mat on for an hour and fall asleep. When I wake up 3 hours later I put the ice back on.

      I will insist on an X Ray when I see him Thursday, and of course pain meds. Who knows what will happen. I will report back...

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    • Posted

      chico, i had -5 and 112 ROM it was when i walked or bent my knee that the scar tissue inside and around the knee that it caused extreme pain, amd the swelling never went away. they tried many meds and nothing worked, until the arthroscpic surgery...not everyone heals the same. today i am great and it is a month post arthro.

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  • Posted

    i had same thing, finally at 11 months POST OP, they did arthroscopic surgery and he said he has never seen that much scar tissue on anyone! Like a miracle......very little pain if any and i do not limp anymore...still stiff but only a month since arthro surgery...

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  • Posted

    Gramma, how did he know you had scarring? Was he guessing? What was that surgery like? As painful as the original TNR????? I can't go through that again. I don't even know if I trust him at this point but doubt anyone else would touch me now. I just know it is getting worse, not better pain wise.

    Thanks for sharing...

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    • Posted

      they withdrew fluid to make sure no infection or rejection..was none, but pain was so bad i kept going back..finally i had him put hand on knee, i moved it, it crunched and clacked and he looked at me and said "when do you want arthroscopic surgery?" 2 weeks later the 20 minute surgery was a success! I had good therapy and followed all the rules, but i make scar tissue to fast. My doc said 1% can get recurring scar tissue.....i will wait and see if i am in that %. I wish you luck and swift healing.

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    • Posted

      surgery was a breeze! 20 minutes and it was immediate relief..i thought was the drugs blocking pain but it was real deal! No drugs and i sleep great! I even got to kneel on it the other day!

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    • Posted

      I even got to kneel on it the other day! That is MIRACULOUS!!!!!! Well I will see tomorrow. Thanks so much . Maybe there is hope after all. If the swelling would just go away.....I think it would be o.k. Will let you know tomorrow.

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