5 weeks, little progress :(

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Background reminder: Prior to TKR: after several injuries/scopes/surgery my knee had severe osteo in all three chambers and I could no longer bend it past 90 degrees. Was told I could hope for 100 or 110  degree bend after TKR. I am 47 years old 

Five weeks after TKR - I am still making little progress! I am working so hard, faithfully doing my exercises and going to physio twice a week. Walking around the house, light house cleaning, making supper etc. (too icy outside right now to walk- live in Canada on a horse farm) All the other patients who had surgery the same week as me are finishing up physio. And I’m not progressing. My knee seems stuck. I’m not even at 80 degrees 😫And I try and try. Even have CPM machine at home still. Making it to 100 on that. My PT doesn’t understand.....said it just seems my knee won’t give. When she measured today - even tho with some exercises it looks like I’m progressing - my measurement was the same as two weeks ago. I cried. Again. I’m starting to feel helpless (and hopeless) and don’t know what else I can do but continue what I’m doing (which doesn’t seem to be working)!! I see my surgeon via tele conference on Tuesday and I hear he’s pretty tough - will just blame me for not working hard enough. Part of me wonders if something is wrong inside - were ligaments and tissues too tight and weren’t released or even looked at (seems like assembly line around here for knee replacements....surgeons come to town from bigger Centre and do them for two days straight).  Do I develop scar tissue very quickly? Are my muscles too tight around knee? I have no idea how surgery went as surgeon didn’t come to see me later in the day and then traveled back home. 

So this is where I’m at. It seems very bad to only have 73 degree bend at 5 weeks. Especially when everyone around me progressing well - even those whose surgery was two weeks after mine 🙈

Any experiences this bad? Any suggestions?

Thanks,

Amy 😕

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14 Replies

  • Posted

    Very similar situation. I am 6 months out, doctor kept telling me to keep stretching, being aggressive at pt, and it will come. I recently had scar tissue removed as well as a manipulation. After recovering from those, I did not gain any ROM. I am seeking another opinion early December. My personal thoughts are the insert are too big and my knee is overstuffed. Causing strain on everything inside my knee. More to come in December from the 2nd doctor.
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    • Posted

      Oh no that doesn’t sound good! I thought I had read on another post that you are getting a revision with spacer replaced..? I see that you are younger as well.....I’ve heard recovery is not as good for us. I’m really worried about this. I know it’s early-ish but...I also know to be 73 degrees at five weeks is pretty bad. I’m just not sure what to do from here. I do have very tight pulling feeling over kneecap when trying to stretch or when walking.....maybe this is common? 

      I had such hope about this surgery. Now I wish I’d never had it 😕

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  • Posted

    Don’t feel discouraged as others will tell you each knee is different and your knee will get better on it’s timetable not ours. Don’t feel bad or hopeless. I understand how you feel though there are days I too fell discouraged but have decided to listen to knee and  exercise according to how it feels. Push but not too hard. I am struggling too with ROM somewhat at least according to Physio but it just is gonna take longer for me. I have now accepted this lol. Hang in there & this site is very helpful. Best wishes

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  • Posted

    Amy I think we have spoken before as I am the same age with similar problems with flexion. I'm week 9 now and I'm starting to see small improvements with flexion. I have no idea what my measurements are I've given up trying to measure it but I've put some tape on the floor and I mark it when I do heel slides and I can see a difference. The main changes I have made recently is massaging the muscles around the knee with a massage stick because they are really tight and I've bought myself an air cast cooler which cools and compresses the knee so it's not swollen any more. My main worries were that I didn't have enough flexion to ride my bike or get my feet up on the foot pegs of my motorbike and I'm nearly there. It's painful but I'm sure that will go in time. So please try these two things I think they have made a big difference X 

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    • Posted

      Hi Snoozy - yes we have spoken before 😊 I had such hope going into physio today because I had been using the CPM machine as well as exercises and thought I’d made progress. Even a little bit. But when she measured me - there was no progress! At. All. I was pretty upset....it’s like no matter what I do...,,I get nowhere. 

      I do have an ice machine which does provide cold and compression....maybe I need to do it more often. I don’t have much swelling unless I am on my leg too long...,,otherwise it’s ok. I do tend to have heat in it.....wondering if that’s normal at this point?

      I have a roller so I will try to massage around my knee to see if that also helps. 

      I’m starting to get scared that something is wrong.....

      Thank you for the advice - good to hear from you again 😊 And very glad to hear you are making some progress! Keep

      up the good work smile

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    • Posted

      Seriously though Amy I noticed a big change last week in my knee, less pain, sleeping better, and I could push the knee more. Maybe at the 8 week mark you might see a change too. I didn't think I would ever get past 90 degrees but I must be now well it looks like it is anyway 😃. So hang in there, there is hope for you yet 😋

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    • Posted

      Thanks Snoozy - you’ve given me some hope again.....I know I’m not supposed to compare myself to others but...so hard not to. Especially the new round of patients who come in already bending to 90 and more. One man was at 110 two weeks out of surgery 😳 Say what?! Lol have to learn to roll with it. 

      Thanks for your support! 

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  • Posted

    I did not do any housework or cooking for other people for 3 months...

    So of possible get your husband to do more and make sure you rest that knee as well as exercising it.

    Rest and exercise are important.

    Please don't fall into comparisons...I know hard not to, but your knee sounds like it was in a particularly bad place before surgery.

    I feel so sorry that this is such an upsetting time for you, but you know you are working hard...you may be overdoing things a bit for your own knee in terms of not resting it?

    Are you still icing and elevating?

    It has a huge journey of adapting to do from its pre surgery state....It is going to take longer than many others isn't it? 😐

    Is it still swollen...It cannot bend well with a lot of swelling. Get that down more and do no housework and no cooking for others!

    That's my perspective...

    Many good wishes to you and I hope you feel better soon.

    This stage is often when people start to feel quite down on themselves, so watch that, and make sure you don't get over tired by doing too much because that will make things a lot worse!

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    • Posted

      "I don’t have much swelling unless I am on my leg too long...,,"

      Get off that leg and get husband or other people to do more for you! 😁 if at all possible!

      Sorry Amy, I am drumming it in rather, but you must put yourself first,

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    • Posted

      Hi Jenny - thanks for your good advice. Please don’t worry - I’m not up on my feet too much during the day. By light house work I meant that I’ve vacummed once, swept a couple of times, do my own laundry only....and usually my husband cooks and I do the dishes while he goes outside to take care of my horses. So I honestly am not going crazy I promise 😊 I just do what I can when I can - otherwise my day consists of exercise, rest and ice, CPM machine, more rest and ice, repeat! But they’ve asked me if I’m walking with my crutches outside and I can’t due to ice and snow out here....so I make sure I do a bit inside to make up for it. I drive myself out to the barn (it’s just behind my house 100 meters but it’s too icy right now to crutch there - we really need more snow to make everything soft and not slippery again) and visit my horses but that’s all I can do. I can’t drive yet to town because I don’t think it would be safe with limited mobility that I have.....

      I am starting to believe that like you said I might be working/stretching it too hard creating more swelling and pain. I think also that I may have adhesions or scar tissue that may have to be taken care of.

      I do think I’m starting to get to the point where some depression sets in - making a point of seeing friends this wknd...feel more like I’m part of real life again. It’s sure disheartening being so slow to progress - I watched my mom fly through this surgery and recovery during the summer and thought I’d do the same. Not so much......sigh. 

      Thanks to this site I’m not quite losing my mind. But have shed quite a few tears......one day at a time. Thanks again for being there!

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    • Posted

      Seeing people is a great idea! Having people around you, even if they don't understand quite the nature of the experience, makes all the difference. 😀

      Glad you are sufficiently released from chores! That has got to be one of the brilliant things about the TKR journey! 😀😁

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  • Posted

    I was in the exact same situation as you are. At 6 weeks I was only reaching 90 degrees. I'm 46 and had several procedures done to the TKR knee over the past 15 years. My surgeon warned me prior to surgery that I may have issues with scar tissue and low and behold, I did. My scar tissue grew quicker then my excercises could break it up. I ended up having adhesions and needed a knee manipulation done at 8 weeks. After getting it done and intense pt (5 days a week for two weeks) I'm able to get to 124 degrees with a little help from my pt. It's still a work in progress but gives me hope that I will get to 130 degrees and get back to work. Please don't be discouraged. Talk to your doctor and ask about the knee manipulation. My doctor tried blaming me for my not being able to bend it but after reminding him of what he told me prior to surgery he agreed it was not my fault. Having prior surgeries before TNR does affect the healing process. Good luck and keep us posted.

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much for this. I had a nasty doctor in emergency one week after surgery (had slight infection and also needed ultrasound to make sure I didn’t have blood clots in my calf - so not easy from beginning) Anyway the nasty doctor asked me to show her my bend (after sitting in emerg for four hours no pain killers 6 days after surgery) and I of course could hardly bend it. She told me that was awful - that there was nothing wrong with my knee except I hadn’t worked it enough - that I had better smarten up or my surgeon would put me under and FORCE it to bend and I did not want that! On and on she went - berating me. I was in shock! I have some choice words for her now let me tell you - but at the time I was shocked into silence! She’s horrible. Not my own doctor thank goodness. So ever since I’ve been terrified of having to have MUA done because she made it sound like a punishment for my lack of effort. 🙈

      I see my surgeon via tele conference on Tuesday coming up - and I will be sure to remind him of my history and how he straight out told me I’d never get to 120 degrees......as I’m sure he will try to blame me....and will ask about adhesions and getting the MUA. 

      Did the MUA put you back some as far as pain and swelling? 

      Thanks again,

      Amy

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