5 weeks post TKR and feeling quite low

Posted , 62 users are following.

I had my total knee replacement 5 weeks ago ..I've realised now that I certainly won't be ready to return to work after 6 weeks (I originally thought I would) I'm still taking tramadol occasionally and though I can walk without a crutch I find I limp so still use 1 crutch . I feel a little depressed , my back gets sore if I walk for a while I can only presume it's because I'm leaning over one side ...going up and down stairs still hurts and the operated knee clicks and grinds ..my thigh muscles still tight and I'm trying to stretch them out ..anyone else feeling down and frustrated?

6 likes, 198 replies

198 Replies

  • Edited

    5 weeks in and all of the above!  Frustrated because I can’t drive yet and bend is yet to get to 90..  Went to see chiropractor about back pain, much better now.  My physio has said that strengthening muscles and stretching them is very important, so working on that too... haven’t got time to go back to work but will probably have to in next month probably. I would recommend chiropractor for your back and hopefully you can get some advice from a physio?
    • Posted

      I, too, am 5 weeks post-op and have many of your symptoms. I do my exercises on a regular basis and work with a physiotherapist who comes to my home.

      I called my surgeon's office to ask about the constant pain and was told that this is "normal" even at 5 weeks.

      I have pain in my back - kidney area - and wondered if this could be due to the Oxycodone. I took it every day for the first 3 weeks and then cut back - using extra-strength Tylenol during the day - to OxyC only at night. Sleep is sporadic. Urinating is frequent - up to 10/day. Difficult to sit in one spot for very long.

      I've walked around the block and a short visit to the mall using my 4-wheel walker. Yesterday I tried going round the block using walking poles; it was a real struggle.

      I know I sound like a whinger, but this has really got me down. I'm so grateful I'm retired and don't have to go to work.

    • Posted

      I should add that I had a hip replacement 16 months prior to the TKR - both on the right side. I wonder if that explains why my pain goes right up to my groin/hip 
    • Posted

      Thank you for this post.  I live in the UK and am also having the frequent urination issue.  I think it Is something to do with my pain meds since I didn't have it before. My experience....i went to my surgeon for my six week check up and my leg was too swollen.  He sent me on to another physio who told me to do the exercises but cut down on walking if I was having too much pain or swelling.  I have been icing ten minutes every hour and elevating several times during the day.  It only takes one teaspoon of fluid in your knee to keep it from bending.  I've followed his instructions and the swelling has gone down and this evening I was able to bend it more than ever before.   It is difficult to get the balance of exercise, icing, and elevation and walking.   Should you start to experience excruciating pain, fever, or popping veins you need to go to emergency.  I'm hoping to cut down on some of the pain meds in the near future.  I do not think I could do my exercises at this stage without adequate pain meds.  Everyone is different. At five weeks I was still having a lot of pain.  Actually I'm still having quite a bit of pain at seven weeks.   Make sure you don't hesitate to ask your physiotherapist questions.  I wish you well.  Hoping to take a nice holiday this spring and enjoy a knee that bends properly.  I'm going to go back to the doctor and ask about the frequency issue.  I'm tired of it.  

    • Posted

      Thank you for sharing your experience, Lywn. It's strange that you received conflicting advice regarding how to treat the swelling in your leg. I don't have much swelling around the incision, but I do have an accumulation of fluid behind my knee - not sore to the touch, although it's uncomfortable when I walk. Btw, my PT showed me how to massage my scar, not only to make it less visible, but to break down any scar tissue. This video shows you how to do the massaging. While the person in the video didn't recommend using creams/oils my PT highly recommended Bio-Oil. I bought some today and will start the massage when I've finished this message. Will let you know if I can feel a difference in a few days.

      It's certainly a very frustrating time. My surgery was originally slated for May 2018. At this point in time, I wish I hadn't asked for it to be brought forward. Last year, when I had a new hip, the weather was beautiful almost every day (I live in Canada, originally from the UK) and I was able to sit outside on my deck, enjoy the sun and tend to the flowers in containers. It's cold now and cabin fever has set in. Friends assure me it won't be long before I'm singing the joys of having the surgery. We leave for Portugal on February 7, for six weeks so feeling anxious that I can walk well by then.

      I'm sure the pain meds are causing the frequent urination. Also, There are numerous periods during the day when I feel teeth-chattering cold.

      I, too, am feeling down and completely fed up. I wish you well in your recovery. Take care.

      Moderator comment: I have removed the link(s) directing to site(s) unsuitable for inclusion in the forums. If users want this information please use the Private Message service to request the details.

    • Posted

      I found this site and your message.  I will be 5 weeks post-op this week.  I go back to my doctor on Thursday.  I can bend my knee at about 90 degrees.  I am worried that he will thinks I should be farther a head.  It was good to read these other responses.  Kind of gives me hope. I do work and I am in no way ready to go back to work after 6 weeks.  I know some people have but not me.  Again I was grateful to see you message.


    • Posted

      Virtually no one goes back to work in six weeks.  Just get that out of your head.  Also, remove any thoughts about WHEN you SHOULD HAVE whatever ROM numbers.  We're all different and heal accordingly.  I started PT at 3-weeks post-op with a -14 / +84 ROM.  Took 10 weeks at 2X/week plus the home exercises to get to -1 / +123.  At 21 months, I'm 0 / +133.  It takes time, work and patience.  For almost everyone, the whole recovery takes a year...plan on it.  People start feeling more "like their old selves" around 9-10 months.  Still need to regain all the strength in your dead quads, glutes and core over that time...stairs are the last thing to master.  Some light reading for you...



      Some soup for your soul...


      This one is for way down the road...


      Lots of my discussions out there if you need anything else...


    • Edited

      I agree , it was 6 months (26 weeks) for me each time . Everyone should realise that  Physio and exercise are very important , also ice . Don't over do the exercise , but don't under do it , Use medication to try and prevent pain as well as ease it . Everyone recovers at a different rate , don't compare your recovery with the recovery of others , if you are at 90 degrees and someone who had the op at the same time as you is at 110 , don't worry , the next week you may be at 120 and they have gone back to 100 . Recovery takes time . I'm coming up to 20 years for my first tkr and 18 for the other knee , no problems and nearly 20 pain free years . Last check up x-ray showed  no problems were indicated , no pain or stiffness . To those who are at the " I wish I hadn't had the op stage"  , it really does get better , and you will have many pain free years to look forward to and enjoy . 

    • Posted

      I'm 5 weeks this week and I know my doc will not be happy. I'm healing alot slower than I thought I would. I don't have the correct numbers showing my awesome progress--my leg doesn't straighten well yet, I have a pretty good bend going. I'm not driving yet, took a first nervous trip to the grocery store w my husband. Getting off the pain meds was a b***h. Now I take xtra strength Tylenol 2 every 8 hours. I also smoke a lot of weed. Keeps the depression and anxiety at bay. I will be getting better a little slower than I thought. You don't need to achieve success according to someone else's definition in order to feel good about yourself.           Stay strong 

    • Posted

      "...than I thought I would..."   "...a little slower than I thought..."  See a pattern???  STOP THINKING!!!  It only gets you into trouble.  This is not a race.  There are no milestones at specific times.  The worst thing we all do is make up these dumb numbers in our heads and get upset when we don't reach them.  Just stop!!!

      This is both most brutal AND the most Zen of all surgeries: "Your knee will be better when it's better."  Just like when we asked our parents from the back seat of the '55 Chevy when we'll be at grandma's.  The answer was always: "When we get there."  There's no other answer and no one can give you a completion date.  The reality is that a complete recovery usually takes a year.  Own it.  Anything else just leads to depression, anxiety and frustration.  Let it all go and enjoy the weed...

    • Posted

      I appreciate your feedback so much it makes me feel like going on one of those 'crying jags' that were  so frequent in the beginning. Only when my husband told me he doesn't care how long it takes, or how much my knee does or doesn't bend, to take my sweet time if I want, did it make me feel like I had control over something right now.  I don't really care about having a limp- sorry, but I don't. All I have to be able to do is carry a 45lb backpack and walk a few miles a day.    In about a month, I'm gonna start walking on the sand for excercise- I've been eyeing the beach(oceanside, ca) for about a week now, considering what a challenge it will be. Thanks Chico for reminding me to chill the f**k out. I do dread the stern look and words my doc will be giving me in two weeks, just like my first appt w him. It took me four days to get thru the critique he gave me.  Feelin a teeny bit better every day- not a lot, but better than yesterday. ?🏻

    • Posted

      Depressed?  Jedi Mind Trick...


      Remember...you are NOT in control of when the knee will fully heal.  You CAN control the amount of work you put into it, the food and hydration choices you make as well as your own mindset.  There are soooo many things you can control...just not the knee...  Try some of these...


      ...and post this on your fridge...


      Have fun!!!

    • Posted

      I wish we lived in a marijuana State. Indiana is totally backward when it comes to the use of weed for pain, anxiety and chemo nausea. At six weeks post op I'm hopelessly stuck on extension and flexion numbers that totally p**s off my PT.  I do the prescribed exercises at home and then tighten up again. The surgeon left the tourniquet on too tight or too long and my foot has nerve damage too. Walking is more painful due to the foot injury than the TKR. Has anyone else had this problem?  I'm considering chiropractic treatments to work on the foot and the muscles surrounding my new knee. Is this a wise idea? Hurting and very frustrated.  

    • Posted

      Hello Jodoecke,

      August 8, 2017 I had the same exact issue. The tourniquet was on too tight or too king as well. I had a lot of numbness on the inside of my ankle due to nerve damage. I can tell you honestly that it will subside. I promise. I couldn’t walk 5 houses away from mine without having to sit down. Now, ten months later it’s so much better and has gotten better after the. 6 month period. My advice is to keep the ankle strong doing ankle pumps and keep trying to walk. It’s hard I know but don’t lose hope like I almost did!! I know every day counts and sucks to be in pain but every month you should see some improvement. Good luck. Hope to hear from you again. 

    • Posted

      you gave me a good life but I felt better reading this!

    • Posted

      Is your back pain possibly due to constipation? Pain killers are notorious for that. Nice reply from your surgeon- some people really have no empathy at all, saying it's normal helps no-one. Oxycodone is a horrible thing- you may feel better when you are able to stop taking it put if you need it you need it. I was given Palexia SR instead which is a bit better anyway. Both are opiods though so will give you constipation.

    • Posted

      Physio usually gives massage to the muscle for things like that so I'm surprised you have not been offered it. I do my morning exercises straight after my shower so the muscles are nice and warm and in the afternoon I put a warm (not hot) wheatbag on my ankle and another above my knee )not too close though. Not sure where you are in the World but it's so cold here in Australia right now (8degrees C last night). I still ice my knee after each exercise session and sometimes in the middle too. Hope things improve for you soon.

Report or request deletion

Thanks for your help!

We want the community to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the community are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the community is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.