6 weeks post TKR and doctor concerned about straightening leg.

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Had 6 week post TKR doctor appointment yesterday, and although doctor was very pleased with my ROM, he was slightly concerned that my leg doesn't flatten/straighten out better than it does. He said he's going to call the PT I'm working with to address this, which is great, however, when I mentioned that I need to return to work in 4 weeks (10 weeks post TKR), he said "You're kinda putting yourself behind the 8 ball, so let's do what we can to get you ready". I'm starting to walk more with a cane now, and I'm able to lift my leg while lying down, but not while sitting on the exam table with my legs dangling. Am I being unrealistic returning to work after 10 weeks? I work in a college in a position that does require me to be mobile, but not on a constant basis. I realize everyone heals differently, and I totally accept this is a lengthy process that requires lots of patience, I'm just a little concerned by my doctor's statement. Any advice, suggestions or comforting words lol, are greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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11 Replies

  • Posted

    I am 13 weeks and my knee is still not straight....but I still do the exercises to straighten it. Eleven years ago I had my right knee done and physio was concerned as i couldnt straighten it. Overtime it did straighten. My husbands never did( 12 years) and he has no problems. Im just now able to raise my leg a little while sitting. At first i thought it would never happen.

    If your doctor recommends longer I'd listen to him. Could your employer ease you back on a part time basis?

    Everyone is different. My first tkr was very easy so much so that i felt something was wrong with my recent recovery. My GP keeps reminding me that this is a major surgery that takes time. Good luck with your recovery.

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    • Posted

      We hear all the time that knee #2 is rarely like the knee #1 experience...for better or worse. There is nothing unusual about what you are facing for a second knee. Time, work and patience. That's it....

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    • Posted

      Chico I have come to accept that my progress for my second knee is not unusual. I had several friends who were shocked at my slow progress and i listened to them. I have now accepted that my progress is slow but it is getting better. Thanks for your supportive words....they help.

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    • Posted

      Work actually would be fine with me staying out longer, and I definitely would prefer a longer recovery, unfortunately after April 1st, my sick leave becomes short term disability and my salary drops to 50%. My health is obviously the main priority, but half salary would add even more stress than a recovering knee.

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    • Posted

      "I had several friends who were shocked at my slow progress..."

      What they don't understand is that there is no "normal" progress...for anyone. Every knee is different...everyone is different. You can't "expect" anything!!! Your knee is what it is and you have to do all you can to get it back. Time, work and patience.

      Post this on your fridge...

      Reality

      Be Zen... *"I'll be better when I'm better." *

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  • Posted

    It was 26 weeks before I returned to work with both knees. 18 months between ops, but everyone is different. If possible don't return to work too soon, depends on type of work. My job as an audio visual field technician involved driving and some heavy lifting. That was 20 years ago for the first knee and all is still ok, and I am enjoying retirement.

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  • Posted

    Just keep pushing it flat on bed with your hands , try and relax it and even put an ice pack on it as you do it. I would try and get another month off work I was still very tired for a long time after op . My walking etc by 3 months was good, and doing exercises in pool helped , I was going to water aerobics by 2 months and would do what I could in the class for an hour . Any classes near you? Good luck, but at six weeks I found some days I could flatten it others I couldnt , it was still very painful for me at 6weeks so I think you are doing okay . The more I overdid things more it wouldnt straighten especially if swollen . I remember my six week appointment and I couldnt get it totally flat all the time . But also how flat can you get it ? almost there or a bit to go? I found it was until after about 8 weeks that I started to feel better .

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  • Posted

    I am about 7 mos. post TKR, and I have full passive ROM. I, too, cannot fully straighten my leg when in a sitting position, and I don't know if I'm ever going to be able to do so. I also can do a straight leg raise when lying down. However, I continue to get stronger and stronger, and am able to walk without pain or difficulty. Functionally, this is not a problem. I think it's scar tissue from this and previous surgeries, blocking some of the knee cap movement.

    I did have a therapist who did a lot of deep tissue work, and that did help. But we just never were able to yet cross that block on straightening the knee in a sitting position. Maybe it will come eventually, but I'm not fretting about it much anymore as I move more and more back to my normal life without difficulty.

    I had to return to work as a school librarian at 6 weeks post. It was definitely not easy, and I used one crutch for about 3 months and then a cane for another month. I purchased a cheaper electric scooter which saved my life for the first 2-3 months back at work. When I had to travel far across campus, I used my scooter. I also had a wearable ice wrap that I kept in my little refrigerator/freezer at work. I used it quite a lot as well.

    I think it's too early to be worrying much about this. Keep working on stretching, strengthening, and deep tissue massage. If at six months it's causing a functional problem, then maybe look for different answers.? Just my opinion based on my experience.

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  • Posted

    Starting with everybody is different ... I returned to work at 6 weeks, half days at first, gradually building up. But I have a desk job with a lot of flexibility--could sit when I wanted, stand when I wanted, walk when I needed to ... also I am fortunate to have a private office so could put my foot up on the desk as needed :>). Ice pack in the freezer helped and my coworkers were very understanding and helpful. Having said all that, I teach part-time and that is still very difficult at 3 1/2 months ... standing for a few hours is very tough. Again my students are very understanding, help me out, don't mind if I sit down, but my style is generally very active and it is hard for me NOT to stand. I just keep working at it, hoping to improve endurance ... and ice and painkillers when I get home help a lot!

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