7 days post TKR and still can't bend it ☹☹

Posted , 18 users are following.

Hello there,

I'm now 7 days post surgery and can still only bend to 75 degrees. I was discharged at 4 days with very little Physio input as my pain was not under control during my stay. In fact, the pain was horrendous and I am now home with morphene. However, I am really encouraged today by how much the pain has rapidly improved over the last 24 hours and I am now able to straighten well, weight bare and walk with just a stick (I was discharged 3 days ago in a wheelchair).

I am, however, terrified by the slow progress I have made with bending. I am concerned that I may never get there. The knee itself no longer hurts when I bend, but the muscles above and to the side seems to be locked. Thebknee itselfnis swollen and feels tight. I am only 37 and otherwise fit and active. I'm so scared that I may never recover as I have read and been told by many disappointed nurses that this stage of recovery is extremely important. I feel tired, worried and a failure.

Did anyone else have this problem and go on to make a good recovery?

Many thanks 

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  • Posted

    All I can say is move your knee all the time go to therapy! Im only at 80 degrees and it will be a year in may I'll just have to live with it I'll never go back and have the other knee done! I wish you the best!

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    • Posted

      Hi Keith, it's a year ago that I had my TKR, and my bend is exactly the same as yours even though I still do my excersises daily. I'm back to see my consultant on the 21st of Feb. He's going to talk to me about having a revision done as I now have a cracking in the knee when I stand from sitting and sometimes when I'm walking, the pain is getting worse, I'm torn as I still remember how it was after the surgery, hope things improve for you.

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    • Posted

      Hi Keith my name is Glynis, I still have bother getting in & out of cars and I still can't drive yet as it's my left knee that was replaced. I can't change gear cos when I lift my leg to the pedal the knee cracks causing me a lot of pain & discomfort.

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  • Posted

    I'm 3 days post op on a revision and I have to say I don't have any issues. My pain is under control and I have 100 degrees rom. Before revision surgery I was at 55 to 85 degrees rom. My stiffness was because of heavy scar tissue buildup. The scar tissue was removed during surgery and I was able to walk around without a limp. My advice is for you to get the pain under control, if you have a cpm machine use it whenever you're not up moving. Scar tissue is a reason why you have stiffness. It took revision surgery to get me where I am now but everyone is different in their recovery. Good luck

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  • Posted

    You will get there, keep it moving. A tip I was given by one of the nurses was to sit on a high stool and swing your leg back and forth, it loosens the tissues up, and stretches the stitched areas, plus the weight of your leg acts like traction.

    Worked for me, I've had both knees done, no problems with bending.

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    • Posted

      Well done Laura, I still do this but unfortunately for me it hasn't had much effect, I will find out this month if I need to have it redone as my knee isn't getting any better x

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    • Posted

      That sounds a good idea. Thanks. I'm also due to have the other knee done but this has frightened me. I did 24 hours on the CPM machine in hospital and it was torture. I have looked in to buying one but they're £700. However, I already have a stool 

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    • Posted

      I never used an ice machine, just ice packs after excersice, 20 mins per hour.

      Don't be afraid of having your other knee done, each one is different.

      Seven days is nothing,on the road to recovery, it can and often does take a year, and while it's important to get your bend in the early days, don't let the physios bully you into trying something too painful.

      I didn't get my full bend for a few weeks, just kept slogging away.

      The second one, I found a lot easier to deal with, probably because I knew what to expect, and that it wouldn't last forever.

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  • Posted

    Oh Gosh no. TKR is a very very long recovery. 7 weeks today for me. You sound like you are already doing incredible for so very early. Your pain seems under control and you are in a cane. I was out of my mind with pain until week 5. I still have ongoing pain and take Dilaudid x3 stronger than Morphine) every 4 hours. I left the hospital at 74 and 0. I got up to 95 and 0 but with intensive out patient therapy slipped back to 88 and -2. Initially there is a lot of swelling from the therapy which impacts ROM. Ice almost every hour and elevate high enough x2-3 days s time and go to therapy and do your home exercises religiously.

    Forget about what anyone says. Every recovery is different. Keep following the doctors orders and you will fine! Good Healing

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  • Posted

    Hi

    My answer is yes , after 8 months bend is only around 120

    Some sensation in my knee when I am on my feet all day.

    Early weeks were hell, I also could get around straight from hospital. My stairs I did on my bum for the first couple of weeks.

    Good healing

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  • Posted

    Hi rhianleeis79,

    I have found preop education in ALL countries seems to be seriously lacking. So we all end up terrified post surgery and luckily, on a site that says you WILL get better!

    Doc have red flag if your not at 90 flex in SIX weeks. Your at 7 days! Swelling and scar tissue affects bend. Also, longer a person lived with bad knees, longer it can take to RETRAIN the muscles and tendons to be normal again. Look at the wear pattern in your shoes. I got new shoes just because they were showing wear from when i limped!

    Basically as everyone will tell you, exercise, ice, rest, repeat. Massage area.

    But cut yourself some slack. If you do the work, you WILL progress. I had to wait for my left knee swelling to go down and break up a lot of scar tissue - it was only 84 flex at 3wks. Then boom 104, 120by week 5. The right knee hit 130 by week 3 because i didnt have as much scar tissue (i had post op bleeding day 24hrs later). I had bilateral partial replacements done.

    We are our own worst enemies. The younger we are with a replacement just proves how active we were and NOW, HA! we have to sit in a chair in between activity so the swelling stays down for us to get better faster! Not our usual MO.

    PT also recommend using a walker until you HAVE NO LIMP. its for gait training and even distribution of weight. Canes cause people to list to one side also causing a poor gait. Have confidence in your replacement! Take smaller steps if you need to. Strength and speed will come.

    Yell, cry, scream when you need to. Again, we're so focused on getting better we stuff all the feelings we have. Geez,we had a MAJOR operation, have fake body parts and have to change our life to have no more high impact sports or activities. WE ARE ALLOWED TO OWN SOME GRIEF! Then after you have your moment (they pop up all times of the day or night like "god, please let me sleep"wink you set it aside and keep doing the work.

    My focus on where i SHOULD be takes away the victories of how FAR i have come. I could barely put on the pillowcases 5 days after surgery wo feeling exhausted. Now, i drive, grocery shop, go to PT, unload the car, put away the groceries and walk a mile 2x a day plus other activities. And instead of celebrating ALL of that endurance, i say, "although i can walk the stairs, i cant really do it well and it still hurts!" REALLY?!?! IM 11WKS OUT..

    Stay positive. Feel the feelings. Do the work. (I had to suck it up on 2 occassions to break this scar tissue that wouldnt let go but it did. Major breakthru but i didnt push it until PT and i tried everything else and some time passed. I mean, the scar tissue had gotten worse because the swelling hadnt gone down. So by the time swelling was down, i had to force the scar tissue which had built up. BUT, i had to accept waiting for the swelling to drop first. Or i would've caused MORE problems )

    Life is good. Strong muscles and tendons will help keep the legs working.

    Good luck!

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    • Posted

      Massage the tissue around the knee working it back and forth. I waited on the incision until it was fully healed so it didnt open up when i rubbed. I can only describe feelings. This grabby feeling was in the muscles surrounding the incisions. The sutures which absorb over time attach to tissue and make a pinch like feeling, like a biting pull. Lifting and rubbing w ur thumbs can help free the stitch. I use coconut oil when rubbing. If your incision doesnt easily float and move back and forth, its being held by scar tissue which in the long run limits ALL of your mobility-scar tissue doesnt flex or give and tightens skin. I have a really good PT who has helped and shown me what to do on my time so we can push forward. I just developed this crunch over my left insert. He told me its not my implant-too surface. I breathed, thank god. So, it turns out my VSO, vastus lateralus, is weak and pulling/stopping the knee cap from sliding in trac. My lateral muscles are stronger. He showed me an exercise for it. ONE day of intermittent exercise and ITS GONE!!!

      Of course i ached all night and had a crappy nights sleep because of all the aches and swelling post therapy. But i had success! Ive found if i dont do all my stretches -especially my hips- my knees hurt more. On a down day, i still do them but less. ie 10 instead of 20. Plus i take stuff in stride now. If i ache or hurt, i do the exercises and ask, "is it worse?" If not, i keep going. I know at this point that i WILL hurt different as different muscles start to re-engage.

      If you cant find a good PT, maybe a massage therapist can help. Ive researched so many sites my head has spun, but my doc told me last Friday, im a month ahead of average recovery.

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