7 weeks out.....still at 75 degrees - possible MUA

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I’ve been quite frustrated by this. From the beginning my progress has been slow as far as ROM. It started at 55 degrees, then 68, then 72, then 70 for three weeks, now am at 75. I can walk without crutches or cane and strength and stability coming but for ROM. If I overdo it (such as help clean the barn or bring dog for a short walk plus tidy up house or drive for groceries) then I suffer all evening. Slowly but surely....?

Anyway, two weeks ago I had tele-conference with my surgeon. I told him I’m very concerned. He said he isn’t yet. That I had limited motion before (90 degrees), injuries, and as well had a number of surgeries including ACL replacement. He said it can’t be expected that I’d progress like an older person (I’m 47) who “just” had arthritis (“just” not being used to minimize anyone’s experience I know the pain and limitations of arthritis because I have it too).

Soooo he wants me doing leg exercises three hours per day including a very painful exercise that he gave me to do. “Bite on something” he said. 😳 He thinks maybe I can break through possible scar tissue and adhesions myself.

I mentioned manipulation under anesthesia and he said it was too soon for that and we’d consider it btwn 10 and 12 weeks.

Soooo that’s my update. Anyone relate? Advice? And - anyone who has had MUA - how bad is it?? I have heard pretty painful after....and no guarantees...? At this point I’m all for it - just want a functioning knee again!

Thanks - hope everyone is having a good weekend!

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  • Posted

    Hi Amy, I’m having similar experience.  I am 5 weeks in. Im in early 40’s and have a very complicated knee history with numerous surgeries. 

    My ROM is 45 abd it’s so difficult to get any higher. I’m seeing physio 2-3 times per week and doing all the excercises. Your surgeon is clearly not concerned at the ROM so far. 

    I’m really stressing about my lack of bend. It’s so uncomfortable. 

    I have had two previous manipulations for previous surgeries and had no issues. The first one gave me some more movement and the second one gave full movement.  

    Keep going and am sure your surgeon will guide you as to next moves. Although the exercises he has given you sound painful. I have been advised that discomfort is ok but full on pain is counter productive as it causes swelling. 

    Good luck 

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    • Posted

      Hi Victoria, thanks so much for getting back to me. It a relief to know that if I do have to get MUA that it could be without issue and could be helpful. Yours wasn’t swollen and painful after?

      Its frustrating to have so little progress. I too go to physio 2-3 times a week plus do exercises at home. I think you’re right about full on pain causing swelling. I find when I push really hard and cause a lot of pain (and in physio too) the next day or two I have an even more difficult time with pain, stiffness (tight band around knee) and ROM. To the point where I can sometimes get to 115 degrees on CPM machine but after hard work and pain the next day can hardly get to 95 degrees on it......(btw my surgeon doesn’t believe in CPM machine as he feels it’s not accurate and obviously it’s not but - I can see progress on it and that makes me feel better)!

      Best of luck with your ROM. I know how frustrating it is - good to know we aren’t alone (though wouldn’t wish it on anyone)!

      I will update with this weeks measurement. Not expecting much 😬

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    • Posted

      Hi Amy, it was a little swollen and sore after MUA but nothing compared to what we have been used too. 

      It’s hard as most people I see have fantastic ROM very early on. I have been so upset feeling that I’ve done something wrong or not tried hard enough. 

      Do you think the CPM is helping. I worry that some of mine is psychological but Physio feels it’s still very swollen and she said that all the previous operations can’t be helping. 

      Good luck to you too. Please do update. I have Physio on Thursday this week as she’s very busy but will update. It’s hard not to be fixated on the number but I can’t help it! 

      Let’s hope we turn the corner very soon 😊

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    • Posted

      Hi again. Definitely past surgeries, prior range of motion, and our younger age are affecting how we progress according to my surgeon. It definitely is frustrating watching everyone else in physio - including those who had their TKR very recently - bend their knees so well. Without even really trying! Argh. A lady two weeks behind me is already at 112. While I was measured beside her at 75 🙈 Yes it’s very hard to not focus on the number - but mostly because we work hard with minimal results 😬 And it’s very uncomfortable.

      I believe the CPM machine helps a bit - even just to prevent me from stiffening up.....maybe it’s psychological but....

      My surgeon doesn’t think it helps but perhaps that’s for those who have success on their own. He told me to go ahead and use it but not to include it in my three hours a day of exercises. BTW I rarely do a full 3 hours a day. But definitely 2 hours. Plus machine. Can only do as much as I can handle and to avoid swelling.

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    • Posted

      That’s interesting. I wasn’t advised prior surgery that it can be harder to progress if you are younger. I have heard that now. My OS seemed to think that prior surgeries wouldn’t affect it. 

      You are doing a lot of exercise. Do you tho k that you maybe doing too much? The swelling must affect our ability to bend. 

      I am so fed up with it now. I was so optimistic when I set out on this road, however, I’m currently wishing I could turn back time. I would do anything to do that 😓

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    • Posted

      Hi Victoria. I feel the same way sometimes.....my knee is definitely stuck at this point and I feel that  if my surgeon actually saw me in person he’d see that and be more concerned than he is (we live in a small town and he comes to do TKR here once every couple of months). 

      He definitely feels that prior injuries and surgeries affect the rate of recovery...,and how much we will be able to recover as far as ROM - I’m assuming because of adhesions, and tightened muscles and tissue etc from that? Not sure. Plus younger age.

      It’s quite early for you still and hopefully you start seeing progression before too long.....you have exercises that you do at home obviously , not just physio when they have the time for you? Argh so discouraging isn’t it?

      I don’t actually do the three hours plus that my surgeon is so adamant about - there’s no way I could handle it plus the swelling would be awful, I do try to keep it moving and do the series of exercises at least twice a day plus the CPM machine. Plus a couple of extra bending exercises a day. But I think he’s a bit over the top when it comes to how much time I should spend tormenting my knee.....it gets angry at me when I do. 

      Keep on keeping on.....I will do the same. Keep in touch! Have a good day!

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    • Posted

      Hi Amy, thank you for your reply. I’m finding it so hard to be positive at the moment.  When do you have face to face meeting with your OS?  Is your Physio concerned about your progress? 

      I have the same very tight band feeling across knee and I can’t get past it. 

      I have excercises to do but more of a gentle process that I have to do just four times a day. What’s the painful exercise that you have been advised to do? I can imagine that your knee does get angry with that amount of action. 

      Wish you well too. 😊

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