Advice please about TKR recovery symptons - dangerous or normal?

Posted , 17 users are following.

Hi, could anyone advise me about a problem that my mother is experiencing after her tkr surgery please?  She's nearly 83 and had her operation three weeks ago tomorrow.  I know that it's early days but I am worried about a new symptom that she is experiencing.  I hope that it's normal and others have knowledge of this problem, but I have not been able to identify it on the internet.    Approximately 4" from the top of her leg, down to just above her knee (a band of approximately 8*), she is experiencing a tight feeling like a tourniquet or a heavy clamp.   Otherwise, everything seems to be reasonably normal for a tkr - hot knee, swelling, stiffness, lots of pain (sometimes seeming to improve and then returning with a vengeance).  Last night and today, the knee has been causing a lot of pain.  From reading other posts this might be to be expected, but I am concerned in case this, combined with this new feeing in her thigh / upper leg, is a symptom of something more sinister.  Any advice would be appreciated please.  Thank you!

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  • Posted

    Is your mom keeping up on her painkillers? This is essential; there's lots of pain for at least the first month, if not longer. She really must take her painkillers as prescribed. Waiting too long, or not taking them at all, will make the pain that much harder to quell.

    I've not had that specific experience so I can't help you--but CALL THE SURGEON who performed the procedure IMMEDIATELY. If your mom has a physical therapist CALL THE PHYSICAL THERAPIST IMMEDIATELY.

    It could be something very benign & totally normal. But at her advanced age you don't want to fool around. 

    So as soon as your done reading this CALL EITHER PROFESSIONAL-in my opinion a physical therapist would be the better person to give advice-RIGHT AWAY!

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    • Posted

      Hi Kathleen, thank you for your advice.  My mum's keeping up with most of her painkillers but trying to avoid the Codeine due to the drastic side effects! Some posters on this forum have been able to offer information about the specific problem so thankfully, I will be better informed when asking questions about her symptoms.  As luck would have it, she is going to see the hospital physio today so will be able to discuss the problem as you advise.  You are definitely right about her age being a bit of a concern too, as she is very independent but obviously not as fit and able as in the past.  Thanks again for your help, it is appreciated.  Janine

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  • Posted

    Janine, I believe this is normal. I still get that with my knee and I am almost at 6 months post surgery.  She should be fine.  God Bless.
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    • Posted

      Hello Lynne and thank you so much for your quick reply.  My mum was so concerned about this tight feeling like a tourniquet around her thigh, that I was starting to get into a bit of a flap.  I've been staying with her until last night so I felt really bad that I was no longer there to help.  Your post has really helped me and I will ring her now.?  You are a star, thank you!

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  • Posted

    Janine, I have the same band of tightness but it is not above the knee.  Mine starts just above the knee and ends below the knee. Where the surgery took place. You might want to call her surgeon's office and ask about it just to ease both of your minds. Take care🌺🌸💚

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    • Posted

      Hi Susan, thanks for the advice.  I'll ring the hospital tomorrow and see what additional information they can provide.  I've only just found this forum after searching the internet for some information on the after-effects of tkr surgery (there is so very little on any of the official / professional websites that I have researched) and this is my first post.  I wasn't sure what to expect but I'm really very grateful for your response.  Thanks again!

       

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  • Posted

    I think its the IT band to which you are referring . it's the most normal byproduct of the surgery. It will very, very slowly dissipate with time and proper exercise. It may take several months for it to completely go away. Be sure you you increase the water intake so she is getting plenty of fluids. After the stitches are removed and the drainage has stopped you can use vitamin E oil a couple times a day to soften and heal. Be sure to do the foot slides easily and with regularity. Don't let her do so much she puts herself in real pain.

    Chico Marx has several very timely and useful entries on this forum. Outside of the fact he's a make believe Texan.

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    • Posted

      Hi Ofg, I'm definitely learning about TKR surgery and after-effects today!  I'd never heard of an IT band and have just had a mooch on the internet and now understand a wee bit more than before.  I'll pass on your advice t my mum, although whether or not she will listen to me is another matter.  But maybe there will always be a first time!

      ?I'll check out Chico.  He can't be anything like the gnome that I've just bought for my festival flagpole, because he's real.  Thanks again

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  • Posted

    Hi janine

    Your mum should keep her leg elevated as much as possible ice packs as much as possible to and take her medication as prescribed there will be pain but as time passes it does ease if one of our great advisors Chico marx picks up on your post he has some great links for TKR people .

    Take care .

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    • Posted

      Hi Johnny, thanks for the info.  She's managing the icepacks pretty well as before I returned home I'd managed to get her into that habit and the freezer is well stocked with cubes.  After much squabbling, she's found a cushion that she's happy with and is elevating her leg which is making a big difference to the swelling as you mention.  It's really helpful and very encouraging / calming to receive these posts from people who have professional knowledge and/or experience.  Phewww!

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  • Posted

    Hi Janine - I also experienced what your Mom is experiencing. We call it the tight rubber band feeling. However, mine started about a month after my TKR and it starts from the bottom part of my knee and goes above my my thigh. I am 10 months post TKR and I still get it.  What helps me is stretching, using the bicycle and rubbing it with some type of an ointment. Hope your Mom feels better soon.  J-21370
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    • Posted

      Hi J, thanks for the post.  This must be relatively common and I don't really understand why there is no information available about it other than on a forum. My mum's already doing the stretches but maybe not necessarily many for her thigh muscles.  I have bought one of those wee pedal machines so she can cycle around the world from her armchair, but it hasn't arrived yet.  You are the second poster who's mentioned an oil or cream for rubbing so I'll organise that tomorrow.  I love this forum and am so grateful for all of this information that everyone is sharing.  Thank you so much for your help, Janine

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  • Posted

    Hi Janine,

    One word. SCAR tissue. Everybody gets these tight band feelings from scar tissue and muscle shortening (which is why stretching and massaging helps). Scar tissue starts formation at 3 days. Also the nefv ed thats been cut will start regeneration do feelings start that weren't there b4. Some people heal quickly but sensation can take up to and over a year to regenerate nerves. More you stretch and massage area, less chance of scar tissue formation.

    Your mom's a champ to go thru it at hef age and lucky to have you!

    Good luck.

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    • Posted

      Hi AuntEG, thanks for your post.  I was concerned as the tight band is (relatively) far above her knee but the other posters have said much the same thing.  I haven't been down the route of massage yet but will sort it out tomorrow for her.  I'm taking her to see the hospital physio tomorrow anyway so she can check out which stretches will be best for this problem.  I just had this horror of a DVT lurking and was in a bit of a flap.  My mum's a very determined character and is trying very hard with he exercises, already walking without a stick, so I think that she's doing brilliantly.  Thanks you again, it's really appreciated! Janine

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    • Posted

      I realize the difficulty is getting someone else to do things they do not want to do. Ice and elevation are two of the things that will give her the most comfort.  If she can lay on the sofa, she should put her leg up on the back, or if it is possible to lay on the floor she could then put her leg up over the sofa seat, or something that is high. 

      No one is having a good time at 3 weeks or 6 weeks.  It took me past 3 months and into almost 4 months to feel like the surgery had been a good idea.  Now I am pain free, with the exception of an occasional hard stretch by PT.

      Many people do get depressed, and feel that they made the wrong choice. Prior to surgery I played tennis 5 days a week, walked, hiked, traveled.  It was as if my life was stolen and all I had was pain and loneliness. I am set to travel and play tennis again (doubles only).

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    • Posted

      Hi Debra, good suggestion about the sofa so I will push that idea with her.  She does have an occasional lie down, so I will sort out the cushions at the bottom and she can use those to elevate her leg.  The downside is that she's not too keen on sitting on the sofa as although it's not low, she's finding it painful to sit down / stand back up when using it.  Ahh well!  

      ?It's good that you are recovering really well and looking forward to playing sport and travelling.  I know that I would really struggle with life if I couldn't go walking or travelling, so you have my total sympathy.  Mind you, tennis five days a week is my idea of purgatory......

      ?Thanks again for your information, it really is very helpful and gives me some confidence that everything is progressing normally and that if I need additional information, I can ask on this forum and lo and behold, someone has great insight!  Thank you, Janine

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