Almost 3 week out from total knee replacement

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In a few days I will officially be 3 weeks out from my total knee replacement. I've been feeling pretty frustrated and discouraged by how slow this recovery is! I've been doing physical therapy 3x a week and while I'm almost being to 100 degrees my extension isn't great. I was constantly getting a 3 for extension but then after a really hard physical therapy session it jumped up to a 10! I was super freaked out! It's has stayed about a 5 for two sessions now. Has anyone else experienced this? My knee is pretty swollen still. I've been pushing myself pretty hard because I'm so frustrated with th extension! Sleeping is pretty rough still and I'm having burning down my shin. I'm guessing this is pretty typical though. I'm iust hoping I get my extension to 0 before my next doctors appointment in a month!!

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  • Posted

    Hi I'm on late but I will warn you now to get ready for an avalanche of replies saying slow down......whooooooooo hey you are only 3 weeks and you are getting 100 degrees that is over achieving well done but the swelling is saying ease up you really need to let some healing take place..the only and 5 etc I think is from the swelling my be too less swelling more bend more straightening slowly slowly all the best ice ..elevate ..

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  • Posted

    Erin - oh yeah - you need to slow down -baby steps my dear! I'm 6 weeks po tomorrow and my first 4 weeks were hell! I turned a corner at 5 weeks and am doing well now. Exercise, walk, ice, elevate and hang in there! I am doing exercises in the pool which really helped me - I recommend it! Have a better week!

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  • Posted

    You are micromanaging a process that isn't designed to be micromanage.

    Give the body time to heal between beatings. At 3 weeks you shouldn't be marking time yet. Everyone is differenet, give your innerself a chance to mend. Take your pain meds on schedule, do your excercises daily but don't push your body into pain. Ice and elevate.....and stay well hydrated. A dehydrated system will not heal as well as a hydrated one. Quit counting every minute as a loss if you don't see improvement. 6 weeks should be your 1st time of analyzing your healing. The rest of it is just a period of frustration. Where you are at three weeks puts you way ahead of most. Learn to rest at every possible opportunity...full speed ahead at every waking moment is a recipe for mental/physical crashes. Never put yourself or let others put you into pain. Aching and hurting are necessary but inflited pain isn't. Don't let others dictate your speed of healing. I've been through 11 knee/leg surgeries and 5 complete rehabs. They have all been different. Enjoy the day as much as you can as nights are difficult. Forget all you've heard about not sleeping during the day cause it will not allow you to sleep at night.......That's nuts...this surgery takes so much out of you that your body/brain needs all the help it can get. Good luck.....stay with this group.......they have all been through it which is more than you can say for Dr's and therapists.

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    • Posted

      Great advice Oldfatguy .. couldn't agree with you more!  I wish I had come upon this forum months ago .. it's so great to be able to talk to others who totally understand what you're going thru smile

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  • Posted

    Okay thanks everyone for your input!! You are right you guys have actually been through this where as the doctors and therapists haven't. My frame of mind is coming from my therapist telling me "my recovery is going slow" and my doctor telling me at my 2 week appointment I might need a manipulation due to my extension number. I was in shock he would say that at 2 weeks!! I feel like they are pushing me so much. I did tell my therapist last visit that I feel like I was pushed too hard last session and that my almost two hour therapy session each time needed to be cut down to an hour. I'm feeling much better due to everyone's comments!! Thanks everyone!!

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  • Posted

    Patient: "Doctor...it hurts when I do this."

    Doctor: "Don't do that!"

    Think you need to take yourself out of 5th gear and back to second.  You CANNOT push a knee...period.  It will swell and put you back.  You CANNOT say that you will be at a certain level of flexion by a certain date.  Zen: It will be zero when it's zero.  Took me 9 weeks to get from -14 to -1...everyone will tell you the same thing.  You may be able to reach 0 in two months...who knows, but pushing it doesn't help.  This recovery is slow and steady

    Use your tremendous force of will to focus on your exercises without thinking about dates.  I got hung up at -4 for a few weeks before the scar tissue broke apart and I could continue progressing.

    I guess what I'm saying is: Don't "expect" anything on any date.  Six months from now, you'll be great and look back at your journey.  Do the work and relax.  Pushing it only makes things worse.

    This may help...

    http://patient.info/forums/discuss/the-tkr-experience-or-wish-i-had-another-kidney-stone--524499

     

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    • Posted

      Thanks, that does help! I was only stessed about the timeline of things because my doctor mentioned at my 2 week appt I may need a manipulation because of my extension. I thought it was a little early for him to say that to me! This is a definitely a process and it helps to see we all struggle! Its encouraging to hear everyone's stories! I think between my therapist saying I was recovering slow and my doctor I was worried but now I see I need to just relax and it will come. Thanks!!

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    • Posted

      The last thing you need is stress...totally counterproductive.  Let it all go...let all that concern float away...  This is NOT a race of any kind.  Your PT will work your knee out...it will be tough.  Some people take pain meds BEFORE their session...up to you.  Just know that it will all come...in time.

      I was able to rehab a complete hip in six weeks...5 hours a day, six days a week, gym and therapy pool.  Piece of cake.  Just pushed right through it.  The knee is waaaaay different.  I am very high energy so dialing it back and doing the work was difficult for me...I wanted to push it!  Then I walked with my daughter through a mall...FitBit said 8,000 steps.  I paid for that mistake for days and days.

      Ice, elevate, meds if you need them, heel slides...

      http://patient.info/forums/discuss/tkr-heel-slide-exercises-526213

      Slow down...it will all happen.  No one is keeping score.  The fact that you've come this far in such a short time is great.  Sometimes, those last few degrees are hard to get...but it will happen.  I'm five months out and I'm at 0 /+130, trying to get to 138 like my other leg.  My goal is to forget this ever happened...that the knee will be rehabbed to where I can't tell one leg from the other.

      Will that happen?  Who knows.  Will take at least 12-18 months before the swollen look, the tightness and the clicking stop.  But then again, maybe it will be like that forever.  It will be what it will be.  At least I'm walking and not in a wheelchair...

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  • Posted

    Hi, you're only 3wks in at that stage due to a fall I still wasn't able to do exercises or pt... but once I got going with my exercises surgeon decided I was going so well that I didn't need pt as I was doing great myself and had a good ROM.

    But a really bit BUT here I overdid it and ended up with all sorts of issues, thinking it was going to heal faster if I pushed myself well I proved myself wrong .. at present I'm 10mths post op and for the last 4 have had an extremely painful bursitis in my hip .. yesterday I had a 2nd booster injection into to see if that will help .. am having an ultrasound tomorrow on my knee as they think I have another bursitis on the outside of it as it's being extremely painful since I fell at 8 days post op (darn crutches) .. my knee is still swollen had problem with my lower leg and foot being swollen but dr took me off anti inflammitories and put me on cortisone .. leg and foot are back to normal now have an ankle bone again. 

    Now I got to pt unfortunately alot of exercises that I do are hindered or I can't do them as my other knee is just as bad as my first one was.  So the moment I can get all my issues done with I'll be in for my other TKR, yes a bit nervous as I've had nothing but trouble with this one, but as I found out some of it was self caused due to pushing too hard.  Take care and listen to your knee not your head and what you want... it's a long journey and every knee recovers at it's own pace.

    Cheers Tijim xox

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  • Posted

    You are really doing good I'm at 7 weeks and today at PT I got to 68 % bend.I'm very worried yet PT keeps telling me you will get there..good luck with recovery. .

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    • Posted

      It sounds like your therapist is encouraging and that is great! I'm sure you will get there!! Good luck with your recovery as well. One day it will all be worth it.

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  • Posted

    Hi

    I get my 1st knee replacememt later today and its good reading eveeyones advice. I am just gonna take it fay by day or week by week am not gonna push myself to get better faster and let my body tell me when its ready to move on. I have purchased 2 ice packs for when l get home and am lucky enought who has a husband that works from home. I have been through 2 hip replacements in the last 6 month but know the knee is a lot harder and takes longer to heal. But l will get there. I am in no rush to get better and luckily l am used to being stuck at home since both hip reolacements. My bed became the couch for a long time even to this day l wake up and move to the couch as l find it more comfortable with my new hips. I can't say l am not terrified but thanks to ba couple of people on here thats had it done l am begining to understand it more. As oldfatguy explained everyone is an individual and heal at diffrent stages and have diffrent experiences. At 3 week l would say that was pretty quick to look for vast improvment even with hip replacenents 3 weeks was really early to see much improvement. Take it easy l know l am no the right person to be giving advice to knee replacement but l am defo aware of recovery from hip. I know its diffrent but you have to be patient and try not to get frustrated as l know l used to with my hips it was like a rollercoaster of emotion one week l would think l had turned a corner the next week l was back at week 1 it felt and l used to cry saying l am not getting better. I did eventually. Now l have to do the same with both knees. I am that scared l ccant sleep its 2.30am and l have to be getting ready at 8am. I can feel my stomach in nots and l am shiverring with a king of excited/nervous feeling. I just hope they medicate me enough to control my pain as right now l am already taking 1 oxy a day along with tramadol and co codamol to take tge oain away from my knee and l still suffer back oain from my hips. I am sure you will be fine just let it go at its own pace and you will soon be feeling bettervl hope.

    Laura

    X

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    • Posted

      Good luck!!! Are they giving you a nerve block? If so that should help. I woke up in zero pain. It was later in the night. Just be mentally prepared that it will be a lot. I guess my advise is don't let the physical therapists push you too hard. That is what happened to me and now I realize I need to be firm and tell them it's too much. I'm sure you will do just fine!

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    • Posted

      Hi Laura, good luck .. love your attitude so wish I had found this site b4 my op and not 9mths later .. but hey better late than never smile

      I know when I was in hospital they were always checking my pain levels as they wanted as minimal or not any... also I stayed on narcotics until I was ready to come off them... was on them for 9mths (due to some issues) but found in the end they weren't helping so my dr weaned me off them... was so easy!  I started finding that icng and heat was giving me more relief than the narcotics.  However I still to take 2 Panadiene Fortes (60mg) of codiene at night.. sometimes I just take one and a couple of paracetamols do the trick.  Alot depends on if I've gone to the shopping centre and done too much walking.  I'm now at 10mths.

      Thinking of you

      Cheers

      Tracey xox

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  • Posted

    Hey Erin, 2 KNEE REPLACEMENT/ JUNE/SEPT 2014 I'll try to keep it brief/ it's your knee you can call the shots. The therapist is pushing because you really have a limited time to achieve ROM . SCAR TISSUE heals in about 6 weeks and makes it very difficult to increase your degree of flexibility. HOWEVER everyones time frame is a little different. Your only at 3 weeks and 100 is good / depending upon what kind of knee implant you have 120-125 is about max. 3 or 5 degrees off of full extension is not much. What exactly does the doctor mean by a. "manipulation" ?? My therapist would have me pull as hard as I could with yoga strap and he would push as much as I could take to bend my knee and I got to 125 right knee, was at least 6 weeks I think. My left knee cap was fractured in surgery trying to bend knee , muscles were much tighter, so I had to wait 4-6 weeks before we could push the knees at all, eventually got to about 115

    You do need to push the ROM but you know your limits, don't injure the knee, you're the only one who can feel it. Good job with the hard work, you will benefit greatly in the end. I was in Physical therapy for over a year. Swelling lasts for months. Good luck, Dave

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    • Posted

      Thanks for you reply!! So the manipulation would be under under anesthesia and he would bend my knee back and forth I guess til it loosens up. I'm determined to not have to have that happen. When I went into therapy today my extension was at a 10 cold and then it got down to a 5. I didn't realize the struggle was going to be in getting my leg straight! I'm up for the task though! I feel like I'm not even 3 weeks so I have time. It's nice to hear everyone's story and yours sounds like a success. Good work!

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