Can't straighten leg 5 weeks after TKR

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The physios tell me this is normal but the exercises don't seem to make any difference.  Does using an exercise bike help or are there any other suggestions?  Saw the consultant yesterday for a follow-up appointment and he seemed to think that I should be completely pain free by now.  Should I be?  My reaction was that he can't possibly have much post op experience.

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  • Posted

    Nooooooooooooooooo. Sorry it takes months for your knee to sort itself out. Read some of the posts on this site. Everyone is different but I think 5 weeks is definitely too early.

    practice makes perfect with leg straightening just keep going.

    It's a shame that those type of consultants can't have an experience of what the TKR feels like. Keep strong and persevere 

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  • Posted

    My consultant underlined how painful it would be but I thought he was just in a bad mood but he left me under no illusion . I said "well it can't be worse than the pain I have now" and he just said " well............" He did reassure me that in time it would ease but also I would probably need another one in 15 years.

    so I joked with him , knowing the NHS , could I book my appointment now !!

    recover at your own speed

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    • Posted

      I had a partial knee replacement on July 6th, 2017 and it's almost February of 2018 and I can't get my knee to straighten out either.  It's painful and I do some kind of exercise every single day.  I do a no impact machine that is not hard on my knee.  I have tried rowing machines, bikes and everything, but it just doesn't work.  It is very frustrating.  

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    • Posted

      I have the exact same problem as you.  I had knee surgery on July 6th, 2017 as well.  I can't get my knee to straighten out either.  I have tried the sames things as you.  Bike, treadmill, and rowing machine.  I am also now doing a no impact machine called a zero runner and it doesn't seem to help.  I exercise and do about 3-4 miles every single day.  Nothing has worked.  My doctor seem to think this would be better than a full knee replacement but I am not so sure about that, everyone I know that had a full knee replacement can straighten there leg.  What is a person to do?  

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    • Posted

      Here's a couple that maybe you haven't tried. They are slow, gentle ed and work over time:

      1) while laying on the bed with head elevated by a couple pillows, roll a towel and put it under your ankle so your foot is 4" or so off the bed. Slowly tighten all of the muscles in your entire leg, then using muscle strength oust he knee downward toward the bed. Hold to count of 10 and repeat 12 times. Over time increase hold time to 15 andcrepeats to 18. Rest between each set.

      2) MAKE SURE NO ONE WITH A CAMERA OR VIDEO IS IN THE ROOM:

      NOW..lay cross wise on your bed and roll over on stomach with your legs hanging off. Then start relaxing so the weight of the leg is causing it to straighten. You won't be able to wait more than a count of 5 to 10 before having to roll back to your back and relax. Rest, repeat 10 times. Increase the numbers as you fell comfortable( you will possibly never feel real uncomfortable) but you will feel everything stretch from your lower back down, especially all of the soft tissue in the back of the knee. You may feel uncomfortable and look like a beached whale but this really works. Be sure and hydrate week starting an hour before you do these and stay hydrated afterwards. Good luck.

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    • Posted

      I understand I had a tkr on January 8th and a MUA on March 5th, yet my knee still will not bend or straighten. I am trying everything now. Massage, acupuncture and PT something has to give. My surgeon seems to think this problem is mental! I don’t think he has a clue of the pain.....could this be a mental thing?
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    • Posted

      I had a partial knee replacement, medial side, on July 31, 2017 and still am 5 degrees from being able to straighten. I am only at 115 degrees of flexion. Being a strength and conditioning coach, I am as aware as my PT what needs to be done...it just isn't working. Also still have pain but now primarily on the lateral side. All pre-op scans indicated a partial, not full replacement but I suspect I am headed fir a revision late summer 2018. I still would have tried the partial first however.

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    • Posted

      Stay with the exercise program. You can continue to get better bend a couple years after surgery. Its not always lineal in the process. It can seem like a lost cause for some time and suddenly you pick up a degree and so it goes. The body does its o w n form of healing at its own pace. I don't know what the goal was but 115 isn't bad and it won't impair you life's activities. On the other hand, straight is a different story. Work on that or you could wind up with a limp. I can't imagine doing a revision for another 5 to 10 degrees. I'm not an expert but I've had 11 surgeries and 5 complete rehabs, including 3 different prosthesis (my problems all stem from a rare tumor). If you haven't already, find posts from Chico Marx and you can get a tutorial on recovery and a lot of other great info. Ill get back with you soon and offer some suggestions on helping get the leg straight.

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    • Posted

      I had TKR March 6th and I can almost straighten it completely but I’m still very swollen. It’s still very painful when I try to straighten it.  I’m also at about a 80 degree bend.  I try to do my exercises 2-3 times a day. At the end of the day I can feel it for sure. 
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    • Posted

      You may be putting too much time on exercises. This is a process and you just cannot over ride the fact that it takes time. Scroll till you find Chico Marx's posts. He has volumes of valuable information and part of it is the reaction of the body. 1st of all, take a day off, drink water to the excess then go back to the basics of slides, leg lifts etc and no more than twice a day. Ice and elevate and rest. Eat meal high in protein (eggs, chicken, fish, etc.). Rest some more and hydrate. Once again the mantra of the tkr world: this is a marathon.....not a sprint. Stay on pain meds as prescribed and don't cut corners. There are no gold stars passed out in the world of tkr rehabbing. You'll be fine , just take time. I've had 11 surgeries on my leg/knee and 5 complete rehab. At one point I had to have the pro s thesis removed and a spacer put in for 4 months. The leg was put in a soft cast and I couldn't bend it more than 25% and was limited to toe touch. I had a major staph and had to have it cleaned up. I started slowly and was doing well in 6 weeks but never did exercises more than once a day and took weekends off. Not exactly the story therapists tell but it worked for me. You'll get th ere, just dontbtry and beat the system

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    • Posted

      I had a TKR on February 8 th and I couldn’t bend or straighten my knee so February 13 I had a  Manipulation that didn’t work so on February 27 I was put in hospital and doctor went back in my knee and cut out a 1inch slab of scar tissue out of my knee still doing PT and can straighten my knee to 123 degrees and bend it to 15 degrees good luck 
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    • Posted

      Hi I had a partial knee replacement end of march 2017.. I'm still in a lot of pain going up and down stairs I have exercised and got strong pain killers but doesn't make much difference. The surgeon actually said to me the other day I just have to put up with it I was gob smacked. Basically he then said u shouldn't of had it done. Well if I knew it was going to be this bad I wouldn't!! Was in less pain before. He said I'm too young at 53 to have a full one until the rest of the knee wears away. But u still have to work!!

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  • Posted

    This is the opinion of someone who has never had to go through the actual surgery. Don't let his statement weigh too heavily on reality. At 5 weeks most are still trying to sort out the changes going on in the body while the body is throwing you a different signal every day or so. You will get to a point and suddenly an old pain or symptom will reappear. Most of the contributors here will talk in the terms of months and not weeks. The general trend is,  medicate on a regular basis not after the pain starts. Work your excercise routine so you start an hour or so after taking pain meds then ice and elevate immediately after excercise. Drink lots of water and even though your appetite is probably off a bit, eat healthy (fruits and veggies). Rest whenever possible and don't beat up on yourself because you aren't where someone else perceives you should be. Everyone heals at a different rate, slow steady progress is the key. This is life changing experience. Common comments from people who haven't gone through it will be you look great even though the pain is so bad you want to scream. Stay within yourself, work steadily and it will all come about. The folks on here will become your friends and strongest backers. Good luck
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    • Posted

      This is so comforting thank you I had a partial knee replacement on 4th July and I'm still struggling with pain and as I can't straighten the leg it is scaring me but the pain is awful when I do try

      When I saw the physiotherapist last week he seemed to think it was doing well but the very next day I'm back to a bent leg

      Sleeping sitting walking are all painful

      I just hope I get back to as normal as possible.

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    • Posted

      Hi I had my knee replacement on July 24. N. Still In excrutiating pain cant bend it or straighten. Can t sleep. Am always crying. Cant walk cus the min i get up it swells up horribly. My Dr he's referencing me to pain management n sending me back to hospital to put me under so they can straighten it. Been to the er. Twice for pain shots cus I ran out of meds. It's a horrible experience for me. Hope u get well soon also. I'm getting anxiety n I cry all the time. Hope ur not as bad as me. Good luck ??

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    • Posted

      i am 7 week post op, I had a simple Meniscus repair and I’m still struggling yet. I finally was able to see a PT and am doing excercises but my progress is slow, I’m at. 30 degree bend, walk with crutches. I’m so depressed everyday, why me, why did I even do the surgery. I feel for what you’re going through. This is worst experience to ever go through, I’m so sick of it. No matter how many of my family help, I feel so alone going through this. I hope you start feeling better, you have to battle with your mind, Fight this with all you got. we have no other choice  or we will suffer longer.  
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    • Posted

      Oh Lorraine!! It's a pain like no other- right? I'm going into my 7 th week now- I didn't do any formal pt but I was diligent about doing excercise at home. I also caught up on the whole series of queen Victoria.  And after you do gentle exercises in the morning, and are sitting icing your leg for the First time of the day, you might as well check out the app Bonesmart.org.  If you're going to be icing your leg for most of the day anyway, you might as will be reading good stuff on your phone. This is a really good app and they have great guidelines for rehab. It gave me a lot of confidence for when I went into my doctor appointment dreading the worst .

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