Concerns over no bend 6 weeks post tkr

Posted , 9 users are following.

I have posted previously re pain after tkr, but as that was a long thread, have started this.

?After a rocky start with what seemed to me excessive pain, swelling and stiffness, a few things did improve. The extension and leg lifting are all right and sleep a little better with usually less nasty pain (there are sometimes relapses). BUT the stiffness and swelling just won't resolve, icing and elevating feel better but no reduction in symptoms and despite gentle and frequent moves as instructed, there is just no budging the knee to bend and it is stuck about 40 degrees (about 80 in hospital).

?Physio could not budge it either, so I am currently chasing up the surgeon's office as they have not called me in for a follow up.

?I am finding this difficult as I really thought thing would improve with time and following advice. Due to the terrible pain I went through post op, I am terrified ofany more surgery or interventions and the longer this goes on, the more I fear this will be the outcome as I never heard yet of anyone regaining ROM from this point without help. I don't feel I can face going through the pain and meds do not suit me or work well, the GP only wanted to take me off them, not help me manage the pain.

?I guess I must either have extreme scar tissue or something wrong with the prosthesis. I know I'm getting ahead here but I am just so worried as the first surgery has taken so much out of me and it was not long since my gallbladder surgery and before that a year of illness. I have hardly been outside or lived a normal life or been out of pain.

Has anyone ever been in this situation and what was done?

1 like, 59 replies

59 Replies

  • Posted

    Ok Cynthia do not panic!

    If you have to have MUA it is not the end of the world. Someone posted recently that it wasn't as bad as we all think & gave a good rom after.

    I know you've had a really bad run of it with all your other problems but please don't worry! Worrying solves nothing & gives you wrinkles!!!

    Have you been massaging your incision scar? Give it a good old going over, it helps to stop the layers of tissues from sticking to each other which is how scar tissue starts! It is not too late to start at home massaging the knee, scar & back if knee. Massage all round the joint. You can use BioOil, E45, VitE or Nivea Creme! Don't be shy with it make the joint feel warm, not sore, warm! Then try to bend, your joint should respond to warmth & massage!

    If all else fails there is still MUA. Try looking back, I can't remember who posted it but it was about manipulation & was very positive!

    Chin up girl. You WILL be ok.



    • Posted

      Thanks, Marilyn.

      ?I'm trying all sorts to see what helps - nothing working yet, but will keep up with all the suggestions.

      ?The last 3 years have been so horrible and I just hope and pray for the pain and stiffness to ease and be able to do everyday stuff again. x


  • Posted

    Seeing that you had a bend of 80 in hospital, it seems unlikely that there is anything wrong with the prosthesis, and i sincerely hope there is not!  Scar tissue is a possibility, as unless you work hard with the bend from the very early days, tissue and muscles will start to heal and attach to surrounding tissue, making the bend well nigh impossible.  there really is no alternative to quite a lot of pain in this journey, which is why good pain control is essential . . your doctor needs to understand that. If scar tissue has made the bend impossible now, a manipulation under anaesthetic would break up the scar tissue. Many people who have had this procedure find that it has helped greatly and is not as bad as it sounds. personally, I haven't had it done, as I got to 85 by week six, with a lot of pain and prerseverance.  some people grow scar tissue very quickly . . . Stiffness and swelling are very normal at six weeks.  I think it was probably around four months when the swelling started to go down on my knee, and that did allow me suddenly to get an extra 10 degrees . . ending up with 135. Don't give up on this knee . . if you really cannot get beyond 40 at this stage, you need something done about it. It isn't just going to happen b y itself. 

    • Posted

      Thanks, I did all the exercises but it just did not progress.

      ?The pain was an issue but even the PT could not get it to go further, that was a worry as mostly they can and it is painful, mine knee just sticks.

      ?To be fair, I could not extend for months before surgery, had a bent knee all the time, post op, the extension was OK as the Baker's cyst had vanished but the fluid is all at the front instead now. and the bend went. I will have to see what surgeon says, it is just so disappointing.

  • Posted

    Cynthia, I'm so sorry you're still struggling with the bend.  Can I ask whereabouts it's hurting?  Is it the incision scar or just below the kneecap towards the inside of the knee, or at the back, or what? 

    Don't get too in despair about this.  At one point I wondered if I had impingement, which would have needed another op to free it, and got myself in a real state about it until in the endI though, well if I do need it, they'll do it and sort it out.  And your problem WILL get sorted out and you WILL recover from it and be able to look back on it as a chapter in your life that may not have been much fun, but you will be OK!  So try and look past this.  I know it's not  so easy to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I promise there is one and you will get past the current position.  But do chase up the surgeon's office and ask for advice and help!  Keep us updated, won't you.  We'll be thinking of you.

    • Posted

      Thanks, the knee hurts all around on moving but it isn't only the pain that stopped it moving - seems to be jammed and is very swollen above the kneecap, big egg size lump there. Whole leg is swollen really. I was worried the PT would hurt trying to push it but it didn't hurt that much as it just was stuck.


    • Posted

      Cynthia, this doesn't sound really within the realms of 'normal' to me, but maybe others on here have had the same thing.  I really think you need this checked on, or at least a conversation with the surgeon.  Hopefully they can reassure you, but if it were me I'd certainly want to speak with them.

  • Posted

    First of all don't give up.

    I had tkr 5 years ago and I really struggled with the bnd.

    I just managed to get the bend to 90 by my 6 week follow up appointment

    Yes ofcourse you need a follow up appointmnt..

    I don't know where you live but here in Wales there is a pain management clinic and that might help you.

    It is a long, hard recovery road but I hope lilke me, you will find it is all worthwhile in the end.

    Remembering you in my paryers.

    Take care and keep in touch

    Sarah xxx.

  • Posted

    What did your physio advise? Are they concerned?
    • Posted

      Yes, she could not push it any further so advised seeing surgeon asap. She looked on the system but no appt there so asked me to get in touch but they never answered on Friday.
  • Posted

    I'm so sorry you're having problems. I was at 90 at my 6 week checkup and my pt wasn't happy with that at all. When I saw my doctor, who had had knee surgery himself, he went pfttt, don't worry about that bend. You're still swollen from what I did to your knee it's still very angry. Give it time. If when you come back for your next checkup on two months and it's still at 90 then we will do arthroscopic surgery to clean up that scar tissue. Do not worry please he said. This is not a hard procedure.

    I quit worrying and my knee is at 98. Please don't add worry to your recovery. Just concentrate on doing gentle exercises, work gently on the bend and if you do need adjustment it will be ok. Chin up🙏🙏

    • Posted

      Read my reply to Cynthia. Same applies to you

      Sarah xxx

    • Posted

      Sounds like you are progressing!

      It is that my ROM has been getting worse that concerns the PT.

      ​Surgeon is away so will have to wait to see what is said after he returns.

      I will update then, take care.


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