Discouraged after partial knee replacement 11 days ago

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I am so discouraged and concerned . Had partial knee replacement on right knee , lateral ( outside) of knee.Thought I was doing good . Went off pain meds after 4 days. Now back on , trouble sleeping , have terrible pain on the inside of knee . It's like a pulling or something with the ligament . Could something have happened on the other side during surgery . It only hurts when I walk on it . I wouldn't need the cane except for that . Is this all normal . My doctor doesn't send you to PT with partials but I am going to go on my own . I will need to return to work in two weeks which from the beginning my Doctor said after 4 weeks I'd be able to . I'm still so swelled up, never expected it to be like this .

Lynn

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  • Posted

    Oh Debbie, eleven days is so soon after surgery, you can expect anything.

    Please be patient with your poor knee, it's a huge operation, it takes months to get over it.

    Don't be tough on yourself, expect pain, use ice, use a cane if you need to for as long as you need to.

    Above all, apart from excersices, rest. Both your knee and yourself need the rest.

    The ops over, now comes the long road of recovery.

    You are not alone, we all go through the same, before getting better.

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    • Posted

      Thank you Laura

      I haven't been thinking of my " poor knee" only poor me sad

      You are right . It's just so difficult coming from a place of being very very active . I do know patience is a virtue , now I need to live it out .

      Wonderful advice . This is all helping so much .

      Debbie

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  • Posted

    ImplyYou are far too early in the process for getting off pain meds and trying to resume any where close to normal activities. Just because it's a partial doesn't mean there wasn't a lot of soft tissue and her a damage. Get back on a regular. Schedule pain med. Do your excercies, ice, hydrate and above all else, rest.....rest every chance you get. Somehow, some Dr's imply the partial is like a tooth extraction but it's still an ungodly trauma to the system. I've said it many times on here.......there are no gold stars given for overdoing. All that does is cause setbacks which are more difficult to overcome.....take a dY off.....medicate......keep the leg up and ease ba k into it in a couple of days. I've been through 5 rehabs a d have tried it a dry which way.

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  • Posted

    ImplyYou are far too early in the process for getting off pain meds and trying to resume any where close to normal activities. Just because it's a partial doesn't mean there wasn't a lot of soft tissue and her a damage. Get back on a regular. Schedule pain med. Do your excercies, ice, hydrate and above all else, rest.....rest every chance you get. Somehow, some Dr's imply the partial is like a tooth extraction but it's still an ungodly trauma to the system. I've said it many times on here.......there are no gold stars given for overdoing. All that does is cause setbacks which are more difficult to overcome.....take a dY off.....medicate......keep the leg up and ease ba k into it in a couple of days. I've been through 5 rehabs a d have tried it a dry which way.

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    • Posted

      Thank you for the words of encouragement and advice . Yes they do act as if a partial is a walk in the park . This most likely why I am discouraged because I thought it would be, Duh! As you said it is just as much to go through on your body .

      Did go back on pain meds in morning and night . I can't imagine 5 rehabs . You certainly know what works . Thank you again it is very helpful . Debbie

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  • Posted

    Hi debbie. I felt similar however time, rest, healthy diet, water and physio really does achieve a lot. It's hard to imagine you will recover from the place you are now. Do not cease pain meds too soon. I did and I paid for it with sleepless nights and reduced exercise. See if you can do a little physio each day. I got on you tube and found some excellent clips. Also if you are worried, ring your surgeon who should have a patient co- ordinator nurse to ask questions of. We often expect too much of ourselves. Try to rest and plan a reward at 12 weeks, 26 weeks etc. it gives me a goal to work towards. Thoughts are with you!
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    • Posted

      Lyn, thank you for your advice . If I got one thing from all the great responses it is to rest and not to go off pain meds to soon . I am listening and am feeling better ! ( at least for now ).i am a healthy eater and have double up on the water all which I know is important . I like the rewards idea. Gives something to look forward to . Everyone's been so helpful on here ! Thank you Lyn
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    • Posted

      You are so very welcome debbie! I came on here feeling down and wondering if I was healing according to what was normal. I now realise we all heal at our own pace. Folls here ate so generous with their time and advice.

      Keep posting and get some help if you believe there's something wrong. Have a great day!

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  • Posted

    G'day Debbie/Lynn,

    I too had a partial on right knee, mine was on medial (inside) and I got initially alot of pain on outside of the knee. Also I got sweet damn all PT once out of hospital and home. The book of exercises the NHS gave me was close to 'not fit for purpose' and I got more value from Youtube than I did from NHS - there are some great videos on Youtube on exercises for bending, strengthening and straigthening the leg. I have a heart arrythmia and am limited as to the pain relief I can take. I'm on CoCodomol 30/500 (only available on prescription here in UK). I tried using the pain relief on an as and when basis - didn't work. I ended up taking it as prescribed i.e. - 8 tablets every 24 hours. Continuously. That way I could cope with the exercises. I didn't rush walking and stayed on crutches for the first 8 weeks. After that, no problem. Don't forget to elevate and ice, constantly - get a bag of frozen peas, wrap it in a towel and keep on icing and resting. Do this especially after exercises. I think your return to work plans are very ambitious but it depends on your work I guess. In UK  you can't drive a car legally until 8 weeks and then only with approval of your Dr. / Surgeon.

    I was advised to have my Sports Injury Therapist work on my leg/knee to strengthen it for 8 weeks before surgery so that by surgery date my leg/knee was in as good a condition as I could get it. Then after surgery I had her continue with massaging and loosening the incision mark to prevent scar tissue hardening. I paid for all this myself.

    I agree, I never expected it to be like it was and for some 6 weeks I cursed the decision to have it done. Nowadays I'm fine. Went back to work at 11 weeks ( I drive a bus) and now all I have is a feeling/sensation under the kneecap of a tight band squeezing away, some days its worse than others.

    My big criticism with the whole process is that one gets no 'training' as to what to expect, how to deal with pain and the best exercises to do. It's like going into a bloody great big fog, coming out the other side and not knowing where you are or what to do or where you are going !

    Good luck,

    John

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    • Posted

      Dear John

      Thank you for writing . Just so helpful . Your last paragraph hits the mark ! Everyone , Doctor, nurse are so nachulant about it . It just boggles my mind how they could be. I had one visit at week one than it would have been another 6 weeks . I insisted I come back in two more .

      I'm not sure what you meant about your PT. Are you saying they didn't recommend any and then you did your own . I will look up the you tube videos as someone else suggested same . I am planning on calling today and setting up PT visits myself , paying for myself . I like the idea about the sports message therapist . I'm not sure if we have those here ( US) but will investigate.

      How long did your pain last on the opposite side of knee and what did it feel like ? I feel it won't ever go away . I limp because of it , well and the swelling too I suppose .It is only when I step on it . I am taking everyone's advice and resting a lot and continuing ice and elevating more often .

      As for work the nurse who works close with the Surgeon said after 3 weeks I could return to work . So I planned for that . The doctor did say I might not feel well enough at that point . Ugh ! Just maddening about the unrealistic expectations I was given . I do a lot of up and down in a chair and light walking so I don't know . Some work I can do from home but need to get back into office Sooner than later . Sounds like it's going to be later . I don't want any set backs .

      I so appreciate hearing from those that have had partials. Thank you so much . I thought I was all alone .With each post I read I feel stronger and more encouraged and actually think I do see a light at the end of the long tunnel . We need to have hope to get through this .

      Debbie

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    • Posted

      Hi Debbie,

      The only 'official' PT I had was during my 3 days in hospital. surgery was at about 11.00 am, by mid afternoon I was doing exercises in bed and by late afternoon was walking around on crutches. surgeon then paid his follow up visit and told me to sit in a chair and move my leg back, under the chair. The pain of that was unbelievable. He said OK thats fiine. Once discharged I had no PT at all. I had this booklet of exercises to work through myself. My timeline was 6 Nov 2015 - Surgery. 9 Nov sent home. 19 Nov dressing removed by the practice nurse at my GP's surgery. 24 Nov back to PT at hospital for a PT review. 29 Dec 2015 surgeons review - then told I could drive again and go to work at end of Jan 2016. I returned to work on 26 Jan 2016. I realised that I was not getting anywhere with these book exercises thats when I tried checking out Youtube. Great stuff. Best thing I found to get the bend was to sit on a highish chair, place a flat baking tray on my carpet floor and put foot on it and slide it back under the chair until I got something approaching 130 degree bend. You tube covers these sorts of exercises including getting the leg straight, i.e. zero degrees.

      Pain on opposite side of knee lasted around 4 to 6 weeks gradually reducing all the time.

      I know many PT's believe the best PT is to push your operated leg so far into pain. My belief is thats rubbish - pain is the body telling you it is in a state of dis - ease ! I pushed myself to the point of pain the backed off and rested. I then elevated and iced until I was ready for the next lot of exercises.

      I honestly believe that for the first 6 weeks you should just pace yourself and rest, elevate and ice as much as possible, do what you can do and no more. Your body has gone through major, barbaric surgery and it ain't gonna be a walk in the park (sorry, no pun intended).

      You also have to accept that you'll need to learn to walk again ! Yes Debbie, possibly even wobbly baby steps again. I practiced .... heel, ball of foot and then toe. Heel, ball, toe; heel ball and toe. Both legs. This is illustrated on Youtube too. I still do this now even at 7 months.

      The benefit of paying for PT or a Sports Massage Therapist is that they only to well understand what muscles need to be strengthened and remember, this strengthening must occur at the same time as healing is occurring, almost a conflict of interests but its so necessary. I also used Aloe Vera Gel to rub into the incision scar to prevent it from getting tight and hard and stiff. I think why we all feel it so hard is that healing is taking place ... YET ... all the exercises we are told to do seem to aggravate/conflict with the healing going on deep inside the knee.

      I can only repeat what I said - pace yourself, aim to get back to work later rather than sooner, rest, ice, elevate, make every step a winner (again no pun intended), and know if you do this when you go back to work it will be a lasting, permanent return. If it helps to motivate you, I am 71

      Good luck Debbie,

      May the force be with you.

      John.

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    • Posted

      Hi John

      You made me laugh ( much needed )when you said the force be with you. I did see that movie!

      I called my insurance company and found out I do have coverage for PT. I figured I did and I don't understand why they won't send me. The reason I'd like to go is for the expert guidance as you stated. But I certainly don't want to get the doctor on my bad side by not following his orders. Trying to decide if I should insist on a script or just work diligently on my own.

      At what point did you start putting the Aloe on your scar . I never even thought about it hardening until a few have mentioned.

      Thank you ,

      Debbie

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    • Posted

      Hi Debbie,

      I started using Aloe quite early almost as soon as my dressing was off and I was satisfied that the incision scar was dry and not showing any sign of infection. Say, about 2 and half to 3 weeks post op. I also got my Sports Massage Therapist to  continue working on the upper and lower leg muscles and to massage the area surrounding the incision scar. It is so important to keep this area so supple for the purposes of exercising.. Incidently, my 'stitches' were disolvable staples. So there was no need for me to return for 'stitches removal'. This massaging bit is something I found difficult to do on my own, and actually it wasn't really painful at all.

      Hope this helps.

      John

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    • Posted

      Hi John

      I don't see we have any message therapists that are specifically " sports message therapist". Seems they all say they can work with sports injuries . Are we talking the same person . Not sure if I'm explaining correctly . My chiropractor has a message therapist I was going to try . But again she not specify " sports therapy "

      Thanks

      Debbie

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    • Posted

      Hi Debbie,

      ​It might be a problem with wording, like, US English and UK English.

      ​So long as the 'Therapist' can work on improving the muscle tone and strengthening the operated leg and is able to gently massage the incision mark you should get the results. Most important that the incision is kept clean dry and supple, the more supple the better as that will help avoid scar tissue problems where it all tightens up. The tighter everything is the harder it will be to get the movement you need for normal life.

      ​My surgeon suggested that I sit upright on a dining room chair and place my leg up on the arm of a lounge. Then gently press down on the operated leg just above the knee cap. Again you could look at Youtube and see what exercises they have on video for leg straightening after TKR or PKR. The weird thing about all the exercises is, that you may do them daily, half daily or hourly and you don't see or feel any noticeable improvement. YET, if you stop doing them you'll have problems returning to normal. If you see what I mean. So just keep on with the exercises and believe that they are working.

      Good luck

      ​John

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    • Posted

      Hi John

      Was just re reading your posts to me. Even going back and reading all the old posts are helpful later on . I'm 6 weeks now on the partial . Back to work two weeks now and lot of pain . Back taking ibuprofen 800 mg instead of hydrocodone and it seems to help although I don't want be taking all these meds anymore Grrrr.

      I was wanting to know again about specific exercises you did to strengthen . I started doing a stationary bike but can only do few minutes at time before it is painful , do I push through the pain ? Was never allowed to go to pt so I'm still on my own . I think my bend is coming along pretty good with the little bit I'm doing as far as exercises . I can almost bend it all way back ( on the good day ). Am kicking up the ice as per many on here's recommendations .

      Thank you and hope your doing well !

      Debbie

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    • Posted

      Hi Debbie,

      This is just an acknowledgement of your message. I'll get back with a better reply later ... I need to go through all my files re exercises and also my Youtube notes. So sorry to read that you are having a battle.

      There seem to be two areas of thought re exercises - one to go into pain and stay there and keep exercising or to go up to the point of pain and back off. Then repeat trying to go a little bit further with each time you do the exercise. The latter approach was the one I chose. Pain is the body's way of telling you it is in a state of dis - ease - so remember - your knee has been butchered - literally - why give it any more pain to deal with than it already has. Thats basically why I chose the latter method.

      Debbie, I really think you are trying to do things too quickly. I know that we all have bills to pay etc and that puts pressure on the need to get back to work to earn money to pay those bills, and of course all our circumstances are a bit different but if thats the case that you need to review your work/ life balance. If you work, give your knee a 'reward' by resting up as much as you can , elevating, icing, exercising etc. and generally taking it easy.

      I am now 8 months post op and am feeling great. Sure - I feel still a bit of a tight band under the knee cap and around the knee but this is easing off as time goes on. there are times when I still feel a need to elevate and ice - yep - even now !

      Also I learned very quickly that post op we never seem to be told/taught what is normal for our operated knee, we have no measure of our own progress. so I discovered that you use your non operated knee as the model. What you can do with your non operated knee should be what you should aim for with your operated knee. Get it !

      I'll be back in touch later. Take care.

      John

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    • Posted

      Thanks John . At what point did you start maybe forgetting about the knee . It is just so consuming my thoughts and like a distraction because of the pain , feeling strange etc. didn't mean to have you do homework for me , you've already helped a lot in your reply .

      thanks Much !

      Debbie

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    • Posted

      Hi Debbie,

      Sorry I have not got back to you earlier, just been so flat out at work.

      To answer your question .... only now am i starting to forget about my operated knee, which is now just starting to feel like my non operated knee. So, now I'm at 8 months post op. That said, I have no pain, no discomfort ,just a vague awareness that I have an implant in my medial compartment of the right knee. I'm probably as normal as I'll ever be !

      Here are the names of the exercises I had to do :-

      Heel slides (10 slides 4 times a day) - Static Quads - 5 times - Inner range quads - straight leg raise - gluteal exercises - bending/flexing the knee exercises - hamstring/knee flexion exercises - calf raises/heel raises - mini squats - lunges.

      Now as I can't post piccys on here what I suggest you do is go onto Youtube and type in the search box all those names (one at a time) and you should find videos describing each exercise. I found Youtube great for helping me understand what I was doing and the purpose of it.

      Hope this helps.

      John

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