Elevating leg with TKR in hospital

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When I was in hospital I insisted on elevating my leg. The other two ladies in my section were both hip replacements so obviously they were not elevating their leg!

I would like to know other people's experience of this...I ask because while I was allowed to do what I wanted, it was mentioned that "the physio's don't like people to put a pillow under the leg". My reply was just that I was ensuring the leg was straight so it was fine. It was not a problem, and no one put any pressure on me to do differently...But I was surprised I was left to my own initiative regarding bearing in mind

How much elevating helps... were you encouraged to elevate your operated leg in hospital?

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  • Posted

    I must admit, when I was in hospital they seemed keen on people sitting in a chair for a lot of the time, so not elevating at all.  Otherwise we were on the bed, with the back raised and the legs just straight out.  But this is such a good point!  When I got home I NEVER sat in a chair with bent knees unless I had to.  Thinking about it (and I hadn't!) it is a bit weird that they want you to sit in a chair with feet on the floor after a knee op.  Unless they're thinking it helps with the bend......

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    • Posted

      Just rereading my post here - when I said I never sat in a chair with bent knees, I meant I didn't usually sit in a chair without legs supported on recliner, but I did often bend the knees while on the recliner:-)))))

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  • Posted

    I was told not to put a pillow under as it encourages the knee into a bent position. I do try to keep elevated at home but find myself moving frequently to gain a comfortable position as I stiffen up if left in 1 place too long. I also find once I put leg down and bend again it's quite nice! Think there's no right or wrong whatever works for you

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    • Posted

      This reminds me of the not putting a pillow under the knee in bed because it leaves it in a bent position, and some being told to sleep on their back for weeks, but I wasn't told that, slept on my side with the leg bent from the second night and it was fine.  You know, sometimes I just wonder if I've worried myself sick on so many aspects thinking the success of the op is down to me to do EVERYTHING  down to the last letter, when really if I'd just done things roughly right, the outcome would have been just the same LOL!

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    • Posted

      Couldn't agree more Chris! I too found sleeping on my side more comfortable and I only wake if knee gets stiff and needs moving. I too am concerned about following instructions to the letter, and find myself questioning what I'm doing whether I'm not pushing enough or too much? I feel it's very much an individual learning curve x

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    • Posted

      I'm sure I'll feel just the same with the next knee Freestork!  I've fumbled through, often with the help of the group, with this first one, and I think it's like when you have babies - they're all different!  We SO want to do the best for ourselves.  I think just joining this group implies that we're so conscientious:-)))))  But I think generally people do take more responsibility for their health these days.

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  • Posted

    Hi Jenny!

    There was no mention of elevating my surgical leg. I was encouraged to drink plenty of ice water to flush out toxins from the anesthesia and other meds, SO I spent more time calling for nurses and aides to help me to the bathroom and the FOUR OF US walking across the room to the bathroom about every half hour! 😄

    Day two I was sitting in the chair for short periods of time and heading to the bathroom from there. I found sitting in the chair to be exhausting at first, and I, too, was surprised that they didn't have me elevating my surgical leg while sitting there.

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  • Posted

    Hi Jenny!

    There was no mention of elevating my surgical leg. I was encouraged to drink plenty of ice water to flush out toxins from the anesthesia and other meds, SO I spent more time calling for nurses and aides to help me to the bathroom and the FOUR OF US walking across the room to the bathroom about every half hour! 😄

    Day two I was sitting in the chair for short periods of time and heading to the bathroom from there. I found sitting in the chair to be exhausting at first, and I, too, was surprised that they didn't have me elevating my surgical leg while sitting there.

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  • Posted

    Jenny,

    Yes. ELEVATE!!! BUT, there is a certain way. They dont want JUST a pillow behind knee area as this slows blood flow, increase blood clots and encourages knee to stay flexed. When pillows are placed, usually takes at least three, one thigh, 2nd partial on top of that w 3rd partially on top of that that may end up folded in half (depends how big pillow is). It should be fully extended like when ur ankle is on a chair n ur knee is hanging to stretch. But it is not as aggressive as a knee drop as u have pillow support. The PT in my hospital showed how, the nurses knew and ALL in hosp wanted leg up if not walking on them!

    Elevating above the heart helps flow to return faster but its hard to do when sitting vs laying down. Some people's hips and leg myscles dont stretch that well. Some swelling takes A LONG TIME to recover as its r/t lymph system.

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    • Posted

      It's good they did that with you..,I was fine but only because I had done a lot of research..as you say...not having pillow tightly tucked behind knee. It was easy in hospital to raise the end of the bed to help. Like freestork, it is more of a palaver at home! I ended up elevating

      In several different ways...due to the need to keep changing position. I organised my pillows in the way I show in my bold which pretty much gave me what you suggest by the sound of it. Like Chris says, I was rather overly worried..for me I

      Thought it shouldn't be bent at all, so for the first few weeks I just elevated with it straight. But then I changed to sometimes straight sometimes bent, sometimes between the two and sometimes(what i do now all the time) really highly elevated leant against the wall! That's my favourite way now!

      And thanks to the wonders of technology, so easy to use tablet or computer at the same time! Having said this, I do think my extension, which was 0 in hospital and has remained some was helped by the way I did keep it straight even though it did feel rather painful at the time! I think just keeping it moving from straight to bent periodically works well.

      I was fearful if I elevated with it bent it mig ht do harm, but I read a sports rehabilitation book which showed elevation with bent leg. Then I realised that as long as I was varying the position regularly, it would be fine.

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    • Posted

      Jenny,

      I totally agree w you Jenny. Moving around is best. Anytime i left legs in one position too long, it was too achy or stiff.

      To bend at 90 worked for 5min but that got achy. I realized i NEEDED to get to 90 for 30min minimum without pain so i could get to the doc and to PT! Thats when i started doing puzzles. It distracted me from the achy pain long enough( and I'd do leg slides and wriggle feet ankles while sitting ) to finally make an hour at 90degrees. Weirdly so, things started to get easier after that. More puzzles,more distraction, better movement all happened at week 4. I needed to start driving myself so that was my motivation... smile

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    • Posted

      On discharge day I was shown this very method by my orthopedic surgeon to help with swelling. During my hospital stay, a "water" pillow was placed under the lower leg, ankle area which I was told not only helped to avoid clots but allowed the knee to slightly drop therefor helping with extension. This pillow reminded me of the bladders used in wine casks. I found it a great comfort, the softness made it easy to roll and stretch the foot. Like others, I was encouraged to spend as much time as possible either in the chair or walking-tiring at first but a big aid in recovery.

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