Exhausted 6 1/2 weeks out after TKR

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It’s been almost 7 weeks now since I’ve had a total knee replacement. They tell me at PT that I am on schedule with my physical therapy however, I feel like my energy and joy were zapped out of me since my surgery. I just cannot seem to get it back. I did have some difficulties with headache, nausea, diarrhea and a weird feeling in my head for about 10 days after going off of my pain med. I did gradually wean myself off. I had been on it for about 2 1/2 weeks.

I guess I am just reaching out to see if anyone else had any of these symptoms going on for them. I am a teacher and scheduled to go back to work next week (7 wks out). I am a little apprehensive about it as I don’t know how I will do and I’m feeling some anxiety over it

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  • Posted

    Depending on dosage and the drug you were on, it's better to slowly reduce (titrate) off an opioid med over the course of several weeks rather than stopping cold or going off them too quickly. A lot of your symptoms can be related to withdrawal from any powerful medication. Check with your doc.

    Going back to work 7 weeks post-TKR has only be done successfully by very, very rare people who have virtually no scar tissue, get their full 0 / +120 ROM back in 4-6 weeks and who can walk without pain or swelling afterward for 10,000 steps a day. If you don't have the ROM and have not rebuilt the strength in your quads, glutes and core, you will most likely have major problems with returning to work that fast. If you believed your doc that 7 weeks was OK, then he's the delusional one and should know better. We have soooooo many stories on the Forum about people being told to expect unrealistic time frames by their docs and then having to face the reality of a full year recovery, with return to work typically in the 4-6 MONTH period.

    I've been on here for 3 1/2 years and have read over 20,000 stories. I can tell you that people who went back to work at 3 months had a lot of difficulty; four months, not so much. I hope you are one of the rarities but just in case...what's Plan "B"???

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  • Posted

    Anne, I'm at the same time frame as you are and my PT says I'm on track, I would not like to be full time work as I get so tired and need to rest every so often. I have gone back to work but only for 2 x days for 5 hours per day and will gradually build up my hours, however I really lack enthusiasm. I too feel totally zapped and cant wait until I can feel truly happy again.

    I miss the days when I could have a good belly laugh. I don't socialize much any more as I feel too 'flat'.

    I totally had empathy with you as I feel the same way.

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  • Posted

    Oh gosh, empathise completely. I am 12 weeks out and also a teacher, due to go back the week after next. Also supposedly on track with PT etc but didn't expect so much swelling and discomfort to still be present at this stage. I am walking without aids (actually did 5 mile mountain hike last week) and not taking any meds unless I really need it but still don't feel right and my knee is uncomfortable, particularly when i have done a lot that day. Dreading the return to work frankly!

    You are really early days and I still felt awful at that stage. I couldn't have gone back to work then, no way. If you aren't ready you need to get signed off for a few more weeks, or at least organise a phased return. Teaching is seriously demanding and if you are like me you spend all day on your feet. You MUST make sure you are ready or you will wind up taking more time off in the long run. I wish you all the very best.

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    • Posted

      Where in the mountains did you hike? I managed a walk up a substantial hill (I wouldn't call it a mountain) after one day short of 11 weeks. I couldn't do it now. I don't know when I'll be able to do anything like that again.

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  • Posted

    Seven weeks after a TKR is very soon to go back to work. They tell you that you are on schedule with your physical therapy. There is no schedule for physical therapy, everyone is different you can't expect one recovery to be the same as another. If there is any possibility that you can take more time off work do so. By returning too soon you will not be doing yourself any favour. As a teacher you will be on your feet for a long time every day. Take as long as you can to recover before returning to work.

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  • Posted

    You're not giving yourself enough time. I TH

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  • Posted

    You're not giving yourself enough time. I TH

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  • Posted

    You're not giving yourself enough time. I TH

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  • Posted

    I had Right TKR in Aug 2018. Saw my consultant at 6 wks. I had been given FIT/sick note for 6 wks. I was dreading returning to work as am a mental health advocate going in and out of residential, nursing homes, specialist units, wards in hospitals. My consultant said no way. Gave me another fit/sick note for 4 wks. I then did staged return, half days. Then full alternate days. Don't rush it as its a confidence thing besides a musculoskeletal thing. Good luck.

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  • Posted

    Anne,im almost three years in and can honestly say that i am still progressing down the long highway of getting better.

    TIME!in all its shame is a necessary must and we all have differing rates of advancement.

    to keep your part of the bargain you must stay as flexible as possible and give the thing its own time.

    good luck

    Mike

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  • Posted

    All the replies you've received have been good advise. I was feeling pretty good at home, pottering around, doing light jobs about the house,I'd been off pain killers for weeks, so thought, yes I'll be fine to return to work now after taking 3 1/2 mths off. I was phased back in the first week. ( I do a lot of standing & running around ). The second week... Boy O boy ! I felt like I'd been hit by a ton of bricks ! I'd go to the canteen on my break & cry my eyes out with the pain, back on the painkillers ! So, as someone else said, if you can take more time off, then do so, your knee will thank you. GOOD LUCK whatever you decide.

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  • Posted

    Sorry , something went wrong with the device I replied on previously. it's on the blink! As I started to say, you're not giving yourself enough time. I thought I was fully recovered about 11 weeks in. Big mistake. I'm now four months in and have been battling with pain and stiffness, because I walked about way too much, including going on a hike and walking 7 miles in one day at a seaside resort. I have been taking things a lot easier in the last few weeks and it's beginning to a get a bit better. Of course, no one told me before the operation that it can take up to a year to fully recover. I learnt that after the operation! Don't rush anything.

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  • Posted

    anne63838 I have been through both knee replacements I felt the same way. Felt like I was just totally shot all the time. It all comes back slowly. Take it slow but at the same time push yourself a little also. I've come to realize taking plenty of rest brakes but also keeping moving helps to regain your stamina. I'm only 47 and it is a slow,slow recovery but it keeps getting better.

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  • Posted

    I've read that it takes a full three months for energy levels to be restored. I'm 72 and 11 weeks after tkr and felt exactly the same for most of that time. Suddenly my energy level would just plummet and I'd have no option but to take myself to bed for a couple of hours. Frustrating and depressing, but I promise you it does pass as you get stronger. I'm pretty much back to most activities and doing my physio exercises every day, but still find I'm getting tired more quickly than I used to. 7 weeks seem a very short time to be going back to work. Even though I am retired, my release letter from the hospital automatically put down 3 months sick leave. Can you get any further sick leave? I wish you well and good luck on returnin gto work.

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  • Posted

    Anne, I am slightly ahead of you at 12 weeks post op. I was struggling with extreme exhaustion, muscle aches, and weakness 3 weeks after surgery. I knew from the prior TKR, 3 years ago, something was not right. After discussing my symptoms with my primary care doctor, a blood test revealed an under-performing thyroid gland was responsible for my extreme weakness and exhaustion. After 4 weeks on the proper dose of thyroid meds, my non-TKR physical symptoms subsided, which allowed me to give full effort to TKR recovery. Just a thought, a painful and exhausting TKR recovery may be due, in part, to other conflicting physical issues in addition to the expected TKR challenges. Best wishes on your journey to pain-free living.

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