Help needed

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14 weeks post left TKR, right knee still needs doing. I need your help, at 6 weeks I still couldn't lift leg and I developed an infection but this was contained to one stitch hole and didn't spread. Leg lifted like nothing had happened and infection cleared. Worked really hard on physio at home but disappointed with NHS physio (4 week waiting list and no real exercise in front of physio until 8 weeks). This forum helped me through all that. Visited consultant at 6/7 weeks who said 90 degree bend was standard and to work on straightening as around 4. Didn't actually see Consultant  but another registrar who I had never met. Asked to see me again at 14 weeks (today) to check infection clear. Consultant not there so saw yet another person who said 90 degree bend ( can't move it past this) is now what I am stuck with as too late for manipulation ( I asked last time if possible and doctor said to wait). My knee still has the tight band feeling and is really uncomfortable, doctor said some people are stuck permanently like this and get used to it. I am only 51 and feel disappointed. My other knee is bone on bone and keeps collapsing and desperately needs doing as preventing me from walking without a stick and limp. Not sure what to do... the only wY I can describe my new knee is the knee cap feels wired together and so tight. Do I push to go back again and ask to see consultant or can I do exercise in the gym myself to try to improve? 

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8 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Susiemah,  I'll tell you about mine.  I  had RTKR Oct 2015 and LTKR 10 weeks ago. When I had the RTKR done I developed infections in BOTH legs.  The infection in the right leg was very large but I was ok with antibiotics, I didn't need anything else to be done.  The knee took a long time to feel better.  My thought was that it makes the knee so much more painful and makes the recovery longer.  LTKR I have been progressing great, no problems.  Before they took me into theatre I asked if they could do some manipulation of the right leg.  They didn't because the trend in Oz is not to do one because it's too drastic and the benefits don't outweigh that.  The comment they made was interesting, they said that it had to be done before 18 months to be useful.  For me it would have been before the 18 month mark, but I was ok with that.  So - I've still been somewhat in the same boat that you're in from the sounds of it. It was a toss up to decide which knee to do first.  So we picked the right knee.  It is still somewhat uncomfortable, but after the LTKR I just decided to push and push it and it's coming good. Before I had the LTKR done I did a lot to strengthen the left knee - known as prehab.  I did hydrotherapy every day and kept up the strength that I could.  It was like I was only focused on that and it has certainly paid off.  I believe that the left knee has come good so much earlier because of that work and because I'm pushing it so hard now.

    So - summary to make it easier - from what I was told 18 months is not too late and it's so hard to strengthen up if the other knee is still having problems.  I think you don't have anything to lose by doing gym work.  Just my opinion and not medical or PT person at all. Good luck and keep us posted.

  • Posted

    90-degrees is not really normal, especially for someone who's as young as you are.  If you don't push it further, it can affect the way you walk, sit, squat and more for the rest of your life.  I'd work with a PT and get more flexion.

    That tight, band-like feeling is completely normal...could last 12-18 months or more. Some of it may be due to your lack of flexion.  You may need to do more squats and then hit the gym and do leg presses and curls. Talk to your PT...

    • Posted

      I think people having TKR should be told they will need to do a daily exercise programme for six months! And continue beyond that at least two days a week! The surgeon does their bit but the operation continues for a year!
    • Posted

      I agree 90 is not normal but since it has been so long after surgery her joint may have scar tissue causing an impediment
  • Posted

    No, not stuck with 90 degree, it can continue to improve I believe but just happens more slowly, feel quite cross this has been said to you! However I would push to see consultant definately. 14 weeks I had still a lot of stiffness. Still do sometimes. I am five months post op now. Can you lift your leg in a straight leg raise now? Worth getting both surgeon and more physio. One has to push hard for things in the NHS for sure. Will take time for muscles to strengthen, for you exercising in water would be tremendously helpful, if you are not doing already. I believe you are going to get a lot more improvement. When things are tough, hold onto this.
  • Posted

    Hi Susiemah. I am only 48 and had both of mine done together in February of this year. Did you have new knee caps as well? I did and at 5 months they do still feel really tight with straps. I have been told that this will get better. Like anything it just takes time.Part of my knees still feel knumb to touch. As to the bend. I have always had a good bend. But I did work a lot of physio to get it. You are still recovering so there is time. Have you a cycle as this is good for the bend. But the easiest is to do t watching TV but you do been a chair on legs. use your good foot to gently push back the other foot and just keep on doing it and it just gets easier. the other is to place your foot on something slippy (Or even a carrier bag) just so it slides easier. But you do have to do it for hours hence why it is easier to do it without thinking watching TV
  • Posted


    ?We all get told different things. I had a very poor band 65 -85 max, as knee was so stiff, swollen and painful, had MUA at 10 weeks. Consultant said best before 12 weeks as after that, harder to break the scars, more risk of damage to leg. But other people have had much later MUA and been OK.

    ?The procedure was a great help, in theatre they got 95, with continued physio it got yo 110, and they say it can continue to improve over time. So, I cannot say if it is too late for you, but there are surgeons out there who would do this according to others on these and similar forums. Maybe ask for a second (or third?) opinion.

    ?You may also be able to increase your bend with ongoing physio, exercise and time. The tight band feeling is common, very unpleasant and I have this issue even after MUA. Told it may go in time. I'm going to a sports therapist to improve odds of improvement and it seems to help so far, though I have missed a couple due to illness unfortunately. I'm not yet convinced the TKR has been worth it for me, but as it can be healing for a year or even more, it is too soon to judge. I hope you will find yours will make progress soon.

  • Posted

    Hi Susiemah.

    I'm 53 and bilateral tkr on May 22nd this year .

    I had trouble with my right knee because a screw from a surgery in 1991 stripped out and the surgeon had to remove it with a bone chisel .

    I had a great deal of pain in my right knee , and thought it wasn't healing properly. My surgeon ordered multiple x-Ray'S and was very supportive. i had 4 days of therapy before I left the hospital, and could walk with a cane by the 3rd day. I then developed an infection in right knee and the incision started re-opening , so the staples in the right knee strayed in an extra week. My surgeon told me that if I could stand the pain that I shouldn't be able to damage the new joint by exercise. At the same time while going to therapy there were people that had partial , and complete replacements on only one knee that the therapist would tell them to stop when it hurt , and they did . I was told by my surgeon that even with complications I was still better off doing everything I could physically stand every time I exercised. I'm at 9 weeks now and can bend left knee to 116' and right to 111' ( although with great effort and pain on right knee ) the other patients in therapy are from a different dr , and I do think I overdo if often , I think the others are suffering because their doctors are not giving them goals and urging them on . I wanted all my movement back and I will get it , even if I have to have further surgery on my right knee . If it takes to long to get movement back in a knee I'm told scar tissue can develope in the new joint and that will stop you from getting all your movement back . Be tough always communicate with your doctor and try as hard as you can . The effort pays off in the long run

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