How long before I see improvement?

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I am nearly 9 weeks post op and making good progress. My bend is good (not sure of degrees as they don't measure it at physio sessions but physio says it's good) but I need to improve leg extension. Physio says it's nearly there but I'm working on exercises to improve it. What worries me is I still get stiffness and pain in muscles at the back of leg, thigh down to calf on outside of knee and also some at inner knee. My consultant told me this is because I'd been walking wrongly for so long before op when I was unable to straighten my leg that they will take time to readjust. I just wonder how long this will take? Do I need to get the leg completely straight before the muscles will loosen up? I wondered if anyone who is 3/6 months or more post op who could tell me of their experiences. I know everyone is different but any encouragement or advice would be welcome. Thanks.

Jen 

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  • Posted

    Hi Jen,

    i like you had not walked properly for years and I also had a deformity in that my leg was markedly bent by the time I had surgery. My Physio told me that it can take a long time for the whole limb to realign and for muscles to readjust to a new position and way of walking, I seem to remember it may take up to a year or even longer depending on how long your walking was abnormal prior to surgery. I'm not sure if I told you about the leg extensions I was doing but they certainly helped get my leg straight and the straighter the more stable apparently. Have you tried pushing your knee downwards into the mattress when you're in bed and holding it for 5 secs? That helped too. Again I think it's time and patience, good luck

    Debx

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    • Posted

      Thanks, Deb. Yes I do the one pushing my knee down into the mattress and holding. I also do one on my tummy and holding leg over end of bed with a weight on and also one sitting on chair with foot on other chair with weight over thigh and letting gravity pull leg down. I'm easing off on the one on my tummy as I think it's affecting my back. What other leg extensions did you do? I know the answer is the same old one - time and patience, as you say! Do you still get much pain? Jen x
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    • Posted

      I do, not the acute sort of pain that you get at first but the discomfort has certainly increased the more unaided walking I'm doing. The other extensions I do are pretty common I think and you may well be doing them already. I sit in a chair and extend so that my leg is straight out in front and hold for 5 secs, I do 25 of those, I then extend my leg straight again but swing the leg out to the side from the hip and again hold for 5 secs, you can feel the pull in your inner thigh on that one and again I do 25. I try to do a set of each ideally every other hour but I know the more walking I do the number of sets decreases but I still try 3 - 4 times a day. The private Physio I saw said getting the leg straight was key and so my focus has been on extension from the start and I do feel my thigh muscles are a bit  stronger now. I have had problems as I said for years and as a result had a lot of muscle wastage but I did try doing some exercises and a bit on a stationary bike pre op which I have no doubt helped. I think a lot depends on your starting point and basically how much ground you have to make up. Personally it's a lot for me but my knee had been and was absolutely knackered for ages and the deformity didn't help. I am however sporting a lovely straight limb now but getting to used to walking on it, not easy. You get a bit sick and tired of being patient don't you, I know I certainly do, in fact some days I feel like a petulant child, I WANT IT NOW! But hey in reality it ain't gonna happen as we all know but still rail against. Nice talking to you Jen, not sure I've been much help but ask anything, anytime, good to be able to share with people in the same boat

      Debx

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    • Posted

      Thanks, Deb. Yes, I think that's my problem, being sick and tired of being patient! I haven't done the one swinging my leg to the side so will give that a go. I've been feeling a bit better in myself this week (which is great) so I feel like doing more but, of course, get frustrated then when the leg aches! Yes, It's so good to share these feelings with someone in the same boat. Thanks a lot.

      Jen x

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  • Posted

    Every time I go through this process (now in my 3rd) I am more and more aware that straight is more important than bend. The thing that I continually have to do is slow down and stress to make sure I am actually taking a full length stride and not just bouncing along to get somewhere in a hurry. That just reinforces the old way of walking when I was was just trying to avoid pain. You could be a year but don't be impatient and discouraged. Slowly you will just be upright and strolling along at a pace you have long since forgotten.
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    • Posted

      Thanks Oldfatguy. I'll heed your advice on taking the long strides. I think I need to build up my walks a bit, going around the supermarket isn't the same is it? Perhaps I just need to be realistic and look forward to all the long walks I can take next summer😊 

      Jen x

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  • Posted

    Hi Jen,

    I always follow your blog with interest because I am at the same stage as you - 9 weeks next Tuesday. Your question today is almost exactly like what I was going to ask! I felt I was coming along pretty well until about week 7. I really feel the achiness now in my knee & it radiates down to my lower leg & foot . I too have good bend but can't straighten my leg flat yet. My PT works on it, pushing it down manually and the next day I really feel the soreness & achiness after she's done that. I also do the exercises you & Deb were talking about. Like Deb, my knee/leg was also deformed & out of alignment. How far along are you Deb? Just want to say how nice it is to read about your experiences to know what I'm going through is "normal' . I'll think of both of you while doing my leg extensions smile. Thank you both

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    • Posted

      Hi Betty,

      I'm 13 weeks now, I think my progress has been slightly slower because my other knee is on the list for repacement too. I ventured to the supermarket today , it had become quite a big thing in my head and I needed to grasp the nettle, needless to say it was fine, another example of how anticipation of the event is worse than it turns out to be. Neither knee is impressed with the extra exercise so I'm having a bit of a rest this afternoon. I too will think of you when I do my exercises, extend away Betty, all the best

      Debx

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    • Posted

      Hi Betty, thanks for your response. It sounds like we're experiencing the same thing and, as you say, it's good to know it's "normal". I wonder if mine is worse as I'm trying to do more normal things e.g. Just made a cake and found it soo hard standing to do it. Yet I don't think sitting around all the time is good for it! Must be sensible I suppose and get the balance right. Hopefully, all these leg extensions will pay off for us all in time. Keep in touch. It's so good to compare.

      Jen x

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    • Posted

      Oh bless your heart Deb! When are you scheduled for your next TKR? Is this knee as bad as your other one was? I can see how that would hinder your progress if your other knee is causing you pain as well!

      Yes, things do seem a little daunting until you actually do it, then find it wasn't so bad after all ( sometimes smile

      You still have a long journey ahead of you after your second surgery. Maybe having been through it once, it will be a little easier for you. I hope so Deb.  Always enjoy reading your blogs, as well as Jen because we are at the same point in this adventure.

      Take care!

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    • Posted

      Hi Jen,

      Oh yes, I know what you mean about standing too long! We were at an art reception last night, a lot of standing, and my knee & leg were aching like crazy. As I said before, this achiness is new, meaning I didn't feel it until around week 7. It keeps me awake at night now too. I'm wondering if I'm feeling it more because the numbness is wearing off.

      Are you still on pain meds? I was taking Hydrocodone and still take one a day, especially before my physical therapy. Over the counter meds don't help at all. Even the Hydrocodone does not take all the pain or achiness away but I think it helps relax & loosen me up before all the exercising.

      Take care Jen and I look forward to continuing to compare notes smile

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    • Posted

      Hi Betty, I just take paracetamol now. I can't really say it has much effect though. I just got fed up of taking the stronger cocodamol. I still take 2 of those at night sometimes though.you're right this aching seems to have got worse the last few weeks. I put it down to doing more. Going to chill out with a glass of wine tonight though😊 Keep in touch.

      Jen x

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    • Posted

      Hi Betty, next knee due Spring 2015, second knee more painful but no deformity in that leg and I do think it will help knowing what to expect. Bit daunting though and not looking forward to repeating the process one bit but hey, no pain no gain don't they say. I wonder if that as the swelling subsides there's a bit more play in the joint and that, coinciding with the increased activity makes for the additional achiness. As Jen said it's getting the balance right, bit of exercise, bit of rest, bit of standing , bit of sitting. When did my knee become the sole focus of my very existence? Well maybe not the sole focus, just feels like that some days. Enjoy what's left of the weekend ladies, keep in touch

      Debx

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