How long did you take off work?

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I had a partial (patella femoral) replacement 4.5 weeks ago. Before hand I was told I would need 6 weeks off. However physio said this is very optimistic, more likely 8 weeks.

My bend is 90 degrees but extension still at -10. Pain is bearable but some days worse than others.

I am so incredibly tired though and still falling asleep in the day. The thought of being back at work in 10 days scares me (not started driving yet, told earliest for that is 6 weeks post op).

Interested to know when others went back to work and how was it?


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8 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Debs

    ?It never stops amazing me how the 'professionals' seem to think a partial knee is a walk in the park.

    I had a medial replacement 8 months ago and it is still in the recovery phase even though I exercise every day.

    ?I would say it took almost three months to actually get over the trauma of the surgery. I needed to rest and didn't drive for 8 weeks. At three months I did go on a long haul flight and a holiday of a lifetime and did a lot of walking but needed to take pain meds and iced my knee most days.  I was a fit 62 year old who swam and walked several times a week until my knee no longer allowed it. I did swim until 3 weeks before so thought I was fit enough. I don't think you are ever fit enough for this operation. You just have to do your best.

    ?I am lucky in that I no longer work but know of a friend who did a phased return after 12 weeks. I would say that 3 months is the best you could do for comfort but realise financially that may not be possible for many.

    ?On Tuesday of this week I am going in for the other knee doing. Not something I wanted to do after only 8 months but it is now so bad (Taking all the hammer for 3 months off the other knee didn't help) I am almost housebound and it is having an effect on my new knee. And of course my quality of life.

    ?If at all possible delay your return to work or at least make it part time. This operation and a whole knee can take a year to fully recover.

    ?A friend of mine has had a total knee and a partial knee and she says both need the same recovery. In both cases she was back skiing in 7 months so there is hope for us all.

    Good Luck hope this helps answer your query.

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  • Posted

    Hi, I had TKR in September, phased return/part-time after 3 months but I think even that was too early!  I stand up mostly all day, this didn’t help my bend though and I’ve just had to have an MUA at 6 months.  You need to consider the kind of work you do and discuss with your doctor before deciding when to return. Listen to your body. Hope all goes well. Sharon
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  • Posted

    If you can take more time off, do.

    I didn't get back to normal routines and activities til 4 months post op. At six months I felt fully back to my normal energy levels. Did a bit of admin and computer work before then but was soooooooo tired.

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  • Posted

    Hi Debs ,you're is different to a total knee replacement which mine is ,yours is a knee cap.I am taking pain relief which is the hydrocodone the slow release 10pm at night as 10am in the morning along with paracetamol and I take the same hydrocodone but a lesser dose 2 hourly .The recovery time is 3 to 6 months ,in May I will have been off work 4 months from the operation my physio isn't going too good at the moment I will be going every week for 6 weeks ,I don't think I will be going back to work in May ,each person is different,I was told that you need to be walking without a limp and the pain relief is morphine so until you are off those you will be tired all the time ,I personally think that it's a long slow progress to full recovery,I am also on Crutches for 6 weeks ,don't know if that helps ,but I would think your doctor would sign you off surely you can't work whilst taking controlled medication and crutches if you are using them .

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  • Posted

    Thanks everyone. I just feel pressured as everyone thinks I sound be back at work and not feeling tired as it was 'only' a partial. Although my surgeon did say he still cuts through the same amount of muscle, ligaments etc and is just as much trauma as a full.

    I think I maybe will see if I can get a certificate for another 4 weeks. Well talk to physio on Tuesday. I really don't think physically or mentally I could cope back at work yet!

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  • Posted

    Hey there!

    I had a left medial on 1/11.  OS told me to expect 4-6 weeks off work.  I got 6 approved but was thinking I would attempt the four.  Piece of cake, right?   Wrong.  First two weeks were brutal...low energy, no appetite, pain, depression.  Turned a corner week three but was no where near being able to think about returning in four weeks.  I opted for the six.  I was fortunate with PT and general recovery - my bend was 96 at two weeks and at five it was 131 without PT assistance.  I did struggle to get to zero as my MCL was giving me a fit.  Did finally achieve it at week five, with a passive of 2.  Bursa around the cut nerves to left of knee cap is still swelling a bit more than the rest of the knee but both PT and OS are confident it will resolve - and some days it is better than others and is slowly improving overall.   Knee does stiffen and swell at varying degrees (seems to go with the weather) but OS says to expect several more months of that.  Still doing PT once a week for the next few months.  Take 1/2 oxy on occasion for comfort.    I am in Finance (so a desk jockey) but get up and walk on the hour, do heel slides under the desk and prop leg up on occasion.   Elevate and ice 20 on/20 off for a couple hours after dinner.  Reading these posts clearly indicates that everyone’s experience is quite different.  I feel very fortunate to be doing pretty darn well at this stage.  Key is positive attitude, continue your PT and home exercises, and, what I find helps me tremendously, is to look back at how I felt at the beginning and how that has changed each week up to where I am now.   

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  • Posted

    HI Debs

    I had PKR May15. I went back to work at 4 weeks . I started part time . I run a business and work in it so I had no choice. It was tough going for many weeks . I iced all throughout the day as often as I could and basically just crashed when I got home.

    If you can get more time off it would be good . If not just try to do the iceing and elevate if possible during the day . Also remember to drink lot of water and eat good as your body is under extreme stress and all that helps the healing processes .

    All the best !


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  • Posted

    Hi Debs, you just need to listen to your body as to when you're ready to go back to work! Your physio is nearer the mark but some need far longer. 

    Surgeons always say 6 weeks & you'll be back at work! They obviously have never had their legs sliced & diced!! And don't believe anyone who says you've ONLY had a PKR! ONLY!? The operation is much the same, the same length of incision is made, the same flesh & muscle is cut. Not much difference in my mind, still a major operation, still needs a lot of rest, recuperation & just getting over the op, as TKR! That's without rehab, physio etc. 

    If you ask when should you go back to work I would say how long is a piece of string?? You will instinctively know when you are strong enough, mentally & physically to return to work, when your knee is working better & you feel able to cope. If you are not at that stage, don't let anyone make you feel you have go back.

    I went back to work on a phased return, after my 1st TKR, at 12 weeks. Some have taken a lot longer, some went back a lot quicker. I am now retired & haven't had that worry time this time.  I totally understand the stress of being expected to go back to work when you aren't ready!

    If you don't have to go back for financial reasons then don't go back. Give yourself the time you need to fully recover & get that knee in as optimal condition as you can.



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