I have just had a full knee replacement 12 days ago. Is this tightness normal?

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Yesterday my knee tightened up so much that I am finding very difficult to do my exercises. It has stayed tight all night and into today. I keep getting out of my chair and walking around the house with the crutches but it doesn't help very much.  Should I force the knee to bend when sitting down or am I making it worse? I contacted my GP but she just said it was fluid build up and to elevate it. I don't see my consultant until end of September so am a bit worried there may be something wrong. Please help.

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  • Posted

    Tightness is quite normal.  I am nearly 8 weeks post op and am feeling it right this minute.  Sometimes it feels like a tight band or vice round my knee.  Try to ice the knee regularly and elevate as often as possible.  

    Oh the joys of a knee replacement!

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    • Posted

      Many thanks Lynn. I have tried my bending excersices but cannot bend very much due to this awful tightness. As you say - the joys of knee replacement!  Going to ice it now. Thanks again

       

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    • Posted

      Yes, I think the tightness is normal. I'm 4 weeks post op and still get it. I've used ice a lot and try to elevate it but find it difficult to get comfortable with my leg up! I peresevered with the exercises in the early days and I think it's important that we try to do that. My physio told me to massage the sides of the wound and also behind the knee. Maybe it's early days for you to do the wound but you could perhaps try behind the knee. Do you see a physio before your consultant's appointment? Hope things improve for you.

      Jen

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    • Posted

      Hi Jennifer. Thank you for that. I have been using ice but as the tightness is so tight - if that makes sense - I have trouble trying to bend it. It just doesn't want to go! I have physio this Friday so hopefully that will help but I will try your suggestion regarding massaging around the wound area. Thanks again.
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  • Posted

    I used some heat to loosen my muscles a little before exercising after my swelling was near gone.  I know that helped me...  Then I iced after.  Seems all physio techs have their own thory, but the heat helped me.  I'm three plus weeks post op, so able to bath.  Last night I had a nice warm-hot bath and did some exercises in the tub.  That felt great too.  I also elevate when I can as well.  I massage around my incision and I'm trying to get rid of that super sensitive skin feeling.  Good luck..
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    • Posted

      Thanks for the advice. I haven't tried heat yet although I have been using ice.  I can't remember when I last had a bath as I have had a bad knee for such a long time! A bath sounds like bliss. I will give it a go once my staples are removed later this week though!!
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  • Posted

    Hi Ruby, just as the other folks have said, your tightness is very normal, especially at only 12 days.i am 4 weeks this week and my knee is still extremely stiff. I'm going in for my post op today so I'm anxious to hear what he has to say about my progress.I'm curious though, are you and others out there still on pain Meds? I was on them but they made me very depressed so I stopped for a few days. The pain and stiffness made it difficult to do the exercises so I caved in and started taking them again. Have others experienced this?thank you, Betty
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    • Posted

      Hi Betty thanks for replying. I am still on pain killers - paracetamol and tramadol. I don't really think they are doing much though. I was on codeine in the hospital but I became light headed and had a few chest pains.  They all stopped when I came off of the codeine though. I know I need to keep persevering with the exercises but it really is so hard with the knee being so stiff and tight all the time.  Hope all went well with your post op. Keep up the exercises!  Good luck Betty.
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    • Posted

      Hi Betty, it's interesting to hear your comments. I'm at about the same stage as you and have the same dilemma. My knee is still stiff and painful. I tried cutting down to lower dosage co codamol a few days ago but then decided to go back on the stronger ones. They make me rather sluggish though and I would like to cut them down but want to really stretch with the exercises. It's so hard isn't it? I'll be interested to know how you get on at your post op appointment. I can put up with the discomfort if I know it won't last! But, at the moment, I'm getting quite disheartened. It's reassuring to know others are experiencing the same thing though.

      Jen

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    • Posted

      Hi Jennifer, just got back from my 4 week post op and I received a good report. He said I was ahead of the calendar & could tell I've been doing the exercises, even though my knee is still very stiff & sore. We talked about the pain Meds - I'm on HYDROcodone. He told me to start weaning myself off them slowly, but also said how important it was to take them if pain is making exercises difficult to do. You can actually do damage if exercises are not done properly. I've decided to take one a day (two if necessary) about an hour before my physical therapy or exercising at home. That is quite a reduction of the doseage but still takes the edge off to be able to do the exercises. Yes there is still pain when exercising, but it's all normal and I was reassured it does get better! 

      Hope my experience helps you somewhat. I knew going in the physical therapy would be the most difficult, but oh so important for the healing process. Yes, it is hard! Good luck Jennifer, Betty

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    • Posted

      Thanks, Betty. Glad you had a good report even though you're still stiff. It's good to know the discomfort is normal. I might try cutting the cocodamol down gradually as you say. I too am determined to keep up with the exercises. I go again for physio on Thursday. Will let you know how I get on.

      good luck to you too.

      Jen

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  • Posted

    Hi Ruby,

    i am now 5 weeksost op. This sounds perfectly normal to me.i was the same and I just forced the knee to bend. I used a lot of ice , on the top and back of the knee . I dud thus before and after the exercises and it really helped.  I found after about 14 days it started  to settle down and be less painful .straighten my knee was always really painful at the back of the knee . And bending seemed almost as though the scar could burst, but it really doesn't . Keep really pushing those exercises you will really see benifit soon 

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    • Posted

      Thanks Pam.  You are so right, it does feel like the scar is about to bust open when I bend it! I will keep at though as I don't want all this pain to be for nothing. All this advice has been so very helpful.  Thank you.
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  • Posted

    Keep us informed how you are doing 
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  • Posted

    I found, once the staples are removed, it does reduce the tightness somewhat...But I still had the feeling that the scar was going to kind of undo like a zip that's broken.  But of course I knew it wouldn't...
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    • Posted

      Thanks Pete. I should have the staples out tomorrow. I hope it does ease off a bit as I cannot do the bend exercise very well.  By the way I read your blog regarding your knee op, it was really informative and I kept thinking " that's happening to me now". It made me feel a bit better - thanks.  Hope your pain is easing a bit now.
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    • Posted

      Awwwww....thanks for reading my blog...I suppose it's a bit heavy going really, and I would imagine takes some stamina to get to the end....Did you see the video, where my staples were removed?....I was expecting it to hurt a lot...but it didn't...Just a slight amount of 'pulling'....
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    • Posted

      I didn't watch the video as I am a coward! I am dreading having them out tomorrow but have heard from others that it isn't painful. I'll reserve judgement until tomorrow though. 
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    • Posted

      Ok Pete, I will watch it.  I've got to stop being such a baby about all this! I was also awake through my op so it can't be any worse than that - although to be fair that was a weird experience.
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