I'm becoming depressed after 6 weeks of having an tkr because I have a very little range of motion

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I had surgery on Feb. 0,2018. The surgery went well and I was home the next day, and the following week I started in home physical therapy for the first two weeks. I just completed my 4th session of pt today in a very good facility. But since I've been going to therapy I've seen several people that had surgery within in the past three weeks and hey are doing a lot better than I am as for as being able to bend my knee, and this is really affecting me mentally,  

I'm doing doing the exercises and home, I'm not just sitting around, I moving around, doing little things around the house, driving short distances.  Because my knee is not bending its hard getting in and out of the car. and just trying to do as much as I can doing the day.  The pain is not that bad and I'm try not to take them so much being they are affecting my stomach.  

I have an appointment with the Doctor on the 26 of this month, but in the meaning time I am really becoming a bit concerned. 

I am a pr-k teacher and I was planning on going back to work after Spring break next month but right now I am not sure that I may be able to.  

I'm going to be 59 in May, I have always been active, I not overweight, I 5'8 and again very active.

My friends says that people heal different because of several reasons.  It is really frustrating because I feel like I working to get better and its not happening.  I still have swelling and some pain which sometimes is tolaraterable sometimes not.  

I just want to know has and or is anyone experiencing this amount of stiffness besides me.  

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14 Replies

  • Posted

    i am 10 weeks post op and every day is different. My bend is not 90 degrees yet. 

    I got severely depressed, cried every day. I finally traveled out of town to see a PT. Much to my surprise, I learned a lot from my PT.  In two weeks I gained strength, to a point of walking 20 steps with one crutch. My bend was improving. Now i had a setback, my knee locks up in my sleep, excruciating pain, like having a MUA without anesthesia! So now I have to sleep with a metal brace, back on pain pills to get rest at night time. I am scheduled for an mri on 3/23/18. 

    It hits you hard mentally. I mean i was a strong lady, I was always busy, worked full time and had my own business. 

    Its a nightmare I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. 

    Don’t lose hope. We have to keep telling ourselves this is temporary. From all that I read, it could take 1 year or more to fully recover.  

    I hope this helps, I have so much more i can talk about.... my heart goes out to all who suffer with the knee. It’s sad to hear the stories 

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    • Posted

      Hi Lorraine,

      I'm so sorry you are having such a hard time, but this too shall pass.  I'm 2 days post-op from my second tkr and this one is already like night and day from the first one.  Like you, my first one really took a toll on me, thought I would never get through it...I did, so will you!  Sounds like your trip to another PT helped you.  I had a heck of a time with my bend, knee was so stiff, still a bit stiff, but as you've probably read in other posts, that can take a year or more to improve.  I know having patience is tough when you're going through this, but know there is a light at the e d of the tunnel and you will make it!  Hang in there, keep in touch.

      Many blessings,


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  • Posted

    You have to be patient and not compare your recovery to others. Every TKR patient has different recovery experiences. I am nearing a year post op and have had many ups and downs. It was only last month that I hit a rom of 127/0. Just keep doing your exercises. Extra pt also helps if you can get it. Hang in there.
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  • Posted

    Hi i have pretty much felt like you have but it does get better and I’m sure others will say the same. I’m nearly 7 weeks post op and am on 90 degree bend. I do get frustrated at times but persevere with the exercises as I want a knee that functions. Although I have physio once a week at the hospital I am seeking a private physio to see if he can help me along. It is a long process but we all recover differently. I’m so glad I fell upon this forum, only been here a few days and have had some great advice.

    Stick with it and take even 1 hour at a time.  

    Keep up the good work 😊

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  • Posted

    Hi Marian I too started to get anxious almost immediately about "the bend" after the lady in the bed next to me in hospital announced she felt something give and was able to bend her knee really well.  I struggled so much and at one point they weren't going to let me go home as I only had something like 50 degree.  I was then having weekly visits by a physiotherapist who showed me different exercises but I was still worried that I still couldn't bend my knee very well and it didn't help when a so called friendly smugly announced she was feeling great at six weeks.  I remember feeling very down for a while.  I was doing the exercises every day.  Going for little walks twice a day, but still was very tight and stiff.  I also could not sleep on my back as I couldn't straighten my leg.  I think the turning point for me was when I read somewhere to raise the bottom of my bed.  Wow what a difference.  Its comfortable!!  Then I was signed up for a physio class at my hospital and at the same time started going to my gym.  Gradually my knee is feeling better.  At nearly 15 weeks I don't have pain but do feel the band like tightness everyone is talking about.  I still can't cycle annoyingly buy I feel my limp is less noticeable.  Please don't get disheartened.  It will get better.  I still have a long way to go but feel I am getting there slowly.  So will you.


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  • Posted

    "I was planning on going back to work after Spring break next month..."  Probably a long shot at best.  I've read thousands of posts on the Forum over two years.  The people with the most success return to work in the 4-6 month range.  At three months, many, many people who've tried report a lot of pain, welling, insomnia and more...and then have to get up the next day and do it again.

    This is all because they haven't given the knee a chance to heal...PLUS...they have not achieved their 0 / +120 ROM...and...have not done all the work to rebuild their dead quads, glutes and core.  People usually start outside PT at 2-3 weeks and go for 10 weeks @ 2X/week.  That would put you at 3 months and have yet to start the strengthening which will take up more months before the knee can take the pressure of all those steps every day.

    Yes, there are exceptions as we've seen on the Forum...but it's not a good scenario for the majority of people.  You can try some of these at home...


    ...followed by the exercise and stairs programs...



    Post this on your fridge...


    You don't get to tell the knee when it's time to go back to work...the knee tells you.

    The whole recovery takes a year.  

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  • Posted

    I had my TKR on Jan 31.  I am still in lots of pain, my ROM is just at 70.  this has been a horrible experience for me.  sort of wish I had not had the surgery.  Oh, and Yes, my knee is very stiff when I first get up ....  im sorry that we are both having these problems.  


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  • Posted

    Work on reducing the swelling as much as possible, icing and elevating, and resting are as important as movement and exercises...both are k mportant.

    Six weeks seems to be quite a common point to feel low. People feel they should be better than they are at that point. But this is a long process!

    I can remember some horrid mood troughs in the first 6 months...it is so easy to dwell on the lows and also to compare oneself with how other people are doing. Try not to add to your own suffering by comparing yourself. Easy to say, harder to do, I know, but it is important.

    Those mood troughs! They seem to be part and parcel of having major surgery. And with a knee replacement, as well as having had major surgery there is also the addition of reduced mobility. Well, not exactly reduced, rather limited in duration. Because it is a matter of pacing things carefully and will be for at the very least six months and possibly more.

    An awareness of restrictions surfaces now and again, and the consciousness of this is bound to make one feel anxious and low in mood. Because while before having the surgery you have your restrictions, you imagine having the surgery and them all being taken away. Well, this is true, but it is not quite like that. There is a kind of purgatory phase, between having the surgery, and reaping the benefits in full. And this is a difficult and challenging experience.

    It is the awareness, ever more present than it has ever previously been in one’s life, that one is not a master of time!

    The time it takes to heal is not something we can control and so demands of us a level of patience and understanding that we may not have previously extended towards ourselves.

    I hope you feel better soon. Comedy, music, flowers, sunshine...Try and give yourself everything which has a positive effect on your mood.

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your response, it is so well written that I have copied it so can reread!    I am in the purgatory phase...I thought I would be in the 5% of folks that after 9 weeks would be back to "normal"...but my knee has other ideas.  My ROM has been stuck for weeks now at 0/100 and my wound has not healed completely because of an allergic reaction I had to the glue they used to close the wound.  Patience, something I was never good at so I guess now is the time to learn that life's lesson!!!!

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  • Posted

    I am at 8:weeks and doing better, still having issues with bend and straighten. I had an infection that took me off a week. I also cried everyday and at on point thought the antibiotics were going to kill me. Just ha g in there, rest, ice and don’t over do it. 

    Good Luck

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  • Posted

    Hi Marian I am at same stage as you 6 weeks post op and facing the same problems I am struggling with taking pain relief as they all affect my stomach so decided to give my body a break from them for last 5 days, I am also attending 2 weekly physio which is proving very difficult my ROM is at 80-85 and now my physio is pushing for me to have manipulation I didn't do much exercise in 1st couple of weeks because the meds made me feel so poorly I do my home exercises now and ice lots and elevate but it so so stiff ,I couldn't think about driving yet I feel like I am way behind compared to my other TKR 5 years ago

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    • Posted

      Hi Mary sorry it's taken so long to reply to your msg I have only just read it I get a bit confused as to how this site works anyway, I had my 3 month check with surgeon yesterday and he said everything looked great so happy to see me on 9 months as you are around 12 weeks now I am interested to know if you managed to come off the med's and how you are coping , my knee is still stiff can walk unaided but after a while I have to take a break

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