Knee Replacement - Pre-op, Post-op tips to share?

Posted , 15 users are following.

Hi everyone,  

My name is Jan and I am having my left knee replaced next month, total joint replacement.  I will also have the right one done but probably not until next year.

Can anyone share any adivce?  Tips?  Things you thought of after your operation that you wished you had thought of before the op?  Things to do in advance - or any shock surprises things you did not expect afterwards?  Good and bad?

How active are you in the first week or two?  Is it OK to rest with your leg up, and then do your exercises in between, or are you expected to be up moving all the time?     And how did you manage to sleep at night?  I read you are not meant to put a pillow under your knee.  How were you able to sleep comfortably?

Really, anything you can share would be helpful - even including the pain, good or bad - it just would help put my mind at ease a bit if i could know what to expect from those who have been through it.  It is probably not as bad as my imagination is. 

I am very nervous.  I broke both my knees when I was 19 (in 1979) and have had 9 or 10 surgeries since then - 4 or 5  just to fix them, and then more ti keep them ticking over and those ones were keyhole surgery which was a doddle - but I am remembering the pain I felt when the did the original ligament repairs and what not - the 4 or 5, they were very painful surgeries/recoveries - and I am very anxious remembering it - so anything to put my mind at ease is a good thing - even if it means knowing the cold hard truth!!  

So please - share away if you would - I would be so grateful.   

I should add I have become extremely sedentary - so have put weight on - and I know that will impede my recovery.  

0 likes, 53 replies

53 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Jan! If you look on my profile you will see I have written all about my own personal experience of TKR. There is lots of good input here. Remember it is different for everyone, but i think it does help to prepare as much as you can. I wrote most of it post operatively and it was a very helpful project for me when I could not do much else! So it does help to line up books to read, TV to watch, or other things to keep your mind engaged, othewise it is very easy to succumb to anxiety! My own TKR was March 2017. "The very patient knee replacement story" is one page on my artist's blog. Skim reading recommended though! Are you in UK? It is also possible to look back on past pages on this forum, as each has a number. !

    • Posted

      Hi Jenny,

      Thanks so much for your reply.  smile  I will definatley check out your blog - thank you!  Great idea to write about it!  

      I am in the UK.  Are you?  I was just wondering if this is primarily a USA or UK site myself.  smile

      I am worried about the anxiety - I have a lot of anxiety already.  I have had so many ops in my life - rolleyes - not just on my knees, just unlucky - this is about number 20 - and I am just so tired of the whole thing, but I've got this one,  and then the other knee- and even a few more needed after that, so , hey ho.  Here we go!  lol

      I will have a lok at your blog now!


    • Posted

      Yes, i am in UK, It is well worth the trauma! Keep us posted!
    • Posted

      Hi Chico

      Where is the USA are you ? as I am working in Phoenix for a few weeks


    • Posted

      I live in what used to be a nice, little, quiet, country town, Hudson Oaks, about 20 minutes west of Fort Worth, TX.  Now they put up a Starbucks.  That's the end of nice, little, quiet and country.  We've been invaded...

      I had to commute once a month to Phoenix when I worked as a consultant for American Airlines last September through February.  Very flat, very hot.  Nice downtown restaurants.

  • Posted

    Total Knee Replacement...TKR.

    Geez...where to start.  How about here...

    This post has a lot in it...take your time.  Is this painful? Almost always.  There are a lucky few who squeak by.  Should I be scared? ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!  A few rules:

    - Never compare your recovery to that of anyone else.  It's all very individual.  Even people who get a second knee done find that they have a different experience (better or worse) than from the first.

    - Give up all expectations of what this will be like...especially with regards to time.  It usually takes a year for a full recovery.  Some do it faster, some take longer.  Do NOT start saying to yourself: "It's been 'x' months...I should be better!"  Don't ever think that way...gets you upset and depressed needlessly.  Be Zen: "I'll be better when I'm better."

    - Prepare your home.  Microfiber silk sheets to slide in and out of bed effortlessly.  Ice packs.  Pillows.  Pre-cooked meals.  Others will give you more ideas.

    - Be prepared for pain...the good thing is that they give you meds for it.  Talk to your doc BEFORE the TODAY to make sure he/she will prescribe what you need for 30-60 days.  Too many of us have been left high and dry by docs who will not prescribe the necessary pain meds for the first two months.

    - Physical Therapy starts soon after the op.  It's a painful process to break down the scar tissue.  The goal is zero degrees straight, 120 degrees or more bent.  Took me 10 weeks at 2x/week to get from -14 / +84 to -1 / +123.  It takes time, work and patience.

    - Treat yourself well.  This is not an easy op.  If someone tells you that you should be better by now, club them with your cane.  Period.  Feels good...

    There's so much more.  Click on my picture, go to Discussions and click See All.  Lots out there.  Plus...

    LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE ON THIS FORUM!!!  We have a GREAT collection of experienced souls who have endured the pain and conquered the challenge.  If we could do it, so can you.  We're here for you...

    • Posted

      Yep, love the club them with your cane bit! I had mine ready at all times. Never had to hit anyone with it though. Must have been the expression on my face! 😊😀😁😂😄

    • Posted

      ...and run them down with your walker...again...and again...and again...  Remember...this is YOUR recovery!  No one gets to tell you what to do with your pain or how long it "should" take you to get better.

      Listen to the others...  Eat healthy, lose some weight, do some leg strengthening NOW, hydrate A LOT, take your meds on time, don't listen to ANY criticism, work with your PTs and on your own, get rid of expectations, ice and elevate.  It's tough for very many of us...few skate right through it.  Expect the worst...pray for the best...accept what is.

    • Posted

      Thank you so much for all the info and tips where to find more - I will have a lot of reading to do -= some great replies here.  Thanks Chico!  I will surely be spending some time around here I think!  smile


  • Posted

    I too, have had experience with TKR since Feb 16th of this year. Can say just lately, I have not had any swelling and don't sleep with pillow under my knee anymore. It's been 4 months of "Groundhog Day" for me. You'll be so glad and relieved when it's over. Each new day is a day towards complete recovery. Good luck!

    • Posted

      I am enjoying my new knee immensely now! Just a few weeks behind you! Very little swelling, nice sleep, walking and standing as I need to, it's all very exciting! Those first three months were such hard work, but now though still healing things are really falling into place!

  • Posted

    Patience! This might not sound like marvelous advice but at almost 6 weeks post op, it truley is the best advice I can offer. I have learned a great deal on this forum but since we are all different- my advice is-be patient with yourself, your recovery, and your expectations ( oh and maybe those around you because they really cannot completely understand what you're going through). Best wishes to you. Let us know how you are doing!

  • Posted

    Hi Pencej

    As you have probably realised from the feedback we are all different in our recovery this forum is the best place to be

    the best advice I can give you is try and be kind to yourself take any help you can get you will need it and remember this recovery is a marathon not a sprint.

    i hope all goes well for you and wish you a speedy recovery.

    • Posted

      Thank you Johnny.  I am definitely hanging out around here for the forseeable future.  I can see how helpful it will be!  smile
    • Posted

      I am 3 weeks out on tkr. The surgery went fine and I followed up with in house rehab for 1 week. I felt I was progressing very well and I'm still continuing with outpatient therapy and excercises at home but the last week I have been in severe pain. The pain is behind my knee and runs down the calf. I was prescribed Norco and Tramedol at home. My leg continued swelling and foot became swollen as well. I went to my 2 week follow up and the Dr ordered an ultrasound to check for blood clot. Thankfully that was ok. For the last week the meds don't seem to relieve pain at all so Dr prescribed a muscle relaxer as he thought I might have a muscle problem. This does not seem to help at all either. I've lost 15 lbs and I stay nauseous. I'm at wits end trying to get relief. I use ice, elevate my leg , massage, and do exercises faithfully but the pain does not ease. Has anyone else suffered this kind of pain and I'm hoping someone can give me any insight on this problem.

    • Posted

      Hi Patricia

      You certainly have been having a nightmare time

      i can only suggest you see your GP and try to arrange an x ray or MRI scan to see if there is an underlying problem i do feel for you if your medication is not working its not easy at the best of times i rea8 hope you get some relief there will probably be someone in here who has experienced the same

      good luck and i wish you a speedy recovery.

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