Knee replacement rehab

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My neighbor just had a total knee replacement (Stryker knee).  The surgery was 9 days ago and she is taking Percocet which induces both constipation and nausea.  She is having out patient therapy 3x/week and stretchs several times per day.  It is very painful and she wonders how long before things get better.  She's thing about taking Tylonol 3 (with codeine)

Her range of motion is 75 degrees and the therapists are pushing for 90 within a week

When will there be some improvements with pain ?

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  • Posted

    Not wanting to be the bearer of not so good news but it is going to take time as in months or years. Everyone is different some heal faster then others and the same holds true for others it takes longer. The biggest thing to keep in mind is patience  and keep doing the exercises when relaxing keep the knee elevated use ice to reduce the swelling and do not over doit or you will pay for because the knee will let you know in no uncertain terms you over did it. There are going to be good days and there are going to be some where you are so miserable you think this is never going to get better. I have been thru 5 TKR's and it looks like another is on the way whether it was the first one or the 5th one it took time and it hurt. A reasonable guess after 3 months you should feel better not great but better, just keep your chin up and be patient.

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  • Posted

    Percocet is oxycodone plus Tylenol.  She can get the same relief from Vicodin or Norco which is HYDROcodone and Tylenol.  More constipating than the oxycodone but she may tolerate the hydrocodone better.  Take stool softeners on a regular basis...maybe even some Miralax.  The really bad pain usually subsides in the 30-60 day time frame, decreasing gradually.  It's very important to maintain a strict med schedule to keep the drug at the desired levels in the bloodstream at all times.  Once the pain lessens, docs will usually use Tramadol as a transition drug before she relies strictly on ibuprofen.  This takes a while

    As does the entire recovery which is a year-long process.  No one ever told us about this before the surgery so 99.99% of us hit a brick wall with the pain, work required and the length of the recovery.  All completely normal for a TKR...

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  • Posted

    Hi Ed,

    9 days is very early to even be measuring. 75 is good adfter 9 days. I couldn't lift my leg until the 8th day on my first TKR, now it's almost like new, in fact yesterday was the first day I felt a tightness in ages. All good again this morning. It will take a bit of time, in both of mine somewhere between 10 weeks to 16 weeks. My most recent one is 6 monthe now and swells a bit after walking etc, but yesterday it was perfect and the two year old knee felt tight. So that's the way it goes. But it will get there and is worth it. Re medication, I would leave the changes up to the doctor or pharmacist. Only take professional advice.

    Good luck,


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  • Posted

    Hi Ed, your neighbour is lucky to have such a caring friend as you.

    TKR recovery is as individual as she is. No one can say how long recovery will take, for each of us it’s different. Having said that, the majority see a lessening of bad symptoms after 8 to 10 weeks, with the 3 month mark seeing improvements. But it could be later.

    Recovery carries on for up to 2 years, she should prepare herself for the fact that it may be a long gradual recovery. None of us has woken to find all pain, stiffness etc gone suddenly, it is, usually, a gradual process.

    She will most most likely have good days & bad, & honestly the bad can be awful.

    In the early days I cried & I berated myself for allowing this to be done to me! Now I’m so glad I had the knees done, at 18 & 5 months, no pain! Amazeballs!! (Sorry for the Miranda quote!)

    Tell her to do her exercises diligently, rest, ice & elevate the knee, but don’t let any ‘physical terrorists’ bully her into extreme pain for them (physios) to keep THEIR targets! Get her some good books to read, or download, magazines she likes & the occasional treat. Tell her to get acquainted with daytime tv (urghh I know but she will have time on her hands in these early days). Tell her to keep laughing, laughter is THE best medicine, so either read or watch comedy.

    At night when I couldn’t sleep, I listened to music & in the day if I was down! That really helps.

    Let the doctors take care of her pain, Chico has given good suggestions.

    Thank you for being such a good neighbour to her.




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    • Posted

      Hi ed

      Your right it is a long journey

      Best advice I can give you or your neighbour as is the case keep the leg elevated constant ice packs take the medication as prescribed don't look at any quick fixes as we all know to well this is a marathon

      The upside I always remember back to the constant pain I had prior to my TKR and in time it does get better

      I wish your friend a speedy recovery

      Good luck.

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  • Posted

    I take many meds regularly including Percocet as needed for MS neurological pain. I take 2 senna plus before bed every night and it works well to combat the constipation. I increase to 3 for a night or two when things aren’t moving to my liking (if you get my drift). You are very sweet to be so concerned about her. 
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