Losing my patience at 5 weeks post op

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left knee arthroscopy 5 weeks ago and have hit a plateau and very worried it won't get better. I am a very active 58 female and a nurse. I had a simple clean up on my knee and have been doing all my PT excercise said, water aerobics and went back to office work only last week. My knee is still swollen and not bending near as well as pre op. I still can't get off toilet without holding onto walls.....help. When will I be able to function properly again or ever?

 

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  • Posted

    Hi, arthroscopy recovery, I have discovered, can often take quite a bit longer than the “back to normal in 6 weeks” message they give us! You only need to scan some of the messages & queries on here from other people to see that in some cases it can take a whole while longer than 6 weeks. I know that’s not great to hear, but hopefully it’ll give you some sort of comfort that what you’re experiencing is ‘normal’. I had an arthroscopy in mid June and I had a couple of extra complication afterwards that delayed my recovery & rehab, & so am still not 100% back to how I was pre-op. I would give yourself 2-3 more months minimum to feel better - rest, elevate and ice it as much as possible & speak to your surgeon & physio if you’re concerned. I was always told “swelling is the enemy” as it restricts the bending in particular, so anything you can do to try and reduce that will help. I know that’s probably not easy when you’re back at work though! You will get better, but certainly in my case it’s been slower progress than I was led to believe  (but it’s still progress nonetheless!) I felt so so frustrated & upset in the early weeks as it wasn’t like what I’d been told it would be, but as time went on I felt calmer once I realised I needed to accept it wouldn’t be a quick fix after all, so you may need to adjust your expectations on timelines, give yourself 2-3 more months as a goal? I hope things improve asap for you, 5 weeks is still early days so try not to get too disheartened.

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much Sally for your kind words. I will push out my expectations. I am managing but keep thinking I'm not going to get any better and that won't work. So, I will keep telling myself it will get better in months and not 6 weeks like I keep getting told

      inga??

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  • Posted

    I think it's too early to expect more results. I'm at 6 1/2 wks and told that when there is any debridement that small grit sometimes remains to irritate and that it should get better with time and as joint fluids build in again...My advice is not to push it too hard and to ice and elevate when you can.Advil Liqi Gels or eqiv. are great anti inflammatory meds. I also had a cortisone shot last weak to quiet the knee down. Better now as long as I don't push myself. Good luck!

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    • Posted

      Thank you Luanne. I am on the couch with ice. I push myself very hard thinking that will speed recovery up. I won't do injection as it did nothing pre op. I wonder what we can do to speed up the joint fluid replacement?😀

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  • Posted

    Hi Inga, I am 69 and had TKR on my right knee in June and on my left knee in Sept. The right knee went very well. I still have times when it's sore or when some shooting pain appears but overall it's working really well. My left knee developed an hematoma so recovery has been much slower. Because of that swelling I'm not able to bend as successfully yet as with the right, Scarring develops with hematoma's so per instructions from my surgeon I need to keep working it, working it, working it. I have had many friends who have had replacements and every one of them has said it took a solid year for their knees to really feel "GREAT". It's a lengthy process and requires a lot of patience and due diligence. It's understandable that you can't get a complete bend if it is still swollen which is my issue as well. As the swelling subsides you will find It easier to manipulate. You've only been at this for 5 weeks so you're still early in the game. The fact that you're even back at work is amazing. You may be pushing TOO much. I would also encourage continuing with a PT therapist; it is so essential to see someone rather than working on your own. Good luck. Hang in there.

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much Lynne. I see my PT tomorrow and will discuss with him if I am pushing myself to hard. Of course the holidays and family flying in with me standing in the kitchen not helping 😢  I'm already losing my cool and I still have a week to go before they all leave. I just want to be able to walk and be active as per usual.....

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  • Posted

    Good question.....I haven't thought that far ahead since things have been better since I started listening to the knee when it started to say, "enough already!!". I was doing well this past weekend when I decided it was time to go shopping in the Christmas rush. Not the smartest thing I ever did because I think it set things back a bit. I returned to regular icing but not more than 20 min. at a time. I nursed my husband through 2 knee, a hip and shoulder replacements. They said alternating heat and ice  has a pump action that helps circulation but I haven't tried it myself. Experiment with what works for you and , again, good luck! Let me know how it goes.

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    • Posted

      will keep you updated. I have similar issues with holidays and family flying in and I just can hardly move. I am the one who takes care of everyone and this is now so hard😢

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  • Posted

    Inga,time to put the visiting Family to work helping. I'm sure they'd be happy to pitch in. Even at 82 I think I should be able to do it all by myself but comes a time we have to admit that there is a difference between could and should. Your recovery is important. smile I had 4 arthroscopy on my other leg...2 before total knee replacement and 2 after. Each was unique in it's recovery. The good news is that eventually they all got better. 

     

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    • Posted

      Hi Luanne, I'm so impressed....you are the expert on knee surgeries. How old were you for your first arthroscopy and how long before you got the total knee?  I will try to incorporate family help this week but that won't be easy as I love doing it all 😀

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    • Posted

      Hi Inga ....3 years from the 1st arthroscopy to total knee replacement but another 7 years from the replacement until it was finally fixed once and for all.
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  • Posted

    Sorry, Inga ....you asked my age at 1st arthroscopy and knee replacement. I was 67 at 1st arthroscopy and 70 when I had the total knee replacement. Age isn't really important. My daughter age 56 had a total knee replacement over 2 months ago and is still experiencing extreme swelling and a lot of pain even after extended PT, a diligent at home exercise program and regular icing with an icing machine. As an ex Army medic she knows what to do and still her results have been  less than ideal........

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  • Posted

    Happy New Year to all and i wish everyone a healthy 2018 with quick recoveries😊🎉2??0??1??8??

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  • Posted

    I feel your pain. I had my rt knee done 10 months ago. My Doc told me it could be up to a year to fully heal. I still cant bend it as much as my left, but it doesnr hurt quite as much as my left now. Try to be patient and keep strengthening. Mine wont get any better: need knee replacement. But if you keep it strong; the revovery from that should be easier. I am almost 50 and try to excersize everyday.. Not much more you can do i guess. Arthroscopy doesnt cure: just cleans up from what i understand. Good luck!
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    • Posted

      Thank you....just getting released back to work full time this week and excercising like crazy. I can actually see the muscles in my legs now. Knee still stiff. My surgeon told me one year as well. I wish I would’ve known that ahead of time as I wouldn’t have had surgery done
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    • Posted

      I too regretted have my rt knee done at first. But now im contimplating asking for the left to be done. Although the right one still hurts, it is better off. I started a curcuit training class and noticed i can do one legged mini squats ( using trx bands to lift with my arms of course) with my rt leg but not my left. Was unable to do this before arthroscopy.
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    • Posted

      Good to hear your perspective. Just finished 2.5 mile walk. If I constantly move, I’m fine...
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