Manual bending of knee under anasthesia

Posted , 12 users are following.

Hello from Switzerland!  I am new to this forum but am desperately looking for answers to my dilemma and there seems to be a great support network here.  I had a complete knee replacement 18 days ago and my knee feels like a block of wood which is stopping me from getting the required degrees of "bendage".  On the machine I can get up to 80° without cheating :-) and on my own about 70°.  My doctors are not happy with me at all and are threatening to put me back on the operating table to bend the knee under anasthesia.  When I first heard that, I nearly passed out.  They reckon if you cannot bend it at least 90° in the first 3 weeks, it will never get right.  I don't know who to believe as my therapists all tell me not to go down that rather drastic route. Does anybody have experience with this?  Or any tips on how to make the muscles relax?  Am rubbing in all kinds of potions from Tiger Balm to Deep Heat ...

By the sounds of things, the docs in the UK don't put their patients under as much pressure as here.  And you all get well anyway so I am wondering if I should just ignore them?  Though I do understand their argument that I am too young (51) not to be able to bend my knee at 120°.  Perhaps I just need more time?

Help!! 

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  • Posted

    I'm in the UK and 3 weeks post Op...I went to PT and only reach 70% bend. and they were quite happy with that...hopefully the next time I go it may have improved as I've been doing the exercises.....

    Jean

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  • Posted

    I'm in the US and here there seems to be a more moderate approach. Having been through the grand opening 3x's in 10 yrs I have seen more emphasis on the straight than the bend. All the docs and therapists pushed hard for O on the flat but I've never been past 117° on the bend. Icing and motion are paramount to success. Are you medicating for pain an hour before therapy and exercise. This will sometimes relieve the agnst of moving. I'm sure everyone uses the same routines but sitting on a high bed or bench and hooking my good leg over the bad, gently pulling back as far as I could and then holding for 10....repeating 12-15 times was the best streach I could get. Stay with it

     That manual manipulation always brought sweat to my brow. Good luck and keep us advised

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    • Posted

      interesting! the straight and not the bend, huh? this varied greatly, anywhere from two fingers to completely flat while i was in rehab. yeah, i got a 10 day rehab which was great but i now wonder if they pushed me enough. have made HUGE progress since i have come home on saturday. though not on the bend :-( we can rent the knee bending machines here in switzerland and mine is being delivered today. yay! plus i have set up massage appointments, physio and kinesiology as the thought of the manual manipulation makes me want to heave.

      will keep you posted on progress and if i discover anything miraculous.

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    • Posted

      I have heard of that machine but never actually saw one. I uses one of the newer multi purpose bikes in therapy for a 20 min warmup. For knee rehab you weren't Allowed to pedal it like a bike but you set the seat close enough so at apex you stopped and applied all the pressure yo could handle for maximum stretch, then held for a count of 10. I could actually feel And see the knee give. Considering I have had 9 surgeries in 12 yes consider myself lucky @ 77 to be somewhat upright. You certainly need a good, comfortable bend to enjoy your beautiful mountains up close. I managed to enjoy my time there even after m 1st. TKR and other various surgeries on the same leg.
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    • Posted

      oh my giddy aunt!! 9 operations. you deserve a medal. interesting, i have never seen the bike you mention, clearly more advanced over there! just been to the physio and she really put me through my paces but has given me more confidence to work through the pain. am stretching the knee while i sit here! i have just realized - silly me - that joint pain and ligament/muscle stretching pain are two different things and i don't need to worry. the joint is solid! stil, you are my hero ... i am reconsidering having my second one done, never mind 9.
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    • Posted

      These bikes are expensive. I was interested in one because are so versatile............. that is until I found out they are around $8000 USD. Been awhile so I've forgotten what that amounts to in swiss francs and euros
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  • Posted

    Hi Brittany

    This manual bending is something I am terrified of!

    I am five weeks post op tomorrow (and 49 years old) and can only bend about 60 / 70. My physio is a little concerned about this and she contacted my surgeon to bring my review appointment forward; I am seeing my surgeon on 6th October. Am working hard to bend it but cannot say I am progressing much.

    From reading the various comments on this really useful forum I am trying to stay calm as everyone's story is so different yet similar if you know what I mean and everyone seems to be getting there sooner or later.

    How awful for you to be under this threat, bless you; I still cannot understand how it is possible to get a brilliant bend whilst a knee is swollen tight and stiff ??!!! But clearly some are managing!

    Keep: trying for the bend, taking pain killers, icing, elevating and moving generally.

    Will let you know what many physio says this week and what my surgeon suggests to me when I see him a week today.

    Al the best, Tracey

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    • Posted

      all my bits crossed for you for your next appointment! i was in rehab for 10 days and patients 20 years older were hopping onto the stretching machine and calmly saying "oh, please set it for 105 degrees!" or when we were walking in a group through the gardens, they were speeding past me. utterly depressing. but you are so right, each story is different and so each development is too.

      i just understand the benefit of this bending under anasthesia. if a muscle is super blocked (that's all it is), how does bending it with force help is unblock? and the pain afterwards? i shudder to think.

      in switzerland they make sure you feel no major pain but unfortunately i had pretty hefty reactions to the next level of opiates (?). my whole system just collapsed. the pain is not too bad at all, it is just the incredible pressure around the knee when bending.

      as you say, we will all get there!

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    • Posted

      Hi Tracey, sorry to hear your struggling, I was the same when I came home I find that when sitting in the sofa if I bend and stretch the knee every fifteen minutes although stiff and keep pushing it will get better. I am 44 and determined that this will not beat me. Good luck Jo x
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    • Posted

      Hi J o

      Thanks for the message; how many weeks are you now?

      I do try to move it round often and will keep going. I have now started to actually massage little bits of the scar to see if that helps, feels like it will if I keep on.

      I am also still using two crutches as it doesn't feel good to just use one, I feel like everyone else left their walking aids behind quite soon but . . .

      The whole thing is just so bizarre and as someone mentioned in one of the posts, you really don't know what this is like until you have it done.

      Onwards and upwards to us all!!

      Tracey x

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    • Posted

      Hi tracey I'm 3 weeks post op tomorrow and I too am massaging my leg and scar about 3 times a day with e45 cream I find it helps not only take some of the stiffness off but helps my knee from getting hypersensitive. I'm still using 2 crutches when I go out which isn't often as I'm scared to go out on my own but at home I only use one as I only have a small flat. Hope this helps and please keep in touch and let me know how your getting on x
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    • Posted

      Hi

      I thought the same as you; have been also massaging all over in order to desensitise the whole area and stop anything from sticking. I use bio oil three or four times a day (and night) as sleep is hard to come by!

      I am two weeks ahead of you and don't go out unless necessary! Just don't feel mobile enough and would be worried I wouldn't find anywhere to sit down to rest! Will do plenty of going out once more mobile :-)

      Skill stay in touch x

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    • Posted

      hi tracey ... in switzerland they insist on you using both crutches for 6 weeks. major inconvenience as you never know what to do with them! i seem to spend most of my time picking them up :-) and walking with one is a def nono here as you then start shifting your weight which can cause other issues.

      one thing i have had to learn is that every one of us is different and we all need to go at our speed. imagine how i felt being overtaken by 70 year olds in the park? i am 51 and on the energetic side when i am fit and well. never mind ... we will get there!

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    • Posted

      I'm glad I just read your message about using 2 crutches ,..I'm 4 weeks post TKR Op today ...and thought how clever I was yesterday only using one crutch...but I certainly suffered last night ...not with the knee but with my hip....so it's both crutches for another two weeks from now on.

      and I'll have a bonfire with the compression socks then....I'm 76 years young...

      Jean 

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    • Posted

      hi tracey ... just looking for some info another contributor had posted and came across your post. how did it go with the surgeon at your october 6 meeting? what does he reckon re: your bend?

      i have kept at it dilligently and last night i got up to 105 on the bendy machine! can't believe it is 5 weeks today since i was lying on the operating table. feels like for-ev-uuuuuuur!

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    • Posted

      Sorry have typed two messages to you but could not send them!

      I have another review in five weeks now and if my knee has not normalised a bit more I have to go on the list for manual manipulation which frankly I am petrified about!

      However when I saw the specialist nurse she said she was not surprised at my progress because of my three previous operations on the knee and the work done in the TKR as I had the back of one cap replaced and knee cap moved down.

      I can get to 90 but it is not easy in fact the whole thing is a nightmare still but at least my knee doesn't feel it is being crushed anymore (nerve pain apparently).

      You are doing well with your bend - when do you see your Dr?

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    • Posted

      i agree, not having continuity with doctors is a major pain, i noticed that when i was in rehab.  he took me off pain meds only for my surgeon putting me back on them again 10 days later.  i will be seeing the surgeon who operated on me next week.  yikes!!  will keep you posted on what he says and what details he gives me on the manual manipulation.  apparently every 20th patient has to have this done.  so we are not complete freaks :-)  keep at it.
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