muscle pain after TKR

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I am 7 weeks post op of TKR.  Except for the fact I feel as though I did not have a large enough prescription for pain meds post op, I was doing well until last Wednesday.  I was in the car driving grand kids for three hours, taught a class after school and attended a meeting.  The next day, I felt as though I was starting all over....without the use of pain meds. The government now regulates the # of opiates prescribed for orthopedic surgeries and I had 3 prescriptions of 30 tablets which are gone. Four days later while  I've continued therapy but still need to ice a few times a day.  I feel as though I am constantly working on the adhesions in my thigh and calf muscles.I have three more therapy sessions and then I am on my own. Is this setback abnormal? How can I avoid future setbacks?

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  • Posted

    Advances, setbacks, plateaus...all part of the process and completely normal.  You cannot push a knee to recovery and seven weeks is still very early.  This whole thing usually takes a full year.  Ask your doc for Tramadol (Ultram).  Although still technically an opiate, it's a very mild one so along with ibuprofen, it's a good transitional drug between the BIG meds and straight OTCs.  Docs will usually prescribe Tramadol like Skittles...

    When you do too much, the knee will always...ALWAYS...bite you back.  At 5 weeks, I did 8,200+ steps one day and paid for it with "balloon knee" for days.  You just can't do that.  Use a fit bit or smart watch to track your steps.  Chart them to see your progress.  Have an issue?  Note the steps as your current limit.  Back off, ice, elevate, resume slowly.  This is not a race.  The knee will be better when it's better...nothing will change that.

    All you can do is give this time, do the work and be patient.  If nothing else, the knee will teach you patience because it will absolutely not be rushed.  I rehabbed two shoulders in three weeks each instead of months.  I rehabbed a hip replacement in six.  Unheard of...but it worked because I could push the recovery.  The knee is a completely different will humble you.  Be good to yourself and let it heal.

    In case you forget, post this on your fridge...


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  • Posted

    7 Weeks is too soon to return to work. Driving grand kids for 3 hours is not what I would have done so soon after a TKR. If you are still using opiates, do you think it is safe to be driving?. Do you really have to work?. If there is any possibility you don't have to, don't do it. TKR is very serious surgery and takes a long time to recover from. Delay your return to work until you are fit to do so. 

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  • Posted

    You over did things, and reaped the rewards of doing so. Hard, but listen to your body and realise this is going to take a lot of time.

    Swelling is the most likely cause of feelings of stiffness, so ice, elevate, rest, as well as continuing with your exercises.

    Good wishes to you for continued healing.

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  • Posted

    I'm coming up to 6 months post TKR and I still experience stiffness if i do too much. Some people at my workplace don't get how long it takes to recover so they think in a 4 week period you will be 100% fit which is impossible. Luckily there are some sensible people who realise it will take longer and actually encourage me to sit down regularly. Even at this stage I'm taking cocodamol and diclofenac for pain relief which my doctor is quite happy to continue to prescribe. So what I'm trying to say at 7 weeks I was needing a lot of pain relief just to get through the day. I only started back to work a month ago. Don't be hard on yourself people are different, some get away with minimal pain relief and recover quickly others need a lot of pain relief and take longer to recover. Do what's right for you x

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