My biggest problem has always been my calf and tendon behind my leg. WHY?

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My surgery was June 02, I'm 5 week today since my total knee replacement. I've had a lot of discomfort in that whole area, even when the blanket, or any clothes touches the skin, but never experiment any excruciating pain on my knee, never tuck pain pills since day one at he hospital. Drugs make me feel extremely bad. For me, they are worse than the pain. My biggest problem has always been my calf and tendon behind my leg.This has prevented me from doing my exercises well and extend my leg straight. I do not know why that area hurt so much and being so stiff. I went to see my surgeon four weeks after surgery July 1, and recommended me exercise in pool, which I've already been doing for 4 days, approximately 3 hours daily. He told me that I wasn't where I should be for this date. Referring to where the leg should be flexed. I had a lot of swelling and did not ask to much. He sent 4 weeks therapies and to see him after that, adding that if there is no improvement with therapies that he had to make it work, I didn't undestand what he means with that. He also sent some anti-inflammatory drugs that I'm taking once daily. Inflammation has improved, but I do not see any change, or improvement in the flexibility of the knee. Today is my first therapy. I feel that is going to be painful. We'll see.


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  • Posted

    This is not easy work.  Your PT should take measurements for straightness and flexion.  The goal is zero degrees straight and greater than 120 degrees bent (0 / +120).  I started at -14 / +84; after 9 weeks of PT (2x/week), I finished at -1 / +128.  Doing the rest at a gym and therapy pool.  PS: The pool is GREAT for rehab!!!  Keep it up.  Deep squats, toe raises, etc.

    Swelling means you're pushing the knee too much.  If it swells, you have to back off, ice, anti-inflammatories, rest.  Then start again.  This is a marathon, not a sprint.  I completely rehabbed a hip replacement in six weeks from when I got home.  Six days a week, 5 hours a day...piece of cake.  I was warned in advance that the knee is a totally different animal.  Progress is slow and steady.  Doc warned that the knee would have stiffness, look a bit swollen, generate clicking and popping sounds and more for 12-18 months.  All normal.

    Your PT has to push that knee straight to break down the internal scar tissue that's forming so you can walk normally again.  This can hurt and you need to rest and apply lots of ice after a session.  Yeah, it can be a painful experience but I, for one, don't want to limp the rest of my life because I let that scar tissue take over. As you progress, you will see your measurements improve.

    After PT, you need to rebuild the muscles in your leg, especially the quad.  Gym and pool.  Gotta get that strength back.  On the whole, think 3-6 months before your almost back to normal...then it's just letting the rest of the healing happen over the following year.  This is a long prepared to do the critical short term work now in exchange for a full life down the road.

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  • Posted

    The pain pills make the PT possible, so it will be an adventure for you. Yes, for me my pain was really behind my knees. Stretching helped relieve that. I usually sat on my bed, back at the headboard and my legs straight out in front of me. Working on flexing and pointing help work those tendons. Every hour I would bend my knees up until it hurt and hold it for 10 seconds. Then I'd pull it in a little more and hold again. And one more increas in the bend and hold. This was beyond my normal walking, going up and down stairs and and PT exercises. The pool is a great place to exercise, but 3 hours is a really long time. Remember to drink lots of water (hydration is important for the muscles and tendons), elevate and ice. I was still doing this, though less regularly, a year after my bilateral TKR. I'm now 21 months post op. Good luck, you'll get there with some work.

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  • Posted


    Sorry to hear you're struggling.

    I am nearly 9 weeks post op, my knee has been very sensitive to bed sheets and I have had to be very careful to wear loose clothing around my knee, that has started to improve now.

    I wonder if you tenderness behind the knee and calf is a tight hamstring, I have this problem and my physio has given me stretches to do to help, I still haven't quite got my leg straight but it's nearly there.

    You are still early days, keep persevering with the exercises and you will gradually start to notice small improvements.


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    • Posted

      Thank you Sandra, just got home from the therapies. I feel so aliviate now. She tell me that inflamation is my bigges problem. She work today on masage, ultrasound and some elctricity around the are. I'm going to see her 4 time next week, she says we have to target the inflamattion firts. She also recomend me to cut down the exercise time at the pool. Only 20 minutes at day, and more than need execice, to extresh the area, and take it easy. 

      Again, thank you.


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  • Posted

    Hi,l have not been on the forum for a little while but switching on tonight l felt l had to answer you. I am now 6 months post op, my life has been transformed by this op, don't look too much into the 'you are not where you should be ' lines because you are where you are and u will be where they want you to be when you are ready. I thought the whole experience was the worst ever and l swore l would never have the other leg done, well now 6 months later l can feel the benefit, l have been bk to working a 10 hr day for the past 3 months l am climbing stairs, riding my bike, getting in and out of the bath myself,l love my new knee, but l still have a little discomfort at the back of the knee and on my calf l think until it all heals you will have those sore you this did make exercising more difficult, it was swollen and l felt it was restricting my bending, but l just pushed through. I still exercise every morning before l go to work as a carer l know l have to bend so l make the knee work as soon as l am awake. I go on my exercise bike to for 15 min twice a day. My bend is now 115 but for me l am happy with that l will try and get to a higher level if it comes it does if not that's also fine. I embrace my new knee l have grown to love it because it has taken away the excruciating pain that had become my life, by the way l also have Fibromyalgia and am 65 but my TKR has changed my life. Keep posting you will get there it's early days for you take care,

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