My TKR experience and wondering if I'm doing something wrong.

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To all of you that's willing to hear my

story I want to say God Bless you all.

When I was 15 years old riding my motorcycle thru the small town i was raised in I was broadsided by a car that run a stop sign. Not seeing it coming gave me no chance to get my right leg out of the way. The bumpers of cars were solid steel back then and my leg was crushed between the motor of the motorcycle and the steel bumper.

This changed my left for ever and I went thru several operations from having steel plates installed, bone grafts from my hip installed to help my leg bone heal, to having a small piece of the small leg bone cut off because it would heal faster pushing my larger bore away so it would not heal. After all these operations I was told to never break my leg again and for over twenty five years I took care of my right leg until one evening September 2013 while flying a drone I accidentally stepped into a hole and my right leg broke in the place that had always had such a hard time to heal back when I was younger.

The trauma surgeon on call knew he was in for a different operation because my bone came thru the skin tearing the skin side to side which was not normal and my leg had screws left in it where when the orthopedics tried to remove them when I was younger but they broke off. Now this surgeon was going to need to locate these screws and remove them before he could install a steel rod down the middle of my leg. He had to talk everything over with his team of surgeons and waited until the next day before performing the surgery. Six weeks later I found out my skin would not heal due to all the scar tissue from all the past surgeries when I was younger. Also I had developed a staff infection from something inside the hospital. A plastic surgeon had to be called in along with a infections disease doctor. Another surgery was required to remove the badly scared skin and a six inch by one and a half inch piece of skin from my upper right thigh had to be removed and placed over my shin where the skin was removed because it would not heal back.

Two weeks later I left the hospital and now almost three years later my right leg is doing ok. Other than my leg looking very weird and my ankle hurting in the mornings which is something that I've dealed with since I was fifteen years old I was doing ok.

The problem I have now is since I always have had to rely on my left leg to do things like jump off of and land back on, to kicking a football or using a shovel to plant a garden I've found out that I have worn my meniscus out in my left knee.

This I had been told years ago by a orthopedics doctor that preformed a scope of my left knee. He had to remove all my meniscus during a scope where he thought that only a torn piece needed removing.

He told me my knee was now bone on bone and I needed a knee replacement but at my age 42 no insurance company would pay it. He said that he could only offer me celabrex and pain medication. I knew then that my life as I knew it along with my career was at stake.

I continued to work but it was noticeable by any employer I worked for. Never could I mention that my left knee was worn out or I never would have got any job. But still they would always see I had a problem because I no longer could keep up with other workers hired to do the same job. Usually after six months to a year I would be let go and told I was being laid off because of lack of work. But I knew the real reason and understood the employers could not come out and say the truth about why I was being laid off.

I went from job to job but finally realized that I had to have a TKR if I ever wanted to not be in so much pain.

So after getting laid off May 2015 I decided to start trying to get some government help and to finally have my knee replaced.

Well I can say that getting any help from our government after working for over twenty five years and paying into the system has proved to me the system is not set up to help the working man. I was trying to get help after breaking my leg in 2013 but once my leg healed up I thought it was best to try to work and stop the SSD process. So I went back to work and that same week the SSD called asking me about my case. I explained to the lady that I really did not want to go on disability because I had two children that were needing to go to college and I needed to work if I could to help them. But I also said that if I found out that I could not do the work because of my knee I would be calling back. That if they got a call again from me that I had proven to myself that I needed a knee replacement and I was going to need some help.

Well it's been many many months now and I don't get any help from the government. That has made me look at the system a totally different way. Never did I want to or intended on staying on disability because I need to make more money than what SSD pays. I only needed the help to provide for my family during the I was out getting the operation that would finally stop all the pain I had been dealing with for over ten years. Still I've never seen a penny of help from our government. I've watched people get on disability because they were alcoholics and had never held a regular job in there life. To me the people that make the decision if someone is disabled or not must be paid off or something. Because i know that I'm temporary disabled and with the work restrictions I'm now going to have I go back to school to learn something different so I can return to work.

Now to what I really have a question about.

I had my left knee replaced June 27, 2016.

It's been a little over four weeks and I can't say it's going good because I really don't know if it is or not. It's still swollen around my knee and when I try to bend my leg I can't go past maybe 100°. It feels so tight that I'm afraid to try to force it to bend any further than it will. Forcing it will also hurt very bad and I'm not sure if that pain is my body saying it's time to stop before you hurt something worse or what it's trying to tell me.

I've went on internet sites like this one and read about how different people recover from a TKR and most people are different than others.

I can say that it still throbs but nothing like it did the first two weeks. Also I get a burning under my knee after therapy.

I've tried heat before therapy and ice afterwards but still I can't seem to get the bending back in my leg. Maybe I'm thinking it should be bending more but actually it's where it should be four weeks after surgery.

If anyone can help me understand things better I sure would like to hear different views on what I may be doing wrong or what I can do to help myself get my knee to bend normal again.

Thanks for all your time and help.


Kenneth Clayton

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8 Replies

  • Posted

    Dear Kenny,

    My heart goes out to you - a TKR is bad enough without all the probems you have put up with in your life.  I am not the best to give advice, I am only 4 weeks (nearly) post operation, and have been waiting for the operation for some 30 years since a ski-ing accident where they took away all my cartileges.  

    I strongly recommend you read all of Chico Marx's thread, he is SO knowledgeable and has a great synopsis of what to expect and what to do.  

    This forum has got me through both the angst and anticipation before the operation, but more importantly I can see I will be on it in a year's time.  NO ONE understands what it is like unless you have it done - even with the most supportive family like mine, they really don't get it.

    My experience to date is : don't compare yourself to others, do the exercises, take any paid meds you are allowed, rest, ice and be kind to yourself.  I constantly worry I am not getting enough bend and am terrified if I don't get it now, scar tissue will prevent me getting it.  But everyone reassures me, and my bend is only about 75 currently.

    Everyone is here to talk, often 24/7 as we are all over the world.

    Good luck and hang on in there.



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    • Posted

      Hi Susie,

      Thanks for giving me some new information to help with my recovery. I really was starting to think my keen may be locking up because it just will not bend like I thought it should.

      Your right when you say unless you have ever been thru it then you really can't understand what someone is talking about.

      My family thinks wonton I'm not doing enough but I don't want to over do it. I try to listen to my body and when my knee starts to hurt I think it's time to give it a break.

      I'm at a little past 90 right now without suffering to the point tears start to come to my eyes.

      I'm doing my daily exercises just like the therapy workers showed me. I've started to apply warm towels to my knee before doing my therapy and that has seemed to help make my keen bend easier without as much pain.

      Afterwards I go back cooling it off with cool towles and then ice.

      And I'll be on here now until I finally get better. This board has proven to me that no two TKR are the same which makes it kind of confusing but it also lets a newbie understand things better.

      Thanks again for your help and time.


      Kenny Clayton

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  • Posted

    Hi, you've gone through the wringer haven't you? Which country are you in? You're only 4 weeks, it's still early days for your recovery. I'm now 3 months and can remember the agony that I was in for the 1st 3 or 4 weeks. Just do the exercises you've been given, walk short distances, elevate and ice, and rest as much as you can. Each week from now on you'll see so much progress. Once your past 6 weeks you'll really feel the difference. Good luck.

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    • Posted

      Hi Lucie, Thanks for giving me some encouragement because I really was starting to think my keen may be locking up because it just will not bend like I thought it should.

      I'm doing my daily exercises just like the therapy workers showed me. I've started to apply warm towels to my knee before doing my therapy and that has seemed to help make my keen bend easier without as much pain.

      Afterwards I go back cooling it off with cool towles and then ice.

      The question you first asked. I'm located in South Carolina USA. That's where I was born and raised.

      Thanks again for your help and time.


      Kenny Clayton

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  • Posted

    First I'm sorry you have had to go thew so much with your other leg.For your TKR 100%is very good I'm at 4 weeks and I can't bend past 65/70% .So I think you are going to be ok.Good luck

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  • Posted

    Kenneth, I agree with what has been written. It' s a heck of a long process. I had both replaced at the same time while working in India (sure was a heck of a lot cheaper and insurance reimbursed it all and then some). I'm in the US for a short break and headed back. You don't want to push it too hard, but you do need to push it somewhat. I needed to be able to drive my scooter around town (more like a moped, but faster) and the doctor told me I had to wait until at least 6 weeks. It sounds like you've got plenty of motivation.

    See if you can get your doctor to prescribe Voltaren Gel for you to use down the road. It's an NSAID, so you need to be careful not to combine it with other NSAIDs. It's very helpful. I still sometimes ice one of my knees (I'm 22 months post op), but for the first several months, you need to plan on doing it often. I had the pain behind my knees too - it hurt more than anything else. I used some icy hot on them, as well as would use moist heat while I had ice on the top.

    If you can get into a pool it's really a good place to exercise. Also plan on walking daily outside. You sound like you are doing a good job.


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  • Posted

    I am smilar to you in many ways, only i am still at the waiting stage for TKR, to be followed by THR, all due to a motorcycle accident back in the 80's. I too ended up getting bone grafts and external fixation as the tib would not heal, ended up in hospital for 8 wks at the time as my femur was a compound fracture and in those days in the UK the Thomas splint with weights was used for traction until the bone healed well enough to bear weight.

    I cannot give you any info about the op, but just wanted to say i hope all goes well for you.

    All the best

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  • Posted

    Hi Kenny

    I totally understand how you feel. I am only 43 and had my tkr in January 2016.

    Sometimes you feel as you have stepped into hell. Everything you are experiencing is normal. If your exercises start to hurt pull them up. Trust me you will over work the knee and it will let you know. I thought I would never get pass this surgery. Drink plenty of water too. Pm me if you need someone to talk to.

    Everyone on here is such a great support and trust what they say. I would have given up if it weren't for the people on here.

    Jodie the land down under

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