new to TKR. In two weeks I will have my knee replaced.

Posted , 11 users are following.

I am a very busy person, not good about lying around not doing anything. How soon will I be able to get back to my normal life and make plans for my 2nd replacement?

1 like, 11 replies

11 Replies

  • Posted

    So difficult to say. I bet if you got 20 different replies you’d probably get 20 different timelines. Myself, I had a massive setback after a week and had to have mua after 10 weeks. I’m just approaching 5 month anniversary and could work full time but not pain free now. A month ago there was no way I could work due to swelling and pain. 

    If you’ve read the various threads on here I think you should realise it’ll probably be longer than you hope. 

  • Posted

    Depends what you mean by "normal life". It varies from person to person, but generally you should be able to walk without crutches after 6 weeks or so. It will probably be three months before you can do most of what you could before and you will no doubt get bits of pain, stiffness and aches from time to time but should be better off than you were before the op. Further improvements seem slow but by six months you should be pretty active but still can get better for the next 1-2 years. But all of this is for the majority, everyone seems to have different experiences. Funny old things, knees!


  • Posted

    Start with this...

    After your op, you will NOT be a busy person.  Not even a possibility.  For the vast majority of us, a full recovery takes a year...accept it...own it.  For those that need knee #2 done, it really depends on: 1. whether you can endure or mitigate that #2 pain until #1 is fully or mostly healed; 2. how #1 responds to its recovery (absolutely no way to tell in advance); 3. how dedicated you are to your ROM and then muscle rebuild rehab.

    There are no expectations, no promises, no timetables going into this thing.  You DO NOT control this recovery...the knee does.  If you think that you do, you are sadly mistaken and this only leads to expectations, frustration, anger and depression.  You really don't want to go there.  Scheduling #2 before #1 is healed literally leaves you with no leg to stand on.  This is sometimes done in cases where the pain in #2 is unresolvable and you need either a simultaneous bilateral or the two ops are scheduled close together.  Avoid this if at all possible.

    This is the most brutal surgery you will ever encounter and cannot be taken lightly or with any expectation that you will be fine in a few weeks or even a few months.  I'm 2 1/2 years post-op and have read close to 5,000 posts on here.  I can count the number of people who skated through this quickly on less than one hand.  The likelihood that you will fall into that group is very, very small.

    The typical progression is that it takes the first 90 days to get past the worst pain, wean off the heavy duty meds and work like hell to get your ROM back.  The next six months will be taken up with all the muscle rebuild work which will get you to walk correctly again, regain your balance, enable you to start doing stairs again line a normal person and get back to work (depending on your job and recovery).  You might start feeling more like your old self around 9-10 months and then dance at your one year anniversary.  Some stiffness, minor pain and clunking sounds may persist for another six months.  That's very typical. 

    So #2?  The recommendation is always to wait to see how #1 goes and then do #2 when #1 is able to handle the shifting weight when #2 is unusable.  You cannot plan this in all depends on the recovery of #1.  Also, the vast majority of bilaterals report that each knee recovers differently.  You cannot expect that you will experience the same recovery with #2 that you did with #1...for better or for worse.  Different knees...different op...most likely different results.

    Lots of strategies available to take your mind off the pain during recovery and you will be moving the knee as part of the recovery.  But you CANNOT push a knee like you can a hip or shoulder.  It will only swell like a balloon and set you back.  This is the reality of a TKR.  You are better off knowing this now than hitting the brick wall we all did later on.

    Finally, understand that your "normal life" is waiting for you but it's down the road over the horizon.  Minuscule chance for an immediate, painless recovery.  Just doesn't happen.  And you NEVER compare your recovery to that of anyone else.  Statistics, even the above descriptions, apply only to a full population of patients...never to a single individual.  Your experience will be yours alone and no one can tell you in advance how YOURS will play out.

    I have tons of discussions out there on pain, sleep, depression, exercise and more.  Just click my name and then scroll down in the discussion box to "See All Discussions".  Arm yourself with's your best and only defense.  The knee will be the knee.  Listen to it...

  • Posted

    I was back to work after 6 weeks because I was going to lose my mind at home- depression had set in. This knee was so much worse than my hip. I really had to lower my expectations. I can walk quite well without any devices. But the range is still a hurdle. It feels like the knee is filled with wet sand. I also need the other one done but I need to forget how much I enjoyed this one!
  • Posted

    Hi Lana,

    You are ahead of me please let me know how you get on (I hate doing nothing too!). Luckily I am into knitting toys for charity and reading but having had a rough ride health-wise over the last two years I am getting a bit stir-crazy! Even started decorating the bathroom - but in short bursts - so hope to get it done before my op!

    Good luck,


  • Posted

    Hi its not a pleasant op, very painful. Read & take in what Chicco says. I'm 18mnths down the line & knee still not right, still swells, still painful at times tho I can walk several miles on the flat, stairs & hills still a bit difficult. I wish you luck & hope it goes well for you. Get yourself prepared by getting in some ice packs, preferably some flexible type. I had some ice packs that go round wine bottles in sections then cut it open along 1 of the seams, u can then wrap this round the knee, you'll need 2 - 1 on & 1 in the freezer. Also get some books /needlecraft or something, you'll be sitting around alot. Good luck

  • Posted

    Well from the get go you should be doing exercises so often you’ll welcome some rest time! Also the biggest problem I had was difficulty sleeping at night not really pain as such but unable to get comfortable! So naps were also welcome. But you will need to be sensible and find the balance between pushing yourself a bit and not doing so much that you also do yourself harm and could affect your long term recovery adversely! 

    You need the right mindset. For 3 months msjung thr best possible recovery needs to be your top priority because then you will increase the chance of getting your normal life back long term - and better than before! So once you accept and get your head round that your perspective on all the other busy-ness will or should alter for the short term, to get the long term benefits. 

    After a couple of weeks I was able to get and about and do some of my normal things but it was longer before I had the stamina and strength to do more and I didn’t drive till about 10 weeks after tho I could have tried after 6 weeks but didn’t feel confident to do so. Everyone is different tho but there are some basic principles - this IS major surgery and you have to respect  that and the trauma to your body and think long term gain  

  • Posted

    Oh and actually try to think of some stuff that you always mean to do but that never gets to the top of the to do list because you are too busy - stuff that is low demand physically - and make the most of the ‘enforced rest’ to do those things! 
  • Posted

    Its a major operation. I wouldnt personally count on "nomal life" for six months. You will need to be kind to yourself and allow your body to heal.

    Everyone is different. My comment is based on my own experience.

    You will learn to be patient in a way not previously appreciated, I guess.

    Sending good wishes to you!

  • Posted

    Prepare yourself mentally for a long recovery. Then if you get better quicker, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. I was told I’d be better in  3-4 weeks, so I rather crashed emotionally when that didn’t happen. I’m at 11 wks post and just starting to feel like doing some things again. But still using a cane and still not liking to stand too long or walk too far. But the pain is much relieved. Still doing lots of exercise. Just now starting to sleep much better.
  • Posted

    Prepare yourself mentally for a long recovery. Then if you get better quicker, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. I was told I’d be better in  3-4 weeks, so I rather crashed emotionally when that didn’t happen. I’m at 11 wks post and just starting to feel like doing some things again. But still using a cane and still not liking to stand too long or walk too far. But the pain is much relieved. Still doing lots of exercise. Just now starting to sleep much better.

Report or request deletion

Thanks for your help!

We want the community to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the community are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the community is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.