Pain after total knee replacement.

Posted , 11 users are following.

I had a tkr 13 weeks ago. I am still having a great amount if pain. However, I'm not taking pain meds. Trying to deal with it. Is this normal for 13 weeks out. My hip and thigh also hurt like crazy. Any suggestions? I'm 53, back at work where I stand most of the time. Thanks

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  • Posted

    You're back to work at 3 months when 4-6 is more common.  Putting weight on that leg is equivalent to "pushing" the knee to recovery...which just isn't possible.  A lot of people who go back to work too soon report the exact same experience.  What you actually needed was at least an extra month for the knee to heal.

    The actual issue is that your new knee is doing all the work while you are active.  In reality, the vast majority of that "work" is physiologically supposed to be done by the surrounding musculature (quads, glutes and core).  Unfortunately, all of those muscles have atrophied over the past three months (totally normal) and have to be rebuilt...from scratch.  Here's the program...

    https://patient.info/forums/discuss/post-tkr-exercising-565527

    Rebuilding the muscles will take the pressure off the knee and will take some time.  Your problem is being back at work.  Pushing that knee without the supporting musculature is guaranteed to be the cause of the pain you are in.  Unfortunately, the only thing you can do is ice, elevate, take anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) and use some topical Voltaren Gel.  When you get home, ice and elevate all night.  Also, for work, you may want to look into a portable AirCast or CryoCuff to keep the knee iced all day.

    Your best bet is to stop working for the next 4-6 weeks, track your steps with a fit bit (or similar) increasing your steps gradually by walking while doing the exercise to rebuild your muscles.  You cannot avoid the rebuild...cannot...or you will have a lot of pain for a very long time.

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  • Posted

    Absolutely agree with Chico. I went back a bit early after my TKR found had to take my NSAID and analgesia in between even though was devout to the exercise. The keeping of the muscle strength will be a life time commitment but in my book worthwhile. TKR recovery is journey keep on it! All the best Jan.
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  • Posted

    Hello Johnna - you are very young to have a total knee replacement,  however in all cases the pain does go on for some time, in my case it took 7 months before I could feel much better and throw away the walking stick and feel more stable walking outside.   being on your feet at work all day is not going to help at all, as the knee will still need period of rest.  Perhaps you need pain relief, I certainly could not have managed without it.  Try to take it a  bit easier, and good luck for a full recovery.
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  • Posted

    Hi

    I'm 47 and like you 13 weeks post TKR, I'm no where near ready to go back to work, I need to as I don't get paid sick, but I'm going to go back when I'm totally pain free as at the moment just by exercising and pottering around the house the swelling is still bad and painful. They say 6 to 12 month recovery

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  • Posted

    Hi Joanna I am 61 and I too will be going back to work in 2 weeks which makes 3 months.Unfortunately FMLA which protects our jobs lapses at 3 months.I plan on bringing an ice pack to work and using it during all breaks.Also keeping the muscles stretched as much as possible.I will be using my topical pain reliever as much as possible.Did you have hip and thigh pain prior to going to work?I do due to shortened muscles in my IT band due,to changes in my gait.I flared my foot out while walking for a long time to compensate foe pain from my worn knee.Good luck to you

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  • Posted

    Hi, Johnna,

    i had TKR 2 years ago at 55.  I also went back to work...at 15 weeks.  I clean houses.  My routine became, getting up early to do exercises....working, coming home ice, elevate and rest.  Exercises again later in day...ice elevate, rest.  My pain and swelling was hard but I did work thru it.....I laid in bed with legs up on wall when coming home...that helped me to get swelling down.

    my hip pain was from, per doc...the way I compensated my walking from knee pain before TKR.  My thigh pain, was just from muscle loss...have to rebuild it...this was the last thing to heal for me.

    I wore a stretch type knee brace...the type you slip on while working and it helped.

    good luck

    pam

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  • Posted

    Thanks guys. Glad to hear from people who have been there. Someone ask about "did I have hip pain before surgery". No I didn't it start about week 4 at PT. I remember what excrise I was doing when it started. So, been working on it at PT as well but no change. I went back to work at 9 weeks, I work in the operating room. So, my Drs are being very kind and I do sit most of the day but even getting up and down from sitting to standing us painf as well as when I frist get up and start to walk. Like after riding in a car, those first steps are aweful. So recovery could take 6 or more months? Bc I'm so close to just giving up. Tired of the pain.. thanks guys

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    • Posted

      Riding in a car was the worst for me. Everyone heals differently, 6 months for some is as soon as they can, others can start limited work in 2 or 3 weeks. Pain meds did nothing for me (never been drunk and coffee is just a drink, bedtime? no problem). Ice is good. Nice you have Drs around who understand. I'm self employed, Realtor, so no work no pay. I did have a change of gait from compensation, and now with the prolonged swelling and noise I'm noticing the same thing again. Good luck. 

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  • Posted

    Joanna I started with hip pain that goes down in to your quads as well at week 3.The IT band runs from hip to attachment points in your knee.I am going through a procedure at my pt.called dry needling a form of acupuncture but also different.I had one treatment so far and what a difference in the portion of muscle she had time to do.I am so looking forward to my next session on monday.
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  • Posted

    Good luck on your continued recovery.  We need to remember when’s our knees were replaced that it also realigned our legs. The hip is reacting to the new realignment.  It will get  Better. Keep on doing your stretches, icing and elevating. 

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  • Posted

    Hi

    People do not get addicted to pain meds when they are taking it for PAIN. I was taking them for six months. I am nine months out and if I overdo it I STILL. Have to take an occasional pill.  You are not  supposed to suffer, it does hinder your healing. I wish you well you are a young person and I think you will heal well but don’t let yourself suffer, this is a rough surgery. Look for some posts from Chico Marx they will really help

    👌

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    • Posted

      The key is to not "overdo it"...that will automatically make the knee swell and bring on the pain.  Always wore a fit bit.  Once did 8,200+ steps at 5 weeks post-op and had a balloon knee for 3 days.  Never happened again as I would ALWAYS check my steps during the day.  Increase gradually...  By eight months, I was doing 11,00+ steps (5 miles) with no problems.  Have to rebuild all that strength gradually to avoid the pain and the meds.

      Instead of the pills, try some Voltaren Gel (RX in the US)...GREAT topical anti-inflammatory and painkiller...especially at bedtime.

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  • Posted

    Oh...Wow...the IT band pain.  I had that too at 3 1/2 week mark.  The pain was awful.  I used a wooden rolling pin to roll the tightness out....roll up away from knee.  My PT massaged it and showed me specific stretches to add to daily routine.  You can google this and find the stretches.

    johnna, the pain when getting up and starting to walk is very normal.  The best thing I did was borrow a stationary bike to use at home, I rode every morning adding time in small amounts.  Sure hurt when I started but was well worth it.  Then normal exercise, ice elevate.  Dress and off to work.

    I personally pushed myself....was very active prior and was wanting to get back to that state.  MAKE sure you rest when you can, ice and elevate when you get home...no exceptions...must do.  Exercise and stretch at least 2 times daily.  

    My exercise,ice and elevate time was my second job...so I could do the other job.  

    At a Year, I joined the gym and go 2 or 3 times per week now.....I do core strengthening stretches and machines, leg press, and walk on the treadmill. It makes for a busy schedule, but it is well worth time spent.

    Pam

     

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