Questions about post tkr stiffness

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I’m nearly 8 months post tkr on my right knee. I still experience stiffness which I realise is to be expected for some ‎time yet – 12-18 months seem to be the agree upon time scale from what I gather on this forum. I basically function ‎normally and well – up and down stairs (2 floors in our house), walking, usual household jobs also some easy ‎gardening (not daring to kneel!). In fact, I find walking is the best thing for the knee. Some days are better than others ‎and sometimes I feel some sensitivity above or below the knee – nothing painful or distressing, just sensations. Am I ‎right in thinking all this is par for the course? Sitting for any length of time causes the knee to stiffen up until I stand ‎and start to walk about. Ditto getting out of bed in the mornings. It’s generally more sensitive on the outside of my ‎knee. Does this sound normal, that some days are better than others for no obvious reason? ‎

Another issue which has really bothered me: We are signed up for a series of concerts - prepaid and with fixed seats ‎somewhere towards the middle of the row. Been to the first two. For the first half hour I felt nothing at all from my knee ‎and then it started to be bothersome, really uncomfortable verging on pain, because I couldn’t stretch my leg out fully ‎as the rows aren’t wide enough for that. I tried to once and found myself pushing against the seat of the person in ‎front, so no room. The halfway break was welcome but then it started again. Yet the minute we got up to leave, the ‎horrible discomfort was gone. Third one coming up in a week and I’m rather dreading it. Didn’t want to ask to change ‎seats as we sit with friends who like the position. Anyone else experience this?‎

One more thing. I am a candidate for tkr on my left knee too. In fact I originally went to the doctor because that was far ‎more painful than the right, although the specialist said the right was worse – bone on bone and I could see from the ‎xray he showed me. He said the left was more painful because my body was automatically compensating for the ‎worse situation in the right knee. After the operation, after finishing all the medications my left knee was quiet for a ‎while, but now has started acting up again. Now that my right knee is really good – feels firm when I walk and going up ‎and down stairs while my left knee “gives” a bit, under me – I’m wondering should I do the left tkr and if I don’t am I ‎likely to cause my good, right knee to then become my bad know. This was mentioned once on this forum.‎

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  • Posted

    Looking forward to reading other replies on this! I had a left TKR 30th May and you have written exactly all the same issues that I'm experiencing. I'm not exercising enough - I have vertigo and a rotor cuff tear right shoulder.

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    • Posted

      Sorry to hear you have vertigo chubbycho. I've had that in the past - long before tkr - and it's debilitating. Made me feel like u was losing my mind. Hope you can deal with it. Have you had vestibular physiotherapy? it can help a lot. As for exercising, do what you can, if the the vertigo interferes. Good luck and hope you feel better soon.

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    • Posted

      I also get vertigo and understanding why you would not be comfortable exercising. I went to my physiotherapist who did a maneuver to corr ed ct this, but it was expensive to see him all the time and never in a timely manner, so I suffered until I saw him.

      I decided that the procedure was simple enough that I could do it myself and now at the first sign of vertigo starting I lie on the bed and do the maneuver myself. Instant relief, in my case. If you google Mayo Clinic vertigo, you should be able to find the information on the maneuver and how to do it. Hope this helps.

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  • Posted

    My right knee was done 12 years ago and i stopped going to the theatre because of the pain. It has always been the same. Im ok as long as i can stretch the leg. i was at the hair dressers yesterday and had to keep stretching the leg to stop the pain. my left knee while bone on bone settled down and lasted another 11 years.

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  • Posted

    I had a RTKR 10 months ago and your symptoms are Exactly what I am experiencing. It seems to be the status quo at this stage of the game. Thanks for sharing.......and as far as the theater seating.....My wife and I went to a Broadway play last week and the pain from sitting cramped into a small seat with no leg room was the most I have experienced in months........yuk !! Relief was immediate upon standing up and moving around.

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    • Posted

      Thanks Hopgo and also Jean02698. So I'm not alone in the misery of cramped (by tkr needs) theatre seats. i guess i will have to grin and bear it and hope that it will resolve itself, though not too optimistic about that.

      i don't know about anyone else but i really knew very little about this op beforehand, other than a physiotherapist told me i won't sleep nights. The surgeon had explained what he was going to do and shown me a model of a joint, but i didn't even know what questions to ask. So this forum is really a great comfort and help. Thanks everyone.

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  • Posted

    I swear this could be my post!! I am 6 months post LTKR and these are all the questions on my mind. The morning discomfort from the stiffness is terrible. I also struggle with the good/bad swings. Mine can happen within the day. I can have good flexion, then for no reason at all, the knee decides enough, and tightens up again I also still struggle with sleeping on my side. Still to much soft tissue tenderness.

    I am eagerly following this thread to see all the other replies.I to am a candidate for right knee TKR, but at this stage of my journey, there is no way I'm going to butcher my body like this again.

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    • Posted

      In the weeks after my tkr I vowed there was no way I would ever, ever have my left knee done. But as that knee has reverted being painful again more regularly, I've decided that I'm going to go for it.

      It's so comforting to see that other people are experiencing similar sensations. You think that maybe there's something wrong and then you come on the forum and find it's all perfectly normal and part of the very long healing process.

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  • Posted

    Hi Jane, I'm coming up for a year and still have the problems you describe, although they are improving slowly. I'm back doing Keep Fit, Pilates and dancing with no problem, but my knee lets me know about it next day and will sometimes have various sensations without any cause that I can think of. I've been told the pain on the outside of the knee is due to the shortening of the Iliotibial Band, due to having a crooked leg, and will take 18 months to settle. You can google stretches that are supposed to help. Some mornings I wake up with a painful inside of the knee, other days fine. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it at times.

    I find cinema and theatre seats affect my knee after a while too, but it soon disappears when I start moving again. Last time I tried moving my leg around more whilst sitting, but I can't decide whether it helped or not. I had decided I'd go for an aisle seat in future , but how that will work with 2 TKR's I have no idea!

    My other knee is being done next week. Originally they were going to be done 4 months apart, but because it seemed to improve I delayed it. Like yours it improved after the first TKR, but at 6 months it seemed to be back to where it was and by 10 months I decided it was time. I'm hoping 2 straight legs will help my back, which has been very bad since mobilising after the first op. I'm also hoping by the time the new knee is 6 months old the first knee will be perfect, or as near as. My cousin's wife, who,had both knees done, says it was 18 months for each before all the aches and pains resolved, so,I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

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  • Posted

    • Everything in paragraph 1 is correct. Note that this is a lifelong recovery. Even years down the road, if you don't keep the knee active, it will stiffen up again. Make sure you do the muscle rebuild so that you maximize the strength in your quads, glutes, core and more to take the load off the knee. Click my name, Discussions, View All. It's one of 30 discussions I wrote.
    • Same complaint from people who needed to get on an airplane for a 5-hour flight. I would suggest a lot of ice before going (and an ice bag at your seat) plus use some Voltaren Gel (diclofenac) to reduce the inflammation. Best topical out there.
    • Doc was totally correct on the compensation. We do it subconsciously so it's tough to avoid. Before a second TKR, I would look into COOLIEF...Cooled Radiofrequency Ablation. It's a 15-minute, FDA-approved procedure under sedation that deadens the nerves around a joint carrying pain signals to the brain. Seems to be very successful as patients report at least one and sometimes two years of pain relief. Lots of people delay a TKR by doing COOLIEF. Go to their website for more info and to locate a certified doc in your area. If it works for you, it could be a way to avoid the TKR in the short-term.
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    • Posted

      I think COOLIEF is only in the States, from comments I've seen in previous posts. But if I'm going to have to have tkr eventually on my left knee I think I'd rather get it done sooner rather than later.

      Agree with you about Voltaren. We always keep a tube of it at home for any joint aches and pains.

      Thanks for your advice - I really appreciate the amount of knowledge you have - unfortunately learned the hard way!

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    • Posted

      After a few of these notes, I guess COOLIEF isn't available in the UK. Someone should find out why since it has a pretty good success rate over here. Then again, an option is to have your pal Jack Daniels always by your side.

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  • Posted

    Chico .....i never have problems on a plane with my knee and i just recently did a 9 hour flight. its only when the knee is kept at 90 degrees sitting and i cant stretch it out. As long as i can stretch ....no problems.

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    • Posted

      I've seen complaints about stiffness on a long-haul flight from a bunch of people. Again...we're all different and virtually everyone doesn't know how their knee will react in a very restricted space beforehand. Always be prepared!!! Glad you were able to do it without any negative effects...

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