Return to work...return of pain!

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I had a partial knee replacement at the start of April and things were going well. I was back to cylcling and had much less stiffness in the knee. I've now gone back to work as a kindergarten teacher in a school housed in a very old town house (lots of stairs)! I'm off work again after only 2 weeks as I'm having sudden pain in the back of my knee and that early joint stiffness has returned. I'm 47 and was hoping that the knee op would give me a new lease of life however fear that this will be it from now! I knew I wouldn't be running marathons but now fear that I won't be able to return to work! I'm wondering how long it will take before I have more confidence in my new knee or whether its just a matter of time. I'm using ice again and having physio massage but feeling worried about the future, especially as I have to have the same op on the other knee! The Dr and physio feel its over-use but what IS over-use? Any words of comfort?

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  • Posted

    I had my TKR at the end of April. I haven't gone back to work. However my other knee is what is stopping me from progressing. Never the less I find stairs hard. Do you go up and down the stairs a lot? if so maybe it is just too much for your new knee just now. Probably using the muscles more than you were for a long time. It is only 5.5months for you. I believe total recovery is 12 months, so don't lose heart, just recover from this and when you go back to work see if you can use the stairs less and see how that goes.
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    • Posted

      Hi Elaine, Thank you so much for your reply. I have counted that I do a minimum of 80 flights of stairs a day! At the start of term, in September, I felt ready to go back but guess its just too much too soon!

      This forum is a great place to share worries with people who can truly understand

      Good luck with your recovery and your other knee.

      Carol

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  • Posted

    Hi Carolbrx .  i am 57 and had a TKR in april as i have said in a post before, i wish i had never had it done, The pain on the inside of my knee before the op is still there and since day 2 i have had constant severe pain on the outside of my knee, which i never had before. ater 20 weeks of Physio and joining a local gym (no pain no gain as they say ) thinking it would break down the scar tissue, i have since returned back to work monday of this week  as a delivery Postman . i dont have any words of comfort at the moment because i no what your  going though, but i,ve been told that time is a great healer andpeople on this forum say its still early days and it could take up to 12 months for recovery and more .   i am going to see my consultant next week to see what he advises, It has been brought forward by 6 months because i am not happy, my quality of life with my knee is worst now than it was before opp,  Hope you feel better soon , but if not go and see your surgeon again ,  Best wishes on your recovery   Brian  
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    • Posted

      Hello Brian, Thank you for your reply. I'm sorry to hear that things haven't gone well for you. I imagine being a postman puts quite a strain on your knees, and as a teacher of 5yr olds I'm never still either so guess we're in the same boat. I just thought things would be ok by now.

      Hope things get better for you.

      Carol

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    • Posted

      Have you tried "shock" absorbers in your shoes/boots.  You have a job that is hard on your knees.  Your knees carry the whole wwight of your body (not ankles spine etc).  A lot of stores sell them these days. Large chemists and good shoe shops.  Most are a silicon type, with nodules underneath which absorbs the pounding of everyday heel to toe on pavements.  You are still recovering, no matter what exercises you do + you have the weight of your bag.  When you are not working make sure you are resting your knee.  You have been on it all day, lay on the floor/sofa and raise your leg in the air, help the fluid drain away.  You are looking at 18months recovery as opposed to 12.  One of the tricks is not to be in a hurry.  Don't rush, there are no short cuts 
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  • Posted

    hi carol dont get disheartened im not working but i know that it dose take time to recover and as its an old building with lots of stairs your knee is grumbling as it dose not want to work so much all of a sudden , working with kids would not give you much time to sit as kids are demanding i know because ive my grandchild 2 days a week having a class full is much more demanding, as for wondering is this how its going to be from now on?? ,id say no its not but yes its slower than you imagined it to be standing alot and doing so much stairs is going to take more time the pain at the back of the knee might suggest straightening might not be fully straight but it will improve with excersise ,the best saying for how long it will take to get confidence in your new knee is you may have a new knee but it takes a full year to own it ,and yes i would agree with this  you probably just need more time i feel for you as of course you want to get back to work and your old life .hang in there im sure with some rest and ice you will improve maybe work might let you go back part time to give your knee a chance to get used to the more demands of your work the best of luck to you ,it will improve
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    • Posted

      Hi Linda, Thanks for your words of encouragement. I think I was just hoping that things would be better by now especially as I had seen such a big improvement over the summer. I've asked my school for a downstairs classroom but I'm not hopeful. Maybe part time is a good solution just tricky as a class teacher. I'll keep negotiating :-)

      Have fun with your grandchild.

      Carol

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  • Posted

    Appears with the new surroundings (even if it is your old school its the same as new as you haven't been around for 5 months) are taking a toll. You have jumped into stair climbing and probably being on your feet and up and down with the kids is putting a totally different strain on the entire body not just the joint. You wouldnt have considered going from walking to distance running overnight yet in essence, that's exactly what you have done. You are going to have to talk to your Dr's. and employers and tell them what has happened and let then help you get back on trank at a different pace. Now that you have strained both leg and knee and probably back and hips it will not be a sudden and quick adjustment that can get you going. This is not to say you won't be able to enjoy life downline but I suspect rest and a new regimen of activities will be paramount to your recovery. I'm I my 5th complete rehab of the leg/knee and I'm continually hitting a wall and having to change protocol. I went to therapy last Friday and had some additional stuff tossed at me. Sunday I could barely walk and then not without enormous pain and unbelievable swelling. Back to therapy yesterday with a hole new purpose and set of excercises. Be kind to yourself and all the little ones and get the help you need immediately as you aren't going to work through this one on your own. Good luck and keep us informed.
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    • Posted

      Thank you so much for your reply. I've seen many of your posts as this forum really helped in the early days. I guess I just thought I was really over the worst and had a relatively pain free summer and was looking forward to getting back to work. Rather disheartening to be out again after only a couple of weeks but I hear your words of wisdom and yes...maybe straight back into full time was just too much, especially as its not a sit- down job! I see my physio again tomorrow ( Im in belgium and have had fantastic after care with 60 hours of prescribed physio) and have an appointment to speak with my GP. I guess it just takes time.

      I hope your new exercise programme brings good results and thanks again for your support.

      Carol

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  • Posted

    There is nothing wrong with your knee (the joint that is)  All the soft tissue surrounding your knee is up in arms over having to work, all thoughs stairs, I bet you thought you could walk up and down, just like you used to do??  Then you have all the bending/kneeking. Not a chance.  If you can work on one floor or a couple of classrooms, you might be able to  take things easier.  Ease yourself into things gently.  Allow you new knee to heal, ligaments and muscles take months.  Patience.  Don't give up your day job, it will keep you sane.  Speak to yourboss(es)see if you can come to an arrangement of sorts.  As you beome stronger, you will be able to do more.
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    • Posted

      Hello, many thanks for your reply,

      I saw the dr again yesterday and they think the same as you.I just have to rest and allow everything to heal before tackling the stair marathon. I'm having an x ray and ultrasound just to rule out anything else but until work are prepared to make changes it seems i'll be home resting and healing!

      Thanks again

      Carol

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    • Posted

      Does make you feel rather frustrated though, doesn't it.  You  are beginning to feel better in yourself, then realise your knee has let you down.  Do not be surprised at the rollercoaster of emotions, don't even try to work them out and DON'T use the dreaded "why" word.  You CAN get on with your life as normal except, there are certain things you have to make allowances for. Lots of stairs at work, and lots of walking to boot.  Whilst you are cecouperating use the stairs for exercise; just don't over-do it.  If it  it is hard to come down, try backwards for a few times (just remember to bend your knee) you are still working the muscles, but in a different way. after a while, when it feels "too easy" going up, try them 2 at a time.  When they no longer hurt,  then consider going back to work.  Walking is also high impact.  If you can wear soft heels (if you wear shoes with proper heels, they tend to be a hard rubber, which impacts), you will find it makes a hell of a difference, those ugly looking crocs can become your best friend; like walking on a cushion.  Gel insoles in your shoes/boots are a great help too (even better if you can get the reflexology ones, can also use them the wrong way up as well).  There are lots of ways to make your life easier.  If you have been in your job a fair amount of time; they are obliged to accomodate you.  It is not going to cost them the earth to make your working life easier for how ever long it takes.  Hang on in there, good luck with the ultrasound and x-ray, hopes it is good news.  Keep us posted x  
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  • Posted

    When I had TKR 3 years ago they said it would be about a year before I really began to feel the benefit so you have quite a way to go yet.

    Doing lots of stairs probably does not help at this stage.

    It dpoes get better, do not give up.

    Sarah xxx

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    • Posted

      Hi Sarah,

      Thanks for you message. It seems from others that I still have a long way to go . I will try to focus on what I CAN do not what I can't. I just hope that I can negotiate some changes at work that will allow me to get back into my "normal" life again.

      Hope things are well with you.

      Carol

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