Returning to work

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I had a TKR back in February and a manipulation in April I had a doctor's appointment yesterday on the 21 and he has cleared me to return to work without limitations. I still have swelling and pain in my knee and my job requires a lot of walking and standing any advice. I would greatly appreciate it.

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  • Posted

    I'm 2+ years post-op...been on the Form for a looong time and read over 4,000 posts.  Typical back to work time reported with no appreciable consequences is in the 4-6 month range.  Very many people trying it at 3 months report pain, swelling, stiffness, sleeplessness and more.  A lot depends on the job (desk work is easier but still difficult), how much ROM you've got back, how much work you've done rebuilding your dead quads, glutes and core, age, and more.  It's not easy and everyone is different.

    The recommendation is to take the time to :1. let the knee heal; and 2. rebuild all that musculature.  If you don't do the rebuild, all the pressure ends up on the joint which causes more pain, swelling, etc.  However, there are those very few who pull it off...can probably count them on less than one hand.

    If you MUST return to work, I would recommend an AirCast (see picture).  Once detached from the bucket, you are free to move around.  Replenish the ice water occasionally; replace the actual ice a few times a day.  If you keep the knee iced all day, you have a better chance.  Also ask the doc for some Voltaren Gel (RX in the US)...great topical anti-inflammatory and pain reliever.

    When you get home, ice, elevate and sleep because you'll have to do it all again tomorrow.  If you can get an extra 30 days and use that time to rebuild those muscles, you will have a much better recovery.  Here's the exercise routine...

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

    Also remember that putting more pressure on the new knee changes the way you walk opening yourself up to other pain...

    https://patient.info/forums/discuss/other-pain-after-a-tkr-641040

    You really, REALLY want to avoid that.

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  • Posted

    Hi Robert I'm a staff nurse on an intensive care unit, there was no way I was ready to go back to work 3 months post op I was still using my walking stick occasionally. I tried to go back at 4 months but my knee was still very swollen and my boss sent me away and told me to take another month off. I went back at 5 months on a phased return just started doing 4 hours three days a week and built up from there. I took a frozen gel pack with me that fits in a sleeve that I could wrap around my knee and I used it during my break and it did keep the swelling down. I'm 8 months post op now and I'm back on full duties, no swelling now, still a bit painful when I bend it but I can stay on my feet for a full day with no problems. I'm still working on the flexion but my main problem is tight quad muscles and tightness at the top of my calf  and that is where the pain is so I have to massage it regularly x

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  • Posted

    I also had the done in February and went back to work no limits 3 weeks ago.Like you I do a lot of walking and climbing stairs and I do have swelling.Unfortunately with FMLA exhausted I needed to make a decision keep my job or lose it.I bring an ice pack to work and use it every break.I also stretch a lot at work. I do go to the gym after work and usr the bike to loosen up quad and it band Mus les.It is not easy with all the walking my knee swells and my gait goes haywire. I have a,good manager who takes,it easier on me knowing what I went through and hopefully yours does too.Good luck to you!
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  • Posted

    Hi. I had knee replacemant beggining of March, I feel great, slight swelling and manageable pain, but doctor and surgeon wont give me permission to go back to work as its something they dont do anymore apparantly its up to your workplace to say whether you can go back? i am desperate to go back to work but my place of   work wont let me because the surgeon put on my sick note 4 months so i have to stay off for 4 months, is this correct?  i'm glad you are better, i am still going to physio which helps did you have physio as i find after physio i am in pain, i want to go back to work but dont know how to get around it? how long did your surgeon lay you off for? i feel i am being led up the garden path, if you do go back to work and hurt yourself make sure you have conditions in place. max

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    • Posted

      The surgeon would have let me go back to work with limits at 8 weeks.My work would not let me back with work limits so I had to wait 10 weeks.Yes I did have physical therapy before and after returning to work until insurance would not pay anymore

      It has been rough but surviving

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  • Posted

    Regardless of what the Dr. says your knee will let you know in no uncertain terms if your ready or not. I am 2 years post op and if I over do it my knee will in no uncertain terms how bad it feels. As Chico say 4 to 6 is average but some take longer some less no two people are the same. If you are going to be doing a lot of walking I would suggest bringing an ice pack or two and let where you work you might have to sit down if the pain gets too severe. I have been thru 5 TKR's each time it was around the 55 to 6 month mark before I started to feel better. If you can take one more month if not do what you can in case the pain gets too much.

    Wish you luck!!

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  • Posted

    Unfortunately the majority of surgeons who do TKR have never actually had TKR! They do not know of the pain levels, as much as we may tell them, they have never experienced it! They have spent nights unable to sleep, days trying to do exercises through the pain! What do they know of the actual experience of TKR??

    Your knee is in charge here, please listen to it. 

    Ultimately the decision is yours alone, give it due thought & consideration. Don't make a rash decision either way!

    Marilyn 

    XX

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    • Posted

      I agree with however my current Dr. must be in his 60"s?? was telling me he had his L knee done and once he was released from the hospital all he took was Aleve. HE said the first 2 weeks were pretty bad and he had to sleep in a recliner but after that it hurt but it did get better.He is scheduled to get his R knee done middle of June. I know I hate pain I hope when he does my knee he understands. I cannot imagine coming home from the hospital w/o pain meds boy that would stink.

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