Returning to work that has me on my feet 100% of the time

Posted , 8 users are following.

Hello: Just found this site yesterday and have gained a lot of good insight on issues with TKR; mine was July 5, 2017.

I'm progressing very well, still have pain of course but trying to tough it out without prescription painkillers; so far so good.

I exercise every day, attend physical therapy 3x/week.

I work part time as a barista at Starbucks, a job I've held for 3 yrs and love. My question is: when will I be able to return to work? I realize I've only just finished my 2nd week postop but it's nagging in my mind. 

Has anyone w/TKR have a job where they are on their feet during their entire time working? Could you give me your opinions/experiences/insight? I normally work a 5 to 7-1/2 hr shift, tending usually to work at least 7 hours as our store is always busy, I can use the $$ and I truly enjoy what I do.

Can anyone help with their story?

1 like, 11 replies

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11 Replies

  • Posted

    Hey Kathleen! I'm sure your Surgeon has mentioned when you MIGHT return to work. I went back at 8 weeks. But my job is a combo of walking and sitting. For many the return to work is 12 weeks. Trust me on this YOU WILL KNOW as you are ready. WhIle I was No where near done with my PT at the 8 week mark. I was feeling better overall. Went from 3x week PT to 2 x a week while working. The first 2 weeks back to work were tough. Dr insisted I start back half days. That helped so much. I promise you, if your part time, you will be glad you only work 2-3 days a week for a while. Sounds like you're doing well..

    Hang in there. Don't worry about work yet.

    I forgot to say, once I returned to work the ache, pain in my lower leg, where the implant is was not fun. After walking on it for a few hours each day, it gradually got better. I'm sure Chico Marx will post on here. Look up his amazing discussions posts on TKR!!!

    Focus on each days Healing. You're on the way! Keep us posted! How's your Bend going??


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  • Posted

    I posted this about returning to work elsewhere, but here it is again...


    3-4 months? Maybe not such a good idea...maybe.  After reading "billions and billions" (Carl Sagan) of posts, here are some thoughts...

    1. It's all very individual...some people can handle it at 4 months, most have problems.

    2. Depends on the job.  Desk work, although difficult sitting in one position for hours, is doable but still painful.  Nurses running the hallways is near impossible.  "I will b on my feet for 7 hrs" puts you in the latter category.  Teachers have the same issue.  Construction and factory workers...not a chance...maybe...there are individual exceptions.

    3. The mandatory requirements for returning to work are: 1. You are off the opioids; 2. You have done the PT to get your 0 / +120 ROM back; 3. You've done a significant amount of exercise to restrengthen your quads, core and glutes to support the new knee; 4. You are mentally strong enough to handle your workload.

    4. Those who go back to work too early report a lot of problems with pain and especially swelling.  Their work pushes the knee beyond what it can take at that point in their recovery.  So they report waking up, going to work, having increasing pain and swelling throughout the day, getting home in a lot of pain, icing and elevating as best they can and then having trouble sleeping because of the pain.  THEN, they wake up the next day and have to repeat the cycle all over again.  Not a pretty picture. 

    5. The majority of people report returning to work around six months, some a bit sooner.  At that point, pain and swelling don't occur as frequently. 

    Again...all individual.  We have had some people on the Forum who have gone back to work in the 3-4 month range, deal with their issues and get past it...they are not the majority who have tried it at that point in their recovery.

    For you, be prepared for the worst and hope for the best.  I'd be exercising my butt off right now to be as strong as possible.

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    • Posted

      Guide?  What guide?  If one doesn't come when you have a kid, why would you think one would come with a TKR?

      People have expectations...bad idea.  There is no normal, there is no "should", everyone is different.  Look...

      When you put hundreds or thousands of people together for ANY kind of statistical study, you can get all sorts of great information.  However, people don't seem to understand one simple fact:

      Statistics apply to groups and populations...NEVER to individual people.

      We can talk all we want about this taking a year but some people feel like that at 9 or 10 months...but that doesn't mean YOU.  And you will not know where you fell (past tense) under the curve until you're completely done with your recovery.  You can't see the end from the middle...simple.  All you can do is recover...and do your damn best at doing so.

      I tell of a guy who was on here over a year ago.  Told everyone that he was completely recovered in 13 weeks...totally normal.  In fact, he was resuming his favorite activity, mountain climbing, that weekend.  Never heard from him again.  We're all wondering if anyone's found the body yet.  With his knee, maybe they should be using a metal detector.

      The only way you'll know if you can go back to work is to listen to your knee.  Put on a pedometer (Fit Bit, etc.) and walk 11,000 steps.  That's what I did in 7 hours working the floor at Best Buy 8-months post-op before spinal stenosis ended that gig.  If your knee swells up like a balloon and you're writhing in pain for 3 days, you ain't ready.  I could do 11,000 easy...but that was EIGHT MONTHS post-op.

      But everyone's different.  It's your knee that will tell you.  So prepare by pushing it a little every day...track your steps.  Assuming you have your ROM at 0 / +120 or close, this will help...

      Click on my picture and then "See All Discussions"...lots more out there.  Hope it helps. 

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  • Posted

    It's less than 3 weeks since you had very serious surgery , do as much physio as you can without over doing it . If you have pain take pain killers , don't put up with pain . It is much better if you can do the physio with as little pain as possible. Think carefully before returning to work , it's better if you wait until you are recovered rather than rush back and then have problems which may delay your recovery . My knees are almost 20 & 19 years old now and I have had no problems , could be because I didn't rush recovery . 

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  • Posted

    It is very individual Kathleen but just take care not to go too soon.  I work part time as a housekeeper and I went back at about eight weeks but only for two days and I could only do four hours on those days as I was on my feet. My leg couldn't do any more than that it would start aching and I was wiped out! Now at eight months I am back to full strength but it doesn't take time. Listen to your body and take care of yourself. 

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  • Posted

    Hi just started back to work 14wks in. I work two days a week and after my first week my knees seems to b ok. My boss has been really good and keeps reminding me to sit and have a drink. I did tell her I would need to massage my knee and extend it and also had to keep fluid levels up. Thing I found hardest was I had a bit of trouble remembering all the paperwork and even doing the till. Must have been the strong painkillers made my head turn to mush although I was off them at 6 wks. Hopefully have another good wk I am taking it as it comes if my knee isn't right I will let my boss know.

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