ROM at three weeks - getting worried

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So some background is that for the past few years before my TKR I haven’t bern able to bend my knee past 90 degrees. Injuries, scar tissue, meniscus torn and taken out. Etc. Before surgery specialist told me because of that I might not get full range of motion back - maybe another 10 or 20 degrees. And also - being that I’m only 47 they warned me that my recovery might be more difficult as they see that often with younger patients for some reason. 

Fast forward to now - three weeks after TKR.....surgeon comes from out of town and leaves so don’t have him following up with me until 6 weeks or more after surgery. So haven’t any idea how surgery went or what kind of bend he was able to get while I was under. But  right now my bend is only 70 degrees. I try so hard! I do my exercises three times a day, go to physio twice a week, try to walk without aids when in the house, doing stairs, etc. Raise it and ice it and a lot of swelling is gone except directly on knee. 

Today I was so disappointed in just 2 degree change from last week that I started crying right in physio. She passed me some Kleenex and told me this happens with younger patients....and for the next two days they are going to put me on the passive continuous motion machine....to see if that loosens things up. I’m so scared that I’m going to have to have manipulation later....and I feel like nobody believes me that I’m working really hard at this!

Anybody out there experience anything similar? Words of encouragement?  I just feel like a failure! I’m with 80- something’s in physio who have bends of 110 degrees already....😕

Thanks, 

Amy

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  • Posted

    First, STOP with the disappointment.  It's based on expectations with no data...just our "hope".  Give up all expectations.  No one can tell you what your final result will be only 3-weeks post-op.

    Two...  This is NOT a linear process.  There is no "x" gain every week.  There are advances, setbacks and plateaus...all part of the recovery.  You can look at your progress on a month to month basis...not daily or weekly.  Too many ups and downs.  Expect them.

    Yes, you may not experience a full ROM recovery because of your previous injuries.  However, the surgery may have cleaned all that out with the replacement and your knee will be fine...no way of telling...FOR A YEAR!!!  That's the recovery time.  Get used to it...OWN IT!!!

    Do the work, give it time, be patient.  That's your job...

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    • Posted

      Thanks Chico! I needed that. Problem is we get six weeks of physio and they run us thru like a sprint instead of a marathon......expressing concern right out of surgery if you have little ROM.....and they expect at six weeks you should be at 120.......that’s the goal per surgeons’ direction.  So that’s the reason for my worry. But will take your advice and just do the work and be patient. 👍🏼

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    • Posted

      Chico is right and 120 at 4 weeks is unrealistic because not all of us can make that. I just made it at 12 weeks and hope like crazy I can maintain and exceed next week but I know there are no guarantees in this recovery. Relax your mind and just do the work coaching yourself through like you would a best friend. 

      You will I’ll be alright 😘 hang in there 

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  • Posted

    Amy, don't panic. You will be alright. I am 10 hears your senior and have had the same thoughts you have had. I also didn't know being younger for this surgery makes it tougher for recovery. You are very early in process. I had surgery Aug 17th and have just made ROM to 120 and that was hard. There is an older woman (75+) who goes to physio at same time as me who is darling but she is having a much easier time and she had surgery 5 weeks AFTER me. 

    Don't be too hard on yourself and don't freak out. We are all different and heal differently. Apparently, I am on the slower side if I were to compare myself with some others but I have learned NOT to do that. It gets easier I promise but it's very hard. People have reminded me this is a marathon and that's an excellent description of process. 

    Keep up the good work. And when you can get to 100 then you can use stationary bike which I think has helped me a lot. Do that when you can. I didn't do it u til recently but should have done it as soon as I made the 100 mark. 

    I understand what you are saying completely. You will find this site invaluable as you go through the healing process. Stay calm and carry on as they say.

    Best wishes 

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    • Posted

      Thanks Robin! I need to learn to concentrate on my own progress and stop comparing it to others’.....

      I actually have already started the bike....just rocking pedals back and forth the first day, and yesterday went all the way around but backwards....it was an accomplishment and is why we all thought I’d progressed more than what my measurement showed later...oh well....one day at a time! Thanks again for your words of support and encouragement!

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  • Posted

    OMG you're my recovery twin 😂 We are the same age having the same problems I'm at week 7 today. My range of movement at 3 weeks was only 60 degrees the CPM helped a lot my range improved to 90 degrees, the swelling went down I wish I kept it for a other two weeks now. Unfortunately my range of movement hasn't improved anymore. I went to see the consultant yesterday and he's giving me another 6 weeks to make an improvement. I was pretty low yesterday because any suggestions he was making to improve  ROM  I had already tried so I was getting the impression he thought I was just sitting on my backside expecting it to miraculously bend on its own. I have been trying hard because I want a better bend so I can enjoy things like cycling and riding my motorbike. Anyway today is a new day and it's my birthday so I'm not allowed to be grumpy. I'm just going to carry on working at it.  I think age does play a role in this and I'm starting to think that scar tissue builds up quicker in younger people than older which would explain the poor movement.

    just keep at it I'm going to go to a health club and use their jacuzzi to see if warm  water can help bend this knee  I'll let you know if it does X 

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    • Posted

      Thanks Snoozy!! And happy Birthday! It helps to know I’m not the only one with this issue.....I watched my mom fly thru her TKR this summer and expected to be just like her. HA!! Not so much! 😩

      Hoping the CPM machine helps me - if so will rent one if possible to use at home. 

      I don’t know if it’s scar tissue we build up quicker, or if our muscles still tight and won’t relax to bend....but whatever the issue it’s painful and discouraging! Thanks for your supportive message - and definitely let me know if the warm jacuzzi makes a difference....I was wondering the same thing.

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    • Posted

      I hired the CPM from Phoenix healthcare products for two weeks for £156 if you hire it for 4 weeks it works out cheaper. They sort out delivery and collection and I think it was worth every penny. I've been down to the health club today to claim my free 2 week pass I said I was only interested in the pool and steam room not the gym side of it just yet. So my trial is starting on Saturday so I'll let you know how I get on X 

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    • Posted

      Hi again. 😊 We are looking into renting a CPM machine but so far can’t find one. Small town Ontario (Canada) and the ortho surgeons who come here decided it’s a waste of time so most places sold them off. Argh! I used the one that they took out of storage (!) at physio yesterday and gained 10 degrees with it on....going back today. Going to try to talk them into letting me take it home for a few weeks....but if not I’m sure I’ll be heading to physio daily between regular two days a week plus now time on the machine 😬

      Definitely let me know how it goes at the health club - I was wondering also if heating pad would help with movement.....even on muscles above knee which seem to be spasming.....

      Thanks Again, 

      Amy 😊

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    • Posted

      Lol sorry I didn't realise you weren't in the uk. I don't think they deliver to Canada😂 It's a shame if you can't rent one though it certainly helped me. I saw my physio today who completely tortured me massaging my quad and patella. We were discussing whether age could be a factor in build up of scar tissue and he agreed it made sense. After his torture session I went from 90 degrees to 100 but this evening I'm back to 90. Oh well start again tomorrow 😃

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    • Posted

      Could you maybe rig up some kind of home made device? If you had a slanted board at a 45 degree angle, with one of those pedal exercisers on it, you could use the other foot to do the work and yet your operated one would move and you could just do backwards and forwards, rather than all the way around?

      Maybe put 45 degree placed board at the end of the bed, leaning on something? I did this, as my bed end is not far from the wall and I rested the board on top of the radiator which ran along the wall! The pedal exerciser stayed there fine, as it had grips on the base. I didn't use this idea much, because my bend didn't turn out to be a problem, but enjoyed thinking it up before the op!

      Would not be quite the same but might be worth a try.

      If no good could always use later for cycling exercises I guess!

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