Severe knee swelling

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I am new to this forum and am hoping to benefit from the experience of others. I am an active 74 yr. old, 4 weeks after total knee replacement. I am discouraged with the severe swelling that nothing seems to help, pain and stiffness, and the inability to do prescribed exercises without excruciating pain. Pains meds are limited because of fatty liver . All symptoms are worse at night, so lack of sleep contributes to discouragement. I want to do everthing possible to get back to normal living, and seem to be getting worse instead of better!

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  • Posted

    Dear Marylyn the first 4 weeks are terrible. I can't imagine what you must be going through without the pain meds! There must be a drug you can have. RING your anaesthetist! If they anaesthetised you you CAN have a short term decent pain killer..

    Ice packs that wrap around the knee help and ELEVATE above your heart to reduce the swelling. In bed is easiest. Don't push too hard with your exercises. The swelling makes it much harder. Look up Chico on this forum. EVERYTHING he says is correct.

    We're all different, so comparing is hard, but you are not alone. We all had a terrible 4 weeks, pretty much good improvement by 8 weeks. My op was 9th Oct 2018. Still working at strengthening muscles now but walking without pain. A bit at night sometimes. It will get better xxx

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  • Posted

    Good morning. I just went back and looked at my journal. At 2 months I was better but still having pain...around a level 3 to 4...day and night.

    I am almost 4 months out now. No pain but some swelling and stiffness still there. I still wake up during the night and must change positions.

    I took pain meds before my physical therapy sessions to get through them a bit easier. If I had a lot of pain during my home exercises...I stopped. I found stretching helped more at times.

    My physical therapist who is fantastic, did not believe in putting me through terrible pain during my sessions. He worked on stretching, balance and strengthening during my 90 minute sessions along with range of motion.

    I believe you are still very early in the recovery process. Be patient with the process. I expected a faster recovery....but it was not the case.

    I would talk to your doctor about the pain meds issue.

    Keep posting....you will get there!!

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  • Posted

    Hi Marilyn it's early days yet. Had my first one March 2018 and my second two weeks ago. I remember my first was horrific and pain etc didn't ease till after, 8 weeks this time completely different. Sleep no bother go to bed about 9 sleep till 4 then take meds sleep till 8/9. This time I'm taking paracetamol tramydol and oral morphine. Was 4 times daily now down to 3. Walking without sticks and really coping well. This time though excercise up to date of second op on my bike think this has helped me. It does get better ask GP for something to help you sleep xxx

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  • Posted

    Your knee is probably stiff because of the swelling and it's probably swollen because you're doing too much at this stage. Ice and elevate for at least 40 minutes every 2 hours to help keep swelling down. Elevate whenever you're not moving. Don't do any exercises that hurt. Practice heel slides back towards your bottom, with your foot on a plastic bag, as far as is comfortable, doing a few every hour. I had a big problem trying to lift my leg and used a therapy band to support it, gradually holding the leg up for a few seconds and releasing the tension in the band until I could lift it without pain. I've found things improved after 6 weeks, although still slowly. Remember this is a minimum 12 month recovery and you're only 1/12 of the way through. There must be some pain relief they can give you surely? I hope things get better soon.

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  • Posted

    Maryln. I am at 16 weeks TKR. i had the same experience with my knee as you. Have you started your PT yet? I just did what ever exercises i could do. I took over the counter tylenol during the day but my doctor gave me pain meds...but only one per night. To help me sleep i took Benadryl. I did lots of icing and elevating my knee. I also tried voltarin gell. im not sure if it worked for me but others have had good luck with it. i massage my leg with cream when I wake at night. i stay up till i was really tired watching Netfix..even fall asleep while it was still on.

    My knee is still quite swollen....some of the swelling has gone down. It does get better. Im finally seeing a little light at the end of the tunnel. Hang in there....its not a pleasant road ...but it does get easier.

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  • Posted

    You have just described the prototypical recovery from a knee replacement.. All of it...right there.

    • Swelling? Normal. Ice and elevate. Once you start walking and go too far any given day, "balloon knee". Normal...know your limits and increase steps per day gradually. LISTEN TO YOUR KNEE!!!
    • Pain? Take your meds ON SCHEDULE. Problems? See your doc. Changes in meds, dosages and timing are all variable and very common. Need to manage the worst of the pain for the first 90 days.
    • Extra Pain Relief? Topical. Voltaren Gel (RX in US, else generic diclofenac). See your doc; check for interactions. OTC Aspercream with 4% lidocaine. OTC lidocaine, capcaisin and menthol patches. Inexpensive ($25) TENS machine.
    • Sleep? Good luck with that.

    Sleep Tips

    Welcome to the club, Kneebie...

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