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sandra37762 sandra37762

shin and calf pain folliwing TKR

I get pain in my shin and  outer calf. Also my ankle.It is worse than the actual knee. this is in my right leg, TKRCno. 2 which was done on OCT 21st. 4 weeks ago. Knee no. 1 is doing fine, only a bit of stiffness and accasional ache. The hamstring in that leg was cramping but I fixed that with magnesium. I did walk 1 km today, I find walking helps stiffness and makes me feel better mentally. any tips

 to get rid of the shin pain???

52 Replies

  • Oldfatguy1 Oldfatguy1 sandra37762

    I suspect you may have been favoring the leg and walking with a limp or at least not going with a full stride. Now you are walking correctly and all of the muscles/nerves are resetting themselves and its putting a strain on the entire leg. As you know, excercise, ice and time are your biggest allies. 

    • sandra37762 sandra37762 Oldfatguy1

      That makes sense Oldfatguy.(I feel so disrespectful saying that!!biggrin. I had knee no. 1 done 8 weeks ago so for 4 weeks I eoukd have been heavily favouring knee no. 2. I have been pushing the rehab a bit too. The ice has been well used!smile

    • betty07083 betty07083 sandra37762

      Ha ha, that's cute Sandra, but I feel the same way calling him old fat guy too smile

      Anyway, it was interesting hearing you have pain in your shin & ankle too because that's exactly where I'm having pain ( same leg as TKR) and it IS worse than the TKR pain at times. What scares me though is that I'm way ahead of you (16 1/2 weeks) and don't know why the pain is starting now!

      I suspect the foot & ankle pain ( in my case) is arthritis but I'm hoping the shin pain is due to what old fat guy said and will eventually go away. 

      You are a brave person having both done so close in time. You are still in early stages but it sounds like you are progressing well despite the shin & ankle pain.

      Good luck on your journey!

    • Oldfatguy1 Oldfatguy1 sandra37762

      Don't all started a few years back when friends would ask how I was doing I would reply "just a steady 20....$20 short, 20 years to old, 20 lbs to heavy" . one of th decided I was an old fat guy

    • jennifer86104 jennifer86104 jean95756

      Hi all, what old  fat guy says always makes a lot of sense 😊 . I know I've harped on about the pain in the back of my thigh and calf for ages. I'm sure that's caused by the nerves and muscles realigning now I've got a straight leg. It was bent for ages before the op. I've decided to stride out and walk through the pain yesterday and today and it seems to have worked. This afternoon things seemed a lot looser. I suppose it is better to keep moving as much as possible and maybe I was holding myself tense because it was painful. I hope it's a sign things are improving anyway. Jen (17 weeks today) 

  • britta217 britta217 sandra37762

    hi sandra ... this is very interesting!  i honestly thought i was the only one with these symptoms.  i don't have shin pains, but it starts on the side of the knee, on the top of the fibula (next to the tibia), runs all the way down my calf and then over the top of my foot.  it is like an ache, like a pulling, but it can be very painful.  i have had this since the day of the operation, it drove me to distraction.  it use to be constant and has slowly, slowly decreased over the weeks.

    i find massaging my calf helps (quite vigorously), sometimes with tiger balm, or getting on the bendy machine, so exercising, really helps.  but i also think it is the nerves and soft tissue settling in.  or i hope!  in any case, it takes patience.

    • ann57612 ann57612 britta217

      So glad to read this. I am 8 weeks post TKR and this pain down the front of my tib/fib to the front of my foot is excrutiating, keeps me awake at night, my knee is free of pain, this post knee discomfort of feeling tight when I have iver donevut I can bare but thusvis hell. I use ice packs all the timev

  • sandra37762 sandra37762

    I dont remember having this pain with knee no 1 which is why I think it is what oldfatguy says. I noticed it as soon as the spinal wore off with knee no 2. It is not an exaggeration to say it was agony in the first week. I was taking a LOT if painkillers that only partly worked. I was also glad that the staff in the hospital remembered how well I did with knee no. 1 or they would have thought I was putting it on. It eases with painkillers now, but it comes back before painkillers are due again. I am going to hsve a rest day today, lots of icing, and just a few gentle bends, leg raises and short walks. See if that helps.

    • jennifer86104 jennifer86104 sandra37762

      Hi Sandra, do you get the pain when you're resting or just when you're walking? I'm suffering from pain at the back of the leg down the calf but mine is really only when i walk. Mine doesn't seem to have improved in the last month - I'm 17 weeks post op now - so it's very frustrating. I've been told it's muscle weakness as my leg was so bent before the op so maybe that's the case with you too. I keep doing exercises to strengthen the muscles but progress is very slow! 

    • jennifer86104 jennifer86104 sandra37762

      Isn't it strange how we're all different? I've just been out to the shops again and decided to stride out and walk through the pain, telling myself I was building up muscle. I still got the pain but I wasn't as miserable as I was yesterday 😊 I suppose we both need to pace ourselves in our different ways but it's hard when you want to be back to normal isn't it? Hope your restful day has helped you.  

    • sandra37762 sandra37762 jennifer86104

      I just feel so much better while I am walking. But I can't sleep at night. I've decided it's just that I can't get comfortable on my back do lie on my side with pillows but the knees twist and HURT. Nothing to to with walking.I agree, it us really hard wanting to be normal and nor being normal. I am not patient and dn going a bit crazy.

  • Stokley50 Stokley50 sandra37762

    I know this post is from a year ago but hopefully someone is still following it. I had a TKR 2 weeks ago today. I was doing pretty well in the hospital but last Thursday the outside of my calf muscle became very painful. The pain starts at the back of my knee (like it was hyperextended) down the side of my calf and half way around my ankle. I cannot stand to walk on it now. The pain pills only dull the pain for an hour or so. If I get up to go out in the kitchen or to the bathroom the excruciating pain starts up again. I took my pills 20 minutes ago and my leg is still throbbing. I don't know what to do I cannot bare this pain. I have in home therapy tomorrow and then I am going to start outpatient therapy Monday. I hope they can come up with a solution because I told the doctor I was ready to go back to work and he signed the papers for next Tuesday. I thought the pain that started last Thursday was going to subside... I don't think it is. I run a mailroom I need to work on my feet...I am so disgusted I had my other knee done about 9 years ago and did not go through this much pain. I guess I just needed to vent thank you all for listening... if anyone is still on the thread that is. neutral

    • Susiespark Susiespark Stokley50

      Hi there. You are only two weeks out you say so maybe you are expecting too much too soon to get back to work, especially for a standing job?

      I have had some bad aching pain in the back of my calf and burning pain on my shin on and off. Some days better than others and much worse at night. It's gradually improving but I just need to be patient. I am three weeks since op and although I wouldn't say it's gone, it is less painful than a week ago except when I overdo it. Overdo it in my case means either too many exercises or sitting too long with my leg in one position. Either way it swells up during the day and hurts more at night! Having said that I am more mobile each day. Persevere with the exercises as I find that takes the edge off the pain. Good luck!

    • Oldfatguy1 Oldfatguy1 Stokley50

      Knees and fingerprints ......everyone is different and healing is at a different pace. Over the years and having undergone numerous complete rehabs I have gotten to know over 2 dozen people who have undergone tkrs on both knees. So far I have never met anyone who claims both the same except for one lady who had trouble with both. I think you Are expecting too much too soon. Just keep up the exercises and get plenty of rest. Don't push beyond normal pain. Keep in mind this is a process and you can't whip it just because you try and will yourself into recovery. Back off the excercises for a day or two and increase the icing

    • kneegirl kneegirl Stokley50

      I don't know if anyone is still looking at this post but part of my pain stemmed from getting a baker's cyst behind the replacement knee and took a couple of weeks to subside, but after that was when I started with the sharp and aching pain in the front of my shin which is even tender to the touch. The back of my calf started hurting too and I noticed pain to stand had started. I was very bruised in my calf and front of legs and thigh from surgery from tourniquit used to minimize blood flow, but the bruising had cleared up. I noticed not all drs. use the tourniquit method. I tried both heat and ice on the shin but it seemed to irritate it to the touch from both. Since some of the posts are older I was wondering if some of your pains have stopped yet. I am 4 1/2 weeks post op on right knee and am tired of not being able to get sleep at night. I do massage lightly sometimes as well.

    • Susiespark Susiespark kneegirl

      Hi there

      I am now three months in and have had almost no pain since about seven weeks in.

      I found the night time pain suddenly improved significantly and I could sleep through from about six weeks in. I started to massage the scar with some cream at around six weeks in and although it was a bit sensitive at first it really increased my mobility once the sensitivity decreased and I massaged it more firmly. By the way the thought of massaging my knee at four weeks in would have freaked me out so don't worry if you can't imagine doing this at the moment.

    • kneegirl kneegirl Susiespark

      Thank you, I guess i was getting anxious about the pain and luckily when I went to physical theraphy today the sessions were very gentle and I did not experience as much pain afterwards and there did seem to be a little less sensitivity. I'm still very irritated by materials touching my knee but will give it more time and realize that I have a way to go.

    • Aileen65 Aileen65 Stokley50

      I had TKR 12 days ago and expected to be in pain fir a while. I did not expect the searing constant pain in my buttock and all the way down the leg I had the TKR on. The calf muscle is excruciatingly painful. I think I probably have sciatica. I have tried icing, heat and Voltetol cream but nothing really helps, the pain medication barely touches this pain. Has anyone found anything that helps please - I'm desperate.

    • Stokley50 Stokley50 Aileen65

      Since I first posted 4months ago I have been to a couple specialist to try to get some kind of relief. They did an EMG Friday morning... the results showed that there is some neuropathy but not enough to cause the pain I was experiencing. The Dr had put me on Lyrica at my first visit which made me very tired so I cut it down from 3 to 2 a day.  It does seem to be getting better the Dr said I just need to give it some time that all people heal differently so that is what I am going to do. If it doesn't subside in a few weeks I will be visiting him again.

    • WLA WLA Aileen65

      Aileen65 are you better now? I am 13 days out and I am having the same problems.... JUST TRANSITIONING FROM THE THOUGHT THAT I need to rest...To... I need to work through this pain.... Please tell me that you are now better and what you did that helped you.

    • mommermom mommermom Stokley50

      I'm having some pain on the left side of my knee and behind my knee as well from time to time but nothing is bad as that. 8 weeks out. What caught my eye on your post was that I also had a tkr 8 years ago and it was so much easier than this one. I have felt like a wimp on this recovery. I am doing much better now though, but still have days of struggle and bend and straight aren't great yet. None of this was an issue last time. I agree, sounds like you're going back to work much too quickly. Although I was able to go back last time this time there would be no way. Best wishes.

    • Stokley50 Stokley50 mommermom

      I am back again to report in.... here it is October 30 and the pain is worse then before. I can barely stand to walk I use a cane at work when I am not pushing my mail cart around because I lose my balance on top of the fact that it hurts like heck. My big toe is now hurting for some reason.... that just started in the last few days. My leg hurts from about 4 inches above my knee all the way down my calf and across my foot. This is all on the outside of my leg and part way around my calf. I am going crazy with this pain I am so damn miserable all the time I just don't know what to do I had the surgery in mid January. I am going to call the Dr who did my other knee to get a consult with him.... someone needs to figure this out. I had my knee done so I could do more things but now I do nothing because I am in so much pain. cry

    • Oldfatguy1 Oldfatguy1 Stokley50

      That kink of pain can come from the spine. Can you get you Dr to order an MRI of your lower back and see if you are having sciatica problems. When the major pain is out of the knee an down the leg its more than likely something occurring elsewhere. Sciatica is one of the big culprits. We spend so much effort walking to avoid knee pain we start screwing up other parts of the anatomy

    • Grandpa013 Grandpa013 Aileen65

      I am 3 weeks post op,,, I am having the same issue with my calf below TKR.starting late evening is when the worst seems to occur,and gets more aggravating as bed time nears.Dr says it is normal pain, however no body at time can tell my what causes it. I noticed the pain the day of surgery and has continued since. I hope this will go away soon,,loosing sleep and getting tired of the pain,,, that pain pills do not help.


    • terit terit Stokley50

      really relieved to find out that I wasn't alone. I am about 16 weeks post tkr and was doing okay until the shin and foot pain started a couple weeks ago. It is so painful, worse than the knee, and is very difficult to walk. My surgeon said to use the cane, did X-rays and nothing appeared wrong. Has something to do with the site where they put the post during surgery. Pain really is just a little right of shin but goes down over the top of my foot. Hurts to touch at the spot to the right of my knee. Just wondering how long this will last and what I can do about it. Taking ibuprofen but don't tolerate the oxycodone very well. Nothing seems to really completely relieve the pain.

    • kneegirl kneegirl terit

      I was in tremendous pain as well and thought it had something to do with the fact that the muscles and tendons had to get used to the new metal but found that this surgery cause my sciatica to flare up badly. The therapist was telling me it is because I was taking on driving to therapy and I was using my muscle there but it was unbearable and I asked my doctor, altho I do not like taking rx meds, but he prescribed something other than oxycodone and it helped, not got rid of it totally but enough to allow me to fall asleep for a little while. It eventually went away as I would also put ice one it for a little while as well as I could tolerate but I was about 18 or 20 weeks out.

    • ann57612 ann57612 Stokley50

      This is exactly what I am experiencing , 8 weeks postvop TKR when I saw my consyltant two weeks ago he totally ignored my symptoms. It is so sad that we have to come on social media to have answers, not prepared pre opp very well as so many of us have unanswered questions. I don’t know what I woukd without the support from such sites, thanks all.

    • robin17627 robin17627 ann57612

      I don't know if you saw my post, but I went through the same thing.  First it was my ankle and then my shin and calf.  X-rays didn't show anything.  I was back to using a walker and every step was excruciating.  I pushed for an MRI and they found two stress fractures and a severely pulled muscle in my calf.  I was in a boot for five weeks and have had it off for a week now.  There is still pain in both areas but nothing like what it was before Christmas.  Be your own best advocate and make your doctor listen!  God bless!

  • lindypc lindypc sandra37762

    I'm so happy to have found this thread as I've had incredible pain from my TKR.  I've done the rehab and have incredible flexibility (134 bend) however during water aerobics it's amazing how many old folks said they had no pain at all which makes me feel like a diva to complain.  My surgeon reassures me that they have just forgotten!!  However, yesterday (today is my 3 months anniversary of TKR) my shin started hurting and today it hurts to touch which I find so strange.  My ankle has always hurt (but that is such a strange pain that I was reticent to mention).  Thank-you all so much for allowing me the relief to know I'm not the only one! 

    • Oldfatguy1 Oldfatguy1 lindypc

      134 is a real stretch but it somewhat depends on you physical condition prior to the surgery. Age will have some bearing as well. Many times we are pushed to numbers rather than reality and the body just isn't ready for that sort of abuse. Try backing off and giving the entire body a couple of days complete rest a d by rest I mean extra sleep, lots of sitting elevation and up your hydration level to a point that about all you are doing is getting up to go pee. If you look at people that use the gym on a regular basis they change the routine so they don't repeat day after day. Yet, when we get this knee rehab mindset we think daily or multiple times daily is what's best. I won't go into all the gory details but I've had 11 surgeries and 5 complete rehab including one after 4 + months of complete immobization and for me, its about consistency, not abuse. I once told my therapist that if one of kids treated me the way he does it would be considered elder abuse.

      Just give the R & R a try. I can guarantee you that you won't suddenly revert to being a stumbling cripple. You might even get used to it and like it as part of your routine. Keep us advised....this is a great forum and everyone is a veteran of the tkr wars. No amateurs here.

  • tgcisme tgcisme sandra37762

    I have no idea how these forums work.... I just know that I'm appoaching week 9 of my bilateral TKR and have everyone (DRs, PA, PT... etc) telling me I'm a poster child for both knee replacement recovery.... BUT starting about week 6 I have had constant pain from my ankles to my hip.  I'm in bed more now then I was the first 6 weeks.  I'm on percoet 5/325 2 in am 2 in pm.... It helps the little pain in the knees but does nothing for this constant aching / tired legs.

    Does anyone know what I'm experiencing or how to elveate? 

    • Aileen65 Aileen65 tgcisme

      I am also at week 9. I have had sciatica from about day 7. I feel that using the exercise ball provided by the physiotherapist caused the problem, specifically the exercise where you hold it between your ankles and lift your legs together. The sciatica causes very severe pain from the buttock down the side of my thigh, into my knee, down the front of my lower leg and into my ankle and instep. The pain is much worse than the pain from the knee replacement. I have been having treatment from an oesteopath for the past 4 weeks and it's definitely helping. Is it possible that you have the same thing?

    • kneegirl kneegirl tgcisme

      I had almost the same pain and couldn't  distinguish between the knee pain and that but found out it was my sciatica. I told the therapist and he showed my some excercises that i could do with my limited mobility because of the knee pain and from my hip to my ankles. I did as much as i could and by the third day there was less pain. It should eventually subside,i was in week 12 when i really noticed a difference. i am now in week 16 and i still have some pain in my back thru my legs but it is not as taxing because my knee is much better and i can concentrate on the stretching excercises to hep my sciatica. it is on my right side but  i do the excercises on my left too just in case. Hang in there, you will improve. Have you talked to your therapist for some help?

  • Cindy1666 Cindy1666 sandra37762

    Hi, I am 5 weeks post op. I am experiencing pain in the bend of the knee and down the side of the calf which will continue at times to the ankle.However, after surgery I developed a varicose vein down the side of my calf that is very tender to the touch. I can see it is the vein that is protruding out and on the opposite side of the calf ( which I had before surgery) I have a place that looks like the beginning of a varicose vein but it doesn’t protrude out. Both are very tender. I was wearing compression socks but stopped this past week due to each time wearing they would irritate the knee cause more swelling. I just am not sure if I need to try to wear them with the varicose vein. Does anyone have any suggestions?

  • robin17627 robin17627 sandra37762

    I am so glad I found this discussion! I thought I was alone too! Seven weeks after my TKR on the right I was doing great and ready to ditch the cane. The next day my ankle was hurting something awful and swelled up really bad. My shin had still been sore since surgery, but then I started to get a sharp pain on the inside of my calf. I'm at 9 weeks now and back to using the walker and can barely stand to walk with that. Everything looks fine on x-rays so I was starting to think something serious was going on. I will try to be patient. If anyone who posted a long time ago is still following this, please give me some hope that this gets better.

    • Susiespark Susiespark robin17627

      Hi there

      I think the first few months are a bit of a roller coaster. The swelling in your foot and ankle comes and goes and can really set you back for a few days if it pinches some nerves. 

      With my left knee I was doing really well at about five months in and then I got a sudden terrible pain in my foot which made it almost impossible to walk. The doctor diagnosed a sprain even though I hadn’t had any kind of fall or twist and said they wouldn’t investigate it any further for two weeks to give it time to heal. So I was back on two crutches,  carpet slippers and shuffling around. After two weeks it suddenly went away as miraculously as it arrived! 

      I’m now 8 weeks out from my right knee replacement and have been mainly crutches free since week four. But in week 6 I had 72 hours of painful foot swelling for no reason and yesterday and today both my knees are hurting a bit. Maybe  i’ve Overdone it but this time i’m not bothered as I know it goes away after a few days. Some elevation,  back on  the ice and a couple of good  films will help! 

      This time I have done pain on the back of my knee but it’s quite different from the first knee. As they say every knee is different. 

      One year out from my first op and I am so glad I had it done. My life is transformed. You will soon forget the pain of the early weeks and the odd setback. Good luck! 

    • Stokley50 Stokley50 robin17627

      My surgery was Jan 16 this year so it is close to a year...I have seen 3 specialist the last one I just walked out of the appointment 5 minutes after it started. He was very rude and condesending did his dictating in the hall were everyone could hear him. "The patient is overweight suggesting she lose weight will ask if she wants an x-ray but that isn't needed" my question is why doesn't someone do an MRI??? I have significant pain down the outside of my calf going around the front of my ankle it is worse when say I am sitting on my recliner and I lift my leg off the chair. Feels like something is bearing down on a very sore leg........from my knee all the way down to and including my ankle. My balance is off if I walk without my cane I vere to the the left.....the latest knee replacement side. I am so damn disgusted......

    • WilliamHD WilliamHD robin17627

      You’re complaints sound similar to mine. I’m 13 weeks out from revision surgery, only the lower prosthetic. However, about 6 weeks ago I began experiencing intense calf pain, but only with certain movements. It’s the worst pain I’ve ever experience. My doctor’s and physical therapist are stumped. Now ankle pain has started. Have you found answers/relief?

  • Newtire Newtire sandra37762

    I am 2 weeks out from tkr and just had my follow up visit. The doc verifies the shin & ankle pain, along with a variety of other things, as being nothing more than normal.. Start my strengthening exercises today. Have found that icing machine is my friend. Thank you all for the good advice so far. This group seems like a good one!

  • robin17627 robin17627 sandra37762

    I had an MRI yesterday. Found out I have a stress fracture just above the ankle and one in the tibia. Also have a pulled muscle in my calf. So glad I found a doctor who would take me seriously and order the MRI.

  • Marthaelena Marthaelena sandra37762

    Hi Sandra I also just had a TNR in December 28 2017 I have shin and calf pain so I decided to do some research and I went into you tube asked for exercise for calf and shin pain exercise and it showed me some I'm still in pain but again it's been only one day so hope this helps you and see if you find anything else let me know because not even medication takes away pain I'm going insane lol hope to chat soon let me know what happens.

    • robin17627 robin17627 Marthaelena

      Be sure to let your doctor know.  I ended up having two stress fractures and a pulled muscle.  The fractures did not show up on the x-rays so I had to really be a pest until they did an MRI.  It's not that uncommon as your bones are weaker after a TKR surgery.  I also have osteorporosis so I'm even more at risks for fractures.

    • Reeder Reeder Marthaelena

      Marthaelens, My TKR was about one month prior to yours. Went thru P.T. rather quickly and successfully, and I contribute that to my pre-op fitness. I am a cyclist (bicycle) and ride often.. I think I was so anxious to get back on my bike that I did not allow enough healing time. Did not experience a lot of pain when riding but now within the past 2-3 weeks have started to experience pain in my tibia down to my ankle. It comes and goes, but much of my discomfort comes from sitting to long in one place, I have backed off on riding for a couple of weeks to see if the pain subsides. My right knee was the one replaced and only have slight pain on the outside of that knee. The whole right side of my knee is numb, but the doctor told me that is typical and might stay like that. Not painful just feels weird. I find the ice on the knee and shin as often as possible and stretching is helpful. I bought a great massage unit that I also use on my calf and thigh. From studies I have read, the slight realignment of joints and muscles after TKR can cause this tibia pain and could take up to a year to adjust.

      Good luck and wishes for a speedy recovery.

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