Shooting, burning pain down the leg following partial knee replacement

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I am so glad I found this forum.  I had a left partial knee replacement on December 18th and feel quite lucky compared to some of the posts I read about this post-op "burning pain".  I am an RN.and used to work on the ....wait for it....orthopedic floor.  So, I though I had a good knowledge base going into this.  My surgery was a partial versus total knee replacement as the doctor did not know what he would find once he opened up my knee.  I felt quite lucky that I only needed a partial knee replacement!  I only had to stay overnight, and my husband has been quite jealous of my progress since he has been comparing it to his TKR 3 years ago.  While I AM walking without a cane now, I still surprised by a burning pain shooting down my thigh, or sometimes calf, when I do certain movements.  I have deduced that it is nerve pain, and have tried to deduce what motions cause it.  On top of that, sleep is still elusive.  I have been reading posts while drinking a mixture of vodka and cran-grape juice.  I have purchased an herbal supplement for sleep and usually take my only pain pill (on non-PT days) before I go to bed.  But so far, I have been unable to get a real good night's sleep.  My 2nd check-up with my orthopod is on February 1st.  I worry that I will be "released" to work and will continue to suffer from both the burning nerve pain and lack of sleep.  However, after reading some other posts, I realize that I need to ask my surgeon or my primary for neurotin or some other nerve pain reliever.  Thanks for "listening" to my small tales of woe!  I feel relieved to unburden myself to people who can truly empathize.  Please feel free to share your story with me or, even better, offer me words of encouragement!  I am so looking for a post like "things will get better".  Oh, I forgot to mention, I also have RA.  Any others out there dealing with surgery recovery and an RA flare?

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  • Posted

    Hi Elizabeth, I had my TKR on the 16th Dec so just a couple of days before you.

    It goes to show that even when you work on an Orthopaedic Ward, it still never prepares you for going through it yourself!

    Having now had both knees done, I can say it does get better with time & hard work. You really WILL get there, but please don't let them force you back to work until you are truly able! As a nurse you are on your feet all day, that will equate to mucho swelling of the knee by the end of your shift. 

    Don't let anyone tell you that as a PTKR your recovery is less than ours! It's much the same. You've still had major surgery! But then you know that from your job!!

    From the sounds of things you're doing really well. Keep up the good work.

    Keep us posted as to how you're going.

    Marilyn 

    XX

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  • Posted

    Hi Elizabeth,  my op was on 19th December so close to yours. I had a total knee resurfacing which is pretty much the same as a replacement as far as I can tell except that the ligaments are left in place.  You probably know more about it than I do anyway. 

    The first few weeks were painful. My leg was black and blue from foot to thigh and sleeping was impossible.  After the bruising disappeared I was more comfortable but still don’t sleep the whole night through. 

    I’ve been walking unaided for about a week now  and managing quite well although the knee is still swollen and hot to the touch. My main problem is the constant feeling of a tight band right around the knee. I can do my exercises if I push through it and bend and straighten well but the sensation is always there and I’m wondering when, if ever,  it will go!

    Have you experienced anything like this?

    Mary x

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  • Posted

    If you can ignore the tight band and work through it, it will go away, come back, go away and the longer the time, the less you feel it.  I think it is the top of the cut scar tissue being stretched with the swelling.  I had TKR December 06 and am doing good.  I have a long way to go but if I compare myself to the day I came home; I am leaps and bounds towards recovery.
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  • Posted

    I wanted to add that I got myself a hand held, small massager after a lot of research.  The tendons are tightening and the scar tissue is being stretched while the nerves are waking up.  This is a lot of great recovery that actually hurts!  So every day, for the rest of your life, you should stretch to help those tendons from shrinking while improving blood circulation.  I lightly massage around my knee and then do a deeper massage on the outside of my upper and lower legs.  Both legs because, until my knee is 100% I will probably walk different.  I stretch every day, bend down and put my hands on the floor, and pull my leg back under the chair with a strap.  I massaged yesterday with my electrical massager and not only did it help that knee band feeling, I walked better today, my nerve shooting pain was hardly there, and most the pain was gone in my knee.  I was on my legs 3 1/2 hours today before I iced, longest time yet.  I am at 6 weeks post op.  Work through the pain, if your healing you will feel it get a little worse one stretch and better the next...the pain will alternate between pain and not pain.  That is a good indication of healing.  If all you feel is pain and then it gets worse, stop and try another stretch exercise and see what happens.  Everyone is working on building muscles, stretching tendons, while working through swelling and waking nerves; this means your pain will increase here and decrease there and wala new pain will happen.  If your leg feels weird, like the band around the top of the knee, ignore it and keep moving.  Feeling a weird feeling and pain are different.
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  • Posted

    I got it from Walmart, manufacturer:  WAHL: Full-body Therapeutic Massager.  It has several different attachments, one for massage, one for circulation etc.  You can get one from Amazon too.

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  • Posted

    You are not even a month post-op...that means you've just started.  Go back to work soon "running the halls" (as my nurse-wife says)?  Not likely for a while.  Here's something for sleep...

    https://patient.info/forums/discuss/trouble-sleeping-post-tkr--539591

    ?The pain, if nerve pain, could be a touch of sciatica.  Very common in knee patients because we change our gait to minimize the pain.  This can throw your hips out of alignment or lock up the SI joints.  Chiropractor is a very quick, non-invasive, no-drug (no vodka) fix.  Got my case at 5 weeks post-op.  Chiro fixed me in a few weeks.

    ?Remember, your quads, glutes and core are all atrophied and have to rebuilt.  Right now, all the pressure is on your knee and any other leg muscles.  That is another situation that can cause pain.  Gotta get that strength back.

    ?PS: I'd keep up the vodka anyway...it's strictly medicinal, of course.

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your reply. that makes sense and I agree.  Most the pains shift as time goes by and I would guess it is because the nerves, muscles, etc. are shifting.  There is only one pain that is constant, the one on the outer side of my knee...which I do hope dissipates.  I appreciate the link, very informative.  I miss the coyote.  I started taking CBD/THC and am sleeping through the night; it has helped with my swelling and pain too.  I stopped pain meds at 3 weeks because of the effects on my thinking, feeling sick, constipation, and other uncomfortable reactions
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    • Posted

      The pure tincture form (gooey liquid, not inhaled, one "dose" is the size of a grain of rice) from the whole plant saved my 35-year old daughter from Stage 3, Type C, BRCA-1 breast cancer four years ago.  Still 1 drop a day...still totally clean.  My wife uses a vapor pen; the full-plant oil in the cartridges helps her get to sleep.  Doing ECT after suffering from severe depression seven + years after brain aneurysm surgery...very tough.  We are well acquainted with the benefits of natural plant materials.

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    • Posted

      I love your story and the happy outcomes!  I do believe that the CBD/THC is sooo much better than any pain killers that can have horrible reactions and the NSAID's like the higher risk of heart attacks.  Taking to much of those pills makes me sick to my stomach

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