Stiff knee and difficulty bending after 10 weeks

Posted , 13 users are following.

Hi. I've posted two or three times before. I'm nearly 10 weeks post TKR. In many ways i'm pleased in that I can walk without pain, up to an hour at a time so that is good. However, the knee is still very stiff and hard on the outside of the knee. I can drive my car no problem but going downstairs still isn't possible in the normal way (i.e. I can do one step at a time). Going upstairs is better. I can't sit with my knee at right angles like my 'good' knee. I do exercises at home two or three times a day and am trying the tea-tray technique! I feel that I fell in a hole in terms of post-op support and didn't get physio until after five weeks. This entails a gym but I can't ride the static bike, though treadmill is no problem. I also have to combat spondylosis which brings on the occasional sciatica attack which is evident when trying to go downstairs normally. However, I used to get sciatica attacks down my left hip, buttock and leg (the operated leg) within a few minutes of walking - this has now disappeared, only the occasional sciatica attack when sitting, but not in the leg. I still feel tired quite often. I weaned myself off of co-codamol a week ago and take paracetamols 3 or 4 times per day and naproxen for my back pain. Sorry to ramble on but am I doing OK or not? I see my surgeon's physio team (at a different hospital) in 2 weeks then the surgeon 2 weeks after that. I just want the stiffness to go away!

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13 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi dode. Exactly the same. 10week post op on tues and I'm doing well BUT it's the stiffness I can manage to walk a mile ok but then I get home and the stiffness just grabs me I massage regular. Do the exercises bend is like yours can sit with knee at 90 degrees straight leg is almost there so I shouldn't be grumbling but the stiffness is a problem. I work in a primary school so still got 5 week off but I am panicking a bit in case I struggle to work full time. I feel that as iv been off since may I need to get back into full swing as soon as I get back but at the moment it's looking dubious I don't see my surgeon for 12 month now and physio has signed me off I feel a bit out on a limb xx!
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  • Posted

    I'm probably not the right person to comment as I am at the opposite end of the scale at 23 weeks with surgery scheduled for Weds for straightening & MUA for bend improvement. I would say though that you're doing well, much better than myself. I still could not manage to walk as far as you. I think we all struggle going down stairs. My knee is still solid to the touch now. Stiffness lessens after doing my exercises but it's a fine line that if I cross, it still gets incredibly painful. Unfortunately I am still having to take pain medication, which will obviously be right back up to the top doses by mid week.

    At ten weeks I was still very tired and was still on oxycodene at that point. Although I was visiting physio regularly from 3 weeks (I was in hospital for 2 weeks), by 12 weeks it was deemed that my leg was beyond their help until I have further surgery so I was left to manage alone. I ended up paying for private physio just to get support.

    As you can sit comfortably with your leg bent it must be over 90 degrees. That is actually good for ten weeks, if you keep going with your exercises this will improve. Remember to keep going with the exercises and not just treadmill. I was told by physio that sometimes when people walk well they neglect the other more important sides.

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  • Posted

    Hi dode and Linda.   Me too - 10 weeks and stiff!

    Dode - I can sometimes go downstairs normally, sometimes can't but if I feel like I cant, first I try at an angle, ie turn sideways.  The physio showed me how to do stairs - support for me was rubbish and then they signed me off so I feel like I've been abandoned!

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    • Posted

      Perhaps I can reassure you, I am 8 months post Tkr andcan say that I have just started to walk down stairs normally.  I too walked down side ways and it hasnt been until this last month that I am feeling that my knee is normal. It is still  numb and hard.  I feel a year is about right for a recovery period.  You all have a long way to go yet without worrying what stage you should be at. Hope this helps.
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  • Posted

    Thanks. Good to know I'm not alone! Just to say that my knee bending isn't the same as my good knee. If I'm sitting in a restaurant I have to ensure my leg stretches under table or at side. Some pain on side of knee this wee. First time since 4 weeks post op. Keep smiling!😀
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  • Posted

    You are doing brilliantly for that stage...and yes, the stiffness and numb and hardness on the outside of the knee are normal.  Your knee will be numb and hard for some time yet.

    You are very lucky that you can walk without pain, too.

    Going downstairs normally will come...we tend to ver-think these things.

    Patsy

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  • Posted

    Sound okay to me - it does take time for that stiffness especially later in the day. Another month will see further improvement and keep trying the bike just go up and down keep saddle high and one day you'll rotate backwards and then forwards. Don't overdo the treadmill as it's weight bearing try cross trainer if you can access one or swimming. Walking in water ...
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  • Posted

    The stiffnes is difficult to get rid of. . still suffer with it at six months although not too bad . . or maybe I'm just getting used to it!  Still numb on outside of knee. . .Does sound as if your bend is not too good if you can't sit with your knee bent?  Have you had it measured recently?  Going down stairs is probably one of the last things to come. . I practised on  a box, up and down . .so I couldn't actually fall down the stairs!  Hope your consultation with the surgeon goes well.

     

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    • Posted

      I am same stage as you and we seem to be making same progress. My numbness is just starting to lessen - when I massage I can feel the feelings under the surface now and also as I exercise more I can feel the numb area improving. Fingers crossed for both of us this will be temporary. 

       

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  • Posted

    Hi Dode it does get better. I'm almost eleven weeks pozt op. I still have stiffness in the morning and if I set to long. But I ride my cycler only with pedals. Several times a day. I can stand long and my leg is much attonger. I started PT from day one. Dont understand why you didnt until five weeks. But it gets better everyday.
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  • Posted

    Also the exercise where you put your foot onto a step and lean forward into it, stretching to hold for 15 seconds, step down and repeat can be good for quick stiffness relief
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  • Posted

    I had TKR 3 years ago. The main problem I had was bending the knee afterwards and it took me ages to get it to 90.

    How are you finding the tea tray technique? Hope this helps.

    Yes I find upstairs easier than coming down as well.

    Take care and keep in touch

    Sarah xx

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    • Posted

      Hi Sarah. The tea tray technique is good thanks! I feel it is going to help me improve my knee bend and is much easier to do with the sock on. Trouble is, I forget to take the sock off afterwards! Stairs coming along slowly. Hope you are progressing well too.
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