Still having problems 8months post TKR

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I had my left knee replaced in May 2017 and it is still very swollen and I am not able to straighten the knee. I can walk well but when I sit for a while I am quite stiff when I get up. I still do exercises and go to the pool a few times a week. My other knee is getting progressively worse and will need replaced also but I am unsure whether to do it now or wait till the the first knee is better than it is now. I also carry a lot of weight and I am finding it difficult to lose weight because I am not very active because my other knee gets very painful. Any advice would help because I am seeing my surgeon next week and would like to be prepared before seeing him. Also can anyone tell me if it is still possible to straighten the knee at this stage. Thanks Midge65

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  • Posted

    Midge,if you are considering to have your right knee done I would definitely seek out a surgeon who can do it robotically. The incision is smaller, they do not cut the quadriceps and the recovery is so much faster. I had my left knee done almost a year ago without robotics & it is still far from perfect. It is straight however, but sometimes get stiff after sitting for long periods of time. I was measured in Novemer with a ROM of 122. It is still sore on the outside of the knee and feels mechanical. I think everyone is different and you can still show progress after 8 months. Hang in there! If I ever need the right knee done I will go the robotic route. Hope this has helped in some way. Take care!

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    • Posted

      Mine is a bit like yours, done March 2017 but still got some sore spots and stiffness - had manipulation which restored bending but was straight from the start after surgery, though not pre-op. I do think there  are better techniques and hope that will be offered when the other needs to be done - it has OA but I'm told not bad enough for surgery yet and certainly would not want to embark on another op until TKR1 is proven worthwhile. At the moment, I  know I had no choice but to have the first as the knee was totally ruined but it is not pain free, just different now. Take care.

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  • Posted

    Hi Midge, I also had a LTKR May 2017. Your story is very much like mine...Post op complications left my knee bent at 45 degrees for five months, then I started using a JAS brace (needs an order from a doctor or physical therapist) got a new physical therapist who helped me break up scar tissue behind the knee, did Epsom salt soaks -the warm/hot water helps relax muscles so it was easier to stretch. I also saw a massage therapist who massaged the leg muscles weekly to help gradually stretch them. About 6 weeks ago my extension improved from (original -45) then -28 to -20 and every week it started to radically improve. It's now at -8 and flexion is 115. I believe with more walking and exercising I will get it to zero degrees. I  had been getting around via wheeelchair because I couldn't walk with the bent leg, until the last two weeks when I have started walking short distances with crutches, Muscles and stamina need to improve as I have been inactive, except for doing daily exercises sitting in a chair or lying on the massage table I set up. My surgeon thought I would need surgery to remove scar tissue but massage, exercise, rest, heat ( at this later date post op, heat in raises circulation and helps muscles to relax) leg warmes to reduce stiffness- it doesn't eliminate it totally, but I just ordered more. 

    I am planning on a Synvisc injection for the right knee at the end of this month, hoping it will allow me to regain strength in the left leg because like you, I am waiting to see the level of my recovery from the left knee and hopeful that the right knee replacement will be a good recovery free of post op complications. I'm 67 and have gained weight due to inactivity of the last few years. I hope that when I can walk more I can go swimming which will be good exercise without the weight in my knees. Good luck!

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  • Posted

    Have you got an exercise bike? I have found that helpful, for losing weight and post TKR.

    Mindful eating is worth looking up on the internet, again I find this helpful.

    Even exercising your upper body will burn calories, so think about that too. I often do things with my arms and weights when on the exercise bike.

    It is hard but not impossible to lose weight with knee problems.

    I found counselling helpful for weight loss...basically getting to the root of what overeating means to me and why I tend to do it. Worth considering.

    Something like gentle yoga can be good too for stretching. Even gentle yoga requires a lot of strength and this is beneficial for the whole body.

    If youn are in UK there are various schemes you can go on for free or minimal cost. I went on something called "weigh to go" before my op. It was a ten week scheme where I went to myn local pharmacy and went through the basics of losing weight. I thought it wouldnt help because I knew in my head what the basics were but actually it did help a lot having the support, being weighed, and being able to talk to someone one to one.

    It takes a lot of determination but the weight loss is going to make a huge positive difference to your quality of life. And once it does start to come of you feel so much better not just physically but emotionally too. It will help your new knee last longer as well.

    I now need to make sure I don't put the weight I lost back on again, but it does get easier asn I have much greater mobility now. It takes a complete lifestyle change really, and retraining habits takes time. The counselling is something to consider, because even with getting shot of the weight, many people are driven to eat more than they need by emotional factors.

    I don't know about the straightening but I would have thought with physiotherapy and daily stretches it could improve... but your surgeon will know.

    All the best and keep us posted!

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