Still swollen after 4 weeks

Posted , 8 users are following.

Its almost 4 weeks since my tkr and the swelling is worse. Its very red and tight and I am icing a lot. Is this normal? It’s painful too especially when I walk. Very tight feeling 

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  • Posted

    There are some TKR "rules" that you should be aware of:

    - Your recovery belongs to you.  Comparing yourself to anyone else is an exercise in futility that will screw with your head.  Don't do that.  Own your recovery.

    - There is no "normal"...everyone experiences their recovery differently.  Yes, there are some general guidelines but they apply statistically to entire populations of patients and NEVER to any individual.

    - Give up all your expectations and timetables.  They are meaningless.  This is the most Zen of all surgeries: "I will be better when I am better."  Period.

    - Never, ever use the word "should" as in: "I should be {fill in the blank} by now."  A TKR doesn't work like that.

    All of that being said...and after reading over 4,000 posts, there seems to be a general framework to this:

    - 0 to 3 months: Lots of pain at first with swelling and sleeplessness.  ROM work to get to 0 / +120.  Post-op depression is totally normal.  Done, or almost done, with the walking aids by 3 months.

    - 3-6 months: Levels of pain and swelling are way down and decreasing gradually...as is the stiffness.  Start to work on your muscle rebuild for your dead quads, glutes and core so you can walk correctly, regain your balance and do stairs again.  This takes many months because you start slowly and is mandatory.  Usually off all the heavy duty meds and down to Tramadol or plain ibuprofen.  Back to work in the 4-6 month range.

    - 6-9 months: You start to feel like your "old self" again.  If you've done the work, there should be minimal swelling unless you push the knee too far on any single day.  Stiffness continues to decrease imperceptibly.  As you get stronger, you can start mastering stairs again...takes all that quad strength.

    - 9-12 months: Pretty much back to normal.  The new knee may still look just a tad larger than your original knee but you have a 2 1/2-pound mechanical device sitting in there.  You end up just forgetting about it.  Dance at your one year anniversary party.

    - 12+ months: There still may be some stiffness up to 18 months or beyond.  Have to keep the knee active or you will experience stiffness even years down the road.  You will probably still feel nerve pain when you try to kneel on very hard surfaces.  Use a foam pad or knee pads.  That sensation may never go away.

    So that's the reality of this thing.  Hang this on your fridge...

    https://patient.info/forums/discuss/the-reality-of-a-tkr-recovery-in-one-picture-626038

    ...and don't forget your oars for the boat part...

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  • Posted

    Be sure an elevate also. Mine was the same way and with a lot of exercise ,elevating and ice it finally when it was ready quit. If it stays red and swollen I would have it checked for peace of mind.. When it closes up you can start massaging and that helps too. I agree everyone is on their program as far as recovery. I have been slower because of other things going on in my body so have had to learn to just aim straight ahead an appreciate the little things that happen in this journey. Get your rest when your can.
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  • Posted

    Yes swelling is normal Jackie.my physio advised my knee is tight due to swelling and also need to exercise and stretch tendons
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  • Posted

    Are you using supports, i.e. crutches when you walk?

    Are you elevating regularly?...knee above heart...lie flat when you elevate with knee above heart.

    Rest, ice, elevate....lots and this should help reduce the swelling.

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  • Posted

    It is still very early days.

    Have you had any physiotherapy?

    If it is very red and hot it could be infected.

    Try sitting with the leg elevated, that will help the swelling.

    Take care and keep in otuch

    Sarah

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