Swelling and physio

Posted , 11 users are following.

I am really struggling keeping the swelling under control. I am using an ice cuff and elevating my leg as much as possible but as soon as I start walking around and do my physio ( 3 times a day) my knee really swells. I still can't lift my leg and after suggestions on what on here I am using a dog lead to lift my leg and pull my knee back. I have my second physio appointment on Tuesday and I am worried about the negative feedback I might get. I am really trying but swelling and pain are stopping my progress. I am 3  weeks in on Tuesday and know these are early days. Is the swelling normal as it feels like a band around my leg and the stiffness each morning is not getting better. Any suggestions? 

1 like, 26 replies

26 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi, it is rather long but if you are interested I have written about my recovery in detail on my blog. I suggest this because I had the same thing with the quadriceps muscle shutting down and it would probably be encouraging for you to read. I write in Orange text all the physio related narrativevto make it easier to skim read! Swelling is normal, but it may be you are pushing your knee a little bitv too hard..? My swelling improved a lot at six weeks but the stiffness is par for the course...
    • Posted

      I would like to read it Jenny. How do I find it please? 
    • Posted

      Just look at my profile The full version rather than the abridged version has more Orange physiotherapy focused text in it. I find writing therapeutic and it gave me something to focus on when i couldn't do anything else! I am hoping that it helps other people in some way. It is very long though so skimming is necessary! I am hoping that you are being kind to yourself...i would say that is the most important thing.and be kind to your knee. Don't push it further than it can bear. There is no rush. Slow steady, gentle,and trust in time little by little improvements will happen.

  • Posted

    Hi susie,

    all sounds very normal to me. I'm 13 weeks post TKR this Tuesday and still swelling and heat on my knee is there ... it's infuriating but guess it's par for the course.

    Pain etc calmed down for me around the 6 week mark and my ROM got a lot better after this.

    Keep wth your physio, it's hard but you really do have to persevere, not until excruciating pain but just until you feel a tug .. this worked for me and I'm now well over the 140 ROM which at 3 weeks post op I never dreamt of. You'll get there in your own time ... lots of healing to be done yet.

    This is a long road to recovery so make sure you're resting well.

    • Posted

      Thanks Ali. I can only dream of 140 ROM . You sound like you have done really well. 
    • Posted

      My consultant told me that my knee was capable of 135 so I was adamant to prove him wrong as I'm very flexible and fairly young for a TKR.  Today almost 13 weeks post op I'm nearing 150 but still I'll keep trying for more.

      i did it gradually and without making myself feeling sick like the physio did on my first visit when I could barely get to 100 ... honestly I didn't know whether to throw up, kick him (with my good foot) or cry.

      Everyone is different and our bodies heal at different rates so just do what YOU feel ok with. That doesn't mean not doing all your physio but do little but often but remember you are still very early days and it will I promise you get better.

      I had very down teary days when I felt completely useless and forever tired

      listen to your body, if it says sleep then sleep!

      Try lying watching tv bend your leg up towards your chest and bend your knee. I found this really helped me as the weight of my foot seemed to ease my knee down.

      Keep posting on here as it was my lifeline as no one other than fellow TKRs can even try and comprehend everything we're going through ... pain, sleepless nights, down days and the feeling of loss ... yes loss, we have lost a part of our bodies!

      Chin up ... you can do it if I could xx

  • Posted

    Susiemah, the swelling is absolutely normal.  I hate it that these physios are so forceful that people are worried about negative feedback, when we all know that encouragement is the way to get people to progress in anything!  I can only suggest using the painkillers if you need them to help with the bending but just aim for a gradual improvement and keep at it - you're doing your best!  The swelling will be there for up to a year, and I've still got obvious swelling at coming up for 9 weeks but am getting quite a good bend, so it's possibly the pain more that is stopping you, but try and stretch a little more each time.    I remember that band feeling around the thigh and knee though - it is normal.  Good luck:-))))

  • Posted

    Hiya I'm sorry to read your post I am 14 weeks post TKR In my opinion 3 weeks is far to early to expect anything more than what you have achieved I think 3 times a day exercises is too excesive Once a day is good and a little walk even if it's walking outside around the house I did at first and managed to get 5 times the went to sleep for an hour I did this because of swelling not only at my knee but ankle Had to cut socks to wear However it will get better as the weeks progress and ignore any negativity at physio I did YOU know how well you're doing I needed something to aim for and it was walking a good distance so I could walk from the car to the toilets at the motorway services so I could go on holidays I bought a fit zip for my waistband and it gives me a buzz when I see the steps increase I now walk 4ooo steps a day I still have pain on standing and sitting down still at times have a tight band feeling when ive done too much so I still have to listen to my leg when I've done to much I highly reccomend keeping a daily log of sleep/exercises/meds taken/general health When i look back on mine im amazed how i have progressed So to try and put it simply for you Dont push yourself toooooo hard you will get there in the end AND feel free to moan to family i did lol hugs for you x

    • Posted

      Thanks Joan. I bet my husband is sick of my moaning and targets are good. I went out for a coffee today for the first time but was really nervous. When did you stop using crutches? 
    • Posted

      About 4 weeks but I still use a stick for balance and if I want to go for a really long walk and maybe increase the distance and climb I use 2 sticks I'm not ashamed if and when I'm ready ill get rid of them you will know when you're ready xx

  • Posted

    Hi I know how frustrating it is when you want to do more but your knee is telling you a different story.  I am 5 weeks this Wednesday and I am still suffering from pain and swelling although it is getting better.  My physio is excellent and if I tell her I've had a bad day and not able to do as much exercise she still says thats fine your doing your best.  My range of movement is getting better more so in the left leg than right leg as I had both knees done at the same time.  It's hard and I still have my weepy times but to be truthful I don't know what I would do without the support of my poor husband and daughters.  Just keep as positive as possible and things will get better. Good luck x

    • Posted

      Thanks Marika. I can't imagine what having both done feels like. Did you lift both legs ok? I take my hat off to you and you are right families are so important. I keep thinking about people who have none and how lucky I am. 

  • Posted

    Hi. It's very early days for you so you,ll get swelling after being upright for a while. I'm 13 weeks post and still get swelling if I overdo it. Have never been to physio (live too remotely!) But religiously do exercises and on exercycle and Pilates reformer. Bend slowly progressing. Massage massage massage before exercises and bending! You'll get there with patience. Listen to your body. I have never had excruciating pain but maybe I'm lucky! Good luck. These few weeks are a blip in your life!!

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