TKR recovery in Covid lockdown

Edited , 4 users are following.

I am now 5 weeks post op TKR . This forum has been very helpful to me as I struggle with so much pain, lack of sleep, loss of appetite, shortness of breath and staying positive. I know I am not alone. How could I have predicted that I was amongst the last patients to have this surgery as we faced a global pandemic? Obviously, hospital visits stopped and the physio department closed. My 6 week post op check with the consultant will be by telephone. I've had to get on with physio on my own in lockdown but of course haven't had any measurements taken.

It's hard to maintain a positive attitude and look forward to normal activities post op when in isolation and lockdown. The TKR journey is not without periods of anxiety about the future. The coronavirus pandemic ramps up these anxiety levels. To anyone else out there experiencing TKR recovery in these extraordinary times we must try to be kind to ourselves. Its a long slog but one day we will be pain free and the pandemic will be over. Stay safe!

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8 Replies

  • Posted

    HI Wendy,

    i feel for you at this time a TkR is an isolating experience during normally times. My replacement TKR was 6 months ago and with my surgeons blessing i did my own physio as I was familiar with the exercises and could do them at the gym. its important to push yourself through the pain and you are almost to the time when all will get easier.

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  • Posted

    my second knee surgery was scheduled June 18th but it was cancelled . It would be hard to motivate yourself to do your exercises but Ii cant stress how important it is . I had my first tkr in 2017 . The knee is doing great but i sure had to push myself. Lots of tears were shed in frustration and pain . i became obsessed with 120 bend. I finally got there and so will you . Hang in there, be praying for you here in Oregon

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  • Posted

    We're both in the same boat except I had a nine-hour spine fusion followed a week later by a kidney stone removal followed by blackouts (syncope) due to blood clots and pneumonia in my lungs caused by the nine-hour op. After two more weeks in the hospital, I spent two weeks at a rehab facility. A real s$$t-show but I was back home right before the lock down. I had some in-home nursing an PT before that was stopped too. Not easy to do this on your own, as you say "without measurements". can do that too.

    1. To achieve a better bending ROM (+120), sit on the floor with your back against the wall. On the floor, sit on something (craft paper, a sheet. etc.) that is squared up to the wall every time and put a weight on the toe end to keep it from moving. Bend your knee and put a belt or strap around your ankle. Pull and hold for 5 seconds or so...then tug it a bit more. Mark the spot where your heel is and date it. Keep doing this every day, even multiple times a day to see your progress. When you get back to a doc or PT, they will be impressed. PS: There is also a wooden PT aid that does this too. Just mark your progress on the wood.
    2. To help getting to zero degrees straight, follow the instructions here:

    ROM at Home

    You know you're at or close to zero when you extend your leg and can feel the back of your knee touching the floor. PS: If you went to 10 docs and got your measurements, you'd get ten different sets of numbers. They "eyeball it" so there is no set of absolute numbers.

    1. You should start rebuilding the dead muscles that support the knee (quads, glutes, core, hip flexors, etc.). You need to do this to take pressure off the new knee and put the load back on the muscles where it belongs. This results in a lot less knee pain plus you regain the ability to walk correctly, get your balance back and be able to do stairs alternately again like you used to. All of these exercises can be done at home with a $25 set of exercise bands from Amazon.

    Muscle Rebuild

    Click on my name, Discussions, See All. I have about 30 out there on all sorts of topics that you will hopefully find helpful. Most of all, give up all your expectations and timetables plus never compare your recovery to that of anyone else. There are advances, setbacks and plateaus...all normal. Your tools are time, work and patience. Use them...


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    • Posted

      Thanks for this especially as you have a lot to deal with yourself.

      I am 68 and not terribly fit although I love walking. I can't wait to get out in the parks and out of the city again once the lockdown is over. So this is a motivating factor for me to recover and do the strength work. I am limiting myself to one news briefing a day to try to reduce anxiety.

      I have no idea how to get on the floor or get up again as I can't kneel on either knee. I will look on Youtube for strategies .

      Your comments are very useful .

      Take care

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    • Posted

      I just turned 72 so I'm not really fit as I would like to be either. Walking is good but it doesn't completely solve the muscle rebuild issue. That's why you need a set of exercise bands to address all the muscles directly...especially core. Yes, you can find some good core tutorials on YT.

      Re: walking... Time and distance are irrelevant as it the STEPS that put the load on the knee. Get a pedometer or smart watch to track the steps. The software will graph your progress. Increase gradually or you'll get a very painful "balloon knee". Get rid of all the crap in your head...the knee controls your recovery and it cannot be pushed like a hip or shoulder. Slow and'll get there.

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  • Posted

    Wendy ...I am 75 and its been many years since i was able to get up and down from the ground. I use my bed and when i can go back to the gym use a bench to lay on for exercises. I had to stop exercising the knee when i had my appendix out over a month ago. i have found the lack of exercise has caused the knee to periodically become painful. its like a band just above the knee becomes painful and then clears up and then about a week later flares up again. ive been searching on youtube and found a suggestion that is could be scar tissue and suggested messages. i have a hand massager that im using on the knee to see if it helps. I have been going outside for walks and just obey social distancing. If i cant get out i set my timer for 5 mins and walk around the house. i do it through out the day ....but its very boring... Im looking forward to the world getting back to normal.

    Facetime is great but i miss hugging and seeing my family.

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    • Posted


      I think the massage is very important.

      I miss doing the physio exercises with a group. Coping with the knee is so exhausting . Too much or too little exercise causes swelling . We need to tell ourselves slow and steady.

      Anxiety doesn't help and not seeing our families doesn't help either.

      Hang on in there and limit how much news you watch!

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