TKR tight calf

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I had a total knee replacement 6 months ago. I have been signed off by my surgeon and physio. I tried to explain at my last appointment the tightness in my knee and calf and the clicking noise when I move my foot forward when walking. I was told it would take time. I'm finding after getting out of bed my knee feels comfortable. Unfortunately as soon as I have walked a few steps the tightness in my calf and knee comes back, clicking never goes away. I've tried carrying on with walking to try and walk it off and calf stretching exercises, but gets more uncomfortable. Anyone else had these problems?

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  • Posted

    had my tkr in november knee clunks all the tome when walking however signed off by consultant who was very happy with the op swelling now going sown every week but inow limping with pain what i thought was my hip realised it is in fact my lower back

    guess its because of the awkward way i have been walking and will improve

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  • Edited

    I also had TKR 6 months ago and have been signed off. I was told that I might have clicking forever. Many people have confirmed this. My calf is ok, but my shin and knee are very tight. Again I was told that this would improve! I also have quite bad swelling to the inside and below the knee. I cant get rid of this even though I ice it most evenings. From what I have seen and been advised - everyone's op is different and I think at only 6 months we are still in early days. some people are reporting up to 2 years for a full recovery. I'm anxious for mine to improve as my other knee was due to be replaced at the beginning of this month and will be done asap.

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  • Edited

    i had my right knee replaced in 2017. It took a year to get the little irritants to go away . My knee still clunks but i really dont pay attention to it. Getting the left done after Covid settles down . Take heart you will continue to improve

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  • Edited

    Normal, normal, normal... Typically, a full recovery takes a year with some stiffness and noises lasting to 18 months. For both, they fade in time so gradually as to be unnoticeable. One day, you'll be walking around and realize that they're gone. The difference between six months and nine months, and then twelve months is astounding...IF YOU DO THE WORK!!!

    Mandatory Muscle Rebuild

    You have to rebuild all your atrophied muscles, especially quads, glutes and core. It's the only way to be able to do stairs again alternately, up and down without holding on to anything, like you used to. For walking, time and distance are irrelevant...it's the number of STEPS that put the load on the knee. Get a pedometer or smart watch and graph your progress. "Balloon knee"? Stop, heal, resume at a lower step count. Increase gradually. I'm over four years post-op...time, work and patience are your tools.

    Long term, you will have to keep the knee active forever or some stiffness will return. Also, nerve pain in and around the knee when you kneel on a hard surface (time, cement, wood floors, etc.) will probably never go away. It's not the knee...it's the nerves. DO NOT go on Gabapentin or Lyrica for it...too many side effects. Instead, use a 4" foam pad indoors and padded, tactical or skateboard knee pads outside.

    Other ancillary pain is normal as we unconsciously shift our gait to avoid pain...

    Other pain

    Get rid of all your expectations... You'll be a lot happier.

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  • Edited

    I am 5 months left tkr...my knee is still very tight. during the night it feels like a brick. I don't limp. exercise doesn't really help. 15 min on bike and seems tighter. I go up and down stairs fine. it would just be nice for it to feel more normal😁 My knee doesnt click but makes a clunky noise I feel but really not too loud. I sure hope it gets better. We're not alone!!

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    • Edited

      Click...clunk...potato...potahtoe... All very normal at your point in the typical one year recovery. Both irritations will disappear gradually with time so as to be virtually unnoticeable. Some stiffness and noises can last to 18 months but you start to just ignore it. Voltaren Gel (generic diclofenac) is a great topical anti-inflammatory that can be used 3X/day...especially at bedtime. In the US, have your doc call in the RX.

      Just know that you will have to keep the knee active for the rest of your days to prevent the stiffness from returning. This is a must-do so get ready for a lifestyle change. See my link on post-op exercising (the mandatory muscle rebuild) for more.

      Also, after all the stiffness and sounds are gone, you will absolutely feel pain when you try to kneel on a hard surface like tile, concrete, wood floors, etc. It's not the knee (which is now metal so it can't conduct pain) but the nerves around the area that are affected. This is normal and probably lifelong. Do NOT take the nerve meds (gabapentin, neurontin, Lyrica) as they come with horrible side effects. Use a 4" foam pad inside and padded, tactical or rollerblading knee pads for outside work. You only feel the pain when kneeling so you do not need to be on meds full time.

      Post this on your fridge...you have a ways to go so embrace the horror!!! Actually, you're past the worst of it. Don't measure your progress day to day but month to month. You'll come back here in 90 days and tell everyone that you feel sooooo much better than you did on Memorial Day 2020...

      image

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