Total knee replacement - can’t bend knee

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Hi, I had a total knee replacement a week ago, and I'm very frustrated as I cant really bend my knee past about 35 degrees (I'm guessing this angle). I'm trying my hardest to get it going, but it wont bend without severe pain. I also can't lift my leg off the bed or chair without the use of a cord to help elevate it. I feel like I should be much further along than I am, based on what the physio's at the hospital were saying to me, and wondered if anyone else had experience of this and what they did about it. For general reference I'm 53 years old and generally fairly fit and healthy. This is so much worse than I imagined. Thanks in advance.

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6 Replies

  • Edited

    i had a total knee replacement, April of last year, i had Physical therapy, couldn't bend my knee very far either, within time i can bend it but cant sleep in a bed, Ive been in my recliner over a year, when i walk, my knee hurts, and i cant walk very far at all! if i would have known then what i know now, i would have never had the surgery, its hard putting shoes on since i cant bend my knee, i used to love sitting indian style, well you can forget it! now the Doctor says i need back surgery, ive been putting it off but with my knee like it is and now my back, i can barely do anything!! so frustrating!!

    • Edited

      I'm so sorry to read this. I can totally understand your reluctance to have further surgery. People keep telling me to just keep going with the exercises, and I am, religiously 5 times a day, every day. But I'm in so much pain all the time, especially at night. Its been 10 days now and I'm still struggling to bend it more than 30 degrees, and each day I'm back to square one, which is frustrating. Obviously I will persevere and I'm very determined, but there does seem to be a 'one size fits all' attitude to recovery, I have found and I'm feeling really low and like a bit of a failure because I'm not further along. My surgeon said that the damage in my knee was severe and extensive and he had to remove more bone than in a standard TKR, which is at the back of my mind when I feel low. I have 3 grandchildren and I'm only 53. I'm a very active person and desperate to get full mobility back. I currently feel (& look) like I've been in a car crash! my entire leg is 3 times the size of my other leg and is black and blue all over.

      Perhaps you, or anyone else out there who has struggled with bending their new knee, could share some tips on things you did that helped?


    • Posted

      A week out you should only be doing light stretches, icing and elevating. Your goal should be to get the swelling under control. Not much activity here, check out bonesmart site, a lot more people there that can answer your questions.

  • Posted

    Christine, I too had a full knee replacement on April 29th. It is way too soon for you to be bending your knee that much. It will take time and lots of physical therapy. I am still not walking by myself and use a walker. I can bend my knee to 125 degrees with the help of my PT but am still very stiff when I try to walk especially in the morning. At night I can walk around the house without a walker or cane because the knee seems to get loose and I can move better. My leg is still swollen but it has subsided quite a bit. As for lifting your leg, try using your good leg to help. Eventually, you will be able to do it without help but again, it takes time and work. Those physios at the hospital apparently have never had a knee replacement. Good luck in your recovery.

  • Posted

    The first 2-3 weeks are usually horrendous. You would be in a lot of pain. You are back home now from the hospital and you don't have the 24/7 care you had at the hospital.

    It's normal to feel this way. My motto is always be kind to yourself and do what you can do. Use as much as the painkillers you were prescribed and allow your body to begin to heal.

    You are a few weeks along now, how do you feel?

    Is it better? Are you bending more? Is your pain manageable? And how much bend do you have now?

  • Posted

    Hi Christine, I was wondering how you are getting on. I am 18 days post op TKR and am having real problems bending past 60 degrees. my knee is so stiff, i ice do physio exercises ie lifting but I cannot bend!

    I had my other knee done 5 yrs ago and had no probs. I am 55 and cannot near thought of not getting the bend.


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