Total Knee Replacement..... climbing steps.

Posted , 9 users are following.

I had a total knee replacement done 10 weeks ago. I have been doing the daily physio exercises and am now walking without crutches at home. when i walk outside i still use 1 crutch. I still experience pain getting up from a chair but have very little pain now when I walk. Before my surgery both my knees were diagnosed with osteoarthritis, the left was severe and the right knee was chronic. The right knee has been replaced and getting stronger but the left knee is getting worse.

Can anyone tell me when it is safe to navigate up and down steps with the new knee. At present I only use my non operated knee and it is getting really painful because it is doing too much work.

I am not ready to have the other knee replaced yet.

Until I found this group I was totally regretting having the knee replacement surgery, but thanks to all the wonderful people that shared their own experiences I now know that things will improve. it just takes time.

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13 Replies

  • Posted

    Put weight in your new knee it wont hurt it , just hold onto railings going down especially, going up is easier

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  • Posted

    Hi jenny I am 10 months post tkr and due to get me other knee done In 5 weeks (, of which I swore after my first one Never Again,) but time heals. I manage stairs no bother with my operated knee it's my other that is the bother so hopefully within a few weeks after the op I'll manage stairs no bother. I never used my walking sticks after 6 weeks you can easily put weight on your knee it'll be fine. I've even ran for the bus abs or didn't give me any bother. Bear with it Don't be afraid if it hurts wait for another day good luck x

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  • Posted

    Hello Jenny, I too am so glad about this forum, its a great help and comfort. I am at 8 weeks today. I have tried the top two stairs at home, but not put my compete weight on my knee. As the other lady said, we should be fine using our operated knee, but with me, I lack confidence, and also think it will hurt. Perhaps we should both try and see how we get on. Keep in touch. Susanne

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    • Posted

      Hi Susane It has now been 11 weeks since my surgery. I still have some pain when i get up from a chair. Since reading your comment I have started to try and use my operated leg to climb up stairs. I can climb 2 but I can feel that my quad muscle is still not back to full strength. I like you lacked the confidence to try. Going down stairs i can do only holding onto a handrail. I feel that I am starting to feel the benefits of the surgery. My sleeping has improved and the feelings of regret is slowly going away. I still do all the physio exercises everyday. As everyone has said it is going to take a long time to fully recover.

      I hope you are recovering well, keep trying those stairs. Jenny.

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    • Posted

      Hi Jenny, well, glad to say that we have now installed two hand rails up the stairs. Our stairs are very steep 8" high each step. I have good news, that I have tried going up, holding both handrails and put my weight on the step. Though, I tend to bend it round onto the step. Will try another step each day. Can I ask you Jenny, do you have pain in your knee when turning over in bed, because I do, and wondered if this is normal. Susane

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  • Posted

    Hi,

    Yes, I agree, it's great to find comfort in other people facing the same issues.

    I am now at 2 months post PKR and can get up the stairs but not down. I too have a weak 'good' knee. I've found that standing on one leg with my foot on the bed base for the count of 3 is helping to strengthen my new knee. None of the exercises help with stepping down.

    I'm wondering if my surgeon will look at the other knee or whether I have to be referred by GP again. The one I had the operation on started the same way - osteoarthritis, swelling, tightening around the leg but then I twisted it and tore the meniscus. I think this speeded up my chance of a replacement.

    The thing I am finding hardest to deal with is the tiredness and lack of motivation to go out. I go for walks (we live in a beautiful area) but can't face shopping. I haven't tried driving because I don't feel it would be safe due to tiredness and stiff knees.

    Anyone else with osteoarthritis in their fingers? Mine, once fine and long, are becoming more and more swollen and distorted - don't think there's a knuckle replacement operation!! GG x

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    • Posted

      When I first saw my Consultant I thought I was only going to him for 1 knee but after looking at my X-Rays he said they were both in need of surgery. I had my first operation last June and at my 8 week follow up appointment I said that I wanted to be put on the waiting list to have the other one done (I am in the UK and there was a 4 month waiting list at my local hospital). I have just had the 2nd operation done on 8th January, and am currently recuperating. Looking forward to being able to get around without the severe pain I had. My left knee is fine now unless I overdo it when it aches a bit. Just need for my right knee to get to same stage. I can't remember when I could walk any distance without severe discomfort. I am only 64 and I was hobbling as though I was 84!

      I don't regret either operation as I think it will give me a whole new lease of life. I am hoping when all is healed that I may be able to wear some heels again. I have lived in flat shoes/trainers for about 3 years as I couldn't bear to wear any shoes with more than a low heel.

      Did any other lady have this problem and can they now wear higher shoes?

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    • Posted

      Hi Denise

      I am of the same age and have also felt like an 84yr old (which would be my mum). I'm pleased you got your other knee sorted. I haven't had my other knee x-rayed yet. I'm also in the UK - can't fault the NHS service at my hospital. I can't comment on the higher shoes as I haven't worn them for years! GG

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    • Posted

      I can't fault the treatment I had at my hospital either. The doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and ancillary staff were all excellent. I just wish that the NHS provided more than just routine checks on your knee bend etc. and gave a bit of actual therapy. I am considering going for a couple of sessions with a private physiotherapist.

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    • Posted

      Hi,

      I was so like you at 8 weeks, so tired and totally not interested in doing the things i used to love to do. I really regretted having the knee replacement surgery. I had to return to fulltime work which was so hard.

      I am now at 11 weeks and the tiredness has improved, i am sleeping much better and really starting to feel like I am getting my life back. My knee is still very stiff when i first get up, I am slowly getting the confidence to climb steps.

      I have learnt so much from this group. All the encouragement from everyone has made me realize that what i am going through is normal.

      i have osteoarthritis in some of my fingers and the best thing is to keep the joints moving by opening and closing your hand.

      I did the same thing with my knees. I joined a gym and went 4 to 5 times a week and focused on improving the muscle strength in my legs and used the exercise bike and cross trainer which really helped to reduce the pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis. In doing this i delayed surgery for about 3 years.

      I am now returning to the gym for 30 minute sessions to gain the muscle strength back in my quad muscle.

      Good luck with your recovery.

      Jenny.

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  • Posted

    Doing stairs "normally" again is defined as going up and down using alternate legs without holding onto anything. That's not going to happen for quite a while and is usually the final hurdle in a full recovery. The main problem is that your leg muscles, which do the actual stairs work, are all atrophied. So the first step is to do the muscle rebuild...quads, glutes, core, etc. The muscle strength will allow you to walk normally again, regain your balance and allow you to do stairs.

    Typically, doing some stair work is usually part of your PT sessions to regain your 0 / +120 ROM. It's after that that most of us start the muscle rebuild which will take months. Meanwhile, you can start the stairs work when you have more quad strength in your operated leg.

    This is a controversial topic as some people are instructed to go "up with the bad" and others "up with the good". I make no judgment on either but "up withe bad" is the way I was taught (to get that quad working again) and at 14 months, I was climbing stairs two at a time. Worked for me.

    Here's the muscle rebuild...

    Post-TKR Exercising

    ...and then the stairs work...

    Mastering TKR Stairs

    Good luck.

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  • Posted

    I agree that it takes time and muscle strength. I am about 12 weeks post op and have had a rough time. My therapist has me doing step ups using only one step 10 times repeating X 3. I step up on the surgical leg and down with the other. Also, I am doing leg presses and leg curls using weights. When I tried the staircase, I did them just like I did before my replacement. one step at a time like a baby. I was then told to do it like before I had pain and to my surprise, I DID IT! So, holding the handrail, I can do stairs. YOU WILL! TOO!

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