Unable to straighten fully after TKR

Posted , 5 users are following.

Hi

I am now 10wks post TKR

I still only have a 5 degree straighten and its really worrying me that i will never have a totally straight leg. I still can't walk far and still have a limp. It's a tremendous effort

I have swelling at the back of the knee and severe tightness on top of the knee - all of which affects my gait.

Some days it feels good but mostly i feel i havn't progressed for the last 4 weeks.

Has anyone acheived a straight leg after this time?

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19 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Suzie, 

    i am 8 weeks and am really struggling again. At six weeks I could see an improvement but this week I feel I have gone backwards. The bend isn't too bad but I struggle with the straightening and the leg raises are impossible unless I use the band. Am still in quite a lot of pain and have gone back to using the stick as when I try not to limp my knee gives way. From all accounts this is part of the course so hang in there, I'm sure it will get better. I see my consultant tomorrow so will see what he thinks. Helen

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  • Posted

    Hi Suzi

    My TKR is 10 weeks today and I am 8 degrees from straight and 98 degrees of bend. This has been a longer recovery than knee #1. However my Physiotherapist was still impressed. She assured me that as long as I was making progress, even slow progress, all was fine. A month ago I was 15 and 80. Though it feels as if I have stalled I am still improving. I am working out at home often and in the pool 5 days a week so I know I will get there. The bruising and pain continues intermittently but is reducing with every week. I am still limping but with focus I am getting a smoother gait. Be patient with yourself! You seem to be on the right track. Keep working thos muscles.

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    • Posted

      Yes. Relax. In 15 years my physio has only worked with 2 patients who stalled in recovery long enough that they needed the manipulation under anaesthesia. They stalled long before 90 degrees and had extenuating circumstances. The MUA is a last choice as it returns you to square one with lots of bruising and pain again. They do not do it before a long total stall between 3 and 5 months. We may be at 10 weeks but this is still very early in our recovery and the knee is still really swollen. Hang in there!
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    • Posted

      I think a lot of my slow recovery comes from not having enough massage on the hamstring and calf muscles.  They are so tight.  How can I get a better bend until they are loosened up?  How I wish I could take anti inflammatories!   

       

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  • Posted

    Hi there, I had trouble straightening too but I have achieved almost straight now -2degrees apparently. At your stage I felt much the same as you. Felt as if I'd reached a plateau. But persevering with the exercises you will get there. Jen 24 weeks - I think! 
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    • Posted

      Hi Suzi, yes I walk quite well now. Been for a mile (approx) walk this afternoon. My knee is really strong now. I still get stiffness at the back of my leg which is probably caused by nerve pain I'm getting from a tight muscle in the buttock - so my physio says. Apart from this problem I'm doing well. So there is light at the end of the tunnel 😊 Jen 
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    • Posted

      I intended going for an early morning walk this morning. I have a swelling at the back of the knee. I stayed the walk and only got a few yards when the pain behind the knee was too severe to continue. It seemed to be at the lower end of the hamstrings and the top end of the calf muscle. I massaged both but had to give up. rolleyes

      I returned home and iced

      I've also noticed my calf muscle is now smaller than my other leg

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    • Posted

      The pain you describe is exactly the same as what I was getting. We 

      live on a hill so I would start my walk going down. I remember being in agony like you. As I said, my physio diagnosed this tight piriformis muscle which then presses on the sciatic nerve. I think my hamstring muscles were weak - and still are - and I also had trouble straightening my leg. All these things contributed to the pain I think. I now do exercises and stretches for the muscle and to strengthen hamstring. It's been a very slow process but, as I said, I am a lot better now but still get the nerve pain off and on. Before the op myleg was quite bent so I think it could all have been caused by the realignment of the leg and walking differently. 

      I know how frustrated you feel but I'm sure with the right exercises your muscles will get stronger and you'll walk more easily. I'd try to get some advice from a physio if you can. There's a lot about 'piriformis syndrome' and hamstring strengthening exercises (the bridge is a common one) on the net but I'd check with a professional before trying any. Good luck! Jen  (6 months post op)

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  • Posted

    Have you tried sitting on the bed with your legs straight in front of you, and resting the heel of the operated leg on a plastic football (balance ball)  I found it helped me get to 0 quite quickly.

    Although I have done very well I still have a very swollen knee and the scar pulls badly unless I keep it well oiled with baby oil, I can only do stairs Baby fashion, good leg followed by operated leg and at times I still limp most of the time, even though I have no reason to!  My consultant says it it mind over matter and I will eventually stop limping without thinking about it.

    7 weeks tomorrow

     

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    • Posted

      Thanks Liz

      I do something similar in that i sit in my chair and rest my foot on another chair and press down.

      The problem with walking is severe tightness at the top of the knee and the swelling at the back. They both seem to stop me walking 'properly' and hurt!

      I think I'm progressing fairly well but it's very frustrating isn't it!

      I appreciate the help on here. Better than any doctor who hasn't experienced TKR and cannot really know! smile

      Suzi

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    • Posted

      Do you still see a physio? Mine were very good. I was attending a group knee class and complained of this pain at the back of my knee. The physio could see my bend etc was good so she saw me for an individual session and eventually referred me to a senior colleague who diagnosed this problem with my bum muscle (piriformis) I now do specific exercises for it and, as I said, it is improving - slowly! I'm not saying this is what's causing your pain, but, bear it in mind and ask your physio about it perhaps.

      I've just got back from our local pub and walked there and back - about  1 1/2 miles in total. So, you see, things will get better. Jen 

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    • Posted

      I had a physio come to the house as part of my hospital follow up. She came about 4 times to show me the exercises.

      That took me to the end of November.

      I started hydro therapy after Xmas and have had 4 sessions. Nice but kills me the next day!

      Otherwise I'm on my own

      My calf muscle is definitely smaller than my other leg so I've lost muscle. Plus the other muscles seem very tight.

      I may have to find a physio

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