When to return to work.

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When do most people return to work after a partial knee replacement? How are most doing at 12 weeks out?

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15 Replies

  • Posted

    I had a full knee replacement in Feb 2017, I didn't go back to work til end of July 2017. Everyone is so different, think just depends on your body. I will be having my other knee replaced in Nov, and I cant wait.

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  • Posted

    Janice, I'm at 6 weeks and able to work but I'm not on my feet all day. Still can't sleep the nite thru. Worst pain is at nite. How ya doin?

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    • Posted

      I've been back to work for 3 weeks now, still have some swelling and ice it at least once while at work .It been 11 weeks since surgery, not in a lot of pain.I get tried fast so glad it is friday, couple of days off.Sleeping better.

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  • Posted

    Hi Janice, 

    I had a partial knee replacement (right knee, medial compartment) on 6 Nov 2015 and was back at work driving a bus on 26 Jan 2016

    John

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  • Posted

    I was back after 4 weeks, was hobbling a bit and i still get pain the back of the knee when i first stand up as though the ligaments have shrunk a bit, but that goes after a stretch, still get swelling though that is improving, had my op at the end of may 2018.
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  • Posted

    I’m 7wks after a full right knee now been told6mth due to having an abscess and the hole needs to heal and that takes time 

    Speak to your Dr and  Physio but it also depends on your job if you sit at a desk it could be sooner but I’m a nurse so a lot of standing and running around do longer for me 

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  • Posted

    Hi janiceI had a partial knee replacement back in March, it took 14 week before I started back to work and then it was only part time.
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  • Posted

    Thanks everyone for your information it help to know how other are doing that going through the same thing.
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  • Posted

    First: age, type of work, how is your ROM, muscle rebuild, pain, meds???????

    These have a lot to do with returning to work.  Obviously, someone sitting at a desk is less prone to aggravating the knee than a construction worker.  However...  The typical time to return to work without encountering lots of problems is in the 4-6 month range.  I've read well over 4,000 posts on here and those trying this at 3 months reports lots of pain, swelling, stiffness, sleeplessness and more...then they have to wake up the next morning and do it again.  I can count the number of people who have pulled off a 3-month return successfully on less than one hand.

    However, you may be one of the lucky ones.  It's all very individual...some people are lucky...most of us can't imagine it at 3 months.  First, it usually takes that long just to get your ROM back.  Then the knee is definitely not fully healed plus you haven't done the muscle rebuild work to take the pressure off the knee and put it back on the surrounding musculature.  All of that work helps you to walk correctly, regain your balance and enables you to do stairs again like a normal person.  It takes time, work and patience...there is no set time schedule for any individual.  The numbers only apply to ALL cases and are used in a very general sense.

    Personally, I wouldn't count on a 3-month return unless you are healed enough and strong enough to do it.

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    • Posted

      Hi Chico 

      Love reading your posts you have given very good advice 

       Someone on here called me delusional I have to laugh because to be honest they were right I believed I would be up and about back at work after six weeks like the consultant said but what an  idiot he has turned out to be his registrar has been more honest with me and said it will be at least six months before I can think about going back to work I have my boss coming to see me on Tuesday I daresay it’s to put the pressure on me but I won’t listen I will only go back  as and when I think  I can cope as I work with learning disabilities challenging behaviour and autistic adults  anything can happen during a shift and I don’t want to go back to square one 

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    • Posted

      I keep saying: Your knee will dictate when you can return to work!  Anything you think, say or expect is irrelevant.  Too many people go back to work too soon and pay a heavy price.  Stiffness, pain, swelling, sleeplessness...and then they have to wake up and do it again.  Yes, there have been those lucky few who have pulled it off at 3 months.  The more likely time is 4-6 months...and that's AFTER all the ROM and muscle rebuild work.

      On that latter point...  Just getting your ROM back is NOT enough.  You have to rebuild, quads, glutes, core, hip flexors and more.  All the musculature that supports the knee has atrophied and must be worked on.  Think of what someone's arm looks like after being in a cast for 8 weeks...toothpick.  It's the same inside your legs.

      The problem is then that all the pressure of the day falls squarely on the new knee causing more pain.  All that stress must be put back on the supporting musculature.  If you don't do that, how will you get through a day at work?  Regain your balance?  Do stairs normally again?  It's just not possible so you have to prepare to go back by rebuilding all that strength.  It's like the old joke: Q: "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?"  A: "Practice, practice practice."

      There are many individual factors at play: age, type of job, activity required (bending, lifting, walking, doing stairs, carrying weight...), difficultly in regaining your ROM, remaining scar tissue, stage of your muscle rebuild, and more.  It's all very individual and there is no magic number that applies to everyone.  I've read about the horrors of returning too early; I've also read about the successes of phased returns and people who did the work for a successful return.

      Your knee will tell you when you are ready.  Meanwhile, up your steps every day so you can be around 10,000 with no swelling.  Took me 8 months to get to that point but I was already back to work.  I was very lucky to have very strong muscle memory from 45 years of hockey so the muscle rebuild was quicker for me than for others.    Take an unbiased look at your strength and endurance...gut level.  You will know when it's time.  If your boss really wants you back, work out an accommodation for the first 3-4 months while you finish your recovery.  That's the ticket!!!!!

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  • Posted

    Hi Janice 

    I had right TKR on 8/5/18 first couple of weeks were a nightmare my top part of wound kept bleeding and my leg was so swallow that I had to a keep a big thick cold compress on .and struggled doing my exercises . so I am about 2 weeks behind . Alot better now I was lucky to be able to work from home so eased myself into going back and just finished my first full week last week. It’s tiring to say the least, I am building up my walking which is my hobby taking the dog for walks. Still wake up a lot a night and I am still in codine but trying to ease them off 

    Hope you are ok xx

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