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Old 08-26-2008, 05:50 AM   #16
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Re: Total Knee Replacement: Recovery - Things I wish I knew!

It is now 7 months after my left knee replacement and it feels like it belongs there, natural. and you should use your cane on the opposite side of painfull hip or knee.
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Old 10-28-2008, 07:45 PM   #17
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Re: Total Knee Replacement: Recovery - Things I wish I knew!

I hope that all those who have had to endure TKR are doing well. I am on my second replacement. Did the right knee 3 years ago but never felt that it really worked until I did the left knee this summer. I am now 4 months post op and although getting better, still not where I want to be.

I had the new procedure for reducing swelling with a special cocktail of steroids, celebrex, lyrica, dextromothorphan (cough syrup) mixed with a giant syringe of my own blood directly into the joint during surgery. Logic is this speeds healing by reducing swelling. Had my surgery in the morning and I was up and walking by myself with a walker later that evening. Was able to get in and out of bed by myself. Walked so much and did so well during therapy that my insurance company denied my going to rehab as I was considered able to be independent. Boy was I dumb! Day I was being released my leg swelled from toe to hip and stayed that way for three weeks, what had been simple before became excruciating. Found out I was one of the 10% who ultimately don't respond well to this special cocktail and suffer the meds side effects of lyrica and celebrex with extreme swelling.

Degraded to being totally independent to needing help lifting my leg but was able to actually buy $10 leg lifter (looks like a stiff dog leash) where you just hook the circle end around your foot and swing that sucker anywhere you want it to go, great for getting in and out of cars as well.

A few days before my extreme swelling finally went down (swelling caused me so much pain I was downing oxycontin and percocet like it was candy) I managed to pull a quad tendon while doing home therapy, major bummer. Set me back big time. After a week of rest, I was able to start out patient PT and went for 8 weeks, at 3x per week. Was very slow going until the quad tendon healed enough to let me progress.

Now finally I can walk without a cane and have to really concentrate to avoid limping. Still have swelling when I am on my feet which of course causes pain. My first knee replacement did the same swelling thing for about 8 months before swelling became the exception and not the norm. I tend to be a sweller after all my surgeries.

I have had both general and spinal anesthesia for the knees. Spinal scares me more but is actually much better. If you can get your anesthesiologist to really listen to you they can do it right. Because of my reaction to spinals (migraine and barfing for days) my doctor just put me in very light sedation so I was awake during much of the procedure (the drilling and sawing of bone was a bit tough to listen to) and also in some pain but when I asked for more pain relief they gave it to me so overall it wasn't really that bad. When I woke up in my hospital bed I hurt less from the spinal than my other knee when I had general anesthesia.

Overall I have learned that I have to accept that it takes up to a year for a full recovery. My therapist came up with a great idea of cutting my TED stocking at the calf and using it as a compression sleeve which I still wear every day and take off only to go to sleep, it really helps with the swelling and makes it easier for me to be more aggressive with exercise.

Best I can advise people about to undergo this procedure is to be realistic. I have had a total of 11 operations and knee replacement is absolutly the most painful and the most difficult to recover from. You have to really grit your teeth, take the pain meds and fight your way to recovery. My first knee is now perfect (about time since it is 3 years) so I have to believe that one day my recent knee will get there as well. I have learned that everybody is different and so the healing is different. I find that after the first 10 days home from the hospital I felt pretty capable of surving on my own, not able to do housework but able to do my own laundry, cook simple meals (handy stool always by my side) and take care of myself. Since it wasn't my driving leg, I did drive at start of week 5, frankly when I did my driving leg, I recalled I drove at week 5 as well but not with the same confidence (sharp breaking can really hurt).

Best way to prepare for surgery is to exercise your leg as much as possible before, work on doing chair lifts to strengthen your upper body. Have simple snack food on hand like pudding, applesauce, jello, etc for taking meds as it will help your stomach tolerate the drugs. I was put on a 100mg dosage of stool softener twice a day so didn't really have problems with constipation even though my doctor also put me on huge dosage of iron as well. Dextromothophan and steroids were stopped in hospital but I continued on lyrica and celebrex for one week after coming home. Another poster advised on shorts and tee shirts, add sneakers to that list as well. Dressing tools such as stocking aid, lifter and thingy to help put your pants on, take socks off, etc. will also help to make your self sufficient. I used the CPM machine extensively in hospital but after my swelling problem doctors felt it would make things worse so I didn't have to take it home. Skateboard is also a great idea as when just sitting you can keep your knee moving, and moving constantly is key, never keep knee in same position longer than 15 minutes as it stiffens up.

Hope this helps and would love to hear form others who have the longer recovery time like me, hoping this will end quicker than three years.

 
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Old 10-29-2008, 02:52 PM   #18
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Re: Total Knee Replacement: Recovery - Things I wish I knew!

Quote:
Originally Posted by IWillSurvive View Post
. Skateboard is also a great idea as when just sitting you can keep your knee moving, and moving constantly is key, never keep knee in same position longer than 15 minutes as it stiffens up.
Now that sounds like good advice. I've never heard of the skate board idea before but I like the idea, sounds logical. I'm gonna remember that advice. Thank you.
I've never had a replacement but it's most likely "somewhere" down the road for me, so I have benifited from reading this thread.
I had a horrifying experience last time I was put to sleep and vow noone is ever putting me to sleep again unless it's a matter of life and death. I do plan on a spinal when my knee finally gives up.
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Last edited by snowmelts; 10-29-2008 at 02:56 PM.

 
Old 10-29-2008, 09:16 PM   #19
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Re: Total Knee Replacement: Recovery - Things I wish I knew!

1. How long was it before you could go back to work (she's a secretary)?
I was released to go back to work at 4 weeks. I was a school counselor. I had enough sick leave that I took 6. I was pretty tired the first week.

2. If you went straight home after the hospital and not to a rehab hospital, how many nights did you need someone to stay with you? I went home after the surgery. I needed pain meds every 4 hours for about 2 weeks. I would think that as long as you need regular pain med you would need someone to stay with you.

3. Did you have to wear one of those knee exercise machine things on your knee a few times a day for an hour or so? I didn't use the CPM after the first day in the hospital. I had more than 90ROM and could do a straight leg lift at full extension the day after surgery.
If so, could you get it off and on yourself or did you need someone to do it for you? Someone had to put it on for me.

4. How long after leaving the hospital did you need to use a walker or crutches? I didn't need the walker in the house after the surgery. I had the surgery in winter so I used the walker when I was outside for 2 weeks and then used 1 crutch for 2 more weeks just to be careful.
5. How long after leaving the hospital was it before you could drive? I didn't try to drive until after I stopped taking pain meds.
6. How long did you do outpatient rehab? I went 3times a week for 3weeks. At the end of PT I had 140+ ROM.
7. How long was it before you felt and walked normal again? I had surgery on Dec.18, 2006 and on April 23, 2007 when my foot hit the floor my knee felt totally normal.

I know everyone has a different recovery but my recovery was actually not as bad as the ones posted on this thread. I won't sugar coat it...there is pain. In my opinion the 2 most important things to have are elevated toilet seat and a cryotherapy unit. If I could only have one it would be the cryotherapy unit.
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Old 11-26-2008, 07:10 AM   #20
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Re: Total Knee Replacement: Recovery - Things I wish I knew!

this is my first look at this site. Thanks for the information. I am being scheduled for double knee replacement surgery and feeling the need to connect with others. They offer a support group at the hospital but I am in Finland and do not speak the language. This only adds to my nervousness about the surgery.

 
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Old 12-02-2008, 02:24 AM   #21
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Re: Total Knee Replacement: Recovery - Things I wish I knew!

well. I can relate to alot of this...and I did BOTH knees at the same time.
ok. stop wondering Why I would do that...I dont even know anymore..
its been much tougher than I thought.tho I was luc
My biggest question is......well, is the firsr few weeks the most mporant as far as getting my range of motion back? if so Imay be hosed. Ive done pretty well, but I swell alot and if i work on motion one day, I pay a huge price the following day.

 
Old 12-02-2008, 01:31 PM   #22
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Re: Total Knee Replacement: Recovery - Things I wish I knew!

I feel the first weeks of PT are the most important but you will continue to see improvement for the first 12-18 months. I think as long as your therapist and your OS think you are on track you will be fine. Just work hard.
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Old 12-02-2008, 07:15 PM   #23
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Re: Total Knee Replacement: Recovery - Things I wish I knew!

The main thing is that's all they're going to work on at first is getting range of motion, and straightening and until you get those down....they won't go to the next step. So you kind of set the pace of your PT recovery.

 
Old 12-20-2008, 03:21 AM   #24
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Re: Total Knee Replacement: Recovery - Things I wish I knew!

I am a 46 yr. old female who just went through a Total Knee Replacement about 3 weeks ago. I really do feel that I am too young to have to undergo such a procedure, but the pain that I was feeling in my knee was overwhelming. I decided to do the procedure once I met with the Orthopedic Surgeon who reviewed both my x-rays and my mri's and finally let me know that no amount of exercise and physical therapy would ever relieve my pain due to Degernerative Joint Disease/Arthritis. Wow, I never even suspected that I might have Artheritis. So, I am feeling better already. Still lots of Physical Therapy to endure, but in the end, I feel it was the right thing to do at the right time.

 
Old 12-20-2008, 12:03 PM   #25
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Re: Total Knee Replacement: Recovery - Things I wish I knew!

These post have helped me alot in knowing what is going to happen after I have TKR. I am 45 and used to be a very active person and a paramedic for more than 20 years. Now I am retired and hurt with every step I make and sometime when I am not even moving. I am going to have TKR on my left knee, which I injured in track when I was 16. I had torn ligaments and torn cartalige surgry, but I think it only made my knee worse. I hate having to take so many meds just to move eveyday. I take Tramadol, which I call my "tinman Meds". If you have knee pain you know what I mean. I have know for many years that I was going to have to have TKR, but just never slowed down to do it. But when it finely got to the point that I needed the TKR, the Docs would not do it cuz I was to young. I have tried everything but voodoo. But it got to the point where I could not work anymore before the doc would do it, that has made me mad, but better late than waiting til I am 50 or 60 years old to do it. I have never looked forward to a surgry before like this one. The one thing you have all side that in time, your knee felt like it was yours. I can't wait for that!!!

I will ask more for info as time goes and hope you guys can help me with this. I have watched the TKR on the internet and has relieved alot about to me.

Thanks and on walking.

Thomas

 
Old 12-23-2008, 02:40 AM   #26
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Re: Total Knee Replacement: Recovery - Things I wish I knew!

You may have to look elsewhere. There are surgeon who will do the surgery. Keep looking. You may have to go to another area. I am in the Chicago area and many your age have had it done. Check out the Joint Bone Center at University of Chicago

 
Old 12-23-2008, 09:40 AM   #27
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Re: Total Knee Replacement: Recovery - Things I wish I knew!

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You may have to look elsewhere. There are surgeon who will do the surgery. Keep looking. You may have to go to another area. I am in the Chicago area and many your age have had it done. Check out the Joint Bone Center at University of Chicago
Thanks for you reply, I have found a Doc who will do it. It took awhile, but next month it will happen. They are changing there stands now one TKR on the younger.

 
Old 01-07-2009, 05:48 PM   #28
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Re: Total Knee Replacement: Recovery - Things I wish I knew!

My experience is a little different than most, so I thought I'd comment. I just turned 66, and had the TKR about 6 weeks ago. It went really well. I had an insert that fed to the knee and gave it a constant dose of pain medication after the surgery. They kept coming to ask what my pain level was, and most of the time I could reply that it was zero. They got me up the first day just a few hours after the surgery to have me stand, but I couldn't put weight on that leg as I was still quite numb from the waist down.

I came straight home the Friday after a Tuesday surgery, and didn't use a potty chair or anything to make the toilet higher. I had devised a method of getting on and off the toilet in the painful months before surgery that involved resting my elbow on the toilet tank and swiveling down to the seat. I was able to get in and out of bed without help also, just using the walker.

My surgeon likes his patients to have physical therapy 5 days a week for 2 weeks after surgery, so the therapist came the day after I came home. I recovered my range of motion relatively quickly, and my walking, with some coaching, was great! I occasionally forgot to use the walker, if I was just crossing the kitchen for a drink or something. Pretty soon, I abandoned the walker entirely. That was at about 2 weeks.

Both physical therapists I worked with advised against using a cane if I didn't need it. They would rather see me continue with the walker if I needed the stability, but they said that canes often cause a limp because we have to compensate as we use it. I didn't feel I needed it, so I never used it.

I had some swelling, but not a lot. The ice machine that circulated ice water over my knee was very helpful with that.

The CPM was also helpful, but I quit using it after a couple of weeks. I never needed help getting on and off once I got home.

After I'd been home a couple of weeks, I developed a lot of pain on the surface of the knee. It was sharp pain, as if the surgery was just yesterday. I went in to the doctor and he explained that in a few cases, the place where the nerve was cut in the surgery can get hypersensitive. On one side of the incision, the knee is quite numb, as those of you who have gone through it can testify. On the other side, the severed nerve can go crazy, and he pointed to the exact place that hurt the worst. He recommended massaging the knee and the scar, just as you would rub your head after you bumped it on the kitchen cabinet.

Now 6 weeks after the surgery, I still have that pain. Generally, walking isn't painful at all, or lying down. But sitting, even in the recliner with my knee elevated still can be very painful, in the same sharp-pain way. Sometimes the whole knee hurts from it. It's also very sensitive to clothing rubbing on it. Walking on the treadmill actually seems to help. Maybe it's improving the circulation.

In addition to the gradually increasing time on the treadmill, I'm adding ankle weights to my leg lifts, and doing some stair exercises and stretches to get more strength in my legs. I've been fairly sedentary, so I'm excited to get into better shape.

One last thing. One book I read recommended getting your weight down as much as possible before the surgery so that your knee can recover without having to bear all the extra weight of an overweight person. I'm at 145 right now, 5'7'', and that, in addition to my relative youth have probably been much in my favor.

 
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Old 02-15-2009, 10:28 AM   #29
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Re: Total Knee Replacement: Recovery - Things I wish I knew!

Jan.27th I went through left knee replacement surgery. I am 47 yrs old but have freea long history of body damage. Having gone through 3 left knee and 1 right kee surgery I know I have a huge advantage in recovery along with being young. They kept me in the hospital for 3 days which seems standard. They went by in a flash, thankfully they used a pain block and it was awesome combined with the morphine I really was 90% pain free. The side note is due to all these wonderful pain items your body pretty much stops going to the bathroom. ( and the nurses demand quantity...lol.)Problem though comes when you over do laxatives,sofeners,pruin juice.....and the fact that it isnt very comfortable to sit.Oyvay. Now for the recovery...I was walking with a cane in three days I believe soley do to the wonderful machine called a CPM. They place your leg into this machine that flexes the knee up to a set bend that you can control. I was in that three times a day for 2 hours each time. AWESOME MACHINE!
Nows comes the three days I spent at a nursing home....ughhh! I have never been so tired in my life. Between the alarms,bells,buzzers,and the yelling from some disgruntled elder . I pushed my knee to acheive the 110 degree bend my surgeon had placed as my goal prior to leaving nursing home.I am now home walking still with a cain and still swollen. My question is how long before my knee is normal size?????????
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Old 02-15-2009, 10:35 AM   #30
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Re: Total Knee Replacement: Recovery - Things I wish I knew!

tramadol....ahhh yes that was my golf medication I am now in recovery from left knee replacement and I am 47. Jan 27th had it done.
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