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Old 08-26-2010, 04:15 PM   #1
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11/12 weeks Post-Op Does TKR EVER get Better?

Hi..
As they might say on the radio...I'm a first time caller & long time listener.

I had TKR of my left knee on 6/8/10. Depending on how you call it, I am 11 or 12 weeks out of surgery. I was very fortunate to have a nationally reknowned knee surgeon do the work. I was further blessed, since my wife is an ER Nurse, and so I have always had "personal" nursing availale to me as I heal.

I really felt that by this time I would be back to what had been normal for me. Prior to my surgery I was at home doing all the cooking, cleaning, laundry, marketing and so on. At this point I still cannot. I find that depending on how I feel each day, I might be able to do bits & pieces of things, but I have been unable to return to my regular routine. This bothers me a great deal, since it makes my wife pick up the slack, and that doesn't sit well with me.

I am sore all the time. Not only the knee, but my entire body. I get so sore and worn out from the PT, that I can barely function afterwards. My right knee is as bad as my left knee, and once I heal from the left TKR, it will have to do the right. I find that my muscles ache all the time. The kind of muscle aches that come from excersize, but they never go away. The knee still hurts when I stand, and gets stiff very easily.

My doctor says I am doing fine, and that everything looks great. Yeah, it's great, except that...I haven't had a decent night's sleep since my OP. All my personal rhythms & habits are upside down. I can't do what I did before, and I have the growing feeling that this is NEVER going to get any better, and that I will have to settle for this very low level of activity. I've been trying to hold off the depression, but I'm starting to lose out.

When I am in the PT gym, I run into ladies who are a good deal older than I am, and they are 8 weeks out of surgery and dancing around like they were 20, while I hobble about as though I was 90. (I'm 55)

For those of you are farther down the recovery road, I ask you..Does this EVER get any better??

Thanks...
Rocky

 
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Old 08-26-2010, 05:45 PM   #2
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Re: 11/12 weeks Post-Op Does TKR EVER get Better?

Each body handles the effects of the anesthesia and pain meds differently. Each body handles the blood loss differently. Each body heals the bone and soft tissues at different rates.

You are doing fine. Average time for complete healing...1-2 years. Yes, years. Major orthopedic surgeries like joint replacement takes YEARS for complete recovery by the body.

So give yourself a break and just keep working at it. You'll get there sooner or later like everyone else does. And I bet knowing this, you'll recover better the with the next knee. It helps to know you are normal.

And I can tell you that at least one woman here who did go home and started cleaning and doing everything she would normally do, ended up with major problems with her knee because she did too much. She pushed herself and it slowed her recovery substantially. So don't worry about the ladies being more active. It may not be good for them either.

We all recover at our own rates. You'll get there. TKR is one of the toughest surgeries on the body so allow yourself time to heal. Just give yourself time and stop feeling bad. Your wife knows....she's seen the ones who have messed up their knees from doing too much.

Good luck with #2.

hugs...........Jenny(bi-lateral simultaneous replacements 11 years ago)

 
Old 08-26-2010, 07:07 PM   #3
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Re: 11/12 weeks Post-Op Does TKR EVER get Better?

My husband had TKR 4 weeks ago and is still in excruciating pain. He has not had a nights sleep since his operation. He is totally miserable. I pray it gets better soon...The doctor told us by 6 weeks he would be back to normal...I don't think so!! When does it get better?.

Last edited by cod13; 08-26-2010 at 07:13 PM.

 
Old 08-27-2010, 08:46 AM   #4
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Re: 11/12 weeks Post-Op Does TKR EVER get Better?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cod13 View Post
My husband had TKR 4 weeks ago and is still in excruciating pain. He has not had a nights sleep since his operation. He is totally miserable. I pray it gets better soon...The doctor told us by 6 weeks he would be back to normal...I don't think so!! When does it get better?.

Well as you can see by my post, I'm essentially 3 months out, and it's stilla very tough row to hoe. At 4 weeks, I'm sure I was in the same position as your husband. Many people from healthcare providers to those on the street with an opinion, there seems to be the idea that some sort of "magic" happens around the 6th & 8th weeks. I've had people tell me that everyone questions their choice for TKR, and then magically at the 6th week, the fairy waves his wand, and suddenly you feel great about your decision, then at the 8th week you're supposed to be able to dance the minute waltz. Like they say at the car dealers.."your mileage may vary, no two deals are alike, see your dealer and lender for specific details!" Now two people are alike. I want to say that I was well into the 8th week before I started to feel much like a human again. And I still haven't crossed the magic spot where I stop thinking that this was the worst decision of my life. Good luck, and may God bless your husband's healing.

 
Old 08-27-2010, 02:23 PM   #5
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Re: 11/12 weeks Post-Op Does TKR EVER get Better?

There is a reason why everyone says 6-8 weeks and you suddenly feel better.

Ever break a bone when you were a kid? How long they did they leave it in a cast......6-8 weeks maybe? That's because it takes about that long for a broken bone to heal. When they do a TKR, the go in and chisel and saw off the ends of both the tibia and femur.....it's like you just broke both bones in your leg. So after 6-8 weeks the intense bone pain starts to ease as the "break" heals over.

And unlike a broken bone, instead of being off that broken leg of yours.....you are forced to walk on it....why?????.....because it actually makes the bone grow and heal faster to bear weight on it. It has to grow into the implant, the faster the better.

So at 6-8 weeks the bone pain starts to resolve because the bone is healing but the nerve endings are still healing and they will continue to send pain signals for quite a while. Nerves take about 8-10 months to heal......take it from someone who battled paralysis from a broken neck 4 years ago.

So you continue to have pain as the nerves heal and you just have to put up with it...that is why it takes a year to fully heal.

But once that deep bone pain starts to resolve...and it will....for some it just takes longer......you will notice that you sleep better and feel better. BTW, pain meds make you sleep horribly...nothing makes for a bad night's sleep like pain meds.

Give it time, give it time, give it time. It took how many years to destroy your knee? Can't you give it a year for the new one to settle in and your body accept all that metal and plastic and the tendons and muscles grow and the nerves heal?

Trust me, unless you are getting a post-op infection or your surgeon did something horribly wrong, you will feel better with time. But if you could see what they do in that surgery, you'd be surprised that you ever feel good again. I was awake for my double replacements and it was like spending a day in Home Depot. I could hear the saws and feel the pressure of the chisels and hear the drills....I could never imagine that I would ever walk again with all of that going on. Everyone in the room was covered with blood from my knees as the saws flung it around....I was covered.

And yet I walked down the hall by myself on crutches 4 days later and I've been walking up to 5 miles at a time and working for 12 hours a day since(until I broke my neck). But I had to give it time.

I still hurt on and off for the whole first year and then slowly but surely I began to forget I even had fake knees.

You will too.

good luck................Jenny

 
Old 08-27-2010, 03:28 PM   #6
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Re: 11/12 weeks Post-Op Does TKR EVER get Better?

Actually, prior to my TKR, I was only in the hospital twice. When I was born, and when I had my tonsils out at 5 years old. I have never broken a bone or ever needed to be hospitalized otherwise. So with that background TKR, has been quite a major trauma for me.

 
Old 08-27-2010, 05:03 PM   #7
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Re: 11/12 weeks Post-Op Does TKR EVER get Better?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RockyBrown View Post
Hi..
As they might say on the radio...I'm a first time caller & long time listener.

I had TKR of my left knee on 6/8/10. Depending on how you call it, I am 11 or 12 weeks out of surgery. I was very fortunate to have a nationally reknowned knee surgeon do the work. I was further blessed, since my wife is an ER Nurse, and so I have always had "personal" nursing availale to me as I heal.

I really felt that by this time I would be back to what had been normal for me. Prior to my surgery I was at home doing all the cooking, cleaning, laundry, marketing and so on. At this point I still cannot. I find that depending on how I feel each day, I might be able to do bits & pieces of things, but I have been unable to return to my regular routine. This bothers me a great deal, since it makes my wife pick up the slack, and that doesn't sit well with me.

I am sore all the time. Not only the knee, but my entire body. I get so sore and worn out from the PT, that I can barely function afterwards. My right knee is as bad as my left knee, and once I heal from the left TKR, it will have to do the right. I find that my muscles ache all the time. The kind of muscle aches that come from excersize, but they never go away. The knee still hurts when I stand, and gets stiff very easily.

My doctor says I am doing fine, and that everything looks great. Yeah, it's great, except that...I haven't had a decent night's sleep since my OP. All my personal rhythms & habits are upside down. I can't do what I did before, and I have the growing feeling that this is NEVER going to get any better, and that I will have to settle for this very low level of activity. I've been trying to hold off the depression, but I'm starting to lose out.

When I am in the PT gym, I run into ladies who are a good deal older than I am, and they are 8 weeks out of surgery and dancing around like they were 20, while I hobble about as though I was 90. (I'm 55)

For those of you are farther down the recovery road, I ask you..Does this EVER get any better??

Thanks...
Rocky
Hey Rocky, Your post sounds like a page out of my TKR..I'm sorry that you're going through the same thing.It sure is a very tough ordeal and Idon't care how strong you, it will just knock most people down for a time, some loinger than others.
I too, had a very good surgeon, but nothing has felt right about this surgery. Mine was on May 24th. So , we're not that far apart. I am through with my formal PT, but I had the same problem with hurting all over after therapy and had to go to bed for the rest of the day. Sleep is something I'd love to be able to do at night without waking up 3-4 times a night. I don't know if you have this sensation, but mine feels as if the prosthesis is just too bitg for my knee. It stays inflamed 24-7. I won't go on and on anymore, but you are not alone and if I come up with a good tip that helps, I'll pass it on.

Take care friend and hang in there...
Connie

Last edited by Connie620; 08-27-2010 at 05:04 PM.

 
Old 08-27-2010, 06:17 PM   #8
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Re: 11/12 weeks Post-Op Does TKR EVER get Better?

Connie...that sensation that the prosthesis is too big for the knee is common because the prosthesis weighs more than the bone removed....much more. Did you get a chance to see and hold one prior to surgery? They are heavy.

So it does feel bigger but it is actually heavier.

And here is something else you'll find if you live in snow country. The prosthesis gets cold. If are out for a while and your knees get cold, it seems to go right into the metal and your knee will feel cold for a much longer time than the rest of you.

And it will make weird noises and it will occasionally catch the skin inside the joint and pinch it horribly and you'll want to jump out of your skin.

But it beats living in a wheelchair.

Hugs..........Jenny

 
Old 08-28-2010, 02:44 PM   #9
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Re: 11/12 weeks Post-Op Does TKR EVER get Better?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jennybyc View Post
Connie...that sensation that the prosthesis is too big for the knee is common because the prosthesis weighs more than the bone removed....much more. Did you get a chance to see and hold one prior to surgery? They are heavy.

So it does feel bigger but it is actually heavier.

And here is something else you'll find if you live in snow country. The prosthesis gets cold. If are out for a while and your knees get cold, it seems to go right into the metal and your knee will feel cold for a much longer time than the rest of you.

And it will make weird noises and it will occasionally catch the skin inside the joint and pinch it horribly and you'll want to jump out of your skin.

But it beats living in a wheelchair.

Hugs..........Jenny
hey Jenny, Yes I did see the prosthesis prior to surgery and I did comment to my husband how heavy it was, Maybe this is what is causing this sensation. It feels as if it is pushing from the inside out, as if the space is too tight. Question, will it most likely stay that way ? I was hoping that it would feel more natural. I could deal with that if not for the pain and inflamation that I have from morning to night. As soon as I'm active it flares up.
Maybe with more time, this will all get better. I want that so much.
Thanks, Connie

 
Old 08-29-2010, 03:56 AM   #10
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Re: 11/12 weeks Post-Op Does TKR EVER get Better?

When does it get better? Good question. I guess we are all different and I happen to be one of the slow ones. My TKR was in November 09 and I still have pain 24/7.
I have been up since 4 AM because I can't sleep due to pain. Every once in a while I have a half way decent day, but they are few and far between. I do my exercises and go to the gym almost every day and ride the incumbent bike for a half hour.
Nothing seems to help. The only time I am comfortable is with my legs stretched out in front of me while on the couch with an ice bag on the knee. And usually then I also have a heating pad on my back due to Sciatica. Not a fun game here.

 
Old 08-29-2010, 01:57 PM   #11
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Re: 11/12 weeks Post-Op Does TKR EVER get Better?

Barb, have you ever checked to see if the sciatica is causing your knee pain? Depending on the level involved, it can cause pain exactly like the pain you'd get this far past surgery. I know my back can and does. Kept blaming the knees when it was the back....took my back getting much worse for me to finally figure it out. Check a dermatome chart to see if the problem you have lines up with where pain can occur. The sciatic nerve encompasses at least 3 levels of the lumbar spine(L2,3 and 4) so which ever one is the worst, will cause the most pain. Today I'm having L2 pain(outsides of thigh). L3 covers most of the knee in the front and sides but it's S2 in the back. I had surgery on both shoulders only to find out after wards that I still had the same pain...turned out to be my neck. I needed the shoulder surgery due to bad arthritis but was shocked to find the pain still the same level. Now the neck is fixed too and my shoulders feel great! Neck not so much.

Connie, the soft tissue structures around the implant will adjust to the size and weight. I felt like I was walking with weights on my knees. Took a couple years before I got used to the sensation and started to forget they were there. I also have titanium rods in my neck and I'll never be able to forget they are there so I'm glad the knees feel so much better. But it does take time for the bone to grow into the implant and the tendons and ligaments to stretch to fit the new length. I came out of surgery(both knees) 2 inches taller and had lots of stretching and growing to do and it took 2 years. Remember, you knee arthritis made the joint and your leg shorter and the new implant has restored that height. You may find you need longer pants when cooler weather comes. I had to get new shoes too as I no longer walked on the outsides of my feet. Finally had straight legs.

Putting in new knees changes everything from your center of gravity to if now walk on a different area of your feet. It is far more pronounced when they do both at once so you may not even be that aware of it. And it changes how your back is held and how it functions too. Helped my back. But it may worsen it for others. Can slow down the destruction of bad hips too.

Mechanically, it changes a lot throughout your entire body. And it takes a lot of time for the body to adjust. What is left hurting after a year should be checked to see if it's caused another problem to worsen. I know having my neck fused has caused problems with my lower back. But my knees helped just about everything.

It takes time to figure it all out.

gentle hugs............Jenny

 
Old 08-29-2010, 03:16 PM   #12
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Re: 11/12 weeks Post-Op Does TKR EVER get Better?

About the Sciatica. I had a bad bout of it five years ago and did PT for a month three times a week for an hour plus what I did at home and that took care of it. I have some exercises from the PT I used for the knee. I try to get them in along with the TKR knee and the other knee that has a Patella problem. Hate spending my life doing exercises. This time it is only on one side of my lower back and I'm afraid to find out that it is anything more than Sciatica. The pain from it comes and goes. It is not constant like the knee.

 
Old 08-30-2010, 12:47 PM   #13
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Re: 11/12 weeks Post-Op Does TKR EVER get Better?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Connie620 View Post
Hey Rocky, Your post sounds like a page out of my TKR..I'm sorry that you're going through the same thing.It sure is a very tough ordeal and Idon't care how strong you, it will just knock most people down for a time, some loinger than others.
I too, had a very good surgeon, but nothing has felt right about this surgery. Mine was on May 24th. So , we're not that far apart. I am through with my formal PT, but I had the same problem with hurting all over after therapy and had to go to bed for the rest of the day. Sleep is something I'd love to be able to do at night without waking up 3-4 times a night. I don't know if you have this sensation, but mine feels as if the prosthesis is just too bitg for my knee. It stays inflamed 24-7. I won't go on and on anymore, but you are not alone and if I come up with a good tip that helps, I'll pass it on.

Take care friend and hang in there...
Connie
Ahhh...Sleep!!
Yes, Connie, I'm with you. I haven't had a decent night's sleep since my operation. I was always a good sleeper. Even when I was younger, I always went to be early and got up early. Sleep was rarely a problem. According to Maslow's Hierarchy Of Needs, Sleep is a main physiological component for a person's well-being. Lack of sleep, or the fear of not getting enough sleep can be very stressful on a person. Since my TKR, I've tried Benedryl & Ambien, and have had poor results. I did not like Ambien since it tends to give people LSD-style nightmares in the process.

I think I could deal with all the other issues a bit better, if I could just escape them all with 7-8 hours of decent sleep. But since I can't sleep it seems to magnify all the rest of my TKR problems. I think the lack of sleep steals my enthusiasm to press on.

I am not done with my formal PT. Our insurance provider gives me 60 out of home visits, so I've got awhile to go. I dread going, because I know it's going to hurt like hell, and yes, I too, often wind up coming home and going to bed for the rest of the day.

I don't really feel like the knee is too big, it's just stiff & uncomfortable in some fashion all of the time.

Here's to us both getting a good night's sleep!!
Best Wishes.....
Rocky

 
Old 08-30-2010, 03:38 PM   #14
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Re: 11/12 weeks Post-Op Does TKR EVER get Better?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RockyBrown View Post
Well as you can see by my post, I'm essentially 3 months out, and it's stilla very tough row to hoe. At 4 weeks, I'm sure I was in the same position as your husband. Many people from healthcare providers to those on the street with an opinion, there seems to be the idea that some sort of "magic" happens around the 6th & 8th weeks. I've had people tell me that everyone questions their choice for TKR, and then magically at the 6th week, the fairy waves his wand, and suddenly you feel great about your decision, then at the 8th week you're supposed to be able to dance the minute waltz. Like they say at the car dealers.."your mileage may vary, no two deals are alike, see your dealer and lender for specific details!" Now two people are alike. I want to say that I was well into the 8th week before I started to feel much like a human again. And I still haven't crossed the magic spot where I stop thinking that this was the worst decision of my life. Good luck, and may God bless your husband's healing.
I'm going into 10 months and that "magic" has not happened to me yet. I got home from the gym just riding the bike and had to get ice on my knee right away I was in such misery. I feel like such a whiner all of the time. I try not to talk about it to others, but feel I can whine here all I want since you all understand what it's all about. Now and then I will have an hour or so where the pain is not horrible, but most of the time I'm pretty miserable. I never used to have problems sleeping, but that has changed and I'm up at odd hours of the night now. The only thing I can find to do in the middle of the night is read and hope that will make me fall asleep.
I just keep hoping the next week will be better.

 
Old 08-31-2010, 11:37 PM   #15
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Re: 11/12 weeks Post-Op Does TKR EVER get Better?

I know what you mean about the Ambien. But did you know there are two kinds? One just helps you go to sleep, the other puts you to sleep and keeps you asleep. The second is the one that made me have horrible nightmares. I now take the first occassionally when I need it and I don't have the nightmare problem. I sometimes feel quilty taking it. It seems we've all been programed to think we shouldn't rely on anything like that. But my doctor as well as my PT have both made feel comfortable to use it, because your body just has to have some good sleep to heal. So now, I try to go to sleep on my own, if it doesn't work, I use an Ambien. Luckily that is not real often. I hate to hear of so many having such problems with their TKR. I must say, other than a little snapping I have in my knee 3 months post op, I am very pleased with my recovery. I don't think alot of us realized how long this whole process can take. I know I have been impatient, and the more I read on this board just makes me realize I have to just hang in there, don't give up and keep working hard at it. In my case, my knee is so much better than it used to be, so I am happy. In six weeks, I'm going to have my other knee replaced also. I know I probably should wait a little longer, but have an insurance issue and must proceed. I dread it some, but hate how the knee hurts now, so am looking forward to having two good ones!!! You hang in there and don't give up!!!

 
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