1 year anniversary of TKR
2 more days, and I’ll have had my artificial knee for one year. This milestone seems to be pretty much what it will be going forward, with possible minor improvements possible. Summary: full extension, great flexibility. No swelling. Some warmth on outside of knee, constantly. Works very well, except no kneeling on hard ground, preferably no kneeling, period. Constant cracking/crunching feeling of tendons behind the knee when bending under weight (as in walking, floor exercises involving bent knees). Painless, but irritating and uncomfortable. Some pain when bending knee/lower leg sideways-inwards while lifted, as is pulling off a shoe or sock while standing, balanced on the other leg. Unfortunately, still pretty frequent minor twinges, and foreign/artificial feeling, in spite of working fine That about average?
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@ellerbracke, your experience is quite similar to mine as well. I'm thirteen years out from my replacement. My recovery after the initial surgery was slow and rough. I had to have a couple of manipulations due to aggressive scar tissue formation. Eventually, I reached full extension, although my flexion only reached 105'ish. To this day, I get some minor discomfort at times from some of the same activities you mentioned. I refuse to kneel on the replaced knee, it is beyond uncomfortable and painful and I was instructed to avoid doing so if possible. I also get the crunching feeling but I suspect and am reasonably positive that the above mentioned symptoms for me are caused by the scar tissue I was never able to break up.
Like you, I don't really have much discomfort day-to-day unless I push it too hard and over time you learn your limits. You asked if that is about average? For me, it was pretty close, but I did see gains well in to 18 months after the surgery, so there is the possibility you can still reach some new milestones and get over some of your barriers.
@ellebracke, does your knee limit your from doing anything that you'd like – activity wise?
Well – no, yes, and maybe. No: pretty much back to battle speed when walking, around 120 steps/minute, no problem swimming backstroke, breaststroke with caution because of frog kick. Yes, since it makes yard work so much harder, being unable to kneel. And don’t know yet – intend to go back and try playing tennis soon, once the relentless heatwave with temperatures in the mid to upper 90!s (this is September, for goodness sake!) releases its grip.
@ellerbracke – Congrats on your anniversary! I'm not quite there yet. My 2nd one was 1/29/19. I don't kneel on it. Too uncomfortable. Like you, I have great ROM, I walk a couple of miles each morning, and I have no swelling or ongoing discomfort. But my balance is not anywhere like it used to be. I am 68 years old and I wondered if somehow it was age and the TKR converging to cause me difficulty. I'm fine on solid level pavement, but don't make me go on cobblestone or uneven pavers! Also, if I sit for too long, I am very stiff on getting up to a standing position and then my gait reflects the stiffness. It's just an awkward walking pace until I limber up. Interestingly, the stiffness seems worse on my knee that was replaced in 2017. That's about all I have. But tell me this, what is it that you want to do that you can't do now?
@debbraw : Mostly stuff associated with the kneeling issue. As I mentioned, gardening – like pulling weeds (yuck), carefully planting seeds in a furrow, cutting 100’s of plants back to the ground in the fall, those things are much more strenuous doing bent over now. I can’t really play on the floor with my youngest grandson anymore, not the way he wants to build a fort with pillows and crawl in. I can’t do many yoga positions anymore, especially child’s pose which I used to do to relax my back between plank exercises. I still can’t (don’t dare?) get out of the drivers seat of the car the way I used to – out with left leg, twist right (TKR) leg sideways and slide out. Now I swivel in the seat and put both feet on the ground and stand up. This is no biggie, but it’s a daily reminder I’m not fond of. I feel unsteady or timid climbing ladders, so I’m putting off some chores. Also, I’m trying to find a new way to semi-annually clean my blinds. Used to take them down, put an old towel in the bathtub to avoid scratches, soak them, then – on my knees, of course – wipe down each and every slat individually. No fun!
As far as fun goes, it remains to be seen if I will be ok playing tennis. That would really be disappointing if it turns out to be too difficult or stressful for the knee.
Like you, I walk 5 to 6 mornings a week, but I’m lucky that (age 70) I’m ok with uneven ground. But of course I have one original knee left, which probably helps.
@ellerbracke I don't have any suggestions for you (other than get a second opinion, though you may have done/mentioned that). I just wanted to say that your post reminds me so much of me now, at 14 months out. Yes, I'm scheduled for a revision and I hope it helps, but ever since my original surgery my life has been a lot like yours: no kneeling, no gardening, getting on the floor/yoga practice unthinkable, getting in and out of the car as you describe. My sport is skiing and I'm not optimistic about getting back to it, even after the revision (which wipes out yet another season).
I wish surgeons would spend some time with patients telling them the very real possible outcomes of this surgery! My first surgeon was so confident, telling me I'd be skiing in 4 months! I'm still taking stairs one at a time! Oooh, it makes me so angry.
Hey @ellerbracke – I've been tied up with some family issues. Just wanted you to know I'm pulling for you on the kneeling issues. I know you love gardening. Me, not so much. I am my mother's daughter. She used to put on a nice straw hat and summer dress, gather her gardening gloves, call my dad and go to the garden. Where she would point out where the rows should be hoed and how far apart the plants should be spaced. Happily, my dad loved gardening and loved her – or this would have been a disaster. Also happily, after her "gardening" she would serve lemonade to my dad and herself… not to us kids. Much later, I figured out that lemonade treat was probably spiked lemonade.
@debbraw I’m with you when it comes to gardening. I used to have a friend who would do mine and when she came over I would make a lavish meal for her and her husband, including wine, she returned to work full time so my garden is now overgrown.
JK, Debbra: you don’t know what you are missing regarding the joys and tribulations of yard work…. or perhaps you do? Anyway, I don’t enjoy the “work” part really, but the results, and side benefits of fresh produce.
PS: walked all over Seattle today (it does have hills and steps!) for a total of perhaps 6 hours. Knee held up. Never tested it before like this on mostly concrete/asphalt surfaces for this amount of time. Not great for my Sciatica, or hip, though.
@ellerbracke I really hate yard work with a passion. There are bugs out there. I do love the fruits of the labor when I get beautiful fresh produce from friends’ gardens.
Congratulations on your long walk! I'm glad you survived it so well. That must have felt like a great accomplishment. I'm beginning to wonder if this femur fracture will ever heal to the point where I can once again be more active. It's very discouraging.