6 months retrospective on TKR

Posted by ellerbracke @ellerbracke, Sat, Mar 9 6:09am

Just some thoughts about my TKR, reasons for certain decisions, and results. If this topic should be posted in the “just want to talk” group instead of here, I’m sure the mentors can move it.
Also, I wanted to mention right from the start that I have had tinnitus for several years, which can be aggravated by pain medications, especially long-term, so that really was not ever an option.
Here it goes – and I have to go way back to lead up to TKR.
10 years ago I suffered ever increasing severe pain in my right shoulder and arm. MRI showed bone spur, and rotator cuff tear. During repair surgery it also turned out that the biceps tendon had been worn down and was too damaged to repair, so it was cut and released. Normal recovery, back on tennis court within 4 months, total recovery and 100% back to normal within a year.
5 years ago same problems started on left shoulder. Instead of waiting and suffering, and potentially messing up the tendon as well, repair surgery on that side. Identical recovery, 100% mobility within a year.
Forward to 2017: rather sudden, severe pain in right knee. Went from slight twinges to intense pain in the span of 4 weeks. The leg would buckle when I tried to walk on it since it was that painful. When I tried to do my standard 2-mile walk in the morning, I had to turn back after 20 yards, could not do it. Cortisone injection, no relief. MRI showed osteoarthritis, meniscus tear, cartilage damage. Based on the excellent results with both shoulder procedures I easily consented to arthroscopic surgery, of course expecting the same wonderful results. Not this time! In spite of doing everything the PT people recommended, the knee kept hurting. 5 months after surgery I tried hyalunic injections – no improvement. I was able to walk with varying degrees of pain, but only on level ground. Absolutely impossible to walk down steps in a normal fashion, or to walk downhill (had to turn sideways!), and uphill in pain. That brought me to the decision to have the TKR 11 months later.
Now, 6 months have passed, things are mostly going very well. However, there are definitely limitations as to what I can do, and I sometimes question whether I jumped the gun by having the replacement done in the first place. On the other hand, once I had been in pain for over a year, and not a fan of or candidate for long-term pain management with medication, it seemed like the best option.
Perhaps there are others who are also ambivalent about having had the TKR, or who decided to not do it? And what alternative did they chose? Not that I can undo the surgery, but who knows when the left knee decides to follow suit and starts acting up……..

I hear you @ellerbracke. I'm sorry its not going well for you. I'm happy with my two TKR's. The last one was done with a robotic assisted arm at Mayo Jax. My doctor said the robotic surgery is more accurate and the recovery is faster. Not sure where you are located, but if your left knee starts acting up, I would recommend looking for a surgeon who uses the robotics. Have you looked into this at all? Wishing you the best.

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Hi @ellerbracke that must be so frustrating to have so much pain still after the total knee replacement.

I wanted to introduce you to fellow Connect members @ssbionicknee @debbraw and @timerdude as they are all past the 6 month mark after a TKR and may be able to offer you support in this.

Back to you @ellerbracke you mentioned that you have limitations with your knee still. Are you comfortable sharing what those limitations are?

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Hello@ellerbracke! You and I are reversed. I had a TKR in May 2018 and Shoulder surgery in October 2018. My TKR (right knee) went very well. My doctor is great and I can feel the stability in my "new knee." I am glad I had the knee replaced. I am 10 months out of surgery. The nerves in my knee are still healing, so kneeling is painful. My knee is stiff, but I have a full ROM. I am still slow going up and down hills and steps and my knee feels stiff when it is cold outside. I also need to have the left knee replaced. It is very weak and has caused me to fall a few times. (My shoulder surgery was due to a fall) In my case, the shoulder surgery was very painful and harder for me to recover from. I wonder if some of the problems were due to have 2 major surgeries 5 months apart. Are you still in therapy? One of the things I found to be extremely helpful was water therapy. It takes the pressure off the joints and allowed me to gain ROM quicker. I don't think I will ever have the same knee I had before I developed OA, however, compared to my limitations before the surgery, I would do it all over again. I am not sure I am giving you the answer you want to hear, but it is an honest answer.

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@ellerbracke @ssbionicknee You are right, no matter how satisfied with your knee replacement it is never the same as your natural knee had been before it had problems.
Water therapy or exercise really is helpful. Being able to exercise with no impact does make a difference.
JK

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@contentandwell

@ellerbracke @ssbionicknee You are right, no matter how satisfied with your knee replacement it is never the same as your natural knee had been before it had problems.
Water therapy or exercise really is helpful. Being able to exercise with no impact does make a difference.
JK

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@ssbionicknee and JK: thanks for input. I am actually doing pretty well overall (was discharged from PT at about 10 weeks, have been doing water exercises and workouts and swimming 3 or more times a week since week 5 after surgery), have excellent ROM, finally got the knee straightened out at 4 months… BUT: I miss being able to kneel like I used to, I hate having become pretty cautious when I walk outside in my garden (tree roots, gopher holes, vines sneaking along the ground), I dislike having to adapt how to pull off socks or tight jeans, and mostly I am tired of aches and some pain. At this point I don’t want “not too much pain”, or “only aching for a few hours”, I want NO pain, ache, twinge, stiffness, at all for a change. Hoping I will get there sooner or later. That is why I mentioned my shoulder surgeries in the initial post: full motion, full strength, and absolutely no pain after recovery. Was expecting the same from TKR.

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@ellerbracke

@ssbionicknee and JK: thanks for input. I am actually doing pretty well overall (was discharged from PT at about 10 weeks, have been doing water exercises and workouts and swimming 3 or more times a week since week 5 after surgery), have excellent ROM, finally got the knee straightened out at 4 months… BUT: I miss being able to kneel like I used to, I hate having become pretty cautious when I walk outside in my garden (tree roots, gopher holes, vines sneaking along the ground), I dislike having to adapt how to pull off socks or tight jeans, and mostly I am tired of aches and some pain. At this point I don’t want “not too much pain”, or “only aching for a few hours”, I want NO pain, ache, twinge, stiffness, at all for a change. Hoping I will get there sooner or later. That is why I mentioned my shoulder surgeries in the initial post: full motion, full strength, and absolutely no pain after recovery. Was expecting the same from TKR.

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@ellerbracke I hope you get the full recovery that you long for. I know I will never kneel comfortably again but I suspect I am older than you are. I do not have pain though so that's great.
JK

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@contentandwell

@ellerbracke I hope you get the full recovery that you long for. I know I will never kneel comfortably again but I suspect I am older than you are. I do not have pain though so that's great.
JK

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@contentandwell: think we had that information exchange at some point…. will be 70 in June.

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