Neuropathy after TKR: I'm 68 and fearful of future

Posted by daveage68 @daveage68, Jun 13 3:08pm

I had knee replacement 8 weeks ago. This seem to accelerate neuropathy in both lower legs. Numbness, feels like feet are freezing, legs feel heavy and tired after little exercise. I have always been very active, this is killing me.
Any success stories out there? I read where this is incurable Not sure if this is a quality of life I can live with. Do not want to be burden for wife and family. Looking for good news.

@daveage68, welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I've added your discussion to the Joint Replacements group as well as the Neuropathy group. I think you might find these related discussions helpful.

– What can you do to extend the life of your TKR and mobility? https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/what-can-you-do-to-extend-the-life-of-your-tkr-and-mobility/
– Post Knee replacement mobility: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/post-knee-replacement-mobility/

You sound very despondent. I get it. But in surgical terms, 8 weeks is early in the recovery time frame. I'd like to bring in fellow members like @johnbishop @artscaping @sueinmn and others who have experience with both knee replacements and neuropathy.

Dave, did you have neuropathy before the TKR, but not as bad? Are you doing physical therapy?

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Hello Dave @daveage68, I would like to add my welcome to Connect along with @colleenyoung and others. It's been about 2 years since I had my right knee replaced at age 76. I have small fiber peripheral neuropathy with only the numbness but I've had it for over 20+ years and it didn't get worse with my knee replacement. I'm sorry you are feeling a little down but you just have to take each day one at a time. What helped me with my neuropathy before I had the knee replacement was to learn as much as I could about the condition and possible treatments, therapies and alternatives available. Connect helped me with that by letting me read the stories others with neuropathy have shared along with their experiences and what helped them. I posted my story in the Member Neuropathy Journey Stories: What's Yours? discussion here – https://connect.mayoclinic.org/comment/310341/.

8 weeks post knee replacement is still early in the time required for recovery. "Most patients are able to care for themselves and resume normal daily activities within 6 weeks and drive within 3 to 6 weeks. It may take 4 to 6 months or up to an entire year to fully recover and realize total benefits of knee replacement surgery." — Total Knee Replacement Surgery Recovery: https://www.arthritis-health.com/surgery/knee-surgery/total-knee-replacement-surgery-recovery.

It's really important to do the strength and flexibility exercises daily. You don't really need to do them until you get tired but just 7 or 8 repetitions of each one a few times a day. What helped me was having an exercise bike that I could ride daily for 10 or 15 minutes at a time a few times a day. Also, if you are still having pain, swelling or stiffness, icing and elevating your leg frequently are really helpful. My surgeon pounded that into my head. If you have any questions, Connect is a great place to ask them.

Have you had a chance to discuss how you are doing with your surgeon or care team?

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8 weeks is very early days after joint replacement. You will have ups and downs, good and bad days. Nerves are at very least angry at being disturbed and need recovery time.

After ACL Replacement in my 40's it took 6 months of PT and exercise to be normal. After 5 hip replacement surgeries it was several months to a year for total recovery.

Now, 10 years later I have full use, am able to do pretty much everything I want without pain except for the normal pangs of aging and arthritis. I wish the rest of my body felt half as good.
Daily exercise is a key to success.
Sue

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I had both knees replaced 12 years ago when I was 59. I also have large fiber sensory-motor peripheral neuropathy that wasn't diagnosed until two years ago. I want to echo the excellent suggestions already made that it's much too early in the healing process to be worried about possible long-term problems. The only useful answer for me is to keep moving and slowly increase from whatever I can do now to doing a little more.

One other health thing you might check is edema in your lower legs. If I don't wear my support stockings, the neuropathy symptoms are much worse, and much more frustrating. It's also possible that lots more icing (as suggested) could decrease post-surgery swelling and symptoms.

Good luck!

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Hi Dave, I have been living with similar symptoms since last summer after going through chemo.
Although, I have noticed improvement in balance, I am still using a cane and some assistance in most scenarios. Pickleball is out, but I am doing a lot, if not most, of what I had been doing, at the age of 72.
I am Determined, not to let this get to me!
I am a woman of faith and have many friends who are as well.
As much as you can, try to stay positive. Your family and friends will be happy to be around you and helping
you out.
Deb

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Good evening @daveage68. It is quite easy to get discouraged…..to want to just throw in the towel and give up on all the activities you have so enjoyed because you are recuperating from joint replacement, especially the knees. I had just recovered from a reverse shoulder replacement and was back with my walking group to get ready for an inn to inn walk around the Ring of Kerry in Ireland. The shoulder did well and I took pictures to show my surgeon when I returned.

While he was looking at the pictures, I told him that I had another issue, my left knee. He is an empathic person and expressed his sadness about my knee. Then he just said, "Let's take a look at it." Sure enough, I had pseudogout crystals that had torn the surface of the meniscus. We tried a couple of steroid injections without any improvement. My walking buddies got behind the effort to fix my knee In time for our next walking adventure….one year away.

It was pretty depressing to be going through surgery and PT again. I also had a business to manage. And now for the good news, I woke up on the 1 year anniversary of the surgery and that was the first day that I didn't notice my replaced knee as I walked across the bedroom. My surgeon was right. It took a year. He also told me that I was good to go walking again and I had a wonderful time. He warned me about walking downhill…..as it would cut short the life of my replacement.

Move forward 10 years. I was able to complete many more walking trips, swing and play with my granddaughters and be an active community volunteer and business owner. All of a sudden, (10 years later) my right knee just gave up the ghost about 2 months ago. I have had the Baker's cyst drained and estrogen to tide me over. On June 25, I will meet with a surgeon to plan this knee's future. I just returned from a visit to other grandchildren in Texas courtesy of airline wheelchairs and kind folks.

My life will change again and I will find things I can do. First on the list will be a mindfulness retreat in August. My daughter is coming to go with me and help out. Is that as active as a 40-mile walk on the beach? Nope! However, I am looking forward to the folks I will meet and the lessons I will learn.

You can do this Dave and come out singing. You will have to give up some of your activities and new ones will present themselves to you. Decide to find joy in every day. It is there for you to find.

May you be free of suffering and the causes of suffering.
Chris

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I developed PN right after my tkr replacements which were 10 months apart last one being 4 years ago. No diabetes, no other health issues. Diagnosed tts which I had surgery for decompression 3 times. Beginning to think it may be my gist after new knees. Very debilitating.

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@kp6350

I developed PN right after my tkr replacements which were 10 months apart last one being 4 years ago. No diabetes, no other health issues. Diagnosed tts which I had surgery for decompression 3 times. Beginning to think it may be my gist after new knees. Very debilitating.

Jump to this post

Gait i meant

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@kp6350

Gait i meant

Jump to this post

Hello @kp6350, Welcome to Connect. You will notice that we have moved your discussion into an existing one with the same topic so that you can meet other members discussing neuropathy after a TKR. I'm sorry to hear you having PN right after your TKRs. You mentioned they were 10 months apart and you also have been diagnosed with TTS (Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome?). It sounds like the surgeries may not have been successful since you mentioned you had three. Has your doctor offered any other suggestions or treatments to help with the pain?

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I am having to make decisions on total right hip surgery and guided imaging injection of same hip. I have SFN in the same right foot and shin which may be progressing. I meet with surgeon this Thursday and need info. I am so nauseated and terrible leg pain, I feel I need to do something soon. This leg is weaker due to peroneal nerve damage.
TIA
Trish

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