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llar
@llar

Posts: 4
Joined: Feb 28, 2019

Ability to lift leg

Posted by @llar, Thu, Feb 28 11:43am

I am 8 days post op from a total knee replacement. Some of the exercises recommended to me before leaving the hospital included lifting my foot while having a small pillow under my affected knee; another was to lift my leg from the hip. Repeat 10 times, 4 times a day. I have to use the gait belt to lift my leg at all. From standing, I am able to lift my leg slightly. I am 55 years old and had strong muscles in my legs going into this surgery. Is this normal? I feel they wouldn't recommend an exercise I will totally fail at. My first follow up is in another 5 days.

REPLY

Hello @llar, welcome to Connect. Good question about PT after having a knee replaced. I had mine replaced in 2006 when I was 19, and I had a really difficult time with recovery. I had aggressive scar tissue which really hindered my recovery. I was also battling 15+ years of muscle atrophy because my leg was injury prone from a very young age, weakening the bones, muscles and my range-of-motion early on. What I did learn, and continue to learn on Connect, is that each recovery is so different. You mention your muscles were strong going in to the surgery, which I was always told is a big bonus for post-surgery recovery. 8 days is still pretty fresh in my opinion, but I am not a medical professional. I would like to invite some members who have also had a knee replacement to share their experience with how long it took them to lift their leg. @contentandwell, recent new member who is also just a few days out from surgery @lucbeau, @connie1559, @amytro, have all discussed recently having a knee replacement.

@llar, have you discussed this concern with your surgeon or PT provider?

@llar : I think you should get in touch with your PT person. It sounds like you are not even close to what you would expect at this point – 8 days after surgery I was walking 1/2 half mile without cane, on the neighborhood roads. There is something off somewhere, at your age, and the good shape you are in. Speak up – squeaky wheel gets the grease! Specifically, lifting the leg, as in straight up from hip, was never a problem for me. If you are referring to lifting the knee while standing, that was o.k., but both exercises were somewhat tiring. Not sure this helps.

@llar I agree with the others, I think you should be able to accomplish this. Your appointment is soon but call him/her on Monday and see if you can be seen sooner.
Perhaps it's a PT issue, not something the doctor will be able to help you with. Are you seeing a physical therapist yet? I did not do as well as @ellerbracke has indicated she did, but I am sure I could lift my leg a bit. I presume that you had some PT in the hospital before you were discharged. What were you able to do then, and was the therapist there satisfied with that?
JK

@llar : I just remembered that the specific exercise giving you trouble is called a short arc (pretty sure about that). This also gave me quite a lot of trouble in the beginning, mostly because I never could find a firm enough and big enough rolled towel or blanket to give me some leverage. I did however do a lot of strenghtening exercises with the rolled towel under the ankle, tightening the butt and quads and pushing town to extend the knee. Between that and straight leg lifts I eventually managed the short arc. Hope you have gotten the hang of it, and in time it will seem easy(er).

The day after I posted this, I was able to slightly lift my leg and it has continued to improve. My only significant issue now is I can't sleep at night!! I'm not really in pain; I just can't get comfortable. Stopped taking the hydrocodone several days ago, but I might take some before bed and see if that helps?…

I am not quite 7 weeks out of TKR. I did take the Oxy at night for the first 10 days/2 weeks, I would guess. No longer have a problem sleeping at night, even without the pillow. Glad you are improving and hope you will continue to do so.

@llar

The day after I posted this, I was able to slightly lift my leg and it has continued to improve. My only significant issue now is I can't sleep at night!! I'm not really in pain; I just can't get comfortable. Stopped taking the hydrocodone several days ago, but I might take some before bed and see if that helps?…

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Hi @llar – Welcome to Connect! I had my 2nd TKR 1/29/19 so I'm just about 6 weeks out. I hear what you are saying about sleep. When I was weaning off the oxycodone, my last pill to go was the night time pill. I needed it to sleep soundly and I felt that sound sleep was important to my recovery. At 6 weeks, I'm just now getting to where its comfortable to turn over in bed w/o waking myself up. They gave me some Tramadol to take while I was getting off oxycodone. I would ask my doctor if there is something stronger than tylenol but not as strong as hydrocodone that you might take before bed. I think you are still early in the process. Hang in there. This too shall pass!

@debbraw

Hi @llar – Welcome to Connect! I had my 2nd TKR 1/29/19 so I'm just about 6 weeks out. I hear what you are saying about sleep. When I was weaning off the oxycodone, my last pill to go was the night time pill. I needed it to sleep soundly and I felt that sound sleep was important to my recovery. At 6 weeks, I'm just now getting to where its comfortable to turn over in bed w/o waking myself up. They gave me some Tramadol to take while I was getting off oxycodone. I would ask my doctor if there is something stronger than tylenol but not as strong as hydrocodone that you might take before bed. I think you are still early in the process. Hang in there. This too shall pass!

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That might be a good idea. I have taken Tramadol in the past and that is exactly what it does – puts me to sleep. So maybe that is the right route in this situation. If I don't get a good night's sleep, I feel the next day is unnecessarily difficult! Thanx.

@llar

That might be a good idea. I have taken Tramadol in the past and that is exactly what it does – puts me to sleep. So maybe that is the right route in this situation. If I don't get a good night's sleep, I feel the next day is unnecessarily difficult! Thanx.

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@llar – I agree. I am a big believer that sleep is a huge factor in helping our bodies heal! I hope you'll post again when you are a little further in your recovery to let us know how the recovery is going. Wishing you the best.

@debbraw

@llar – I agree. I am a big believer that sleep is a huge factor in helping our bodies heal! I hope you'll post again when you are a little further in your recovery to let us know how the recovery is going. Wishing you the best.

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@debbraw adequate rest is a big factor in fighting germs too, I think.
When my son was a young child I would tell him he had to get enough sleep so his G.I. Joes could fight off germs. I was a huge advocate of my children getting enough sleep. It worked, he was very rarely sick.
JK

I’m 8 days post op TNR and having difficulty with leg lifts. My PT said that nature is going to resist when you want to use the recovering leg. Best thing to do is raise your good leg several times first and get your brain to ‘train’ the injured leg into thinking it’s OK to be raised. Painkillers have helped tremendously for the workouts but are lousy when it comes to side effects. It’s a timing thing too. Need to take oxycodone at least an hour before workout. Keep pushing thru the pain, it’s a rough ride but one worth taking!

@glolane

I’m 8 days post op TNR and having difficulty with leg lifts. My PT said that nature is going to resist when you want to use the recovering leg. Best thing to do is raise your good leg several times first and get your brain to ‘train’ the injured leg into thinking it’s OK to be raised. Painkillers have helped tremendously for the workouts but are lousy when it comes to side effects. It’s a timing thing too. Need to take oxycodone at least an hour before workout. Keep pushing thru the pain, it’s a rough ride but one worth taking!

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Hi @glolane – Welcome to Connect! And congrats on getting through your surgery. Was it a knee replacement? I just had my second one on 1/29/19 so I'm just 6 weeks out today! I would truly suggest that you be kind to yourself. At 8 days post-op you are just barely getting the anesthesia out of your system. If my recovery was any indication, EVERYTHING was difficult in the first week or so post-op! Like you, I would take my oxycodone prior to PT and do the best I could. By the end of two weeks, I was doing a LOT better. I still took pain meds prior to PT, but everything was easier, ROM was 0/128, and I had graduated from the walker to a cane. So hang in there. It gets better! Besides the leg lifts, are the other exercises difficult? (Knee slides were my personal torment!) Also, I'm curious whether your therapist is getting you out of the house to walk yet? I'm wishing you the best. Please keep us posted.

@glolane I really have ROM envy. I hope you don't mind me asking but how long did it take you to get to 128? I will be 7 weeks PO this Thursday (surgery 1-23-2019) and my ROM is 105 (without any assistance, natural bend) and around 113 when I pull it myself during my knee slides. My extension, luckily, is 0. I know that everyone is different but I thought I would be crushing it by now since I was in good shape prior to surgery. I did have a lot of fluid on my knee and more swelling than usual so it held me back but still………….

@dkapustin

@glolane I really have ROM envy. I hope you don't mind me asking but how long did it take you to get to 128? I will be 7 weeks PO this Thursday (surgery 1-23-2019) and my ROM is 105 (without any assistance, natural bend) and around 113 when I pull it myself during my knee slides. My extension, luckily, is 0. I know that everyone is different but I thought I would be crushing it by now since I was in good shape prior to surgery. I did have a lot of fluid on my knee and more swelling than usual so it held me back but still………….

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Hi @dkapustin – I'm at 6 weeks now – my surgery was 1/29. I actually got to 0/128 at the end of my 2nd week- when my in-home physical therapist released me to start outpatient therapy. This is my second TKR. On the first one, I got to 120 by week 3 but I had a heck of a time getting flat out extension. It took almost a month for me to get to 0. But I really want to add that – as you know – everybody is different and every knee is different. I can't take a lot of credit for my ROM. I'm 68 years old and I did my best to "pre-hab" by doing strength exercises and stretching beforehand and of course, I've been conscientious about my post-op PT – but nothing out of the ordinary – nothing you and a lot of others haven't done. I just feel so lucky that my TKR is healing well and I'm getting the movement back. Hang in there. It will happen for you. Everybody's pace is different.

I think what did me in at the beginning was watching YouTube videos of people bragging on walking unassisted after just a few days. I figured I was young and fit at surgery so I'd be one of those folks. Reality check: not gonna happen! It's a slow process on an impatient person. And it's been different every day, some for better, some for worse. It's hard for me to be dependent on assistive devices, medication and a helpful spouse. I am grateful now to have had all those advantages! It's just going to be awhile for recovery and I'm fine with that.

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