After knee replacement surgery

Posted by beatricefay @beatricefay, Jun 16, 2016

Had left knee replaced 9 days ago. Right knee two years ago. Having a problem with inflammation so hard to bend knee and exercise. Trying to ice and raise knee above heart. Doctor suggested getting compression hose. Anybody have this experience and can offer suggestions. So tired all the time from pain interrupting my sleep and painkillers. My insurance refused to pay for the painkiller recommended by surgeon so have to take one with more opiates. That’s frustrating. Two years ago it was covered but now too expensive for me to use. Seems the drug companies, not our doctors are determining what we use.

@mari

ALL these mails re tkr just reinforce that I will keep pursuing stem cells – even if I have to go out of the country.

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I would not let some of these posts scare you away from TKR. I found that while there is some discomfort and pain it can be managed. Icing is important as is doing the exercises at home that they give you. It helps to have a spouse or someone to push you to do your exercises when you just don’t feel like doing them. I had one knee done 18 months ago and is mostly back to feeling normal. I had the other done 8 months ago and slowly improving. I can’t kneel on my left knee but right knee no pain kneeling. Also I think it depends how active you are before surgery. Building up the strength in your quads and legs muscles is very important. Makes recovery quicker. I still have some pain in my knees but nothing compared to pre replacement. I can walk just about as far as I want to now. I have friends that have had TKR and not one regrets it. My Mom had both done almost twenty years ago and at 91 is still going strong. My Dr. at Mayo did a great job. It does get frustrating because recovery is slow but in the end is worth it. I think the best thing is to get moving after and ice often to keep swelling down. I did find that I had some depression after which I understand is fairly common. Some days did not want to get out of bed but you really need to push yourself. I am so happy to be able to go on long walks and hikes now plus I don,t have ugly crooked legs anymore, nice and straight. The scar from my first knee is barely visible. It is s hard road but worth it in the long run.

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I agree with your reply. I’ve had two successful TKR and am very glad I had them done. It does not feel like my original knee (numbness, pain on kneeling), but I’d take that in place of the pain and limitations I experienced before. Perhaps I’m lucky as I’ve read about what can go wrong, which is unfortunate. Good luck to those who are considering it. I think it was worth the pain and discomfort.

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@mari

ALL these mails re tkr just reinforce that I will keep pursuing stem cells – even if I have to go out of the country.

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@cheris I agree, building up strength is a huge factor. My ortho surgeon has said that too. When I was supposed to have this surgery before (but had to be turned away on the day of surgery due low platelets) I had asked him before about pre-surgical physical therapy, having heard that some people do that. When he heard I do water exercise and ride my incumbent bike he said I was doing the best things possible. I am no in-shape person really but I do keep the muscles around my knees pretty well exercised now and it has really helped even without the surgery.
Thanks too for pushing the icing. I really did not do that as much as I guess I should have. How long and how often did you do that?
JK

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@mari

ALL these mails re tkr just reinforce that I will keep pursuing stem cells – even if I have to go out of the country.

Jump to this post

Before my tkr i was in the gym building up my strength so that i was ready for what followed. Lot of good that did. Pain and lots of it. Yes , i handled PT very well but the actual bowling ball that was put in place did not sit well with my body. Thankfully stem cells has given me life for the other knee.

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@mari

ALL these mails re tkr just reinforce that I will keep pursuing stem cells – even if I have to go out of the country.

Jump to this post

@cobweb Hi Win, I think the success of a knee replacement is dependent on two obvious things, the skill of the surgeon and the knee used for the replacement. The surgeon I used for the knee I had done a few years ago is supposedly good (he had a high rating on one the rating sites but I find that to be unreliable) but he used the same basic knee he has been using for 30 years! I suspect in that amount of time there have been improvements in these prosthesis. Mine hurts at times and does not have nearly the flex it should but to paraphrase what someone else said “it’s better than how I felt before”. I was in pain 24/7 and limping badly.
It never occured to me back then to check into the prosthesis also. From what I know now, the two best are the Depuy and the Conformis. I am sure there are others but I believe both of those to be very good.
JK

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@mari

ALL these mails re tkr just reinforce that I will keep pursuing stem cells – even if I have to go out of the country.

Jump to this post

Had a top rated surgeon. Checked him out. I have noticed he is now referring people to check out stem cells, where as other area surgeons bad mouth stem cells.

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@mari

ALL these mails re tkr just reinforce that I will keep pursuing stem cells – even if I have to go out of the country.

Jump to this post

@cobweb My surgeon was top rated also, 5 stars on one of those rating websites, but he sure did me no favors with my knee. I took him because his rating seemed to be good, plus I was in so much pain I was desperate and he was the first one I could get a surgical appointment with. Even with him it was a number of weeks. When I found that out I actually cried because I was in such pain and couldn’t imagine waiting that long. It’s so ironic because I am about to have my other knee done with a different surgeon but the one already done hurts more than the one about to be done.
JK

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@challie

This fall I’m undergoing TKR, my first. I’m currently talking with Mayo Rochester MN. (Was previously scheduled for 4/14/17 in Roch but 4/11 my appendix burst and I almost bit the dust.) Ten years ago my husband had both of his replaced (in Illinois–we’ve moved), six months apart.

Ten years ago: he used the passive motion machine for both knees, both in hospital and home; he had an electronic ice machine (like a cooler with a motor) that pumped ice water through the giant pads; he went to physical therapy for a few weeks, that after he had in-home therapy for a couple weeks. But my, how things have changed! Also ten years ago his doctor said if he didn’t have TERRIFIC pain control he wouldn’t do what he was supposed to and his knees would not heal properly.

For the most part the passive motion machines have been done away with as *many studies showed that a year or two after surgery there was no difference in those who used one and those who didn’t. Many docs believe using your own muscles more quickly begins the resuming of strength more quickly. There is more to recovery than degrees of bend; strength matters too. So, no machine for me since doc doesn’t believe in them. Guess after wrangling around with that giant machine after my husband’s surgery, I’m inclined to think doing without makes sense.

The only people I know lately who’ve used an electronic ice machine purchased one themselves. I’m assuming this has to do with insurance. ??? They were a God-send for my hubby so I’ll be getting one on my own dime whereas he was given (well, insurance paid) a new one with each surgery.

I’m now being told I will not have any official therapy unless my at-home, on-my-own post-op therapy is not productive. My Mayo doc said there are too many too-aggressive therapists, and there’s nothing you can’t do at home that’s done the same with a therapist watching. It’s discipline that matters–PLUS being very gentle with the leg that first while, which is apparently when we’re most vulnerable to a therapist over-doing things. I have heard stories on both sides of this coin, but more than not people did admit their therapists pushed so hard, the pain was so bad, that they sometimes had to skip the next day’s work. (Other side of coin: my husband loved his therapist who he partially credits with how well he did. He also had a terrific surgeon.) I’ve also heard there is a case to be made that we are more susceptible to infection at therapy facilities. I guess that makes sense.

Today pain meds and their abuse are under fire. However, if you’re in too much pain to properly do your exercises, where does that leave you? I do know there’s certain amounts of pain we just need to gut through. But good pain control so I can properly exercise will be something I’ll go to bat for.

All this to say … My how things have changed.

I wish everyone well and am firing up prayers and healing thoughts as I type. I notice nobody mentions Doc names. Perhaps there is a rule? It would be great to compare docs’ thinking.

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@contentandwell Re your question about the ice machine, I Googled the following phrase and a bunch of pictures of renditions of them came up with direct links to the product. When you put prescribed amounts of ice and water in the machine, then Velcro on the large pads (they come in different sizes/styles) the machine can run for hours and hours with very cold ice water running through the implement. MORE than dandy and a helpful saving grace, including for those trying to continually repack ice bags and keep them where they belong.

electronic ice machines for healing

Thanks for doc info, although he’s out of my zone. I would be interested in GOOD doc experiences, if anyone wants to mention. I have met with a doc but he didn’t seem to fully notice I was in the room, mostly talking over his shoulder and responding to my questions with a spirit of “never mind all of that.” I’d rather have a gifted surgeon than a social icon, but there is a middle ground …

I will research types of knees available today too. When DH had his done, he had a different knee in each leg. Knees done six months apart; same doctor; different hospitals due to scheduling. The second hospital hadn’t approved the knee put in first leg, which was a “boutique” knee, as doc described it. DH has done well with both. But the knee selection was really important to that doc and I agree: makes a big difference.

Thanks for kudos @maryx1937

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@mari

ALL these mails re tkr just reinforce that I will keep pursuing stem cells – even if I have to go out of the country.

Jump to this post

@mari I was told you have to have some cartilage to grow some more, and I don’t have enough to work with. There are places doing stem cells here (Mayo for one; you can find YouTube videos on them talking about it), but most insurance companies don’t cover it and it’s quite expensive. If you “search” the following phrase on YouTube you’ll find them.

mayo clinic stem cell knee

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@mari

ALL these mails re tkr just reinforce that I will keep pursuing stem cells – even if I have to go out of the country.

Jump to this post

I think you are correct. It’s in the future if FDA approves it & insurance buys in – probably cost effective for them.

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@challie

This fall I’m undergoing TKR, my first. I’m currently talking with Mayo Rochester MN. (Was previously scheduled for 4/14/17 in Roch but 4/11 my appendix burst and I almost bit the dust.) Ten years ago my husband had both of his replaced (in Illinois–we’ve moved), six months apart.

Ten years ago: he used the passive motion machine for both knees, both in hospital and home; he had an electronic ice machine (like a cooler with a motor) that pumped ice water through the giant pads; he went to physical therapy for a few weeks, that after he had in-home therapy for a couple weeks. But my, how things have changed! Also ten years ago his doctor said if he didn’t have TERRIFIC pain control he wouldn’t do what he was supposed to and his knees would not heal properly.

For the most part the passive motion machines have been done away with as *many studies showed that a year or two after surgery there was no difference in those who used one and those who didn’t. Many docs believe using your own muscles more quickly begins the resuming of strength more quickly. There is more to recovery than degrees of bend; strength matters too. So, no machine for me since doc doesn’t believe in them. Guess after wrangling around with that giant machine after my husband’s surgery, I’m inclined to think doing without makes sense.

The only people I know lately who’ve used an electronic ice machine purchased one themselves. I’m assuming this has to do with insurance. ??? They were a God-send for my hubby so I’ll be getting one on my own dime whereas he was given (well, insurance paid) a new one with each surgery.

I’m now being told I will not have any official therapy unless my at-home, on-my-own post-op therapy is not productive. My Mayo doc said there are too many too-aggressive therapists, and there’s nothing you can’t do at home that’s done the same with a therapist watching. It’s discipline that matters–PLUS being very gentle with the leg that first while, which is apparently when we’re most vulnerable to a therapist over-doing things. I have heard stories on both sides of this coin, but more than not people did admit their therapists pushed so hard, the pain was so bad, that they sometimes had to skip the next day’s work. (Other side of coin: my husband loved his therapist who he partially credits with how well he did. He also had a terrific surgeon.) I’ve also heard there is a case to be made that we are more susceptible to infection at therapy facilities. I guess that makes sense.

Today pain meds and their abuse are under fire. However, if you’re in too much pain to properly do your exercises, where does that leave you? I do know there’s certain amounts of pain we just need to gut through. But good pain control so I can properly exercise will be something I’ll go to bat for.

All this to say … My how things have changed.

I wish everyone well and am firing up prayers and healing thoughts as I type. I notice nobody mentions Doc names. Perhaps there is a rule? It would be great to compare docs’ thinking.

Jump to this post

@gailfaith Sounds like you’re going strong and finding great ways to check how you’re doing. GO YOU! That’s inspiring.

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@mari

ALL these mails re tkr just reinforce that I will keep pursuing stem cells – even if I have to go out of the country.

Jump to this post

gym building up my strength so that i was ready for what followed. Lot of good that did.
I THOUGHT WE ARE SUPPOSED TO GET REALLY STRONG BEFORE A PROCEDURE? Pain and lots of it. Yes , i handled PT very well but the actual bowling ball BALL?
that was put in place did not sit well with my body. Thankfully
stem cells has given me life for the other knee. U HAD STEM CELLS?
WHERE?
$?
DR.?

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@mari

ALL these mails re tkr just reinforce that I will keep pursuing stem cells – even if I have to go out of the country.

Jump to this post

Dr Kruse at Wildwood in Toledo Ohio. Cost was $7,000. I have seen costs higher and lower. To me it was worth it. They seem to be affiliated with Regenexx which is on line and shows doctors in the USA. Not advertising for them. I had very little cartiledge remaining but i was willing to take the chance to avoid surgery. So far, so good.

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@mari

ALL these mails re tkr just reinforce that I will keep pursuing stem cells – even if I have to go out of the country.

Jump to this post

I kept icing my knees as long as there was some swelling. Also after I had been out walking or exercising. I had more swelling with the first knee so I iced that longer. I had a machine I think I saw mentioned here that you could fill with water and ice and then put the pads around the knee to circulate the cold water. I found it to be not as good an a plain old ice pack and kind of a bother to use so hardley used it.

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@challie

This fall I’m undergoing TKR, my first. I’m currently talking with Mayo Rochester MN. (Was previously scheduled for 4/14/17 in Roch but 4/11 my appendix burst and I almost bit the dust.) Ten years ago my husband had both of his replaced (in Illinois–we’ve moved), six months apart.

Ten years ago: he used the passive motion machine for both knees, both in hospital and home; he had an electronic ice machine (like a cooler with a motor) that pumped ice water through the giant pads; he went to physical therapy for a few weeks, that after he had in-home therapy for a couple weeks. But my, how things have changed! Also ten years ago his doctor said if he didn’t have TERRIFIC pain control he wouldn’t do what he was supposed to and his knees would not heal properly.

For the most part the passive motion machines have been done away with as *many studies showed that a year or two after surgery there was no difference in those who used one and those who didn’t. Many docs believe using your own muscles more quickly begins the resuming of strength more quickly. There is more to recovery than degrees of bend; strength matters too. So, no machine for me since doc doesn’t believe in them. Guess after wrangling around with that giant machine after my husband’s surgery, I’m inclined to think doing without makes sense.

The only people I know lately who’ve used an electronic ice machine purchased one themselves. I’m assuming this has to do with insurance. ??? They were a God-send for my hubby so I’ll be getting one on my own dime whereas he was given (well, insurance paid) a new one with each surgery.

I’m now being told I will not have any official therapy unless my at-home, on-my-own post-op therapy is not productive. My Mayo doc said there are too many too-aggressive therapists, and there’s nothing you can’t do at home that’s done the same with a therapist watching. It’s discipline that matters–PLUS being very gentle with the leg that first while, which is apparently when we’re most vulnerable to a therapist over-doing things. I have heard stories on both sides of this coin, but more than not people did admit their therapists pushed so hard, the pain was so bad, that they sometimes had to skip the next day’s work. (Other side of coin: my husband loved his therapist who he partially credits with how well he did. He also had a terrific surgeon.) I’ve also heard there is a case to be made that we are more susceptible to infection at therapy facilities. I guess that makes sense.

Today pain meds and their abuse are under fire. However, if you’re in too much pain to properly do your exercises, where does that leave you? I do know there’s certain amounts of pain we just need to gut through. But good pain control so I can properly exercise will be something I’ll go to bat for.

All this to say … My how things have changed.

I wish everyone well and am firing up prayers and healing thoughts as I type. I notice nobody mentions Doc names. Perhaps there is a rule? It would be great to compare docs’ thinking.

Jump to this post

I too will be having TKR in the Fall. In response to your thought about mentioning doctors I would be interested in hearing about good experiences. And who did theirs? If it ok

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