Foot neuropathy after total knee replacement

Posted by norby @norby, Nov 26, 2018

I had a right total knee replacement 10 weeks ago and came out of surgery with numbness and intermittent pain on the bottom of my right foot. However, I do have good motor function in that foot. The knee has been healing and with PT, movement is on track, but the foot is a major challenge. The foot pain at times is worse than any from the knee. I have been able to generally manage the foot pain with gabapentin. My surgeon believes this may resolve in time but may take from 6-12 months. However there is a possibility that it will never go away. Has anyone else experienced foot neuropathy following knee replacement? If so, what was your experience with it?

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Joint Replacements group.

@colleenyoung

Hi @sfcob, welcome to Connect. I moved your post to this existing discussion about numbness, tingling, pain and other neuropathic symptoms following a total knee replacement. Click VIEW & REPLY to see the entire discussion.

You might also be interested in this discussion with @wendim @irol @2catfamily
> Joint Replacements > TKR and problems with foot tingling and pain https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/foot-tingling-and-pain/

Sfcob, is the numbness you are experiencing only in the leg that you had the knee replacement?

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Thank you for letting me know. Yes it is only in the foot that my TKR was. I am not a diabetic, and like I said 2 emg’ show no nerve damage

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@sfcob

Had a TKR 5years ago and a revision in Oct 2019. After my TKR 5 years ago my foot was numb. My Orthopedic said to give it time. I have had to EMG’s done, both show no nerve damage, seen pidoitry and they have no solution, and I have seen neurology, who told me to buy shoes that are comfortable. My foot is always numb and the only shoe I can wear that doesn’t make it worse are my sandals, which i can’t do in the winter. No DR can explain what has happen as I have good strength in my foot and leg. Has anyone else experienced this? All the Dr’s want to do is put me on gabapentin and not figure out what is wrong.

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I awoke from my right TKR with a numb tingly foot. Was told give it a couple years by my surgeon! I went to my primary at 6 weeks out. She suggest an ABI (like blood pressure of legs) found out pressure was low in that right leg. Saw a cardiologist who did an angiogram. Found out main artery behind knee, Popliteal Artery, was pinched during my TKR. Had surgery to repair the artery. I got about half the tingling gone and some of the pain. It still is numb but is more tolerable. I still take Gabapentin. Vascular surgeon said could gave cell and tissue damage fro no blood flow to my foot for 60 days. My TKR Dr. Just said why did you wait 60 days! Jerk! He will not admit he did anything wrong.

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Yes I had the same. Was told give it a year or two. Get an ABI test done. Pressure test of the leg. That is where they found my popliteal artery was pinched during surgery and I angiogram and then artery surgery but could have permanent cell and tissue damage because of no blood flow for 60 days.

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@sandie2749

Lori, now that you know what it is what are you doing for it? I just need to know which way to go with this. My foot was totally numb right after surgery which was May 21st, two weeks later I started pain And what everybody now was telling me my sciatica, however I have the foot neuropathy before the sciatica ever started acting up right now I feel I’m in limbo

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I had the popliteal artery opened. That help some but not all numbness and tingling. That surgeon said I could have cell and tissue damage because the artery surgery was 60 days after tkr. I am still doing PT to strengthen the leg again. I also ended up with a fractured knee cap just walking up stairs at home. I am 11 months out fro TKR. I will be see a neurologist for EMG. Couldn't do it earlier because of being on blood thinner after artery opened.

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@o911

I had total knee replacement about 8 weeks ago. My knee did great but I was having so much numbess and pain in my foot I thought something happened during surgery to cause a breakage or sprain to my foot. I returned to my surgeon and he did an x-ray but nothing was broken. He offered no further explanation. It's now about 5 weeks since and the numbness feels even stronger and the pain worse. I've done some research and even though my surgeon seems to be taking it lightly, I've found it's more common and debilitating than previously acknowledged. I'm not sure if I need an attorney at this point. I guess they don't think I'm serious!!!

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I had the same problem after my TKR in Feb. 12, 2019. Even though that surgeon said it was normal I said it wasn't! My primary finally said it is not normal and did an ABI (blood pressure on legs) found the popliteal artery was pinched during TKR surgery. Had angiogram to verify and then vascular surgeon open the artery in Arpil 10, 2019. Was put on blood thinners so could not do EMG until now. I will see neurologist in couple weeks. Knee surgeon will still not admit he did anything wrong. I thought about an attorney but I still want to go to my clinic just not that surgeon for anything! I did talk to the hospital relations and the surgery is still being investigated since May.

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@tjh708

How long ago was your surgery? I’m now at 5 moths after surgery and the numbness in the bottom of my foot is pretty much the same as when I awoke from surgery.

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TKR Feb 12, 2019, ABI Test in March, Angiogram in March and Artery surgery on April 10, 2019. I'm off the blood thinners now and am scheduled to meet with a neurologist to have an EMG to check for nerve damage. The vascular surgeon said since I had little to no blood flow to my lower leg and foot for 60 days I could have cell and tissue damage and it might not ever get totally better. My knee surgeon just said why did you wait 60 days to get it fixed, but still has not admitted he did anything wrong! Just keep advocating for yourself.

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@sfcob

Had a TKR 5years ago and a revision in Oct 2019. After my TKR 5 years ago my foot was numb. My Orthopedic said to give it time. I have had to EMG’s done, both show no nerve damage, seen pidoitry and they have no solution, and I have seen neurology, who told me to buy shoes that are comfortable. My foot is always numb and the only shoe I can wear that doesn’t make it worse are my sandals, which i can’t do in the winter. No DR can explain what has happen as I have good strength in my foot and leg. Has anyone else experienced this? All the Dr’s want to do is put me on gabapentin and not figure out what is wrong.

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Hi sfcob,
I had a similar experience, numbness but good strength, saw podiatrist, neurologist, orthopedist specializing in foot and ankle, all without an answer. It progressively got better when I started at 5 or 6 months doing intense strengthening exercises at a rehab gym with a PT. specifically, I started squats with a bar and weights, one leg extensions on a weight machine and one leg leg presses on a machine. I could barely do 25 pounds squat. Now I am almost ten months after surgery, doing 80 pound squats, and the problems in my foot are pretty much gone. I do at keast 20 minutes every day on rhe stationary bike. I feel like the neuropathy was from swelling in the knee and also maybe a nerve running down my leg was getting used to being stretched after not stretching fully for a few years post surgery. I hope this helps somewhat. Lori

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i had a total knee replacement with bone on bone in May, 2019. When I came out of surgery I had numbness in my right foot the one that t was operated on. Since that time the numbness has gone mostly to the large toe and sometimes the second toe. My doctor has been stymied by this and the only thing he can think of was the tourniquet being too tight. I have been to an acupuncturist, a foot podiatrist, a neurologist and another knee doctor and no one can give me any relief from this. I have been on Cimbalta but the tingling has never gone away. i went off the Cimbalta because of the side effects I had with this drug. I would like to know if I will ever have the feeling back in my toe from this surgery or if there is anything I can take to make my toe feel normal again.. I cannot wear closed shoes because it tends to make my foot have less feeling and my balance becomes affected in the enclosed shoes. I am going on 8 months post-op and feel like this will never correct itself.

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@sap09

i had a total knee replacement with bone on bone in May, 2019. When I came out of surgery I had numbness in my right foot the one that t was operated on. Since that time the numbness has gone mostly to the large toe and sometimes the second toe. My doctor has been stymied by this and the only thing he can think of was the tourniquet being too tight. I have been to an acupuncturist, a foot podiatrist, a neurologist and another knee doctor and no one can give me any relief from this. I have been on Cimbalta but the tingling has never gone away. i went off the Cimbalta because of the side effects I had with this drug. I would like to know if I will ever have the feeling back in my toe from this surgery or if there is anything I can take to make my toe feel normal again.. I cannot wear closed shoes because it tends to make my foot have less feeling and my balance becomes affected in the enclosed shoes. I am going on 8 months post-op and feel like this will never correct itself.

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I have the same problem except it is in the arch of my foot to all but my big toe. It has been 5 years since my TKR and I have seen a podiatrist who states there is something wrong but doesn’t know what, a neurologist who told me to buy wider and bigger shoes, two EMG’s that show no nerve damage, and two orthopedics who state nothing was done wrong in the surgery. I will not take Gabetin because of the slide effects could make my anxiety worse, I am going back to podiatry and start over and ask for a ct scan and a ABI, along with fighting with VA to increase my disability rating as it only came about because of surgery.

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I am eight months after TKR surgery and still have major numbness in my right foot. It feels like needles and when I wear closed shoes I feel unbalanced. My surgeon says "he wasn't down there" so he doesn't understand why after surgery I have had this problem. A pa told me it could have happened from the bed I was in in the hospital! Doesn't make sense to me. The frustrating part is no one has a solution to this or what kind of doctor I should pursue to see if he/she would have a solution. I am a tennis player and need my balance to play. Also after wearing closed shoes for a couple of hours the top part of my foot starts hurting. Has anybody had this happen to them? SP

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@sap09

I am eight months after TKR surgery and still have major numbness in my right foot. It feels like needles and when I wear closed shoes I feel unbalanced. My surgeon says "he wasn't down there" so he doesn't understand why after surgery I have had this problem. A pa told me it could have happened from the bed I was in in the hospital! Doesn't make sense to me. The frustrating part is no one has a solution to this or what kind of doctor I should pursue to see if he/she would have a solution. I am a tennis player and need my balance to play. Also after wearing closed shoes for a couple of hours the top part of my foot starts hurting. Has anybody had this happen to them? SP

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YES! Through an ABI test (like a blood pressure test except on your legs) they found the knee surgeon pinched off my popliteal artery. It is the artery that supplies blood to your leg and foot. So it was like my foot was asleep and I couldn't put weight on it either. So they put a leg stabilizer on it so I could stand up. I had the artery opening surgery done 60 days after my TKR (2-12-2019). All I was told was it was normal to have a numb foot and to give it a year or 2 for nerves to heal. I went back to knee surgeon he said when that happens the person normally looses their leg. Now I've been told he pinched more than the artery since my foot is still a little numb but at least my foot is not cold and purple toes. Good luck in searching out what happened.

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Hi

Has your foot pain settled down now? I am 10 weeks post op TKR and I have had exactly the same issue and continue to do so. I am also taking Gabapentin and dosage has also been an issue. I'm hoping once all the swelling has subsided I will be ok. I certainly never expected this to be an issue post op!

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