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?

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@navyqas

I was told not to get a partial by several people prior to my TKR, I believe my knee replacement worked, the knee pain is gone, problem is the damage he did going in or coming out to the nerves makes my situation WORSE then if had nothing done. I also wish I never let the supposedly great surgeon touch me. My other knee has pain, I will be dipped in s— before I have a TKR on that leg. If I want to gamble I will place a bet but not with my body.

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me too

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@macneildebbie57

I had my knee surgery March 1, 2021. I have the same exact problem my doctor is blaming it on me having Covid.

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I am sorry to hear that your are experiencing this after having a surgery intended to reduce your pain. In the best of circumstances, the cause of neuropathy often remains a mystery. Now, it is hard to know what is due to Covid, and what is due to subsequent events like surgery… the question is whether it really makes any difference because you still need to deal with the symptoms.

It is important to remember that nerves are affected in the TKR surgery, some directly, others can become irritated. Literature regarding post-surgical neuropathy predates Covid and addresses the issue. For the most part, it was concluded that symptoms would ease over time for nearly all people.

Covid and post-Covid long haul syndrome are so new that definitive answers are scarce as of yet, but there are numerous studies underway. Roughly 20% of people do experience some nerve symptoms after a Covid infection, ranging from headaches to numbness to full-blown neuropathy.

In general, any neuropathy after knee surgery, whether numbness, tingling or pain can be a sign of nerves damaged or nerves healing. Nerves heal very slowly, and there is no way to rush things. After ACL/MCL surgery due to an athletic injury, it took an entire year for the nerves to completely and my knee and foot to fell normal. In one of my hip surgeries, the recovery was also very slow, even though in others, I was fine in 3-4 months.

You are in early days with respect to recovery, but if you are not getting good answers from your surgeon, perhaps you want to consult your primary provider or a neurologist for more help.
Sue

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Hi there! I'm a newbie here but have had TKR on both knees, left 12/2019 and the right just 19 days ago. I experienced nerve side effects with the first TKR on the left side and it was really hard to deal with. Hardly any sleep as anything that brushed across the knee caused 'zingers' for me that felt like electricity running a path through my leg or over the new knee. Gabapentin helped and then the zingers stopped. Looking back I can't remember the timeframe for when that happened. Jump ahead to current and I have just started to experience the zingers from the RTKR. It is painful and annoying. Gabapentin to the rescue again to calm things down. But right now I can feel the consequences of nerve involvement with this surgery. Nerves usually heal and live carries on.

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@jewlz1

Hi there! I'm a newbie here but have had TKR on both knees, left 12/2019 and the right just 19 days ago. I experienced nerve side effects with the first TKR on the left side and it was really hard to deal with. Hardly any sleep as anything that brushed across the knee caused 'zingers' for me that felt like electricity running a path through my leg or over the new knee. Gabapentin helped and then the zingers stopped. Looking back I can't remember the timeframe for when that happened. Jump ahead to current and I have just started to experience the zingers from the RTKR. It is painful and annoying. Gabapentin to the rescue again to calm things down. But right now I can feel the consequences of nerve involvement with this surgery. Nerves usually heal and live carries on.

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Well, good afternoon newbie, @jewlz1. I was a newbie here at one time. That was after my first TKR. Now, four years later, I am having my second TKR in August. So maybe you have lots to share with me. I'll try to keep up my end of the bargain.

Our Connect mentors cover over 70 groups with the help of three moderators who make sure all of the member guidelines are supported and followed. Our mission is to facilitate sharing of personal experiences between members and mentors. We are not medical providers ourselves, just volunteer to do what we can to improve the quality of life of every member.

Guess what @jewlz1,,,,,I remember those zappers and zingers. They were scary at first until my PT told me they wouldn't last and they didn't. 19 days isn't a very long time. Did you have a Mako robotic surgery with a nerve block? And most important….have you talked with your surgeon or PT if you have started exercises?

I also agree with your use of Gabapentin. For me, it took away the tingles and post-surgery pain. And I also agree that nerves usually heal. However, nerves take a long, long, long time to heal and sometimes get confused about what message they are transporting…..pain or pleasure? One more question….did you have a nerve block before surgery?

And I apologize because I have one more question that will help us. Did your surgeon give you a recovery timeline? "Walk in 3 days, Drive in 3 weeks, It's hard work to put this knee back on full-time."

I hope you can hear from others on this issue. Please report back….I am really anxious for your feedback.

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

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I see that gabapentin was prescribed for knee replacement patients who seem to present with nerve damage pain. My surgeon prescribe gabapentin from day one after surgery. But he did not prescribe this drug for any other of his knee replacement patients that I know. So I asked him why…and he said for pain. When I wanted to have the conversation about nerve involvement he refused. I did and three years later still do suffer nerve pain in my leg and ankle. The surgeon told me it was my heart. It was not. I sure could use a new right knee, but will not have it done. Better the pain I know than a worse situation like I have now.

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@ljn

I see that gabapentin was prescribed for knee replacement patients who seem to present with nerve damage pain. My surgeon prescribe gabapentin from day one after surgery. But he did not prescribe this drug for any other of his knee replacement patients that I know. So I asked him why…and he said for pain. When I wanted to have the conversation about nerve involvement he refused. I did and three years later still do suffer nerve pain in my leg and ankle. The surgeon told me it was my heart. It was not. I sure could use a new right knee, but will not have it done. Better the pain I know than a worse situation like I have now.

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You may need to see a different ortho, or see a neurologist or cardiologist to determine why this is continuing so long. You can get a referral from your PCP.
Sue

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@sueinmn

You may need to see a different ortho, or see a neurologist or cardiologist to determine why this is continuing so long. You can get a referral from your PCP.
Sue

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I have an excellent cardiologist. My pcp is not the sharpest pencil in the box. I am just not a 'doctor' person, nor a pill popper. I think the doctor/s who did the knee replacement knew what they did to cause this, and refused to be truthful, so they pushed pills and lied. I lack trust in doctors after that. I went to a premier medical group in the Midwest for the replacement and expected more skill, and truthful concern…NOT having to seek the assistance of a bunch of other doctors. Thanks for your views.

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@ljn

I have an excellent cardiologist. My pcp is not the sharpest pencil in the box. I am just not a 'doctor' person, nor a pill popper. I think the doctor/s who did the knee replacement knew what they did to cause this, and refused to be truthful, so they pushed pills and lied. I lack trust in doctors after that. I went to a premier medical group in the Midwest for the replacement and expected more skill, and truthful concern…NOT having to seek the assistance of a bunch of other doctors. Thanks for your views.

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Hi ljn-I've experienced nerve involvement in both of my knee replacements and gabapentin was prescribed to settle that down. The nerves from my LTKR have since healed and I've just started experiencing nerve zingers after my very recent RTKR. I hope you're able to find answers and relief soon. It's a maddening sensation for sure Good luck!

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I also have arthrofibrosis after TKR. The left knee replacement was done October 6, 2020. I had arthroscopic surgery May 5, 2021 by the same surgeon to remove scar tissue. He said he 'roto-rooted around the patella" to remove a lot of scar tissue. He said it's not a common surgery but he's done a few. He said he'd never seen the scar tissue reform but it has in my case.

But to the point of this thread I also have tingling and pain in the left foot since the surgery. Nothing seems to affect it, but I don't take anything for it.

I'm hesitant to inform the surgeon about recurrence of the scar tissue since I do not want a third surgery.

Not sure this is neuropathy.

I can bend the knee to about 100 degrees, after outpatient physical therapy since last October two or three times a week supplemented by home PT when I can, two or three times a week.

I'm sort of resigned to the status quo being permanent. Should I be?

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@ljn

I see that gabapentin was prescribed for knee replacement patients who seem to present with nerve damage pain. My surgeon prescribe gabapentin from day one after surgery. But he did not prescribe this drug for any other of his knee replacement patients that I know. So I asked him why…and he said for pain. When I wanted to have the conversation about nerve involvement he refused. I did and three years later still do suffer nerve pain in my leg and ankle. The surgeon told me it was my heart. It was not. I sure could use a new right knee, but will not have it done. Better the pain I know than a worse situation like I have now.

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I am thinking like you, my foot still 50% numb after TKR 15 months ago, NO CHANGE. I could use a new knee on the other leg but fear consequences, (nerve damage). Bottom line, you take a big chance with this TKR but they won't tell you that, not good for business. I still believe if the orthopedic surgeons took more care instead of doing two or three knees before lunch there would be less nerve complaints, but that would be bad for their bottom line.
I talked to a neuro surgeon about my numb foot and what the orthopedic surgeon did, he just put his head down and shook it. Good luck pal we both need it.

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8 weeks after my TKR both feet are so painful i can’t stand or walk

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