Foot neuropathy (numbness and pain) after total knee replacement (TKR)

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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Hi there. I’ve had 2 back surgeries and double knee replacement. After 3 weeks into my healing I tore the tendon in half that holds your knee in place. I would wake up from excruciating pain in one or the other feet. Every night I rubbed Voltaren on the bottom of my feet. It helped a lot. Good luck

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Yes, I had a right TKR in July 2022 and woke up with foot numbness as you described. I have been told 6 to 12 months for improvement and given Gabapentin for nerve pain. I have had very little improvement so far. I stopped taking Gabapentin and can manage without it. I know exactly what you are dealing with. My knee is fine, just dealing with foot numbness and nerve pain. Hope this issue improves for you.

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@smithrr

Hi there. I’ve had 2 back surgeries and double knee replacement. After 3 weeks into my healing I tore the tendon in half that holds your knee in place. I would wake up from excruciating pain in one or the other feet. Every night I rubbed Voltaren on the bottom of my feet. It helped a lot. Good luck

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There is no single ligament that holds the knee in place. There major ligaments and tendons are on the outside and inside of the knee, there is a patellar tendon, and there are two ligaments inside the knee that should have been removed during knee replacement.

If you think you actually tore a tendon or ligament, please get to the Dr. asap. That is very serious and likely requires surgery to repair.

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@heyjoe415

There is no single ligament that holds the knee in place. There major ligaments and tendons are on the outside and inside of the knee, there is a patellar tendon, and there are two ligaments inside the knee that should have been removed during knee replacement.

If you think you actually tore a tendon or ligament, please get to the Dr. asap. That is very serious and likely requires surgery to repair.

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I did tear it actually shredded it because where I was staying I had in house physio twice a day. I banged my knee 3 weeks in and couldn’t get ANYONE to believe me not even the drs there! So I did 7 weeks of physio with a shredded tendon. I couldn’t lift my left leg in physio, my kneecap was off to the side! Two weeks after my surgeon visit lol he told me it was coming along. Saw my physiotherapist a day later and he said get back to surgeon ASAP. 2 weeks later I was in surgery again for a tr my tendon tear. He said it was actually shredded. After that 14 1/2 weeks in a brace that went from my crotch to my ankle. No weight baring. Had to sit on my ass and do nothing! I’m paying for that with severe back pain. I can’t stand for more than 10 mins then have to sit down. Back in physio but not going well because of all my back pain.
🌹

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Two years into TKR and developed feet neuropathy shortly
thereafter. Most serious only at night and have been taking
Gabapetin, discouraged now, doubt it ever heals.
One thing the supposedly “famously known” surgeon never shared with
me and his PA’s deny it.
Having the other knee done next month, needless to say
I’m NOT RETURNING to the last surgeon.
This is a “well hidden” TKR issue that is not normally discussed
with the patient prior to surgery, in my opinion.

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@smithrr

I did tear it actually shredded it because where I was staying I had in house physio twice a day. I banged my knee 3 weeks in and couldn’t get ANYONE to believe me not even the drs there! So I did 7 weeks of physio with a shredded tendon. I couldn’t lift my left leg in physio, my kneecap was off to the side! Two weeks after my surgeon visit lol he told me it was coming along. Saw my physiotherapist a day later and he said get back to surgeon ASAP. 2 weeks later I was in surgery again for a tr my tendon tear. He said it was actually shredded. After that 14 1/2 weeks in a brace that went from my crotch to my ankle. No weight baring. Had to sit on my ass and do nothing! I’m paying for that with severe back pain. I can’t stand for more than 10 mins then have to sit down. Back in physio but not going well because of all my back pain.
🌹

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Thanks smith,

I'm sorry for what you're going through. Sounds like you tore or severely injured the patellar tendon which connects the quad to the knee from the front. Your kneecap would be loose, but this should have required surgery, I think.

Once a tendon is torn completely, it can take a long time to heal. Stick with it. It's hard but I believe it will get better with time and therapy.

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@heyjoe415

Thanks smith,

I'm sorry for what you're going through. Sounds like you tore or severely injured the patellar tendon which connects the quad to the knee from the front. Your kneecap would be loose, but this should have required surgery, I think.

Once a tendon is torn completely, it can take a long time to heal. Stick with it. It's hard but I believe it will get better with time and therapy.

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I did have to have surgery on it. A 2 hour surgery.

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@sambles12

I’m 6wks post tkr – I’m having the same issues . The minute I woke in recovery the pain from the hip and thigh was unbearable. It’s not much better now. I’m not sleeping . And my incision is still not fully healed or closed. I’ve had several major gynae ops in the past and I know I heal amazingly. I’m fit and healthy & 51, There is absolutely no reason why I wouldn’t be healing at my normal rate. My concern is it’s related to this neurological pain. I’m suffering with sciatic pain from my back, hip inside groin and outer (IT band) again been on tramadol, gabapentin, sleeping is so uncomfortable. I’m
Lucky if I get 3 hrs a night . It doesn’t feel like it’s getting any better at all. My knee itself is so stiff it feels tight and constricted, again it’s just not getting any easier. Please help please grateful for advice from similar . TIA

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I am 12 weeks out from a revision TKR and my knee is still swollen and feels like a rubber band is round it just like it felt after 1st knee surgery 5 years ago except worse. Knee doctor says everything looks find may take 6 months to a year to heel. When I went for my week checkup and seen the X ray compared to X ray of first knee surgery I could not believe I was not told he put knew knee part from almost top to leg to ankle. Even therapist did not know it till my last appointment. Tomorrow I have a back doctor appointment going to ask about if it could be neuropathy. I have been measuring my knee each day down to foot because now my shoes are to tight on the bad knee. Surgery knee stays 1.5 to 2 inches bigger from swelling all the down to my ankles which both measure the same. Across foot is swollen measures about 1 inch bigger than the other. I slept 5 nights the first 6 weeks after surgery. I will say the sleeping is better there are some nights I don’t sleep at all. I am on gabapentin. My friend who takes it told me to take 2 at night. I tried that last night and slept almost 12 hours which is very unusual for me. The back doctor had told me take your medicine just like is says on bottle. If I take 2 at night only have 1 take during the day. After your 6 weeks checkup the knee doctor is finished with you and does not care, Told me to come back in 6 months and cut off my pain medicine that day. I just cannot believe how bad this has been. Was in the middle of having house remodel when I got letter about the recall. Was told the old replacement was cracked on knee cap and when he redone it I would wake up feeling like I never had knee pain and how great it was going to feel. It is worst than the first time. So I was planning on doing a lot of the remodeling of the inside of house myself. The house being ready for Christmas. Had brought most of the new stuff for the remodeling. We want be having Christmas here this year both bathrooms we had already torn apart to start and they are still that way. So disappointed.

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Hello, I know exactly what you are experiencing. I too woke up after TKR with a totally numb foot and more pain there than in my knee. after being told "it happens sometimes…give it time" I had a primary who said that isn't always normal. She ordered an ABI test (test pressure in your legs) which showed very little pressure which sent me to a cardiologist who ordered an angiogram, which showed the popliteal artery behind my knee was totally pinched off. Resulting in no blood flow from my knee to my toes. Which had be turning purple and were cold all the time. I had to have surgery on the artery to open it up and repair the artery. He took out about 1.5 inch dead dried blood clot. When I woke up after that surgery my toes were pink and warm. But since it was 2 month after my TKR, I ended up with some cell and tissue damage, leaving some numbness to a couple toes and bottom side of my foot. I did go back to my TKR surgeon and told him what he did and all he said was "why did you take so long to get it fixed, you could of lost your leg!" I saw him 3 times in that 2 months and he kept telling me "it's normal, give it time…could be up to 3 years for the nerves to heal.
Listen to your body and keep insisting that it's not always right to have a numb foot after TKR.
Lori Aakre

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I had the same pain you're describing after my TKR. The pain was worse than the knee pain and my surgeon didn't know what was causing the pain in my foot. He prescribed Gabapentin and P.T. It finally went away after 6 to 9onths later.

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