Mayo Clinic Connect
How to get rid of a limp 3 months out from TKR. Surgery, flexion and extension all good but still awkward walking. Do hydrotherapy, bike riding and Pilates. Any suggestions?
Hi @jennyr – Welcome to Connect! We have a lot of TKR survivors and thrivers here so I'm sure you'll get many good suggestions. I've had both knees replaced – the most recent one on 1/29/19 – so I'm maybe about a month ahead of you. First, I'm going to say that not only is every single person different – but every knee is different in terms of recovery. On my first one, I had injured the knee severely enough that I was on crutches for a few months prior to the surgery. It took longer to get my balance and my gait back on that one than on the second one. (I vowed after the 1st one that I wouldn't let my left knee get so bad that I couldn't walk and I kept my promise.) The second thing I would say is that time does amazing things. Personally, even now, if I don't really think about my gait and speed, I tend to slow down and walk a little more cautiously – which may appear to be more awkwardly. I remember doing this during my first recovery, too. I believe that if I just concentrate on walking normally – speed and gait – that in time it will come naturally. At least it did on my first knee.
Can I ask if your knee was badly damaged prior to the surgery? And did they have to do any other corrections beyond the knee replacement? Wishing you the best!
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Thank you for encouragement. No other corrections required. Prior to surgery I had bone on bone wear and tear; great difficulty standing or walking for any length of time. Standing is significantly improved. Walking naturally is more challenging. Left knee done in March this year; right knee April last year. I am 66.
Liked by Debbra Williams, Alumna Mentor
Give it a little more time. I finally walked sort of normal around 4 months, but I still had to concentrate and tell myself that the TKR knee is just a regular knee… sort of lying to myself a little. Unfortunately, several weeks ago I developed hip bursitis, and now my gait is off again. Annoying!
Yes, time is critical in the healing process. Being patient and waiting for that is more challenging.😊 Hope you are back on track soon and recover quickly.
PS my physio has asked me to do some John Cleese walking to exaggerate movement, with the aim of normalising gait … if that makes sense.
One more comment… today I went to the pool for the first time since my TKR. I usually do strength & stretching exercises then laps using a kickboard. I did that today. Even though I'm almost 4 months post op, I was really surprised by how much more difficulty I had in bending and stretching my operative knee vs. the other one. Boo hoo. Also, I was MUCH slower on laps than I ever was before. On the one hand, it was discouraging. On the other hand, I thought: this is the first day of my summer swimming – by October when the pool closes, how much more flexibility will I have? I'm seeing the glass as half full. @jennyr – I bet yours is too. In a few months, let's check back in and tell each other where we stand – you tell me about your gait, I'll tell you about my flexibility! OK?
Liked by JK, Alumna Mentor
Sounds like a good idea Debbra. Will touch base again in a few months’ time. I love my time in the Hydrotherapy pool … quite relaxing, even though I am working both knees consistently, following a sequence of exercises my physio has prescribed for me. I do water marching for one thing, but noticed in another post someone recommends ‘water jogging’ – so will try that one this week.
Liked by JK, Alumna Mentor, Debbra Williams, Alumna Mentor
@jennyr If you were walking with an altered gait prior to surgery it will take longer to get back to normal. Be sure to consciously try to have a normal gait so you don’t just fall into a habit of walking awkwardly. Hydrotherapy is great for rehab, so keep it up. I was limping terribly before my first TKR so it did take longer to get back to normal than it did after my second TKR.
Keep working at it, it will happen.
Liked by Debbra Williams, Alumna Mentor, kajon
Yes,you’re right …. I did have awkward gait prior to surgery so I guess all the surrounding tendons/tissue etc need to re-learn what is ‘normal’. My goal is for sustained walking, in which TKR is undetectable. 👌 Sooner rather than later😊
If you have good range of movement and pain not to bad can be a habit if limped before . Try using a stick on the opposite side when walking to see if this helps to even gait . Would only be temporary till you got used to normal gait pattern .
Thanks Perry’s, will observe whilst using my stick to see if it creates balance. Feel like a toddler having to learn how to walk again, lol! Keeps one humble.😊
Whoops, Perryl … autocorrect
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