Knee #2- am I ready?

Posted by amytro @amytro, Mar 9, 2019

I just hit my 4-week mark post first TKR. My "good" knee took the brunt of compensating for the operative knee and is now really sore (even with the narcotic pain meds). I am seeing my surgeon next week to schedule knee #2. Any advice about how many weeks post-surgery is ideal before getting the other done? I met people in the hospital who were having their second knee done 5 weeks after their first. I was thinking 8-10 weeks would help me to be solid. Any thoughts or recommendations? I know we're all different but am interested to hear how YOU did it! Thank you.

Liked by ssbionicknee

Hi there, You are a brave soul. I had my right knee replaced on 1-23-2019 and just like you, my other knee is taking a beating. I know I'll need it replaced but considered a couple of things you might want to consider before scheduling your other knee. 1: How many outpatient days do you have in a calendar year? ( also inpatient in case you need it and outpatient) 2. Understand that every surgery is different even if it's done by the same surgeon, in the same hospital, and on the same person. Your TKR might have been easy sailing but the left may cause you a bit more of a headache! Do you have enough rehab to cover what you'll need? I would say as soon as you go over everything regarding insurance and feel confident that the right knee is recovered, schedule your other one. I plan on getting cortisone shots until next year. I've never had them so I feel they should help until I reach a new calendar year for insurance's sake. How is your 4th week doing? Thursday will be week 7 for me and I am just now transitioning to a cane and my ROM is 0/110. Not great but we're working on it.

REPLY

Thank you for your feedback! I am feeling somewhat better starting week #5. I've been off the walker since week #1, and I often forget my cane now so I don't use it all the time. The stiffness and swelling continue to need rest and managing while PT is still challenging. But I sleep better, know how to ease up on my knee earlier, and can shower without a chair now. I did cortisone shots for 5 years leading up to my surgery and it no longer worked for me. Hence, I'm going to do the other knee. My deductible is met for the year, the DME (commode, shower chair, walker) is all out, paid for, and ready to use, and I'm in that mood to just keep plowing through even though I know the other knee may be easier or harder than this first one. ROM is 113 and extension is 0. I've been holding there for a couple of weeks now. I didn't go to rehab even though I live alone. I would hire a home aide for housework this next time.

REPLY
@dkapustin

Hi there, You are a brave soul. I had my right knee replaced on 1-23-2019 and just like you, my other knee is taking a beating. I know I'll need it replaced but considered a couple of things you might want to consider before scheduling your other knee. 1: How many outpatient days do you have in a calendar year? ( also inpatient in case you need it and outpatient) 2. Understand that every surgery is different even if it's done by the same surgeon, in the same hospital, and on the same person. Your TKR might have been easy sailing but the left may cause you a bit more of a headache! Do you have enough rehab to cover what you'll need? I would say as soon as you go over everything regarding insurance and feel confident that the right knee is recovered, schedule your other one. I plan on getting cortisone shots until next year. I've never had them so I feel they should help until I reach a new calendar year for insurance's sake. How is your 4th week doing? Thursday will be week 7 for me and I am just now transitioning to a cane and my ROM is 0/110. Not great but we're working on it.

Jump to this post

I am 8 weeks out and have been walking without a cane for 3 weeks, going to the gym to use the recumbent bike. I have terrible IT band pain and it makes me not want to walk at all. My PT says it's from weakness in the outer glutes, which should be what powers the leg to go forward in walking. Since I've been walking abnormally for the last 2 years, I am having to learn all over again — heel, toe, heel, toe —
my other (now the bad knee) is really hurting too, but I don't think I'll have the courage to do this again before a year. Maybe in a few months I'll feel differently, but …

REPLY
@harley105

I am 8 weeks out and have been walking without a cane for 3 weeks, going to the gym to use the recumbent bike. I have terrible IT band pain and it makes me not want to walk at all. My PT says it's from weakness in the outer glutes, which should be what powers the leg to go forward in walking. Since I've been walking abnormally for the last 2 years, I am having to learn all over again — heel, toe, heel, toe —
my other (now the bad knee) is really hurting too, but I don't think I'll have the courage to do this again before a year. Maybe in a few months I'll feel differently, but …

Jump to this post

Hi @harley105 – Welcome to Connect. You and I are close in our recovery. I am 6 weeks out on my second TKR. I agree with you regarding courage. My first TKR was April 2017 so it took me two years! Do you have constant pain or just when you stress it with PT? I'm hoping the best for you. Good luck!

REPLY

@amytro Lots of good advice, but I would wait a bit longer. As has been said, every TKR is different. I would want to be pretty much totally better before embarking on doing it all over again. Bottom line though, I would talk to my surgeon about it. If you are confident of him/her you should take the advice given to you. They want their patients to succeed so they do have your best interest at heart. Your doctor may be fine with doing it soon but may want to delay it longer. Around here none of the top surgeons will do two knees at the same time, but some do and some patients are very happy with the outcome, so doing it soon may work out great for you.
JK

Liked by dkapustin, amytro

REPLY
@contentandwell

@amytro Lots of good advice, but I would wait a bit longer. As has been said, every TKR is different. I would want to be pretty much totally better before embarking on doing it all over again. Bottom line though, I would talk to my surgeon about it. If you are confident of him/her you should take the advice given to you. They want their patients to succeed so they do have your best interest at heart. Your doctor may be fine with doing it soon but may want to delay it longer. Around here none of the top surgeons will do two knees at the same time, but some do and some patients are very happy with the outcome, so doing it soon may work out great for you.
JK

Jump to this post

Thanks, JK. While ideal, I don't think I can wait a year on the second knee. In fact, it was a toss up for me as to which knee to replace first. I have a huge overseas trip in November- my alleged reward for getting through my TKRs- and I want to be walking well for that trip. (not cancelling!!!). Doctors here won't do two at a time either but will wait only 3 weeks (I'm in Massachusetts). I am meeting with the surgeon soon and I agree- I will listen to him. That is if I even get to see him or if I'm stuck with a PA again!! thank you for your thoughtful comments. This is a bear- but while I'm growling- I'm going to take the hill!!

REPLY
@amytro

Thanks, JK. While ideal, I don't think I can wait a year on the second knee. In fact, it was a toss up for me as to which knee to replace first. I have a huge overseas trip in November- my alleged reward for getting through my TKRs- and I want to be walking well for that trip. (not cancelling!!!). Doctors here won't do two at a time either but will wait only 3 weeks (I'm in Massachusetts). I am meeting with the surgeon soon and I agree- I will listen to him. That is if I even get to see him or if I'm stuck with a PA again!! thank you for your thoughtful comments. This is a bear- but while I'm growling- I'm going to take the hill!!

Jump to this post

@amytro I am in southern NH so go to Boston for most of my medical care, and my TKRs were done down there. As I said, I had a very sudden recovery after my second TKR and had to go to NYC for my daughter's wedding. We went a couple of days early and I walked all over the place! I was amazed. A couple of weeks previous to that I never thought I would be able to do much while there.
Good luck with this, let us know what your doctor says. Is he/she in the Boston area?
JK

Liked by amytro

REPLY

I scheduled my knee replacements 12 weeks apart, the left knee in April and the right knee in July. I started flat trail bike riding 8 weeks after the first knee. My thoughts were that the second knee does take some abuse while you are rehabing the first knee. I wanted to make sure that the muscles around the second knee were back in shape prior to the TKR. The bike riding was low impact excerise that helped with both knees between TKR's. I kept a timeline of my process so that I could track my progress. My first surgery was on April 14th, 2017 and the second knee was done on July 10th, 2017. I have a note that I was walking between 3000 and 4000 steps a day on August 28th, 2017. A couple of other tips that helped me are: Try not to do too much too soon. When you think you have iced enough, ice it more. Be dedicated to doing your therapy routine when the therapist is not with you. It has been 23 months since I started this process and I still do my knee exercise routine everyday. Everyone is different and my timeline is an just an example. Pay attention to your own body/knees and adjust your schedule. Good Luck!

REPLY
@debbraw

Hi @harley105 – Welcome to Connect. You and I are close in our recovery. I am 6 weeks out on my second TKR. I agree with you regarding courage. My first TKR was April 2017 so it took me two years! Do you have constant pain or just when you stress it with PT? I'm hoping the best for you. Good luck!

Jump to this post

Hi Debbra – no, not constant pain, but some days are better that others, as everyone knows. I'm doing IT band stretches like crazy and using the foam roller (ouch) but it does really help. Sciatica is also a problem, but I've found a fantastic chiro down the street from my PT and go to both on the same day. Again, some days are better than others. Yesterday I went to the gym, went to the store and did a small amount of gardening. And today I don't feel like I want to die. So that's good progress.

REPLY
@harley105

Hi Debbra – no, not constant pain, but some days are better that others, as everyone knows. I'm doing IT band stretches like crazy and using the foam roller (ouch) but it does really help. Sciatica is also a problem, but I've found a fantastic chiro down the street from my PT and go to both on the same day. Again, some days are better than others. Yesterday I went to the gym, went to the store and did a small amount of gardening. And today I don't feel like I want to die. So that's good progress.

Jump to this post

@harley105 – I think you (and I) are both going to see a real difference even another month from now and certainly when we are 6 months out. You are doing all the right things! Does your chiro do any special treatment? I'm doing acupuncture twice a week and that is helpful for me in managing the pain. Best of luck!

REPLY
@contentandwell

@amytro I am in southern NH so go to Boston for most of my medical care, and my TKRs were done down there. As I said, I had a very sudden recovery after my second TKR and had to go to NYC for my daughter's wedding. We went a couple of days early and I walked all over the place! I was amazed. A couple of weeks previous to that I never thought I would be able to do much while there.
Good luck with this, let us know what your doctor says. Is he/she in the Boston area?
JK

Jump to this post

Wow- that's an encouraging story– your sudden recovery, that it. I'd love one of those for knee #2. I am in in Western Massachusetts- equally close to Hartford, CT, Albany, NY and Boston.

REPLY
@mikec

I scheduled my knee replacements 12 weeks apart, the left knee in April and the right knee in July. I started flat trail bike riding 8 weeks after the first knee. My thoughts were that the second knee does take some abuse while you are rehabing the first knee. I wanted to make sure that the muscles around the second knee were back in shape prior to the TKR. The bike riding was low impact excerise that helped with both knees between TKR's. I kept a timeline of my process so that I could track my progress. My first surgery was on April 14th, 2017 and the second knee was done on July 10th, 2017. I have a note that I was walking between 3000 and 4000 steps a day on August 28th, 2017. A couple of other tips that helped me are: Try not to do too much too soon. When you think you have iced enough, ice it more. Be dedicated to doing your therapy routine when the therapist is not with you. It has been 23 months since I started this process and I still do my knee exercise routine everyday. Everyone is different and my timeline is an just an example. Pay attention to your own body/knees and adjust your schedule. Good Luck!

Jump to this post

Please tell me you're not doing knee slides 2 years PO! 🙂

REPLY
@contentandwell

@amytro Lots of good advice, but I would wait a bit longer. As has been said, every TKR is different. I would want to be pretty much totally better before embarking on doing it all over again. Bottom line though, I would talk to my surgeon about it. If you are confident of him/her you should take the advice given to you. They want their patients to succeed so they do have your best interest at heart. Your doctor may be fine with doing it soon but may want to delay it longer. Around here none of the top surgeons will do two knees at the same time, but some do and some patients are very happy with the outcome, so doing it soon may work out great for you.
JK

Jump to this post

@amytro @contentandwell Just my two cents but this is the best reply I've heard. Every TKR is different even when done on the same person, by the same surgeon, and at the same hospital. Another thing to consider is that you want enough time to go by to ensure that you did, indeed, pick the right surgeon. You don't want to find out that he used the wrong size implant on both knees! I had a friend who didn't find out until around 5 months PO since she and her PT team thought her progression ( or in her case, lack of) was mostly due to swelling and such. She was glad she waited and had the revision and other knee done by a better surgeon. But if you can by on a Cortisone shot or some other way to help you relieve pain, I would TRY to heal well on the first knee, condition the other, and go from there. Everyone says that the stronger you are the better the recovery but for me, that wasn't true really. Before my RTKR, I did an hour on the Elliptical 5 days a week, upper body weights 4x per week, and did a lot of walking. I was strong and healthy but this Thursday will be 7 weeks PO and my ROM is only 0/106 no assist and bend is around 113 with assistance from myself. (pulling while doing my knee slides) I was hoping to at least be 115 by now but no banana. So, my other knee will have to wait until next year. The verdict is still out on the surgeon as far as I"m concerned. So along with you insurance (make sure you have enough PT days left) there are a few things to consider before getting your other knee done.

REPLY
@debbraw

@harley105 – I think you (and I) are both going to see a real difference even another month from now and certainly when we are 6 months out. You are doing all the right things! Does your chiro do any special treatment? I'm doing acupuncture twice a week and that is helpful for me in managing the pain. Best of luck!

Jump to this post

Hi – yes, my chiro was recommended by a friend who had 2 knees before 50. She told me how good he was mixing PT and Chiro techniques. I follow recommendations from people who know where I am because they were there, you know? So he has helped a lot with the sciatica…I'm just going one time a week now. Acupuncture is something I have used for various pain things over the years, but the IT band exercises are starting to make a difference now .. 8.5 weeks out. Good luck!

REPLY
@dkapustin

@amytro @contentandwell Just my two cents but this is the best reply I've heard. Every TKR is different even when done on the same person, by the same surgeon, and at the same hospital. Another thing to consider is that you want enough time to go by to ensure that you did, indeed, pick the right surgeon. You don't want to find out that he used the wrong size implant on both knees! I had a friend who didn't find out until around 5 months PO since she and her PT team thought her progression ( or in her case, lack of) was mostly due to swelling and such. She was glad she waited and had the revision and other knee done by a better surgeon. But if you can by on a Cortisone shot or some other way to help you relieve pain, I would TRY to heal well on the first knee, condition the other, and go from there. Everyone says that the stronger you are the better the recovery but for me, that wasn't true really. Before my RTKR, I did an hour on the Elliptical 5 days a week, upper body weights 4x per week, and did a lot of walking. I was strong and healthy but this Thursday will be 7 weeks PO and my ROM is only 0/106 no assist and bend is around 113 with assistance from myself. (pulling while doing my knee slides) I was hoping to at least be 115 by now but no banana. So, my other knee will have to wait until next year. The verdict is still out on the surgeon as far as I"m concerned. So along with you insurance (make sure you have enough PT days left) there are a few things to consider before getting your other knee done.

Jump to this post

@dkapustin definitely the right surgeon is very important. I was very careful about choosing my surgeon, and also the knee. I have not regretted that at all. He has been great, and was extremely responsive when I was in pain for longer than seemed to be typical. He was as happy as I was when the pain lifted so suddenly.
JK

Liked by dkapustin

REPLY
Please login or register to post a reply.