Learning to walk normal after knee replacement

Posted by dkapustin @dkapustin, Mar 22, 2019

I'm 8 weeks PO from a RTKR and although therapy is coming along ok, I walk like my leg is made of wood. How long before you walked with a normal gait and is there any tips and tricks you can offer? I've asked PT but they are focusing now on my ROM and Quad strength. ROM is 110/0 and getting better as the weeks progress so I'm certain I'll get there…..just not as fast as some people have. It's the walking that is killing me! I walk like a one-legged pirate!

@cheris

I had to smile a little when you said you walk like your leg is made of wood. I said the same thing to my husband. I found that I just needed to try and walk with a normal gait. I was favoring my leg and trying to walk without bending the knee. Once I concentrated on walking normally things improved.

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I am trying to walk normally but my knee buckles just as it did before surgery I am 6 weeks into my recovery and therapy had have a manipulation at 4 weeks in wasn’t bending. Therapy is brutal. Seems like the therapy team each have different technique that are painful ( soooo focused on the bend ) I am left with no other choice but to take it like a champ. Of course the following morning I am as stiff and unbendable as I was the day before so I cycle use my ball for exercises and walk five minutes or more every hour. I have osteoarthritis in this knee my pain and problems started when I was sixteen, found a benign tumor in the bone that had caused a break at nineteen now because of the size of the bone and dead tissue mass the bone had to be cut and they also placed rods in the bones so I am so looking forward to just walking without buckling.

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@monielove

I am trying to walk normally but my knee buckles just as it did before surgery I am 6 weeks into my recovery and therapy had have a manipulation at 4 weeks in wasn’t bending. Therapy is brutal. Seems like the therapy team each have different technique that are painful ( soooo focused on the bend ) I am left with no other choice but to take it like a champ. Of course the following morning I am as stiff and unbendable as I was the day before so I cycle use my ball for exercises and walk five minutes or more every hour. I have osteoarthritis in this knee my pain and problems started when I was sixteen, found a benign tumor in the bone that had caused a break at nineteen now because of the size of the bone and dead tissue mass the bone had to be cut and they also placed rods in the bones so I am so looking forward to just walking without buckling.

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Six weeks isn’t very long.I think I buckled too.
Do all the exercises to strengthen your leg muscles.Especially the quads .Ask PT .Work those muscles and the joint will tighten up.They have all been loosened up

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It looks like this group hasn't been used in quite a while, so I don't know if this will get any response. I saw one post that said you should walk 30 minutes twice a day. I know everyone's recovery is different, but now I'm in tears. I'm 4 weeks out from surgery, and I too am having to retrain my leg to straighten in the back and bend in the front when I walk. I'm so slow! I'm doing all the exercises, but only once a day, and I'm not walking very much because I'm so frustrated. Apparently, I'd better get on it!

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@sherrys77

It looks like this group hasn't been used in quite a while, so I don't know if this will get any response. I saw one post that said you should walk 30 minutes twice a day. I know everyone's recovery is different, but now I'm in tears. I'm 4 weeks out from surgery, and I too am having to retrain my leg to straighten in the back and bend in the front when I walk. I'm so slow! I'm doing all the exercises, but only once a day, and I'm not walking very much because I'm so frustrated. Apparently, I'd better get on it!

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Hello @sherrys77, Welcome to Connect. 4 weeks out from surgery is still a little early in the recovery process and you are right, everyone is a little different. After my knee replacement it was suggested that I did the leg exercises 3 or 4 times a day and then ice and elevate the leg to control swelling. For the first month I used my walker and just walked around on the driveway and in the house. A little later I switched to using a cane until I was able to walk without it.

Can you share what is most frustrating for you?

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@sherrys77

It looks like this group hasn't been used in quite a while, so I don't know if this will get any response. I saw one post that said you should walk 30 minutes twice a day. I know everyone's recovery is different, but now I'm in tears. I'm 4 weeks out from surgery, and I too am having to retrain my leg to straighten in the back and bend in the front when I walk. I'm so slow! I'm doing all the exercises, but only once a day, and I'm not walking very much because I'm so frustrated. Apparently, I'd better get on it!

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Oh, my, Sherry, hips are easier than knees and NO way could I ever have walked that long 4 or even 6 weeks(I had 2 toal hip replacements and 2 total revisions and a partial.) for the exercises, John is right- more than once a day and ice after.
The recommendation by my PT for walking was to begin with 5 minutes 3 times a day and gradually work up to 30 minutes.

If I was still having trouble walking right at 3 months, I'd ask for another PT evaluation and possibly gait training.

Hang in there your body is still healing and by itself that takes a lot of energy.

How is your pain doing?
Sue

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Chickenhaslips comments:
Four weeks is so early.Focus on stretching and getting back your range of motion.That’s critical at this point.Six to eight times a day do the stretching.At four weeks I was using a combination walker( with wheels) and a cane.There are exercises to start to regain strength and reestablish the nerve control of the leg that you should be doing.Most of this you can do in your living room.Use ice and elevation a lot

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What everyone above said. PT was telling me I should be walking further then I could. I am 4 months out and can do about 30 minutes before it gets “tired”. I also cycle and do Pilates. Stretching was/is key for me. I was knock kneed so he straightened it and my muscles were all confused. At 4 weeks, I felt lucky to be getting my exercises in 5 times a day. My PA said you want to over exaggerate the heel/toe movement when you walk. I feel you have to retrain your brain and muscles.

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@njpahl

What everyone above said. PT was telling me I should be walking further then I could. I am 4 months out and can do about 30 minutes before it gets “tired”. I also cycle and do Pilates. Stretching was/is key for me. I was knock kneed so he straightened it and my muscles were all confused. At 4 weeks, I felt lucky to be getting my exercises in 5 times a day. My PA said you want to over exaggerate the heel/toe movement when you walk. I feel you have to retrain your brain and muscles.

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@sherrys77 is right when, "My PA said you want to over exaggerate the heel/toe movement when you walk. I feel you have to retrain your brain and muscles." This is exactly what they have you do in gait training. It is also helpful to walk down a hallway toward a mirror a few times a day to confirm that your posture and movements are correct.

Keep on stretching and trying. The rest will come if you are diligent. Have you tried backing off on the walking and amping up the stretching?

Sue

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I agree with Sue, I had TKR on both knees, one year apart, and the stretching and bending with the aim of getting your knee back to a wide range of motion is more important than just walking around. If you just walk with your knee stiff legged, that may help with strengthening for a return to full weight bearing, but it does little to change flexibility. I had PT rehab three times a week for 6 weeks, and did additional prescribed exercises twice a day. I don't remember ever being told to walk a certain number of minutes a day, I think he left that up to me since he knew I was going to totter around the house no matter what. But he did stress doing the flex exercises as often as I wanted over and above the twice a day.

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@njpahl

What everyone above said. PT was telling me I should be walking further then I could. I am 4 months out and can do about 30 minutes before it gets “tired”. I also cycle and do Pilates. Stretching was/is key for me. I was knock kneed so he straightened it and my muscles were all confused. At 4 weeks, I felt lucky to be getting my exercises in 5 times a day. My PA said you want to over exaggerate the heel/toe movement when you walk. I feel you have to retrain your brain and muscles.

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Walking in front of mirrors helped me.

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