Mako Robotic Arm TKR Six Months

Posted by saeternes @saeternes, Wed, May 27 10:53pm

Long break here without much going on, but I thought I should check in at the six month mark, which was yesterday. Before I left therapy a few months ago, I got to 145 degrees, which is only 4 degrees less than my non-surgery knee. I don't think things have changed much, maybe a little. I still do my knee exercises three times a week; not very hard anymore. Mostly riding on the bike at home, sometimes outside, and doing light weights and bands. If you were to watch me walk, you would not see any knee issues, I'm pretty sure of that. I don't try to run! And kneeling is still not comfortable, although I can use my non-surgery knee to get up and down. Other than that, if I lie on my back with my leg straight up at a 90 deg angle, and then slowly bend it, I can feel a slight catch as it gets toward the bottom. This has been improving so I have hope it will go away. I still massage my knee and the scar; I still have a small amount of numbness, but that too has improved a lot. I have long had left-body pain (after a rib cartilage inflammation almost 40 years ago, which caused a tight knot in the back that only goes away with dry needling, but reappears after three days); the knee surgery has exacerbated that tightness and pain. It took me a while to associate it all, but it has been true that any "injury" to the left side causes systemic pain on that side. I supposed knee surgery is an injury. So now I stretch two or three times a day, and take muscle relaxants at night. That has worked pretty well.

Overall I am happy with my knee, and think it will continue to improve. I read some of the questions and comments here and realize I have been very fortunate. I hope everyone finds relief from pain from their surgeries.

@saeternes 145° is amazing, congratulations! I wish I could have reached that.

I am so happy that things are going so well with your new knee. I have been happy with mine also, except I wish I had your flex. Mine is about 120°. So many people have problems after TKRs, we truly are fortunate.
JK

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Hi @saeternes, Thanks for sharing your journey with the Mako Robotic Arm knee replacement. It's really good to hear your recovery is going well.

I am a little over a year from my right TKR. My surgeon doesn't use the Mako Robotic Arm but I ended up being really happy with my knee replacement. I have about the same flexion in both knees but I've only been on my knees a few times without a knee pad and it didn't feel good. I think my age (77) and arthritis plays a part for me. My surgeon told me not to get on my knees but I bought a great pair of knee pads to use if I absolutely have to be on my knees for yardwork or other maintenance around the house.

My rehab/recovery went well and no problems with pain or scarring which I attribute to the skill of the Mayo surgeon. He used an incision that curved to the inside of my right knee so that it didn't go straight over my kneecap. I think this helped during recovery so that the incision healed quicker and there was less pain for bending the knee for the post surgery exercises (just my humble opinion).

One of the exercises that has helped me recover was using an elliptical/recumbent exercise bike combo for 20 to 30 minutes a day. For the first 3 months or so I used the bike function but have now switched it over to use it as an elliptical machine.

Do you use any exercise machine to help?

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@johnbishop

Hi @saeternes, Thanks for sharing your journey with the Mako Robotic Arm knee replacement. It's really good to hear your recovery is going well.

I am a little over a year from my right TKR. My surgeon doesn't use the Mako Robotic Arm but I ended up being really happy with my knee replacement. I have about the same flexion in both knees but I've only been on my knees a few times without a knee pad and it didn't feel good. I think my age (77) and arthritis plays a part for me. My surgeon told me not to get on my knees but I bought a great pair of knee pads to use if I absolutely have to be on my knees for yardwork or other maintenance around the house.

My rehab/recovery went well and no problems with pain or scarring which I attribute to the skill of the Mayo surgeon. He used an incision that curved to the inside of my right knee so that it didn't go straight over my kneecap. I think this helped during recovery so that the incision healed quicker and there was less pain for bending the knee for the post surgery exercises (just my humble opinion).

One of the exercises that has helped me recover was using an elliptical/recumbent exercise bike combo for 20 to 30 minutes a day. For the first 3 months or so I used the bike function but have now switched it over to use it as an elliptical machine.

Do you use any exercise machine to help?

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@johnbishop John, what degree of flex did you achieve? I am really kicking myself (as if I could) that I didn't work harder on my PT in between sessions.
JK

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@contentandwell

@johnbishop John, what degree of flex did you achieve? I am really kicking myself (as if I could) that I didn't work harder on my PT in between sessions.
JK

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JK @contentandwell, I don't have one of those flexion meters and am a terrible judge of angles but just took a photo of close to my max if not max (no pain with this bend).

R-TKR

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@johnbishop

JK @contentandwell, I don't have one of those flexion meters and am a terrible judge of angles but just took a photo of close to my max if not max (no pain with this bend).

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@johnbishop I'm not a good judge of this either, I thought you might know from when you finished PT.

One of the exercises that is on a couple of the exercises videos I have is a lunge and the person has their bent leg almost reaching the floor. No way can I come close to that.
JK

lunge exercise

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@contentandwell

@johnbishop I'm not a good judge of this either, I thought you might know from when you finished PT.

One of the exercises that is on a couple of the exercises videos I have is a lunge and the person has their bent leg almost reaching the floor. No way can I come close to that.
JK

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JK @contentandwell, the surgeon and the care team just looked at it when I had the followup and said it looks good and really didn't measure it. I had thought about buying a goniometer but didn't figure it was worth it. I've always been a big picture guy anyway 🙂

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@johnbishop

JK @contentandwell, the surgeon and the care team just looked at it when I had the followup and said it looks good and really didn't measure it. I had thought about buying a goniometer but didn't figure it was worth it. I've always been a big picture guy anyway 🙂

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@johnbishop. I was just curious because if I recall correctly you did not have Mako robotic surgery but you were very diligent about doing the PT.
Can you do the exercise pictured? That would basically confirm that your flex exceeds mine. I’m sure that @saeternes would be able todo it.
JK.

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@contentandwell

@johnbishop. I was just curious because if I recall correctly you did not have Mako robotic surgery but you were very diligent about doing the PT.
Can you do the exercise pictured? That would basically confirm that your flex exceeds mine. I’m sure that @saeternes would be able todo it.
JK.

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@contentandwell I can’t do it without holding onto something. Old guy with balance issues 😁

5CF3931D-4190-464F-AFF0-E6613D5AB31C

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@johnbishop : good job on the lunge! I tried it, without holding onto anything, and I can easily make my back knee reach the floor – either one. I don’t think it has anything to do with being able to flex the knee. I really don’t know my official flex # either, but when I start out flat on my back, bending both knees as much as I can, then get into a sitting position to go compare positions, the TKR leg heel ends up 2” farther away from my butt than the other one, so also a pretty decent bend. Lucky you found knee pads that work for you. I haven’t, not for lack of trying. Indoors a small pillow, or folded up bath towel, will work. Outdoors – forget it.
@saeternes : congratulations on your remarkable results. I also scaled down the exercises after 6 or 7 months, since with walking and/or swimming, and the usual household and garden chores I figured the knee gets enough of a workout. Regarding the catch in the knee when bending, I hope it goes away. I have had a very audible crack – no pain – whenever I do this exercise. One of a series of movements I was told to keep my sciatic nerve from acting up. Not a pleasant sound, but supposedly harmless. I rely on my other knee as well to quickly get up or down, but about 3 weeks ago I have started to have intense, acute pain on the outside of the “good” knee whenever a certain spot touches the floor when rolling onto that side, or when I kneel and shift my weight to the outside of the knee. Perhaps a growing bone spur – have not yet found the courage to head to a doctor’s office. That would surely be a bummer, if I get limitations on both sides now!

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@ellerbracke

@johnbishop : good job on the lunge! I tried it, without holding onto anything, and I can easily make my back knee reach the floor – either one. I don’t think it has anything to do with being able to flex the knee. I really don’t know my official flex # either, but when I start out flat on my back, bending both knees as much as I can, then get into a sitting position to go compare positions, the TKR leg heel ends up 2” farther away from my butt than the other one, so also a pretty decent bend. Lucky you found knee pads that work for you. I haven’t, not for lack of trying. Indoors a small pillow, or folded up bath towel, will work. Outdoors – forget it.
@saeternes : congratulations on your remarkable results. I also scaled down the exercises after 6 or 7 months, since with walking and/or swimming, and the usual household and garden chores I figured the knee gets enough of a workout. Regarding the catch in the knee when bending, I hope it goes away. I have had a very audible crack – no pain – whenever I do this exercise. One of a series of movements I was told to keep my sciatic nerve from acting up. Not a pleasant sound, but supposedly harmless. I rely on my other knee as well to quickly get up or down, but about 3 weeks ago I have started to have intense, acute pain on the outside of the “good” knee whenever a certain spot touches the floor when rolling onto that side, or when I kneel and shift my weight to the outside of the knee. Perhaps a growing bone spur – have not yet found the courage to head to a doctor’s office. That would surely be a bummer, if I get limitations on both sides now!

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@ellerbracke, I purchased these knee pads at Home Depot for around $30. They have about an inch of memory foam on the inside and a nice firm rubber cushion on the outside that are comfy for kneeling on a hard surface.

kneepads

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@contentandwell @ellerbracke @johnbishop Thank you for the comments and encouragement. I also don't think the flex is shown in the lunge, because if you look at the young man in the first picture, his knee is not even at 90 degrees, or a right angle. I can get my knee to the ground easily but have to hold something or I will topple – I think that is a strength problem (some years ago one physical therapist told me I wasn't strong enough to walk. When I said but I do walk, she said I was "compensating." So I don't think I am very strong). However, I was very flexible before surgery so it probably makes a difference in things that take overall body flexibility (I could always bend from the waist straight knees and put my hands flat on the ground–so can my sister so it must be genetic! No credit to us, but it did surprise the "lifestyle therapist" that I could put my shoes on easily the day after knee surgery). The "catch" that I referred to is actually a moment of discomfort, I can't feel any real catch or hear anything. It has improved. I continue to exercise with my recumbent bike at home, doing 45 minutes and working up a big sweat 5 times a week. I also do weights and bands but that is now and then – when our YMCA reopens I'll eventually go back to machines for weights, which I vastly prefer. I also have road bikes, all some sort of recumbent, and ride now and then. They are great when going fast on flat ground, but now I feel I should go slower. Last thing I want is to fall on the ground and hit my knee. When I do the exercise @ellerbracke describes–lie on the back and bring the legs down as far as they go, then sit up and look at the distance between where the feet fall–I also have 2-3" difference. I can pull the surgery leg back so they are identical, but it won't stay there on its own. I hope your bone spur or whatever it is gets taken care of; you're right, lets not have two bad knees!

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PS, @johnbishop your flexion looks great!

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@johnbishop

@contentandwell I can’t do it without holding onto something. Old guy with balance issues 😁

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@johnbishop Good for you! Now I'm wondering if the problem really is balance. I am going to have to try that holding on to something. There is no way in the world that I will ever be able to do this pictured stretch though — that definitely requires good flex.

@ellerbracke There are exercises where my knees seem to bend well but for me, I know it must be an illusion because I definitely cannot get that flex up there.
I find getting up and down to be very awkward, it's basically why I had decided to not do yoga classes.
JK

knee to butt stretch

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I took a couple pics of the legs bending like that woman does – you can see there is still some distance to go for the surgery knee on the left. Once I see this in the shot, I think I had better keep at it. Also there is quite a strain getting the leg up there so I would not say it is natural and easy as is the non-surgery leg.

Surgery knee

Non surgery knee

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Sorry those files are so huge – I shrunk them but obviously not enough!

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