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

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.

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@saeternes WOW, I am impressed. That's great flex. I cannot get anywhere near that amount of flex.
JK

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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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That's amazing, I'm only getting 115 degrees when I'm using my stretch strap.

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@marbowl

That's amazing, I'm only getting 115 degrees when I'm using my stretch strap.

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@marbowl I can only imagine how worn out you must be at the end of your day but if it is at all possible use that strap and do whatever else you can to improve your flex. I wish I had followed through more and you are obviously younger than I am so have many more years to have to deal with this.

Another good exercise is the one where you sit on a chair and pull your leg back as far as you can and hold it there for a bit of time — I forget exactly how much. I'm sure you must have your own set of exercises from your PT that you can at home, or in your hotel room.

Keep working on it, even if it's only 10-15 minutes in the evening. The rewards will be worth it.
JK

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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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Goniometer was only $5.00 on ebay with free shipping. I bought the $5 size there was also one for only $3.

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@johnbishop

@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.

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Sorry for the late reply. Those look pretty much what I have, and tried to use months ago, shelved, and haven’t tried again yet. Either my knee is too sensitive, or I simply ask too much of it at a given time, it simply does not kneel. Without aches, and severe limitations. So any surgeon who wants to touch and replace my remaining natural left knee, he’d better post bond before even talking about surgery.

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@contentandwell

@marbowl I can only imagine how worn out you must be at the end of your day but if it is at all possible use that strap and do whatever else you can to improve your flex. I wish I had followed through more and you are obviously younger than I am so have many more years to have to deal with this.

Another good exercise is the one where you sit on a chair and pull your leg back as far as you can and hold it there for a bit of time — I forget exactly how much. I'm sure you must have your own set of exercises from your PT that you can at home, or in your hotel room.

Keep working on it, even if it's only 10-15 minutes in the evening. The rewards will be worth it.
JK

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sorry for the late response,been working a lot and tired when I get to hotel. I'm 70, so don't know how many more years😂… I'm going to start using strap more and holding more. I haven't been holding it long, only to count if 15, so I'll try for the ten minutes. I really want to get enough flexion and extension so I can walk stairs normally, which I can't do now. Thanks for your response.

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@marbowl

sorry for the late response,been working a lot and tired when I get to hotel. I'm 70, so don't know how many more years😂… I'm going to start using strap more and holding more. I haven't been holding it long, only to count if 15, so I'll try for the ten minutes. I really want to get enough flexion and extension so I can walk stairs normally, which I can't do now. Thanks for your response.

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@marbowl that sounds like a very good plan, let us know how it goes. I have heard that flexion and extension can improve over the first two years after surgery, so I'm sure yours will if you keep at it.

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@saeternes

@marbowl that sounds like a very good plan, let us know how it goes. I have heard that flexion and extension can improve over the first two years after surgery, so I'm sure yours will if you keep at it.

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Thanks for the response. I will keep you up to speed.

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@saeternes : Question. You seem to have done an excellent progress, based on precision surgery, total commitment to rehabilitation, with access to – for example, special treadmills to correct gait problems. So … 6 months out, given your workouts on the recumbent bike, and being in generally great shape, how would you rate your TKR on a daily base right now? I’m coming up on 2 years this September. Decent – actually very good flex, (remember – I suggested the pointing toes to get the flex to get better, faster), and I can do most things almost as well as I could before the surgery. Even forbidden activities, like walking steeply downhill, which I needed to do on a short term basis this past February during a ski resort vacation (walking, not skiing). However, in spite of basically a above normal outcome, I still have latent … not sure if I rises to the point of pain, but definitely ache/soreness each and every day. The “pain” does move around, but is pretty constant. So I’m guessing, muscular, compensating for other issues. Any input? Anything close to what may or may not be happening to you at this point? It aggravates me that I never know if this day it will be my TKR knee that hurts, the other one, either hip, or my (Sciatica-prone) back. 5 to 6 days/week 2 mile very brisk walk, roughly 2 hours of pretty strenuous ward work currently for exercise, since pool access has been closed.

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@ellerbracke

@saeternes : Question. You seem to have done an excellent progress, based on precision surgery, total commitment to rehabilitation, with access to – for example, special treadmills to correct gait problems. So … 6 months out, given your workouts on the recumbent bike, and being in generally great shape, how would you rate your TKR on a daily base right now? I’m coming up on 2 years this September. Decent – actually very good flex, (remember – I suggested the pointing toes to get the flex to get better, faster), and I can do most things almost as well as I could before the surgery. Even forbidden activities, like walking steeply downhill, which I needed to do on a short term basis this past February during a ski resort vacation (walking, not skiing). However, in spite of basically a above normal outcome, I still have latent … not sure if I rises to the point of pain, but definitely ache/soreness each and every day. The “pain” does move around, but is pretty constant. So I’m guessing, muscular, compensating for other issues. Any input? Anything close to what may or may not be happening to you at this point? It aggravates me that I never know if this day it will be my TKR knee that hurts, the other one, either hip, or my (Sciatica-prone) back. 5 to 6 days/week 2 mile very brisk walk, roughly 2 hours of pretty strenuous ward work currently for exercise, since pool access has been closed.

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@ellerbracke sorry for the delay in responding. Now I am going on 8 months. I don't have the pain or soreness or ache that you mention, although there is still some numbness. It seems to be continually fading, so I have some hope that it will go away. The fact that there is still some numbness means the knee does not feel like the other one yet – it is not simply there, I am conscious of it. I can tell that even sitting here at the computer if I move my leg slightly. I think you might be right in saying that the pain comes from muscle compensation or simply the realignment of ligaments and breaking of connective tissue, which can cause various kinds of pain that moves around. Sometimes when I massage my knee, which I still do myself to help with the numbness, I feel a place that is more sensitive – meaning I didn't realize it before I massaged the tissue. I work on it and try to massage the areas around it, and then it usually goes away. I suspect the sensitivity is caused by ongoing healing. I also still do not feel comfortable kneeling on the surgery knee, although that also seems to be improving slight; not sure if I will ever really want to kneel on it. Overall I am happy with the results. Sounds to me like you are getting plenty of exercise and doing everything you need to do. I don't walk as much as you but when I do walk, it all seems fine.

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It is good to hear your views on the healing process. I am 8 months on one knee and I have the same feelings as you. It is numb and pains but my surgeon tells me sometimes it take one year to 18 months for the numbness and pain to go away. Hopefully it will. I am living in hopes that I will be healed completely over time.

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@jnoronha

It is good to hear your views on the healing process. I am 8 months on one knee and I have the same feelings as you. It is numb and pains but my surgeon tells me sometimes it take one year to 18 months for the numbness and pain to go away. Hopefully it will. I am living in hopes that I will be healed completely over time.

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@jnoronha yes I think it is good to keep up with the exercises, stretching, and massaging even though we surely are all sick of it! I hope your knee continues to improve.

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@saeternes

@ellerbracke sorry for the delay in responding. Now I am going on 8 months. I don't have the pain or soreness or ache that you mention, although there is still some numbness. It seems to be continually fading, so I have some hope that it will go away. The fact that there is still some numbness means the knee does not feel like the other one yet – it is not simply there, I am conscious of it. I can tell that even sitting here at the computer if I move my leg slightly. I think you might be right in saying that the pain comes from muscle compensation or simply the realignment of ligaments and breaking of connective tissue, which can cause various kinds of pain that moves around. Sometimes when I massage my knee, which I still do myself to help with the numbness, I feel a place that is more sensitive – meaning I didn't realize it before I massaged the tissue. I work on it and try to massage the areas around it, and then it usually goes away. I suspect the sensitivity is caused by ongoing healing. I also still do not feel comfortable kneeling on the surgery knee, although that also seems to be improving slight; not sure if I will ever really want to kneel on it. Overall I am happy with the results. Sounds to me like you are getting plenty of exercise and doing everything you need to do. I don't walk as much as you but when I do walk, it all seems fine.

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@saeternes : I dimly remember the numb area on my knee following the TKR. I was super lucky that by the end of PT, around 11 or 12 weeks after the surgery, all I had left was a numb spot the size of a pencil eraser. Totally gone about a month after that. I’ll check in from time to time to see if you make real progress with the kneeling. I can kneel, but is is not a “useful” kneeling. Meaning: I can’t kneel, lean forward -as in cleaning floor behind commode – and put real weight on the kneecap. Feels like I’m kneeling on a steel bar, which, in a way, it is!

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