Numbness and burning after knee replacement

Posted by fancyfrancie @fancyfrancie, Jan 8, 2020

3 weeks after knee replacement I experience severe numbness and burning on the leg (not the knee) above and below the knee, mostly at night. Nothing relieves it and I have great difficulty sleeping at night. Is this normal? What should I do?

@loriaakre

I too had/still have numbness n tingling in my foot after TKR. I was like that right after my surgery. Dr told me it was normal give it a yr or 2. My primary said that's not normal n set me you for an ABI which showed low pressure in that leg. They did angiogram which showed a blockage behind that knee. My surgeon pinched my Popliteal Artery n more. I had the artery opened at 60 days after TKR. It helped the numbness by 50%. I still have some numbness n my foot still feels cold at times but at least I have my leg… Because as my TKR surgeon put it when I went back to him at 3 months was 1. Why did I wait so long to get it fixed 2. Most people that that happens to loose their leg. Thanks to my primary for listening to me and as for my TKR surgeon…he better start listening to what his patients are telling them. Good luck and be an advocate for yourself!

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Hi there?! I’m going through the same at the moment after 5 weeks, can you explain what is a ABI please? And what steps should I take,
Thanks Stan

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fxc@fxc
to your response about an ABI Test. It is a simple test that is done by an ultrasound tech that measures the pressure in your legs. They put blood pressure cuffs on your ankles and arms. it pumps up and releases. takes only seconds to do. It was my primary that scheduled it for me at 5 weeks out from TKR. that is how they found my left leg pressure was normal and my right leg that had the recent TKR had very little pressure. That is the reason they could not find a pulse in that foot without using a dobler. Once the popliteal artery was opened (after an angiogram) and I got blood flow to my lower leg and foot, my toes were not purple and my foot was once again warm. I still have some numbness and tingling in my foot and feels like I have a pad on the bottom of my foot and it is not 100% but it is more tolerable. The knee is a total different problem. it clicks and hurts all the time as well as hyper extending and it gives out on me. I still can not walk very far or stand very long and also have a fractured knee cap. Bones get brittle when they don't have blood flow. I went to a different ortho dr and she said the plastic piece in the knee was too small and I would need a revision, but only being out 2 years with the 2 major surgeries I should wait a little longer and I would have to go to Mayo in Rochester, MN. I've done nerve tests and that shows nerve damage, but they blame that on my lower back. Always easier to blame it on something else than to find the problem. I had injections in my lower back and the doctor told me my TKR surgeon pinched more than my popliteal artery. MY TKR doctor told me after I had the artery fixed… "why did you wait so long to get it fixed, you could of lost your leg" no thanks to him. I Was to him a couple times after my TKR and all he told me was it was normal and could take a couple years…nerves take a long time to heal. Went to a lawyer and found out my TRK surgeon never put anything in my records about the numb and tingling cold foot and purple toes. So of course no one will look at taking a case. How can doctors lie in your medical records. Next step…report him to the medical board. Just need to find a website. I don't want him to get away with doing this to others when a simple ABI can be done.
I would not wish this on no one. It puts stress not only on you but your family as well.
Good luck and I hope you find out what is causing you problems and be sure to be your own advocate.

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It’s been five months since my TKR. And I recently started getting this burning sensation above my ankle and below my knee on the inside of my leg. Anyone experiencing anything similar?

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@georgejoseph

It’s been five months since my TKR. And I recently started getting this burning sensation above my ankle and below my knee on the inside of my leg. Anyone experiencing anything similar?

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Hmm, I'm going to take a semi-educated guess here after a large number of ortho surgeries, but no TKR. This sounds like nerve regeneration/healing pain, which can go on for quite some time. Nerves are bruised, cut, moved and otherwise insulted during major surgery, and are notoriously slow at healing. After ACL/MCL replacement quite a few years ago, I had intermittent nerve pain for an entire year, which eventually subsided.

If the pain is not disabling or throbbing, especially if it seems to "move around" this is probably what you are experiencing. If your recovery is otherwise going well and you have not had any infections, you can probably just watch it. If you have had complications, have other health conditions, or it seems to be making your recovery go backward, a message to your doc to discuss it would be a good idea.

Good luck, let us know how it goes.
Sue

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@georgejoseph

It’s been five months since my TKR. And I recently started getting this burning sensation above my ankle and below my knee on the inside of my leg. Anyone experiencing anything similar?

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Hi @georgejoseph and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. You will see that I moved your inquiry to a discussion about numbness and burning after a knee replacement. You wanted to connect with others that may be experiencing something similar. @loriaakre, @fxc and @lhruza have been through it.

Have you discussed anything with your surgeon yet?

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@sueinmn

Hmm, I'm going to take a semi-educated guess here after a large number of ortho surgeries, but no TKR. This sounds like nerve regeneration/healing pain, which can go on for quite some time. Nerves are bruised, cut, moved and otherwise insulted during major surgery, and are notoriously slow at healing. After ACL/MCL replacement quite a few years ago, I had intermittent nerve pain for an entire year, which eventually subsided.

If the pain is not disabling or throbbing, especially if it seems to "move around" this is probably what you are experiencing. If your recovery is otherwise going well and you have not had any infections, you can probably just watch it. If you have had complications, have other health conditions, or it seems to be making your recovery go backward, a message to your doc to discuss it would be a good idea.

Good luck, let us know how it goes.
Sue

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Sue, because of your comments, maybe I will sleep better tonight. My surgeon is on vacation and can't see ne until 8/3. I was so scared that it could be something that could get worse and I could end up in the hospital in the middle of the night. I will wait for my appointment, but will nag the office to see one of the other surgeons if it gets worse. Thanks again.

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@georgejoseph

Sue, because of your comments, maybe I will sleep better tonight. My surgeon is on vacation and can't see ne until 8/3. I was so scared that it could be something that could get worse and I could end up in the hospital in the middle of the night. I will wait for my appointment, but will nag the office to see one of the other surgeons if it gets worse. Thanks again.

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BTW I saw my cardiologist who told me that my ankle pulse in the leg where I had the TKR is excellent.

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@georgejoseph

BTW I saw my cardiologist who told me that my ankle pulse in the leg where I had the TKR is excellent.

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That's very good news, and more reason to put worry on the back burner.
I meant to ask, does the sensation move or change intensity, or is it always the same? Does anything seem to make it better or worse?
Sue

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@georgejoseph

It’s been five months since my TKR. And I recently started getting this burning sensation above my ankle and below my knee on the inside of my leg. Anyone experiencing anything similar?

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I am 4 months out. I have the same and am told it is just the nerves regenerating. I have a pretty big area of numbness (maybe 4×4) on the outside of my knee. I “drum” on that daily to desensitize it and it seems to help. They say after a year, things will get more normal.

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It has not migrated to any other part of the leg (as yet). I have not had the burning for the past 2 days. I do know that a (venous something or the other) was done to ensure that there was no clotting. Although there was none, there is a significant amount of fluid build up in the knee (basically in the arm pit of the knee. My cardiologist seems to think that if it's drained all of my "minor" complications will diminish. My surgeon was hesitant to do so at my 3 month checkup. He did not want to introduce a "foreign" to the area for fear of creating an infection. I hope when I see him on 8/3 he will do it. It will be 7 months since my surgery.

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@njpahl

I am 4 months out. I have the same and am told it is just the nerves regenerating. I have a pretty big area of numbness (maybe 4×4) on the outside of my knee. I “drum” on that daily to desensitize it and it seems to help. They say after a year, things will get more normal.

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I also have a large area of numbness in the area of the incision, but the "burning" is my concern. ( it's as if someone is placing a heat lamp on my skin intermittently) I'm not too concerned about the numbness, as this happens to almost everyone.

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@georgejoseph

It has not migrated to any other part of the leg (as yet). I have not had the burning for the past 2 days. I do know that a (venous something or the other) was done to ensure that there was no clotting. Although there was none, there is a significant amount of fluid build up in the knee (basically in the arm pit of the knee. My cardiologist seems to think that if it's drained all of my "minor" complications will diminish. My surgeon was hesitant to do so at my 3 month checkup. He did not want to introduce a "foreign" to the area for fear of creating an infection. I hope when I see him on 8/3 he will do it. It will be 7 months since my surgery.

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Good morning –
I think I will bring @artscaping into this discussion. She has had swelling like yours, determined to be a cyst, but it can also be from the healing process. There are a few techniques you can try to encourage the fluid to drain without a needle, and I am sure she can describe them to you.
I am glad your surgeon is cautious about introducing a needle into your new knee – the last thing you want is an infection!
Sue

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