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?

@sueinmn

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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Sue, I don't see the response from @artscaping. Am I doing something wrong?

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@georgejoseph

Sue, I don't see the response from @artscaping. Am I doing something wrong?

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Hi. This is Chris. I am at my MFR session. I will get back to you about Bakers Cyst soon. Welcome.

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@georgejoseph, I'm back and ready to share what I know about Baker's cysts, especially how to get rid of them. I agree with your surgeon….don't introduce anything foreign until everything has healed. My surgeon cleared the cyst in the armpit of the knee as you call it so creatively, during the surgery. It never returned or refilled.

I am now getting ready for a TKR in August on the other knee. i have had the quite annoying Baker's cyst drained twice. When you look at the images taken during the aspiration you can see how the fluid-filled cyst can push other tissues out of the way…..thus causing pain.
Cysts like this usually fill with fluid that our body creates to try to soothe or overcome a damaged area.

If you cannot have it drained, you can remove it by pushing it up and out of the knee area. Once you have moved the fluid up and out into your upper leg, you will just pee it out. You might be helped by a Myofascial Release (MFR) therapist. I see mine twice weekly and without her, I would be in a constant battle with "Mr. Baker". For more information on MFR please follow this link.
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/myofascial-release-therapy-mfr-for-treating-compression-and-pain/
And I have one more helpful suggestion. Practice the Yoga pose named "Leg's up the wall". I do that at least twice a day. There will be instructions on youtube. It is a great way to keep open all the valves in your legs and let the fluid out.

Before we go any further would you please tell me more about the fluid (swelling) in the armpit of your knee. How does it feel? Hard, soft like a pillow. Where is the pain centered? What other options have you explored?

May you be free of suffering and the causes of suffering.
Chris

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@artscaping

@georgejoseph, I'm back and ready to share what I know about Baker's cysts, especially how to get rid of them. I agree with your surgeon….don't introduce anything foreign until everything has healed. My surgeon cleared the cyst in the armpit of the knee as you call it so creatively, during the surgery. It never returned or refilled.

I am now getting ready for a TKR in August on the other knee. i have had the quite annoying Baker's cyst drained twice. When you look at the images taken during the aspiration you can see how the fluid-filled cyst can push other tissues out of the way…..thus causing pain.
Cysts like this usually fill with fluid that our body creates to try to soothe or overcome a damaged area.

If you cannot have it drained, you can remove it by pushing it up and out of the knee area. Once you have moved the fluid up and out into your upper leg, you will just pee it out. You might be helped by a Myofascial Release (MFR) therapist. I see mine twice weekly and without her, I would be in a constant battle with "Mr. Baker". For more information on MFR please follow this link.
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/myofascial-release-therapy-mfr-for-treating-compression-and-pain/
And I have one more helpful suggestion. Practice the Yoga pose named "Leg's up the wall". I do that at least twice a day. There will be instructions on youtube. It is a great way to keep open all the valves in your legs and let the fluid out.

Before we go any further would you please tell me more about the fluid (swelling) in the armpit of your knee. How does it feel? Hard, soft like a pillow. Where is the pain centered? What other options have you explored?

May you be free of suffering and the causes of suffering.
Chris

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Thanks Chris. I actually cannot feel it. It was clearly visible on the DVT ultrasound. it causes a lot of numbness in my knee and heel. It also causespain in my calves.

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I had my left knee done 2015 and my right 2019. These were done by two different doctors, same practice. But, I have numbness left shin and right shin. What would cause this?

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@lauramp

I had my left knee done 2015 and my right 2019. These were done by two different doctors, same practice. But, I have numbness left shin and right shin. What would cause this?

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Hi @lauramp and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I added your post to a discussion that has been talking about having numbness after a knee replacement. I did this so you can connect with people here that have experienced similar things after surgery. I wanted to introduce you to one of our mentors, @artscaping. She is a great connection to have in this group and has sage advise about knee replacements.

Do you know if you have any fluid build up? Have you discussed this with either of your physicians since your surgeries?

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Hi – I had TKR in 2015 and 2018. First one was perfect; second one was pretty good (no real pain and quick recovery). However with the second one I had numbness in calf and shin – and still do, but maybe 50% less. Leg and knee are still slightly swollen. My RoM is not as good either. I cannot get any info from the surgeon – he listens very carefully and is nice, but does not suggest anything except "wait". I try to do lots of exercise and I do play sports (but not like I used to – but good enough). I am concerned about the numbness because what people think may have happened is that he "clipped" the nerve. Also that leg is not as good on stairs and running _ again I think because the nerve was damaged. And, when walking, I am slightly "pitched forward" – my gait is not as smooth. I really do not quite get it. This was one of the best hospitals in the NYC area and there is no concern about the numbness. I am mid 70's. What can one do? I am NOT a "sit and wait" type. I worry if this will get worse over time. I am constantly working with a physical therapist to strengthen my leg muscles.
If anyone knows what else I should try, please LMK. Thank you

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@tennisgolf

Hi – I had TKR in 2015 and 2018. First one was perfect; second one was pretty good (no real pain and quick recovery). However with the second one I had numbness in calf and shin – and still do, but maybe 50% less. Leg and knee are still slightly swollen. My RoM is not as good either. I cannot get any info from the surgeon – he listens very carefully and is nice, but does not suggest anything except "wait". I try to do lots of exercise and I do play sports (but not like I used to – but good enough). I am concerned about the numbness because what people think may have happened is that he "clipped" the nerve. Also that leg is not as good on stairs and running _ again I think because the nerve was damaged. And, when walking, I am slightly "pitched forward" – my gait is not as smooth. I really do not quite get it. This was one of the best hospitals in the NYC area and there is no concern about the numbness. I am mid 70's. What can one do? I am NOT a "sit and wait" type. I worry if this will get worse over time. I am constantly working with a physical therapist to strengthen my leg muscles.
If anyone knows what else I should try, please LMK. Thank you

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Hi. I am 71 yrs old. I had both knees replaced 11 months apart first one in 2016 and second 11 months later. I have had numb feet (both feet) since 1 week after my second one. Nothing helps. PT, 3 tarsal tunnel decompresses, air casts you name it. NOTHING HELPED. One or two podiatrists that I have seen say it’s my gait from new knees. Did anyone else encounter this. Very debilitating and think I’m stuck with this for rest of my life. So in response it could be your gait….

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@kp6350

Hi. I am 71 yrs old. I had both knees replaced 11 months apart first one in 2016 and second 11 months later. I have had numb feet (both feet) since 1 week after my second one. Nothing helps. PT, 3 tarsal tunnel decompresses, air casts you name it. NOTHING HELPED. One or two podiatrists that I have seen say it’s my gait from new knees. Did anyone else encounter this. Very debilitating and think I’m stuck with this for rest of my life. So in response it could be your gait….

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I have had trouble with burning in my left knee ever since surgery. Had right one done, no problem. Dr put acrylic one in right knee as he thought I might be allergic to metal in left one. But who wants to go through taking old one out and new one put in.

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@lauramp

I had my left knee done 2015 and my right 2019. These were done by two different doctors, same practice. But, I have numbness left shin and right shin. What would cause this?

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Good morning @lauramp, And thank you @amandaburnett for the introduction. Yes, I had a TKR on my left knee 10 years ago. On Thursday I will have a Mako Robotic TKR on my right knee.

It would not be true to say that I did not have bouts of numbness after my first surgery. What is true is that I do not remember the numbness lasting very long. However, I will also tell you that I have occasional numbness and irritation in the 10-year-old replacement.

Have you ever heard of MFR? That is a type of hands-on therapy or treatment that can address the numbness issue. Your MFR therapist will be able to address the numbness and determine where it may be initiating. Our bodies have a substance called fascia that connects all of our bones, muscles, and ligaments. Sometimes it gets layered or restricted and needs to be released. Because I have treatments twice a week for small fiber neuropathy (SFN), any knee issues of fluid build-up or numbness are treated at that time.

Mayo Clinic has done significant research about neuropathy after knee replacement. Have you asked your medical clinicians about this symptom? What has been their response?

What have you tried on your own to reduce the numbness? Have you ever used medical cannabis in a topical? A company called Papa and Barkley has topical balms for acute pain and discomfort as well as for chronic pain.

Before we "dig in" I would like to hear from you. Please share your symptom frequency, intensity, and the results of any medications or therapies that you have tried.

That will give us a good place to start.
What would you like to have happen at this time? Does it involve pain reduction or just numbness?

May you be free of suffering and the causes of suffering.
Chris

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