Pain after recent Knee Replacement. What is normal? For how long?

Posted by pgcdds @pgcdds, Sep 4, 2021

Does anyone else feel a “ stabbing “ pain in the back of their knee when flexing it with slight resistance ? For example, when trying to rise from a chair and you bring your feet close to the chair’s base to stand up or just even standing and you flex your leg by raising your foot behind yourself ?

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I had a similar pain that I experienced two weeks post-op. I was doing range of motion exercises when I felt a pop behind my knee and an immediate, intense pain. It was diagnosed by Urgent Care as a hamstring strain. I was told to rest, ice, and elevate. X-rays showed no damage to the bones or the device. My surgeon told me to stop stretching my knee for two weeks to let the hamstring heal. My physical therapist advised using heat on the back of my leg to help the hamstring heal faster. I am 6 weeks post-op now and I can ride my bicycle without the stabbing pain. My range of motion is about 117 degrees. I am still aware that the stabbing pain will return if I try certain movements such as flexing my knee under the bed covers but it is getting better all the time. I hope you find the success that I did. It's a slow process. Best of luck.

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Thanks for your input. Best of luck to you too.

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I’m 9 weeks out from a total knee replacement and 15 weeks out from rotator cuff surgery. I’m almost 74.
I’m tired every day. I can make myself walk a few miles and do daily activities and. My knee is doing well.
Is my energy lacking because I had the surgeries 6 weeks apart and I’m getting on in years?
Anyone else have this problem?

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My pain level at 2weeks is pretty high and if I do not take narcotics my PT is very difficult. I have friends who at this stage managed with Tylenol. I feel like I am a wimp, but I generally have a high pain threshold. How long is reasonable to still need the narcotics to have a humane recovery? I use ice/compression /elevation. My knee was very valgus and the pain before surgery was significant. I know this will pass, but I want to understand what my pain management protocol should look like!

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@rennie

My pain level at 2weeks is pretty high and if I do not take narcotics my PT is very difficult. I have friends who at this stage managed with Tylenol. I feel like I am a wimp, but I generally have a high pain threshold. How long is reasonable to still need the narcotics to have a humane recovery? I use ice/compression /elevation. My knee was very valgus and the pain before surgery was significant. I know this will pass, but I want to understand what my pain management protocol should look like!

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@rennie – All I can say about pain is that our individual experience with it is different for every person and even every situation.
When I had my first 2 total hip replacements, there was only discomfort afterward. 5 years later, when hip #1 was revised, my pain was off the charts, recovery slow and difficult. Later I learned that my tissue had been damaged by the original implant, the "metallosis" was actually heavy metal poisoning, and my thyroid was on overdrive!

When I had thumb surgery on each hand (a couple years apart) I took only 2 pain pills with one, the other required a refill. But, I have learned that with ortho surgeries ice, many hours a day for at least 2 months, plus alternating tylenol & ibuprofen, and elevation most of the time, control the pain quite well.

Also, my older daughter & I seem to have high pain tolerance, which my husband and younger daughter do not share. That is neither good nor bad, simply a difference between people.

Are you still using ice and elevation regularly? Have you tried alternating ibuprofen & tylenol to manage the pain?
Sue

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@eurekahayley

I’m 9 weeks out from a total knee replacement and 15 weeks out from rotator cuff surgery. I’m almost 74.
I’m tired every day. I can make myself walk a few miles and do daily activities and. My knee is doing well.
Is my energy lacking because I had the surgeries 6 weeks apart and I’m getting on in years?
Anyone else have this problem?

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Your fatigue/lack of energy is due to having 2 major surgeries in 6 weeks – at any age!
When I decided at 54 to have 2 hip replacements 6 weeks apart, my Mom, a veteran of many surgeries, told me not to do it. She was right – it took me almost a year to completely recover! I have tried never to do it again – in my experience, a single major surgery takes about 6 months of healing time – remember, surgery is an assault on your body.

So my advice would be to relax and heal – do your walking, therapy and as many daily activities as you are comfortable doing. Then kick back, read a book or take a nap, and let your body heal.
Sue

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@rennie

My pain level at 2weeks is pretty high and if I do not take narcotics my PT is very difficult. I have friends who at this stage managed with Tylenol. I feel like I am a wimp, but I generally have a high pain threshold. How long is reasonable to still need the narcotics to have a humane recovery? I use ice/compression /elevation. My knee was very valgus and the pain before surgery was significant. I know this will pass, but I want to understand what my pain management protocol should look like!

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Sue, thanks for your response and I know you are right. I am a big ice user. I can’t use NSAIDS until I am off blood thinners next week. That may help. I had 1.25 inches difference in leg length because of the valgus/contractures. Both legs are now straight and I am hoping with PT my knees, hips, and back can learn to play nice together.

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@sueinmn

Your fatigue/lack of energy is due to having 2 major surgeries in 6 weeks – at any age!
When I decided at 54 to have 2 hip replacements 6 weeks apart, my Mom, a veteran of many surgeries, told me not to do it. She was right – it took me almost a year to completely recover! I have tried never to do it again – in my experience, a single major surgery takes about 6 months of healing time – remember, surgery is an assault on your body.

So my advice would be to relax and heal – do your walking, therapy and as many daily activities as you are comfortable doing. Then kick back, read a book or take a nap, and let your body heal.
Sue

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Thank you so. I have for this!
I’m sorry you had a hard time recovering from your surgeries but it’s comforting to know I’m not alone.
I appreciate your taking the time to reply.
I’m hoping my surgeries are in the past.

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@rennie

My pain level at 2weeks is pretty high and if I do not take narcotics my PT is very difficult. I have friends who at this stage managed with Tylenol. I feel like I am a wimp, but I generally have a high pain threshold. How long is reasonable to still need the narcotics to have a humane recovery? I use ice/compression /elevation. My knee was very valgus and the pain before surgery was significant. I know this will pass, but I want to understand what my pain management protocol should look like!

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I would not stay on narcotics for more than three weeks, maybe four – and only if your Dr. agrees. These are dangerous drugs and it's best to not get used to them. After using them, talk with your Dr. about finding a pain management regimen that works for you.

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@eurekahayley

I’m 9 weeks out from a total knee replacement and 15 weeks out from rotator cuff surgery. I’m almost 74.
I’m tired every day. I can make myself walk a few miles and do daily activities and. My knee is doing well.
Is my energy lacking because I had the surgeries 6 weeks apart and I’m getting on in years?
Anyone else have this problem?

Jump to this post

I had both knees replaced at Mayo Phoenix last year 3 months a part. I am a super active 73 year old. I experienced a little bit of the same things you are feeling after the second surgery. Surgery does a number on your body. It is traumatic to your system. I give blood at the Red Cross about every 8 weeks. When I went in about two months after surgery, my hemoglobin was lower than their policy allows for blood draw. I was surprised, but that was the reason for being a bit lethargic, workouts were not as aggressive, I tired more easily, had a bit of low stamina. I was anemic according to the numbers. When I discussed this issue with the fine doctors at Mayo, and after reviewing if I had any other trauma or blood loss, they suggested I CAREFULLY take an iron supplement and that . Too much iron can be dangerous. In Arizona you can schedule your own battery of blood tests without a prescription. I think the hemoglobin test was $25.00. I did it to double check what the Red Cross numbers indicated. It was low: 12.1. It should between 13.8 and I think 17. Even with taking the iron supplement, it two more months to get it to my pre-surgery level of 15.2. Talk to your Doc. This may be what's happening.

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