Sleeping comfortably with a new Total Knee- advice needed!

Posted by amytro @amytro, Feb 17, 2019

Does anyone have any suggestions for how to get comfortable a) while watching TV in a recliner and/or b. In bed? I have tried all of the pillow arrangements to keep my knee high above my heart (and the pillow towers tip over unfailingly!!) and not comfortable. Should I/can I bend my knee in bed to the extent possible if I'm sleeping on my side? Is this bad? I just can't sleep on my back with my leg straight out. I'm averaging 3-4 hours of sleep a night according to Fitbit. I am 9 days out from surgery. Thank you to anyone who can help with positioning.

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I usually sleep on my side whenever possible, and found that bending the “new” knee to the extent possible, and putting a small, firm pillow between the knees gave me the most pain relief, especially when the TKR knee was on top. You can give that a try. Most doctors and PT people very much discourage using a pillow sideways under the knee when laying on you back since it delays the progress of getting it to become straight. I had some success with putting several sofa pillows under the knee and calf while resting the heel on the armrest of the couch…. but only for a limited time. This will still keep the knee fairly straight while taking a lot of pressure off, and keeping it elevated. It’s also easy to ice it at the same time, if this is recommended by your doctor.

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I never used a recliner, but in bed I slept on my side with the surgery knee on top. I put a body pillow between my knees the removed the duvet from my knee as my scar was SO sensitive and painful for many months! Seemed to help the knee pain, too.

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@babette

I never used a recliner, but in bed I slept on my side with the surgery knee on top. I put a body pillow between my knees the removed the duvet from my knee as my scar was SO sensitive and painful for many months! Seemed to help the knee pain, too.

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thank you, Babette! I would love to lay on my side and do it just a little. Did you struggle with bending the surgery leg? That's my problem. I can bend it but not parallel to my good knee. Could you do that?

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I was able to bend my knee pretty comfortably and had good ROM from pretty early on. Now, 7 mos. out, I'm having lots of pain and stiffness and have an appt. with my surgeon to see about an MRI. Am wondering about scar tissue. Ugh.

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@babette

I never used a recliner, but in bed I slept on my side with the surgery knee on top. I put a body pillow between my knees the removed the duvet from my knee as my scar was SO sensitive and painful for many months! Seemed to help the knee pain, too.

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@babette @amytro I found the pillow between my knees to be hugely helpful also. I am mostly a side sleeper. I can only sleep on my back when it's absolutely necessary.
JK

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Thank you everyone. With your suggestions, and in general, better flexion and extension, sleeping is getting easier!

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@debbraw: I seem to have lost track, but someone active on the joint replacement site had TKR very recently. No complaints, so that’s good. I thought for a minute it might have been you heading for # 2, but then again, my attention span is getting shorter – as am I. Anyway, hoping for a successful result or update if you have information on whoever it is. Sorry to post this out of content.

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I am into my eight week after surgery had manipulation two weeks ago for scar tissue and am still fighting the tightness and swelling! I am still sleeping in recliner. Would give anything to be back in my bed sleeping on my side 😥

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@babette

I was able to bend my knee pretty comfortably and had good ROM from pretty early on. Now, 7 mos. out, I'm having lots of pain and stiffness and have an appt. with my surgeon to see about an MRI. Am wondering about scar tissue. Ugh.

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Ugh is right. Sorry to hear that. I think scar tissue is our biggest enemy in this whole TKR battle.

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@principina

I am into my eight week after surgery had manipulation two weeks ago for scar tissue and am still fighting the tightness and swelling! I am still sleeping in recliner. Would give anything to be back in my bed sleeping on my side 😥

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I am also at 8 weeks and still suffering a lot of tightness and some swelling but my range of motion is very good. What was your range of motion when you had your manipulation? I don't see my doctor for another 6 weeks who told me at 6 weeks that the swelling and tightness would go away in time.

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