Total Knee Replacement: Swelling

Posted by mamndink @mamndink, Sun, Aug 11 8:08am

7 weeks post tkr right knee. 0/120. Intermittent pain at top and bottom front knee when walking. Seems like the swelling never goes away. Icing 4x daily and resting in elevation. Out patient PT 2x week, gym for cycling and few stretching exercises 5x week. Shouldn’t the swelling go down?

5 years later and knee is still swollen, therefore ice at night is only choice.

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@cobweb

5 years later and knee is still swollen, therefore ice at night is only choice.

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Are there times when it is less or more than others?

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@mamndink, I'm only about 5 months out from my right knee replacement and I have daily swelling in my ankle from not elevating/icing enough but I have lymphedema which makes it a little worse. At my last checkup I was at 0 to 130+ and the surgeon told me to ice/elevate and rest. He emphasized the rest. I was doing similar you but not at the gym. I have a recumbent bike that I was riding for 30 minutes daily plus doing my stretches and leg exercises. My ankle is still a little swollen since I cut back on the exercise to 3 days a week.

Since your range of motion is pretty good have you tried resting a week to see if that helps?

I'm tagging @contentandwell and @debbraw to see if they are able to share some of their experience/expertise.

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Thanks. Ankle is only slight, but knee (to me) is a great deal. I am going to take off PT couple days.

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@mamndink

Are there times when it is less or more than others?

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if i am inactive it has less pain, but biking and golf cause me pain afterwords

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I iced & compressed around 8 am. Took shower, dressed for church. In church sitting for about an hour. I just took measurements of both knees (12:44 pm) at 3 points: at top of joint, mid knee and bottom of joint. At top, bad knee 1-5/8" larger. Other two measurements very close to the same. I am now icing/compressing again. Will measure when done. I just don't know what is normal swelling. Doc and PT say swelling can last a while but how in the heck do you know when the swelling is too much. Prior to surgery was cycling outdoors 8 -10 miles, 7 days week. Soon be 76.

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@mamndink

I iced & compressed around 8 am. Took shower, dressed for church. In church sitting for about an hour. I just took measurements of both knees (12:44 pm) at 3 points: at top of joint, mid knee and bottom of joint. At top, bad knee 1-5/8" larger. Other two measurements very close to the same. I am now icing/compressing again. Will measure when done. I just don't know what is normal swelling. Doc and PT say swelling can last a while but how in the heck do you know when the swelling is too much. Prior to surgery was cycling outdoors 8 -10 miles, 7 days week. Soon be 76.

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30 min ice/compress brought measurements down less than 1/4 in.

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Welcome to Connect, @mamndink As you have already seen there are many of us who have had TKRs. Looking at your responses so far I feel fortunate to have had as much success as I have. I had my second TKR in October of 2017. I had pain for about 7 weeks at which point it went almost totally away. My swelling was also gone by then! Now I get minor pain if I've had a long day and overdone it a bit, but that takes a lot because I am usually very active.

Your ROM is great, the flex is at least as good as mine, maybe better. As @johnbishop suggested, maybe you should take a week or at least a few days off to see if the swelling does go down. My surgeon was very insistent on "gentle PT" which is what I did. He was also very big on riding my recumbent bike 5 days in a row for about 30 minutes, followed by two consecutive days of rest. Water jogging exercise is also good because it has no real impact.

Have you checked with your surgeon to see if he thinks that much swelling is within what's to be expected at this point? I think that would be a good next step. You could try checking with your PT also but I find that they are reluctant to say anything that might conflict with what the surgeon says.
JK

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@mamndink – I'm agreeing with @johnbishop and @contentandwell – Even though it seems like forever, 7 weeks is kinda short. Things WILL get better. You can trust all of us who have had TKR's. I've had two – most recently January of this year. For me, 8 weeks was a real milestone, then at 12 weeks I felt like a new person. But even after that, I continued to improve. I applaud your ROM. Many people would be green with envy. Is swelling the main problem? Are you walking with or w/o aids – like a walker or cane?

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@debbraw

@mamndink – I'm agreeing with @johnbishop and @contentandwell – Even though it seems like forever, 7 weeks is kinda short. Things WILL get better. You can trust all of us who have had TKR's. I've had two – most recently January of this year. For me, 8 weeks was a real milestone, then at 12 weeks I felt like a new person. But even after that, I continued to improve. I applaud your ROM. Many people would be green with envy. Is swelling the main problem? Are you walking with or w/o aids – like a walker or cane?

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Been walking without aids for 4 weeks or more. The swelling is just so annoying like a tight band around the top of knee. Stays swollen all the time and of course gets worse after exercising. I guess just expecting too much, too fast, huh?

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@mamndink

Been walking without aids for 4 weeks or more. The swelling is just so annoying like a tight band around the top of knee. Stays swollen all the time and of course gets worse after exercising. I guess just expecting too much, too fast, huh?

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@mamndink : Yes, you are expecting too much, too soon. I did not keep notes, but I remember well that I had a tight feeling – like a tourniquet around the knee – for at least 2 months, and the swelling took a really long time to go down. At the 6 month mark the TKR knee was finally at the point where it looked normal. The process was gradual, and extra activity usually made it worse. Hang in there, don’t overdo it. Even at 11 months after the surgery the TKR knee is still noticeably warmer than the other one, and it still feels foreign, even though it works perfectly fine. Perhaps because I am one of the unlucky people with a distinct clicking noise and crunchy feeling when walking. OS says it’s ok, many people have that. I’d prefer not to!

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@ellerbracke

@mamndink : Yes, you are expecting too much, too soon. I did not keep notes, but I remember well that I had a tight feeling – like a tourniquet around the knee – for at least 2 months, and the swelling took a really long time to go down. At the 6 month mark the TKR knee was finally at the point where it looked normal. The process was gradual, and extra activity usually made it worse. Hang in there, don’t overdo it. Even at 11 months after the surgery the TKR knee is still noticeably warmer than the other one, and it still feels foreign, even though it works perfectly fine. Perhaps because I am one of the unlucky people with a distinct clicking noise and crunchy feeling when walking. OS says it’s ok, many people have that. I’d prefer not to!

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Thank you!

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In reply to @mamndink "Thank you!" + (show)
@mamndink

Thank you!

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FYI: I decided this morning to actually measure my knees; had not done that in forever, since they look exactly the same size now. BUT: (11 months after TKR, and before doing any exercise today), the original knee is 14 1/4”, the TKR knee 15”, measured while sitting on the floor, legs straight out and relaxed. So I either still have some latent swelling, or there is a minor amount of extra (internal scar?) tissue there. No symptoms though that I can tell. Anyway, just wanted to mention this.

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