Total Knee Replacement: Swelling
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?
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Much like The first reply to my post yours is very encouraging and thoughtful and I do appreciate it. I guess my ultimate concern is scar tissue. I have read stories suggesting that if you do not get your range of motion back relatively early in the recovery process scar tissue can form and it tends to be very difficult to break down and regain full range of motion. In other words, is there a time frame for getting back range of motion after which it becomes very difficult? Thoughts?
I have always been in tune with my body and it’s abilities and limits. Your comment that my swelling may be my body slowing me down is not unreasonable. I’m not interested in punishing myself for no reason. If however, there is a limited window for each of us to regain motion then I would be inclined to push my limits a bit.
Gordy – The formation of scar tissue can be a problem, and like everything else in surgery, it is very individual. As is when it is time to push limits and when to listen to your body. Perhaps it is time for a talk with your surgeon about your concerns?
You mentioned lack of specialized equipment at home – your PT can work with you on using common items in your home to substitute. After one knee repair surgery, I was taught to use a webbing strap around my ankle to gently pull my knee into a deeper bend. All I remember of the exercise after 25 years it how much it hurt – but it worked. (Just one of many tricks learned over the years.)
Also Chris (@artscaping) has talked a lot here about MFR (myofascial release) therapy, which keeps the fascia loose. I believe that process, with massage will help as far as preventing scar tissue formation. Also, lymphatic drainage massage, which can be done by you at home, can help move the fluid to reduce swelling. A good PT or massage therapist can show you how to use it in your specific case.
Those are my thoughts for the day – anything give you ideas?
Hang in there – this is a road race, not a sprint.
Your words were/are amazing. Im 8 weeks out on my TKR. I only wish I had found this Mayo Clinic Connect before my surgery.
I feel Im in a good place with where I am. However I have worried about my incision sense i started squats 6 ot 7 weeks ago. I can only hope this too will pass. Again thank you for the great reply to the comment made by another fellow patient.
My PT person has given me a number of home substitutes for their equipment including the idea you suggested as well as using a cookie sheet underfoot to do leg slides while on carpeting. Clever!
I have my 2 week post op appointment with the surgeon this Tuesday. Apparently all staples and sutures will be removed and X-rays taken. I look forward to the visit, his assessment of my healing and the chance to get some questions answered. At the top of my list of concerns: controlling swelling, range of motion, scar tissue formation and the most effective plan to manage those 3 simultaneously.
Being this is my first TKR my observations for success up to this point are:
1. Eat healthy meals and get as much sleep as possible.
2. Do the rehab! It hurts but is the only way to improve.
3. Take all your meds as prescribed. Drink plenty of water.
4. Get into a daily routine including, meals, meds, rest, rehab, ice, repeat.
5. Maintain a social life whether online or in person. Have friends over, go for car rides (as a passenger) etc. it’s a great diversion and very physically and mentally stimulating. You’ll be surprised!
Lastly, this is a marathon not a sprint. Listen closely to your body. Go slow but DO push yourself. Remember, the mind and body are amazing instruments and are often capable of far more than we understand.
I’m 12 weeks post op., lateral, femural portion remains swollen as does my ankle.
Gordy I will share my experience with swelling. Be patient.
While essentially pain free and mobile at 4 weeks I still had A lot of swelling despite regular icing and elevating. My flexibility was only 65 deg despite regular PT.
At that point my surgeon prescribed a course of prednisone and it made all the difference – dramatically reduced the swelling.
Over the next 4 weeks I gained an additional 50 – 55 deg of ROM. I think stretching with heat followed by MFR was the most helpful.
Now 5 months out and enjoying my new knee while gradually increasing endurance.
I sure appreciate your sharing your experience with swelling. I have read other instances of people using prednisone. Can you tell me at what point you started switching over to Heat and when you got MFR treatment?
I know it is early in my recovery I am just trying to stay ahead of the game when and where possible. I find it interesting that so many different types of treatments work for different situations and people.
I have a feeling that once my swelling goes down my pain level will go down as well. That will be a welcome relief and make PT and recovery much more bearable.
Glad to be encouraging. The swelling reduced over a week. The stretching w heat started about then and continued for the next 4 – 5 weeks after which I stopped formal PT.
Hot towel compress for 15 minutes and MFR during last 5 minutes.
My PT devised a technique that sat me a quad strength apparatus but had me use the equipment backwards applying pressure to flex my knee. After 5 minutes would shift to quad lifts and then back to stretching.
But remember what has been said – that everyone is different and we all heal in our own time.
Good afternoon @ginzy53. I was looking for your response today. Thank you.
Yes, I have also read that prednisone can be helpful with swelling. However, it is a form of cortisone and has quite a few side effects that worry me. That is why I choose the MFR and PT. And just to catch up with the fast train here, I owe you a couple of answers. 1. The MFR treatment session is one hour twice a week. During that time, one of the therapists works just on my surgery knee while the other one takes care of the small fiber neuropathy issues.
2. And I think I may have written the Heat recommendation incorrectly. The machine at the orthopedic center can be set to be only cold or to go back and forth from heat to cold. It lasts 15 minutes at the end of the exercises and all my effort. I love that last 15 minutes. Gives me time to catch my breath. I k
eep telling them as they make every exercise more challenging to remember that I am almost 80. They just chuckle.
May you be free of suffering from inner and outer harm.
Good for you @ginzy53, for staying ahead of the game. Sometimes we get out over our skies a bit but that is better than trying to beat it from somewhere behind the eight ball.
And you are quite right…..as soon as the swelling is reduced, the pain will also stat to
My knee was quite tight. It is now wrinkled and looks like it belongs to a 79 year old once again.
What are you going to challenge next? Good luck.
May you have happiness and the causes of happiness.