Tkr problems raising leg, climbing stairs normally and insability

Posted by caz7 @caz7, Wed, Apr 10 3:57am

Hi I am a newbie and looking for some advice/help after a tkr. I am 8 weeks post op and struggling to raise my leg, do squats and climb stairs,also getting up from a seat is chronic. My Pt says work through it as my quads need strengthening but have tried over and over and the pain is severe. Worried as my knee gives away trying to do stairs and wonder how to get past this. Thank you in advance,

Hi @caz7 – Welcome to Connect! Glad you checked in here. I had a TKR on 1/29/19 – so I'm about 2 weeks ahead of you, but this is my 2nd so I guess I'm an old pro instead of a newbie. LOL. Anyway, I hear you on the issue of stairs. That was my most difficult PT exercise – and I had lots more trouble going down stairs vs. going up. It sounds as if you are working as hard as you can work on strengthening. A couple of questions: How many times a week are you going to PT? How is your range of motion? I would say that 8 weeks is still reasonably early and every knee recovers at its own speed. I have a feeling you are going to get stronger and better at stairs in the weeks ahead. In fact, I think you will still see lots of progress between 8 and 12 weeks. I'm going to tag some people who have had TKR's and may be able to share their insights – @contentandwell, @ellerbracke and @dkapustin

I also want to share a thread that may be relevant to your concerns:
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/ability-to-lift-leg/
I'm wishing you the best as you continue your recovery. Be kind to that new knee!

REPLY
@debbraw

Hi @caz7 – Welcome to Connect! Glad you checked in here. I had a TKR on 1/29/19 – so I'm about 2 weeks ahead of you, but this is my 2nd so I guess I'm an old pro instead of a newbie. LOL. Anyway, I hear you on the issue of stairs. That was my most difficult PT exercise – and I had lots more trouble going down stairs vs. going up. It sounds as if you are working as hard as you can work on strengthening. A couple of questions: How many times a week are you going to PT? How is your range of motion? I would say that 8 weeks is still reasonably early and every knee recovers at its own speed. I have a feeling you are going to get stronger and better at stairs in the weeks ahead. In fact, I think you will still see lots of progress between 8 and 12 weeks. I'm going to tag some people who have had TKR's and may be able to share their insights – @contentandwell, @ellerbracke and @dkapustin

I also want to share a thread that may be relevant to your concerns:
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/ability-to-lift-leg/
I'm wishing you the best as you continue your recovery. Be kind to that new knee!

Jump to this post

@caz7 @debbraw I have a tendency to put medical issues behind me, but if I recall correctly, I just pushed myself to do the stairs. We have a two story home and sleeping on the first floor was not an option. My husband would want to walk behind me when I was going up and in front of me when I was going down, but it really was not necessary. My biggest accomplishment came much later when I could finally do stairs without holding to the handrail, which is necessary when carrying a laundry basket or anything basically.

@caz7 Have you spoken to your doctor about the amount of pain you are in? I hope so, and if not you really should, to make sure it is not something that is unacceptable. I was in a lot of pain for about 6 weeks and my doctor was seeing me regularly during that time, monitoring it. When the pain finally lifted, quite dramatically, we were both very relieved.

Squats will always be difficult for me, I only have 115° in my left leg. I just found out this week that I have 125° in my right leg which really surprised me. That means that the flex continued to improve a number of years after the TKR! I actually lost some flex in my left knee, I am wondering if I now have some scar tissue there interfering. I am having some PT for hip bursitis so I asked him to measure while I was there. The therapist said that having 0° when you straighten is actually more important though because if you don't have that your knee is more apt to buckle.

Getting up from sitting was also difficult, especially in the bathroom, but we have counters very close to the toilet in our bathroom and also in the first floor bathroom so that was a huge help. I did use a frame around the toilet for a while to assist in getting up.

Since this was my second TKR I got very prepared before it, doing a lot of exercises to strengthen the surrounding muscles. Just do what you can do. You should be able to do a little bit more every couple of days. Try to not stress, this will get better and you will be doing almost everything that a person with no TKRs can do.

You will get through this, try to not get discouraged.
JK

REPLY
@debbraw

Hi @caz7 – Welcome to Connect! Glad you checked in here. I had a TKR on 1/29/19 – so I'm about 2 weeks ahead of you, but this is my 2nd so I guess I'm an old pro instead of a newbie. LOL. Anyway, I hear you on the issue of stairs. That was my most difficult PT exercise – and I had lots more trouble going down stairs vs. going up. It sounds as if you are working as hard as you can work on strengthening. A couple of questions: How many times a week are you going to PT? How is your range of motion? I would say that 8 weeks is still reasonably early and every knee recovers at its own speed. I have a feeling you are going to get stronger and better at stairs in the weeks ahead. In fact, I think you will still see lots of progress between 8 and 12 weeks. I'm going to tag some people who have had TKR's and may be able to share their insights – @contentandwell, @ellerbracke and @dkapustin

I also want to share a thread that may be relevant to your concerns:
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/ability-to-lift-leg/
I'm wishing you the best as you continue your recovery. Be kind to that new knee!

Jump to this post

Hi Debbraw, thanks so much for your response. I apologise for it being late had a hectic family week….. Well firstly good luck with your tkr, I hope all is still well with you. I am 9 wks tomorrow post op and my range of motion is about 135. Physio I rarely see as they are always busy. Ironically they are at the hospital I work t and feel compelled to go but to be quite honest they haven't benefited me much. I have so much conflicting advice just don't know who/what to listen to anymore. I went back to a phased return at work on Friday and Saturday. Friday was ok as mainly seated but standing in between to get up and do things an effort. I stupidly went shopping afterwards to 3 different shopping areas after thinking I was fine but am paying the price today. I just wanted a bit of normality and shopped and paid bills. On the last leg I was walking so slowly and had work the next day so bed at tea time and rested. Saturday really stiff and slow walking at work. Today family visited and am up in bed with ice on and wishing I hadn't done the extras. I try the leg raises and stair climbs but are unbearable, physio say put ice on straight after yep did that but still unbearable to do again on my next attempt and icing doesn't help raise it just calms it down till the next fight. Giving up.! Thanks for your help, I hope your knee is improving. I think I am just in bed elevating and icing again all week till this weekend at work.

REPLY
@contentandwell

@caz7 @debbraw I have a tendency to put medical issues behind me, but if I recall correctly, I just pushed myself to do the stairs. We have a two story home and sleeping on the first floor was not an option. My husband would want to walk behind me when I was going up and in front of me when I was going down, but it really was not necessary. My biggest accomplishment came much later when I could finally do stairs without holding to the handrail, which is necessary when carrying a laundry basket or anything basically.

@caz7 Have you spoken to your doctor about the amount of pain you are in? I hope so, and if not you really should, to make sure it is not something that is unacceptable. I was in a lot of pain for about 6 weeks and my doctor was seeing me regularly during that time, monitoring it. When the pain finally lifted, quite dramatically, we were both very relieved.

Squats will always be difficult for me, I only have 115° in my left leg. I just found out this week that I have 125° in my right leg which really surprised me. That means that the flex continued to improve a number of years after the TKR! I actually lost some flex in my left knee, I am wondering if I now have some scar tissue there interfering. I am having some PT for hip bursitis so I asked him to measure while I was there. The therapist said that having 0° when you straighten is actually more important though because if you don't have that your knee is more apt to buckle.

Getting up from sitting was also difficult, especially in the bathroom, but we have counters very close to the toilet in our bathroom and also in the first floor bathroom so that was a huge help. I did use a frame around the toilet for a while to assist in getting up.

Since this was my second TKR I got very prepared before it, doing a lot of exercises to strengthen the surrounding muscles. Just do what you can do. You should be able to do a little bit more every couple of days. Try to not stress, this will get better and you will be doing almost everything that a person with no TKRs can do.

You will get through this, try to not get discouraged.
JK

Jump to this post

Thanks JK apologies for late response have had a busy deflating weekend. Your advice is great thanks. I am going to see myGP tomorrow re meds but wont hold my breath. It's unbearable lifting and I'm not generally weak and fight pain but this leg raise instability climbing stairs is mad. How can you keep doing exercises that hurt and cause pain and swelling to ice again and do it all over and over and still get nowhere/ Others say "bonesmart" dont do anything it will all come in time?? Wish I'd never had it done.

REPLY
@debbraw

Hi @caz7 – Welcome to Connect! Glad you checked in here. I had a TKR on 1/29/19 – so I'm about 2 weeks ahead of you, but this is my 2nd so I guess I'm an old pro instead of a newbie. LOL. Anyway, I hear you on the issue of stairs. That was my most difficult PT exercise – and I had lots more trouble going down stairs vs. going up. It sounds as if you are working as hard as you can work on strengthening. A couple of questions: How many times a week are you going to PT? How is your range of motion? I would say that 8 weeks is still reasonably early and every knee recovers at its own speed. I have a feeling you are going to get stronger and better at stairs in the weeks ahead. In fact, I think you will still see lots of progress between 8 and 12 weeks. I'm going to tag some people who have had TKR's and may be able to share their insights – @contentandwell, @ellerbracke and @dkapustin

I also want to share a thread that may be relevant to your concerns:
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/ability-to-lift-leg/
I'm wishing you the best as you continue your recovery. Be kind to that new knee!

Jump to this post

I had railings installed in my town home on both stair sets. Going up it's good legup first one at a time. Going down sideways – bad leg first. If you're having trouble, coming down sideways that way is a godsend!

REPLY

Thank you @harley105 I appreciate that.

REPLY
@debbraw

Hi @caz7 – Welcome to Connect! Glad you checked in here. I had a TKR on 1/29/19 – so I'm about 2 weeks ahead of you, but this is my 2nd so I guess I'm an old pro instead of a newbie. LOL. Anyway, I hear you on the issue of stairs. That was my most difficult PT exercise – and I had lots more trouble going down stairs vs. going up. It sounds as if you are working as hard as you can work on strengthening. A couple of questions: How many times a week are you going to PT? How is your range of motion? I would say that 8 weeks is still reasonably early and every knee recovers at its own speed. I have a feeling you are going to get stronger and better at stairs in the weeks ahead. In fact, I think you will still see lots of progress between 8 and 12 weeks. I'm going to tag some people who have had TKR's and may be able to share their insights – @contentandwell, @ellerbracke and @dkapustin

I also want to share a thread that may be relevant to your concerns:
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/ability-to-lift-leg/
I'm wishing you the best as you continue your recovery. Be kind to that new knee!

Jump to this post

Hi @debbraw I hope you got my reply ok I didn't use the @ till now?

REPLY
@contentandwell

@caz7 @debbraw I have a tendency to put medical issues behind me, but if I recall correctly, I just pushed myself to do the stairs. We have a two story home and sleeping on the first floor was not an option. My husband would want to walk behind me when I was going up and in front of me when I was going down, but it really was not necessary. My biggest accomplishment came much later when I could finally do stairs without holding to the handrail, which is necessary when carrying a laundry basket or anything basically.

@caz7 Have you spoken to your doctor about the amount of pain you are in? I hope so, and if not you really should, to make sure it is not something that is unacceptable. I was in a lot of pain for about 6 weeks and my doctor was seeing me regularly during that time, monitoring it. When the pain finally lifted, quite dramatically, we were both very relieved.

Squats will always be difficult for me, I only have 115° in my left leg. I just found out this week that I have 125° in my right leg which really surprised me. That means that the flex continued to improve a number of years after the TKR! I actually lost some flex in my left knee, I am wondering if I now have some scar tissue there interfering. I am having some PT for hip bursitis so I asked him to measure while I was there. The therapist said that having 0° when you straighten is actually more important though because if you don't have that your knee is more apt to buckle.

Getting up from sitting was also difficult, especially in the bathroom, but we have counters very close to the toilet in our bathroom and also in the first floor bathroom so that was a huge help. I did use a frame around the toilet for a while to assist in getting up.

Since this was my second TKR I got very prepared before it, doing a lot of exercises to strengthen the surrounding muscles. Just do what you can do. You should be able to do a little bit more every couple of days. Try to not stress, this will get better and you will be doing almost everything that a person with no TKRs can do.

You will get through this, try to not get discouraged.
JK

Jump to this post

Hi @contentandwell just realised I didn't respond originally with the @ sign, hope you got my reply ok.

REPLY
@caz7

Thanks JK apologies for late response have had a busy deflating weekend. Your advice is great thanks. I am going to see myGP tomorrow re meds but wont hold my breath. It's unbearable lifting and I'm not generally weak and fight pain but this leg raise instability climbing stairs is mad. How can you keep doing exercises that hurt and cause pain and swelling to ice again and do it all over and over and still get nowhere/ Others say "bonesmart" dont do anything it will all come in time?? Wish I'd never had it done.

Jump to this post

@caz7 I know the feeling of wishing you hadn't had something done, but I hope you will finally, at some point, breathe a sigh of relief and be glad that you did. You really did push yourself with the shopping, etc. I pushed myself too far a couple of times but I don't think as much as you did. Try to pace yourself better.
I really never had much pain with my PT so I can't advise you there.
Being able to go up and down the stairs is a great accomplishment and you will get there. Then the next thing is doing it without having to grasp the handrail. I finally got to that point. Hallelujah! Now I can carry the laundry basket up and down by myself. I used to have to put it one stair ahead of me when I went up, or back down and bring it down one step at a time.
JK

REPLY
@harley105

I had railings installed in my town home on both stair sets. Going up it's good legup first one at a time. Going down sideways – bad leg first. If you're having trouble, coming down sideways that way is a godsend!

Jump to this post

@harley105 @caz7 I was always told, and it's a good way to remember it, "Up with the good, down with the bad".
JK

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@contentandwell

@harley105 @caz7 I was always told, and it's a good way to remember it, "Up with the good, down with the bad".
JK

Jump to this post

Very true, and easy to remember. However, that should be a temporary solution. I had arthroscopic surgery for meniscus and cartilage tear etc. in October of 2017, and I never got to the point of painless – or even possible – normal stair / downhill walking. I also felt for a while that I should perhaps not have done the replacement (9/18) but overall, it has been worth it. And my PT said it is pointless and unhelpful to second-guess having had the TKR. Working out pretty great overall, now.

REPLY
@caz7

Hi Debbraw, thanks so much for your response. I apologise for it being late had a hectic family week….. Well firstly good luck with your tkr, I hope all is still well with you. I am 9 wks tomorrow post op and my range of motion is about 135. Physio I rarely see as they are always busy. Ironically they are at the hospital I work t and feel compelled to go but to be quite honest they haven't benefited me much. I have so much conflicting advice just don't know who/what to listen to anymore. I went back to a phased return at work on Friday and Saturday. Friday was ok as mainly seated but standing in between to get up and do things an effort. I stupidly went shopping afterwards to 3 different shopping areas after thinking I was fine but am paying the price today. I just wanted a bit of normality and shopped and paid bills. On the last leg I was walking so slowly and had work the next day so bed at tea time and rested. Saturday really stiff and slow walking at work. Today family visited and am up in bed with ice on and wishing I hadn't done the extras. I try the leg raises and stair climbs but are unbearable, physio say put ice on straight after yep did that but still unbearable to do again on my next attempt and icing doesn't help raise it just calms it down till the next fight. Giving up.! Thanks for your help, I hope your knee is improving. I think I am just in bed elevating and icing again all week till this weekend at work.

Jump to this post

Hi @caz7 – yes, I've been following you (@ sign or not. LOL!) You and I have something in common. I am 11 weeks tomorrow and this weekend I decided to go to an Arts and Crafts Fair in town. Going there was just fine – my walk was pretty jaunty on the outbound. Walking around the event, I started to get tired. Coming back, my husband asked if I wanted him to go get the car and pick me up. My pride intervened. I knew I was limping but couldn't give up. All told, I walked 10,232 steps – 4+ miles. The last 500 steps were the hardest. I counted them. Just like you, Sunday I was stiff, icing my knee, feeling sorry for myself and determined to keep going until this knee conforms to my lifestyle. I'm wishing you the best and I hope you will wish me some better judgement!

REPLY
@debbraw

Hi @caz7 – yes, I've been following you (@ sign or not. LOL!) You and I have something in common. I am 11 weeks tomorrow and this weekend I decided to go to an Arts and Crafts Fair in town. Going there was just fine – my walk was pretty jaunty on the outbound. Walking around the event, I started to get tired. Coming back, my husband asked if I wanted him to go get the car and pick me up. My pride intervened. I knew I was limping but couldn't give up. All told, I walked 10,232 steps – 4+ miles. The last 500 steps were the hardest. I counted them. Just like you, Sunday I was stiff, icing my knee, feeling sorry for myself and determined to keep going until this knee conforms to my lifestyle. I'm wishing you the best and I hope you will wish me some better judgement!

Jump to this post

Hi @debbraw, thanks for that 🙂 At least I feel like I'm not going mad on my own now. (LOL). I haven't got a step counter (I daren't) 🙂 It's mad how you live for any info at all to reassure you that this will all end one day and normality will come back. One step at a time, (pardon the pun)! Wishing you all the best with it.Take care.

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