TKR: Raised toilet seat, railings, walker, wedge pillow, cyro-cuff?

Posted by saeternes @saeternes, Tue, Nov 5 9:53pm

Please let me know which of these things you purchased for your TKR recovery, and which were the most valuable. My toilet seat now hits me at the exactly back of the knee (it's pretty tall); is that tall enough? Thanks.

@saeternes : we have a local non-profit medical equipment sharing program in town, where everything can be borrowed free of charge. So cost was not a factor in deciding on what I used or needed. Toilet: no special railings or seat raiser. My toilet is the normal – not extra – height, but the bathroom is small, and I could grip the edge of the vanity when lowering myself. Walker: highly recommended by pre-surgery information, usually provided while in the hospital, then you need to get your own. Was told to expect using it for 5 weeks. Used it 2 days in hospital, 2 days at home during the day, 2 more days at night to go to bathroom. That’s it. It came in handy to use it in reverse, backing in, to do knee raises, though. Had a set of crutches from previous knee surgery, and took one of them along as a safety measure when walking outdoors. Did not actually use it, but wanted it handy. Cane would have been equally effective. Never heard of cyro-cuff. Flexible and adjustable large ice packs are a must, and compression stockings – long, above the knee – are a pain in the butt to put on, but help a lot.
PS: when you get a walker, make sure it has 2 swiveling wheels, not 4. If all wheels swivel, it is almost impossible to push it in a straight line down a hallway, for example, and causes you to be unsteady rather than feeling secure. And make sure the size (width) is right for your body type. In the hospital I started out with a super sized one, a little more difficult to learn to use on stairs. Have height adjusted on your own walker by PT before you leave the hospital!

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@saeternes — The 2 things that helped me the most were the walker and a free standing toilet rail which I like much better than a raised toilet seat. It just slides up to the toilet and will fit in a very tight space — https://www.amazon.com/Stand-Alone-Toilet-Rail-Vive/dp/B015789VQI/ref=sr_1_3_sspa? It really helps to be able to use both arms to raise yourself off of the seat. The walker was instrumental for me for the home rehab. I did a lot of walking around the house and my driveway along with the normal leg/knee exercises.

Hope you have a quick and easy recovery! I was able to drive in about 4 weeks even though they wanted me to wait until a minimum of 5 weeks.

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@saeternes As @johnbishop mentioned, I too used a frame around my toilet with a higher seat, and a walker. I didn't use the walker for long, and I do not do crutches well so I did use a cane for a short amount of time. For me, those two things were essential. I have been using the frame around the toilet again due to a femur fracture. During the day I am fine but at night when I get up to use the toilet I am glad to have it.
JK

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I was told to use a non wheeled walker for added safety following surgery. I used it for about 4 weeks.I got a raised toilet seat to fit on our toilet, as I had bad experience trying to get up without it on first day home, and fractured my sternum. I have rails also by toilet for use on bad days with my other knee. I really appreciated the ice machine, used it often for pain, and it really helped.Didnt use crutches as physio said I was safer with cane and walker.

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Thanks everyone. I appreciate the advice on the walker, @ellerbracke, as I was not sure what to get. And it sounds like the toilet rails are very important for everyone, or at least something to grab onto. @glasgow46 , did you use the gravity icing machine, or was it a plug-in with a pump? Anyone use a wedge to raise the leg, or make do with pillows?

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@saeternes

Thanks everyone. I appreciate the advice on the walker, @ellerbracke, as I was not sure what to get. And it sounds like the toilet rails are very important for everyone, or at least something to grab onto. @glasgow46 , did you use the gravity icing machine, or was it a plug-in with a pump? Anyone use a wedge to raise the leg, or make do with pillows?

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@saeternes, I made do with pillows and a tip the surgeon gave me which was even better. Put a couple of pillows under the mattress to raise the bottom part of the bed. That tip helped me more than trying to keep the pillow under my legs.

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Thanks @johnbishop for that advice. For those of you who did not use ice machines, what did you use for icing. Also my surgeon mandates the use of "Vacu-Ease" portable DVT system to prevent thrombosis. Anyone used it?

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@saeternes

Thanks @johnbishop for that advice. For those of you who did not use ice machines, what did you use for icing. Also my surgeon mandates the use of "Vacu-Ease" portable DVT system to prevent thrombosis. Anyone used it?

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@saeternes I had a machine that squeezed my leg and then released at intervals, I don't remember the name of it. I am not sure, but I think I just used it during the night. I used it for two or three weeks, until I was more able to get up and around. I never really iced much.
JK

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@saeternes

Thanks @johnbishop for that advice. For those of you who did not use ice machines, what did you use for icing. Also my surgeon mandates the use of "Vacu-Ease" portable DVT system to prevent thrombosis. Anyone used it?

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@saeternes, the VacuEase Portable DVT Device may have been useful for me because I also have lymphedema and have issues with the leg and ankle swelling on the leg with the TKR. It was a week or so before I could start wearing my compression socks again. Looks like an easy to use devices – https://vasocare.com/clinical-studies/vascuease-portable-dvt-device/.

For the icing down I used flexible cold packs and kept changing them out when needed as I have 4 of them (2 large and 2 smaller). Here's the ones I used – https://www.amazon.com/FlexiKold-Gel-Pack-Standard-Large/dp/B076PG75QJ/ref=sr_1_4

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@saeternes: regarding wedge or pillows – I used pillows, putting them between the knees when laying on my side. I was warned not to use a pillow under the knee when sleeping on your back, since that will delay the progress of getting the knee extension. As far as recovery after surgery is concerned, everyone is different. For me the most excruciating part was working on leg extension. 3 to 4 times a day I had to rest my extended leg on an elevated surface (I used the sofa arm rest), and simply keep it steady and as straight as possible for 20 minutes each time. Even with an ice bag on top, and distracting myself with glorious music recordings, I came close to tears every time because of the pain. Other people had no issues, from comments I read in the past.
Good luck, get as prepared as you can, listen to your therapists, and be patient!

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Thanks for the advice on pillows. I just set up the first week of therapy (I live in a different city from where I will get the surgery). @ellerbracke , the straight leg exercise does sound excruciating. @johnbishop I do have thigh-high compression stocking. Did you get the nylon kind or something else? Thanks again.

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@saeternes

Thanks for the advice on pillows. I just set up the first week of therapy (I live in a different city from where I will get the surgery). @ellerbracke , the straight leg exercise does sound excruciating. @johnbishop I do have thigh-high compression stocking. Did you get the nylon kind or something else? Thanks again.

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@saeternes, my doctor prescribed that I use 20 – 30 mg compression stockings to help with the swelling in my legs from lymphededema. The first time I bought them at the Mayo Store at about $80 a pair. Since then I've been ones that work just as well for me and they are a lot cheaper if I buy them online. This past year I've purchased several pair of side zippered compression socks and they are so much easier for an old guy to put on. My plan is to keep buying these as my old ones wear out. They are pretty thin so in the winter time I generally wear some other socks over them.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07LDCXZZH/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o09_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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The best thing I have in my home is a handicap toilet! It is several inches higher. I am shocked that handicap bathrooms and places for seniors do not have them. So easy on the knees.

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@saeternes

Thanks for the advice on pillows. I just set up the first week of therapy (I live in a different city from where I will get the surgery). @ellerbracke , the straight leg exercise does sound excruciating. @johnbishop I do have thigh-high compression stocking. Did you get the nylon kind or something else? Thanks again.

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Hope you read the remainder of my comments, that MOST people do not have the problems with leg extensions. I did not mean to scare you off, just pointing out that a pillow crosswise under the knee is a bad idea. However, I found that once in a while an extra long pillow lengthwise under the TKR leg provides some nice and comforting cushioning (or perhaps even a body pillow).

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@lk3xs: I get your wish for more extra high/handicap toilets for senior and handicap places. How about the unfortunate fact that pretty much ALL toilets in airports and some other public places are X-low? Not the most fun thing to use when you are already short on space because of a suitcase/duffel/large purse in the narrow stall with you!

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