Week #3 post TKR

Posted by amytro @amytro, Feb 24, 2019

Good morning! I am looking for folks to share their experience of the third week post-TKR. The first two weeks were very hard but I feel like I've turned a corner in week 3. Flexion is 113 and extension is 0. Still using pain meds on a regular schedule. PT is getting less excruciating, sleeping positions easier, etc. I'm now pretty much on the cane only, using the walker only to get me out of the shower. Does this sound right to others? Are you about in the same place? Mostly I'm interested in if you are still using the meds. I still need them!

@johnbishop

@rknee – Do you mean you stepped off of the curb with your leg with the TKR? If so, that is the correct sequence – Up with the good leg and down with the bad (TKR) leg. Curbs and steps with no railings are still a little difficult for me even though my TKR was a year and half ago. I would definitely call your surgeon or care team as soon as possible to make sure everything is OK.

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Thanks to all of you for your support. It took two days for my knee to stop killing me from stepping off the curb with the incorrect foot (good leg vs bad leg). I won’t forget that again! I have learned that normal recovery doesn’t mean getting better every day, it’s more like two days good and one day bad- more like a roller coaster. Yesterday, I woke up without any pain and stupidly thought I would try not taking any pain pill or muscle relaxer. Tomorrow will be my four week mark. Unfortunately I had PT and I quickly realized how much the pain pill was masking my back and knee pain. After PT I took a pain pill but since my husband had two errands to run it was another hour before I could take the muscle relaxer. At that point I was in horrible pain which lasted to bed time. I know now I will have to slowly taper off the pills and take one before PT so I can do the exercises with little pain.
Most of my pain now is in my L3-5 and s1 lower right due to a previous back surgery two years ago . I’m sure my gait is different which triggered it. PT is using exercises for my back as well.
I’m interested to know if anyone else experienced pain in other parts of your body after TKR and whether it went away or whether you had to get specific treatment for it. I’m using a TEns unit, arthritis cream, ice packs and PT Specifically on my back.

I really appreciate this group!!

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@rknee

Thanks to all of you for your support. It took two days for my knee to stop killing me from stepping off the curb with the incorrect foot (good leg vs bad leg). I won’t forget that again! I have learned that normal recovery doesn’t mean getting better every day, it’s more like two days good and one day bad- more like a roller coaster. Yesterday, I woke up without any pain and stupidly thought I would try not taking any pain pill or muscle relaxer. Tomorrow will be my four week mark. Unfortunately I had PT and I quickly realized how much the pain pill was masking my back and knee pain. After PT I took a pain pill but since my husband had two errands to run it was another hour before I could take the muscle relaxer. At that point I was in horrible pain which lasted to bed time. I know now I will have to slowly taper off the pills and take one before PT so I can do the exercises with little pain.
Most of my pain now is in my L3-5 and s1 lower right due to a previous back surgery two years ago . I’m sure my gait is different which triggered it. PT is using exercises for my back as well.
I’m interested to know if anyone else experienced pain in other parts of your body after TKR and whether it went away or whether you had to get specific treatment for it. I’m using a TEns unit, arthritis cream, ice packs and PT Specifically on my back.

I really appreciate this group!!

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I haven't had TKR, but I have had total hip replacement on both hips, followed 5 years later by three revision surgeries, so I will comment on the issue of pain in other places.
Yes! The change in your gait, first from limited motion after surgery & later from walking differently on the healed joint, can & does cause pain in other places. After my hips healed, the back pain was worse than ever, to the point I thought it never was my hips. After an excellent therapist put me through months of land & pool PT, with specific gait training, the back pain went away. It was also a matter of all the joints, muscles and tendons getting used to my new body.
Also, I'm very glad to hear you are using ice. My husband, a retired EMT, did a lot of sports work in the past. He often says ice is so good for pain & swelling that if big pharma could figure out a way to charge for it, it would cost $100 a cube.
Sue

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@rknee

Thanks to all of you for your support. It took two days for my knee to stop killing me from stepping off the curb with the incorrect foot (good leg vs bad leg). I won’t forget that again! I have learned that normal recovery doesn’t mean getting better every day, it’s more like two days good and one day bad- more like a roller coaster. Yesterday, I woke up without any pain and stupidly thought I would try not taking any pain pill or muscle relaxer. Tomorrow will be my four week mark. Unfortunately I had PT and I quickly realized how much the pain pill was masking my back and knee pain. After PT I took a pain pill but since my husband had two errands to run it was another hour before I could take the muscle relaxer. At that point I was in horrible pain which lasted to bed time. I know now I will have to slowly taper off the pills and take one before PT so I can do the exercises with little pain.
Most of my pain now is in my L3-5 and s1 lower right due to a previous back surgery two years ago . I’m sure my gait is different which triggered it. PT is using exercises for my back as well.
I’m interested to know if anyone else experienced pain in other parts of your body after TKR and whether it went away or whether you had to get specific treatment for it. I’m using a TEns unit, arthritis cream, ice packs and PT Specifically on my back.

I really appreciate this group!!

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@rknee Checking in a bit late, but I'm glad your knee has begun to feel better. That was very unfortunate to have a fall so soon after your TKR. If you have pain, from what I have always been told, it's best to get on it early because the longer you let it go, the worse it will get. That being said, my surgeon was very conservative about giving me any prescription pain relievers and due to medication conflicts, I can only take acetaminophen for OTC pain relief. Fortunately, after a couple of weeks I only needed pain relief at bedtime. As you can, try to cut back on the prescription pain relievers, but as I said above, if you feel certain the pain will get worse then take it early.
My big incentive in getting off opioids was that you are not supposed to drive as long as you are taking them and I did not want to be unable to drive.

I do not recall the knee causing pain due to strain in other areas but it certainly sounds logical. How is it doing now? I'm sure your back surgery is complicating that.

I wish I could be more help but I was one of the very fortunate ones who basically recovered relatively quickly. I never attained quite the flex I hoped for, it's about 120 though which is not bad. My second TKR was just about 3 years ago to the day. I really did not think of myself as having pain in my knees now but hearing others speak of it has made me aware that after exercising, which I do a lot of, my knees can be uncomfortable. I know that some of my medications can cause that too so I'm not really sure if the medications are exacerbating it.

I think @sueinmn is right about ice. I very rarely used it but I do remember that I did for a while. I had a big wrap around pad that you could put in the fridge to cool it down and then wrap it around. It worked very well. There are also gel pads that adhere to your skin and are reusable. I find those things more convenient than ice cubes.
JK

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Looks like i am over a year late on this thread, but I just found it. I am 2 1/2 weeks post TKR. Still in pain and not sleeping and swelling in lateral compartment. PT is going well though, flex is 115 degrees and ext is at 0 so i am happy with that. Is the pain and not sleeping normal at this stage? When does it get better?

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@dlou72

Looks like i am over a year late on this thread, but I just found it. I am 2 1/2 weeks post TKR. Still in pain and not sleeping and swelling in lateral compartment. PT is going well though, flex is 115 degrees and ext is at 0 so i am happy with that. Is the pain and not sleeping normal at this stage? When does it get better?

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Hello @dlou72, Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Pain and swelling are pretty common for the first few weeks or month. I had my right knee replaced a year ago in April and if I remember right I had some pain and swelling for the first 4 to 6 weeks. I found out from my surgeon and care team I was not icing and elevating my leg as much as I should have been doing it. Here's an excerpt from the article listed below – "Ice and elevation of the leg will help reduce swelling. People should apply a cloth-wrapped ice pack to the swollen area for 20 minutes every 3–4 hours when possible. Gentle ankle and foot exercises after surgery may also help reduce swelling and the risk of blood clots."

Knee replacement pain: Management and when to see a doctor: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/knee-replacement-pain

Have you discussed the pain and swelling with your surgeon or care team?

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@dlou72

Looks like i am over a year late on this thread, but I just found it. I am 2 1/2 weeks post TKR. Still in pain and not sleeping and swelling in lateral compartment. PT is going well though, flex is 115 degrees and ext is at 0 so i am happy with that. Is the pain and not sleeping normal at this stage? When does it get better?

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sounds like you are doing very well. I have been thru 3 TKR in the past 2yrs. and feel like I have experienced both good and bad. you could see some swelling for a year ,your range of motion is great. Keep working and give it time.

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@dlou72

Looks like i am over a year late on this thread, but I just found it. I am 2 1/2 weeks post TKR. Still in pain and not sleeping and swelling in lateral compartment. PT is going well though, flex is 115 degrees and ext is at 0 so i am happy with that. Is the pain and not sleeping normal at this stage? When does it get better?

Jump to this post

I always remember what my second ortho surgeon told me when I was impatient at the slow pace of healing – "We cut you and insulted your body – it takes time to heal each muscle, bone and nerve. And remember, your [ ] didn't go bad overnight, so don't expect it to heal overnight." At 2 1/2 weeks, only your incision has really begun to heal – your body is working very hard to repair the rest.

As John pointed out – ICE, Ice, ice… I had hand surgery in June and September, and yesterday after some hours of heavy use, I found myself reaching for the ice again. After ACL/MCL surgery some years ago, I regularly used ice 3-4 times a day for at least 2 months to keep the swelling down.

So please, be patient and gentle with yourself, keep up the great rehab, and keep the ice handy!
Sue

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