What items do I need for a TKR

Posted by sally1970 @sally1970, Mar 19 6:40pm

I will be having a TKR in a couple of weeks. What were your must have items after your surgery? I know a walker is a must. Anything else that you could not have lived without?

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I'm going to be honest here.
First, and probably most importantly, make sure you'll have help at home, especially if you're going home rather than to a rehab.
To prepare your home, see if you have a network of friends through your church/synagogue/mosque that can start a "meal train" so you & your assistants can have help with meals for a couple of weeks. Small meals, fresh ingredients, plenty of fiber: fresh, whole fruits & veg. Since you won't be too active, you probably won't have a normal appetite for awhile, so make every bite count.

To purchase & arrange ahead of time: You'll need some ice packs that can be re-frozen in your freezer. If you can set up a bedroom & bathroom on your first floor that will help for the first couple weeks (again, if you're going right home). If your bed will be more than a few steps from the freezer, a cooler for those icepacks & beverages might help.
Find out ahead of time what pain meds you'll be on. If you start with narcotics (I think most do) make sure they order stool softeners and definitely take them. Switch to non-narcotic pain relievers as soon as you can.
It's great that you're trying to plan ahead. Be brave- this is a hard recovery, honestly- but well worth it.
I had a left tkr about 6 years ago. Since I live alone, I insisted on going to a rehab and stayed there a week. I understand it's hard to get to do that now– but if you'll have little or no help at home, it is essential. Ask your doc. If its an option, check them out ahead of time & decide where you want to go. They'll do everything to convince you it's better to go home, but imho it's not if you don't have sufficient help. You'll need help 24 hrs that first week at least, a bit less the 2nd week. You will have pain for almost 3 months. Outpatient rehab is much better than in-home, so do everything you can to get to schedule & go as soon as possible- probably about 2 weeks postop.
Before, I could barely walk half a block. Six months post-op, I was on vacation in Japan. I took an nsaid every morning but then walked 6-8 miles every day. I was 65 then. My knee is still fine. Ongoing exercise is important. I'm a retired RN, btw. There are plenty of resources on the internet- including support groups. I joined one and it was helpful. This should be, here, too. Good luck!!!! Keep asking questions!


Ice……everything that can hold ice without dripping. Amazon has square ice packs…10 in a pk….you need a heightened toilet seat , crutches because sometimes they really are easier, and a grabber to grab stuff in your immediate environment even in bed…..and my little trick is I have a regular cane, w an L-shaped handle…..I reverse it to put my foot in it and use my hands to hoist up my leg onto a bed or into a car. It’s a game changer to not dreading lifting the leg. Stay ahead of the pain…..don’t let the pain grip you and then take the meds. Take them regularly and if you need to take them an hour sooner once in awhile do it. Waiting for your 4th hour sometimes lets the pain get you for many hours. I also used Salon Pas, large…..amazon…..and ran them parallel up and down the leg next to incision and they took the discomfort down another 15-20%…….a lot!……best of luck! ….


I had TKR on my right knee 9 months ago. I agree with @pachab00, you will need help at home 24/7 for the first week or so. Before your surgery, hire someone to install grab bars in the bathroom near the toilet and in the shower. These were lifesavers for me. Also, my husband installed a hand-held shower head, which made it easier to bathe. I didn't realize until after my surgery that I wouldn’t be able to stand in the shower very long to bathe. I needed a shower chair so I could sit down. Luckily we had one in the garage that my elderly dad used before he passed. I only used the walker a few weeks. The surgeon insisted I graduate to using a cane as soon as possible. You can get a nice one at Walgreens. Physical Therapy is key to recovery. Be faithful to doing the exercises–the reward is getting the full use of your new knee! Good luck!


Like someone said I got a band in PT that is nylon…has several holes in it so you can put your foot in it and use it to help exercise or hold your let straight out to get in and out of the car and bed but my husband had to help me the first few weeks. I would add to taking stool softeners to have some Miralax on hand as well and take it every few days while on the pain killers. I already have issues with this and went 9 days and had to do a CT scan and a bowel prep because nothing I did would work. After this I totally stopped the pain meds and just did Tylenol so get off the as soon as you are able. They also affect your appetite and I just wasn't very hungry,. PT is extremely important if doing it in their office is the best if you can do that (home therapy wasn't as effective) because they have machines and other things you don't have at home.


TKR left knee in 2018 and revision Nov 22’. Most helpful items in both cases:
1. Slip on rubber soled shoes with a back…not slides, which are not safe.
2. Raised toilet seat with side arms/handles.
3. Shower Bench (I felt much safer & stable with the bench as opposed to just the chair or stool). Our bathrooms had tile walls so installing grab bars and those you can purchase with suction cups were not an easy option.
4. Cane that collapses/folds. So easy to tuck out of my and everyone else’s way, either under your arm, or in a large purse or tote bag. I still carry this for travel, and to outings or to events in case there are stairs or seating is only available in folding chairs or other types with no arms.


I agree with most of what has been suggested. Ice is your friend!

Get a cane as well. You'll need the walker at first, but if you stick to the exercises every day after surgery, you'll transition soon to a cane and after two or three weeks won't need either.

Just please be sure to stick to the recommended exercises, ideally three times a day. Each day your knee will feel a little better, and that should be a welcome change. Make sure you walk for 5 minutes three times a day as well. You can do that inside for safety.

I had both knees replaced last year and I'm a male, 68 y/o. The TKRs were life changing for me. I'm in the gym six days a week now.

Best wishes to you!!!!!! Joe


If you can rent or purchase an ice machine, they’re SO helpful. Much easier & more convenient than ice packs, frozen peas, etc. They’re available on Amazon if you want to see what they look like. Other tips above are all good. Physio at hospital gave me a long strip of gauze that I could put under my surgical foot & used to “hitch” my leg up easily into car/bed. Worked great & cheap solution. Use whatever aids you can get your hands on to make your life easier. Reduces stress & pain.


Items I found indispensable:
Comfortable, elastic waist cotton pants.
A long handled shoehorn – even with slip on sneakers, I needed the shoehorn.
A PT strap, also advertised on Amazon as a yoga strap, for lifting your leg and stretches when you're cleared for PT (I think this is the nylon strap mentioned by a previous poster).
An electric heating pad. I use it to warm up the knee before exercising and for muscle soreness in my quads/hamstrings (it's sometimes more pain relieving for me than ice).
A large water bottle. You will need to stay well hydrated, especially if you're on pain meds.
Arm cuff crutches. My apartment is small and in some places too narrow for a walker, so had the hospital give these to me in addition to the walker they insisted upon.

Things I thought I'd need but didn't use, or found too difficult:
I never used the walker the hospital sent me home with – see the comments above about the crutches.
A shower cover for the knee – was way too tight and difficult to get on and off.


I am not a doc, 10 months after TKR. My advice, make sure you have exhausted every other option before you go for the TKR. Options include, but are not limited to, Hyaluronic Acid, PRP, stem cell, cortisone, losing weight, adjusting exercise and more. There's scuttlebutt of newer methods entering the marketplace. I did not exhaust my options fully, and regret my oversight every single day. Investigate topics like "tuck the saphenous nerve" and decide if the doc should cut thru the tendon or work around it. Two days after TKR I felt like I was hit by a truck which means those around me had to contend with a patient, a former marine, whose never experienced such debilitating pain before. Build up your arms and other leg because u will need their strength to compensate for the loss of function from the TKR knee.

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