February 11, 2009

5 weeks post-op total knee replacement

Hi everyone,

Today is exactly 5 weeks out since I had my total knee replacement surgery of my right knee. Things have been going very well but I've really made some big improvements in the last three days! For the past two and a half weeks I've been able to workout on the elliptical machine without any problem at all. I've also been doing weights, worked on bending and straightening my leg, things like that. The worst part of the day has been the night time and trying to sleep! For some reason my knee would just throb terribly at night. It seemed like not only the knee my my quad muscle especially. I knew I had lost a lot of muscle in the quad and I was working hard trying to build it back up. When laying down that was when my knee hurt the worst. Finally all the hard work has paid off and for the last three nights I've actually slept quite well! I can now lay down without my knee hurting anymore! I can't begin to tell you what a relief that is! It gets a little stiff during the night from being in one position for so long, I do a little bending of the knee and that seems to really help.

Yesterday I actually got on my mountain bike and did a 40 minute bike ride! This morning I grabbed my Nordic Poles and did a 3 mile brisk power walk and felt very good, although my knee did start to tire towards the end of my walk. Needless to say I'm tickled pink about how things are progressing! I still have a lot of work left to do though. My physical therapist wants me to be able to bend it to at least 120 degrees, presently I'm at 115 degrees so that is good. I can now walk up and down stairs like a normal person and I can even sit on the floor and rest on my knees! My main work now is trying to get it to straighten out more. Ideally zero degrees is what everyone strives for but anything under 5 degrees is considered good. As of yesterday I'm at 14 degrees so that is a little disappointing but I'm working hard at it! I see the doctor next Friday, February 20. Hopefully I will have much better extension by then, if not the doctor may decide he might have to put me to sleep and manipulate the knee to break up any scar tissue that is keeping me from extending it, I will keep you posted on how things are going. Thanks to everyone who has sent me well wishes, thoughts and prayers, I really appreciate it! Have a great day!


Blake Mitchell said...

Glad to hear you're doing so well--though it's not the least bit surprising. Keep up the great work, and I'll see you and Jill at the races!

Stephani Shelton said...

I am a former marathon runner and I am almost 2 months post-op from right total knee replacement. I am doing extremely well and get stronger every day; I can do the elliptical trainer, exercise bike, and yesterday hiked 3 miles with hilly (not mountainous) territory. Working in PT and at the gym on strengthening. I dream of returning to even a little running - a few miles a week. My surgeon doesn't recommend it of course but says it's my life. Will you go back to running? Do you know people who have run after TKR? I figure if I have to have a revision after - say 10 years - it will be a much better operation anyhow so why not use my new knee???
I am sorry you had to have the TKR but you are such a running ikon that perhaps you will be able to move the expectatons for runners forward ...

Rod said...

I am 3 years out from a TKR. I was 3 months before I could sleep through the night so you are doing great. Keep working hard at the bending and straightening. It will pay off. Work that kneecap back and forth massaging it and I even had my wife push down hard to help straighten it. It works as I was practically back to normal. I still cannot get my knee to bend completely so my foot can touch my butt but I can get it within a few inches. One day!! I actually started running a few times but quit from boredom as I was doing it on a treadmill and then running circles around our ponds. Last week I ventured out on the roads and ran 2.6 miles tonight under a 10 min mile clip. I ran Boston 22 years ago this year and that was my my 9th marathon. Always wanted to run my 10th. My best time was in Columbus OH in Nov 1986 at 3:00:43. I know I cannot do that again but just curious if I could do just one more and how fast I can run one.

I am curious if you plan to give it a go? My orthopaedic said he knows folks have done, does not advise it, but is there to help if I need him. He says you live only once and if I want to do it then go for it. I don't even think about my knee as it feels good. It is the rest of me that feels it but I know that will get better.

Best wishes Dick and work hard!

Anonymous said...

Hello, Dick,
Just found your blog as I have been looking for someone to talk to. I am 3 weeks out from my TKA and still feeling down(some depression) and totally off all pain meds as they seem to send me off the wall..taking tylenol and ibuprofen...and therapy is going good,, altho I have had to change centers..But today just feel as tho I should be up and about and doing much better...incision looks pristine..knee very tight and still painful... this has been the most physically debilitating surgery I have ever experienced..please tell me when pain level really decreases and I can look forward to being my "old self"????????
thanks for the kind ear
mary July 2010

Anonymous said...

hi that is good news I just had total knee done on my left knee and i am 5 weeks out to work your quads lay on stomachak and relax intill your knee and quads are relax try puting some weight on your foot for a least 5 min. then take it off and relax and u my try ice Kimberley bodine


tristanp10 said...

hi from down under. i am 57 female had knee relacement nearly 3mths still a bit stiff bending at 90 degrees ,still doing the excercises.some time i get quite down,maybe from coming off morphine .i do feel allot stronger ,but am paranoid about it no bending more.any tips?

Anonymous said...

Hi Mary I am three weeks post from having surgery and I hurt so much. I had a siatic nurve problem along with my knee. I wish I could be with others to know just how much I should be slong with this knee. I have ice on it alot and don't want to take pain pills because all I do is sleep. Does anyone have any ideas what helps except time of course.

Diana Hart said...

I am 2 weeks post op Rt TKJR and have never been in so much pain before but have chucked in the morphine -awful stuff-now have 90 degree bend -just.But I agree the nights are worse.It can only get better!!My surgeon wasn't very sympathetic-but am working slowly at exercise.

Anonymous said...

A bit of random info and thoughts, apologize being unorganized.

I'm 5 weeks out, left TKR. Age 56, was up until 2007 very active in off road two wheel racing, hiking in the Sierras, and worked like a mule around the house. Honestly, have had knee problems since 1992 after an accident.

Trade is mechanical technician, leading up to the knee replacement, late 2008 twisted my knee climbing in and out raised floor, heard a tear, with knee swelling to near basketball size. This was my 11th surgery (lamonectomy, compound fractures, ulnar nerve decompression, ect), this being the most invasive! Have had two arthroscopic clean outs on both knees, something I now regret. They take too much material out.

One day, the right knee nearly out as well, hip killing me, left knee pain from grinding just became unbearable.

The first two weeks were bloody awful, couple hours sleep a night, lots of pain. There is no comfortable position. Never did go the morphine route, being treated for chronic pain before the TKR using NORCO since 2008. I'm about done with that though. Since the knee replacement, Aleve and ibuprofen are somewhat effective where before they were not.

Have a lot of muscle loss as I've been in a loader brace over a year, sure that impacts recovery. I let an Othro convince me to be re-evaluated in three years, even though I was bone on bone. Bad decision.

We now have a visiting Othro whom does the replacement locally, and jumped on the opportunity. Always get a second or third opinion. Went in Friday evening, out Sunday afternoon.

Between then and 3 1/2 weeks could feel different things healing up, mobility was good. Home P/T only came out twice, ended at 90/14. Preferred crutches over the walker, tossing it after a couple days. Easier to get range of motion with them while walking.

Hadn't heard from the Othro's office at week 4, went in and set up P/T appointments. It was just after week 4 where most days were much better than the last. There were a couple of backward days, spent those relaxing, leg up with ice.

It took a couple visits where I could activate my quads. On my 5th PT visit, the O bike is easy, can go up and down the sliding table 25 reps with effort. Couldn't do the leg press with 40lbs on the third visit, went to 20, we haven't tried that again just yet. Balance is very good. Legs are fairly stocky, lots of muscle to recover.

Last Friday was a 123 and 4, then over the weekend chased a trash digging dog around the yard and kind of set myself back a bit, burning, swelling is difficult to control, takes lots of icing. Don't try to run or do a fast paced walk that early!

Today was my first day back at work, think it may have been a bit too soon, even on light duty. Only so much sick and vacation time, kind of a financial decision.

The first two weeks are the most difficult. I credit my wife for getting me through that period, she was fantastic. Going it alone would be very hard physically and mentally.

Hope that helps knowing it does get better quickly, but don't expect to win any races at 5 weeks :)

Appreciate those much further along posting their progress as well. Like the surgeon says, you just have to work through it.

Retirement date, April 4th, 2013. 30 years federal service, DOD!


Mike said...

9 weeks out. Pain is pretty much gone. In P/T reached 0 and 135 with much effort. On my 8 week follow up visit, complained about odds and ends, told doc extension at P/T was extremely painful. He said it shouldn't be, appears there's a lot of fluid in the knee. He completely filled a large syringe, could feel my knee cap sinking. Off the table could actually squat as before TKR, extension wasn't nearly as painful. Relief lasted about three hours before residual fluid filled the area back up, but long enough to realize how great the TKR is over the bone grinding before. Swelling comes and goes (I'm stocky), but recovers faster. Will set up an appointment to have the knee drained again soon. Biking and stairs are easy at this point. Will be hiking near Yosemite 4th of July, feel very confident with stability. Balance is great.

Anonymous said...

3 months out from TKR on both knees. Doing well. Biggest issue is getting quads built back up. Today was my last day of therapy. Return to work next week, which means concrete and steel toed shoes. that will be the real test. Just be sure to continue your exercises at home. my surgeon said walking alone will not get it. I've been instructed to go up and down a flight of stairs at work, at least 5 times a day. You'll have days when you're down, but it will get batter. Just keep the mindset that you will need to keep yourself in shape as long as you're physically able.

Anonymous said...

Hi I am also a runner that has had a total right knee replacement. All went well and I was up and about very quickly. Its been 10 months and I have started running again I have been doing 6 kms 3 times a week and it has been wonderful to be out there again. My knee has felt wonderful but I have been getting a lot of negativity from everyone. Have been reading up on the net and its not recommended so I am not sure what I should do.

Deena Duckett said...

Can anyone please help. ? I'm 21/2 weeks post op and having problems bending the knee now. I was 75 at the hospital and now barely 50. I'm so scared. I can get it completely straight but can't bend. My PT can push it to 55. I iced and elevated well and wonder if swelling in the knee can stop the movement? It's really tight and the Dr mentioned maybe draining fluid off it. I'm so scared about the motion and don't want it to freeze up with scare tissue. I've had 5 surgeries on this left knee and I know what pain is. But I cant get past this motion thing. Anyone please I would appreciate any ideas.