Aa
A
A
A
Close
Orthopedics Community
12.6k Members
Avatar universal

Knee pain, swelling after surgery

Almost four months after surgery, I am still experiencing massive swelling and excruiating pain with inflammation. I was having a great recovery for the first ten days, then BAM!  My leg, knee and ankle swelled to gigantic proportions.   My doctor has said only that I have arthritis in my knee and I have to be patient.  On at least three occasions, I have been in tears in his office and asking what to do about it.  He still tells me be patient.  This is surely not normal.  I went to another doctor last week who sent in his PA to tell me that they "don't like to tread on another doctor's territory" and won't see me again, but the PA prescribed Prednisone 6 day dosage that seemed to give me some comfort while I was taking it.  The day after I completed the dosage, the pain and swelling was back in full force.  No one will see me without a referral because this certain doctor operated on me.  What am I to do?  I am so frustrated after four months of extreme pain, all I do is cry.  I've turned into a big crybaby and that is not me!  Help, somebody!  
72 Responses
Avatar universal
I have been given the speech about expecting too much from my surgeon and my physical therapist.  I wish I had a video tape of my pre surgery appointment. He clearly presented the surgery as a breeze with quick recovery.  Post op appointment he wants to talk about another surgery. He doesn't want to talk about my hip pain, he wants to smooth talk me about another surgery that has a 12 month recovery!  I am doing fairly well at 8 weeks compared to others here, but I am not convinced this surgery will end up being something I'm glad I did.  I did not realize that he was both a salesman and a doctor.  This is so obvious that they are even harassing me to pay my bill quickly.

Since my doc won't discuss my hip and back pain, I am switching to another physical therapist who can/will address how this knee surgery affected my back.  After 4 weeks of squats and other serious weight bearing I am in a lot of back pain a day after therapy.  Each week is a roller coaster of feeling good, going to therapy and then being in pain for a few days.  One week without therapy and i feel better than ever.

I think I would be much less upset if I felt like my doctor had my best interests in mind. So far this new therapist seems to be on my side so I have new hope.
Avatar universal
Had knee arthoscopy at the end of June and six weeks later a hemi-knee replacement.  Uppper thigh, knee and foot swell after being on leg for less than 2 hrs.  At times, I feel a popping and always feel the crunching.  In tears standing for very long or sitting.  Very frustrated because I should have been back to work a month ago.  My job is very strenuous and I can not imagine doing it for an hour a day, let alone eight at this point.  Dr. listens, but just keeps me on therapy and pain meds.  No bone scan or mri have been done on this knee.  Very warm to touch.
Avatar universal
I'm just glad to see that I am not the only one. It's been 8 months, 2 surgeries with different doctors and the swelling and pain is unbearable. Steroids, meds, cortisone; nothing seems to help. For those looking for a second opinion, the keyword not to use is "second opinion". I called the new ortho the first time stating it was a second opinion and was turned away; luckily I did not provide my info. I called a few days later and stated I was having knee pain and had an appointment the following week, and explained to the doc everything. He was patient, is still being patient and trying to find a solution. Unfortunately, my first surgeon performed a lateral release which is not recommended and shouldn't have done, but at the time I didn't know and was already in the process. I guess patience and persistence is the key. I'm even seeing a neurologist and adding on a psychologist. It's a nightmare! Best of luck to you all and finding a solution.
Avatar universal
OMG reading all these posts is terrible all you suffering people and yes I am one of them.  Been some 5 months after knee surgery and its the worse its ever been.  Added to my problems is that I have Fibromyalgia so my whole body is wracked with pain.  If I was an animal they would have put me down!  I am facing total knee replacement but tremble at the thought of further surgery with my added condition.  Am taking a whole heap of natural stuff that my homeopath recommended to including fish oil, vit e, inner health plus, acai berry, eating mainly all fresh fruit and vegs, fish and chicken and pea protein powder.  I take panadol osteo and when really desperate an oxy to help the pain plus anti inflames.  There is not much pain coverage inbetween the panadol and hard core addictive narcotics - can anyone suggest good pain coverage without that stuff messing with your head? Sometimes my pain is a constant 7/8. I use meditation a lot and when I get really bad take to me bed its sometimes the only source of relief laying in the dark with a heat bag.   I see a councellor, I cant work anymore, can't walk very far and if i stand on my legs longer than 1 hr my knee swells dreadfully. The worse thing for me is that I loved to dance and now it seems my wings have been clipped.   I am only 50 and have lead such an active life - endurance horse riding wore my knee out from hours in the saddle.  My gut is to mix eastern with western medicine - find a 'middle ground' as there is no one answer.  Awesome to share our stories as it makes one feel less alone in the suffering.
Avatar universal
I had a similar experience to most of you - first of all I am sooo sorry it is so frusterating and scary experience I have had- I did the same and tried to find another dr but kept getting the run around from them almost as if they were covering for their fellow dr... Long story short after months of horrific pain lots of tears and being told from numerous OS and physical therapists that my knee is structurally screwed up- I found Dr. Vern Cooley in park city Ut. He is absolutely amazing! He specializes in knees only (which is huge) and he is so kind and explains Exactaly what is going on and what the options are- he did a second simple surgery on me (after"specialists" in LA wanted to cut it all the way open and possibly replace it) and found the original tear was still there along with a few other issues caused by the first sergery... Just give him a chance I promise you will not regret it- he has seen and fixed many friends and family members since- just did a scope on my mom yesterday , same one I originally had and she is literally walking around pain free- she had surgery 24 hours ago and has not had one pain pill since leaving the hospital... Crazy I know and maybe not a "normal" thing but I have even more trust in him now than I did before- just remember the pain is real it's not in your head and it wasn't there before you trusted someone to go in to fix it- don't give up and don't give in to these terrible dr's who don't want to be bothered with a mistake they made ! Take your health into your own hands and don't give up until you get answers and relief!!
Avatar universal
I had a similar experience to most of you - first of all I am sooo sorry it is so frusterating and scary experience I have had- I did the same and tried to find another dr but kept getting the run around from them almost as if they were covering for their fellow dr... Long story short after months of horrific pain lots of tears and being told from numerous OS and physical therapists that my knee is structurally screwed up- I found Dr. Vern Cooley in park city Ut. He is absolutely amazing! He specializes in knees only (which is huge) and he is so kind and explains Exactaly what is going on and what the options are- he did a second simple surgery on me (after"specialists" in LA wanted to cut it all the way open and possibly replace it) and found the original tear was still there along with a few other issues caused by the first sergery... Just give him a chance I promise you will not regret it- he has seen and fixed many friends and family members since- just did a scope on my mom yesterday , same one I originally had and she is literally walking around pain free- she had surgery 24 hours ago and has not had one pain pill since leaving the hospital... Crazy I know and maybe not a "normal" thing but I have even more trust in him now than I did before- just remember the pain is real it's not in your head and it wasn't there before you trusted someone to go in to fix it- don't give up and don't give in to these terrible dr's who don't want to be bothered with a mistake they made ! Take your health into your own hands and don't give up until you get answers and relief!!
Avatar universal
hiya i had scope surgery to drain bakers cyst n shave meniscus and repair that had 2 tears in ,on 5th march 2012, i was told it was succesful ,im on pain meds codeine ,cant sleep at nights ,longest i sleep for is 2h a time ,pain is unbearable ,it feels like something is wedged in front of my knee cap ,i cant walk far ,i have young children ,i see no way out ,,my local doctor thinks cyst has come back n i need more shaving of meniscus ,i see my consultant this tues ,my doctor has told me to demand another scan .i wil let you knw the outcome tuesday.
Avatar universal
hi im going through something similar had surgery on my left knee  seems  to be worse now i wear a brace alot it still swells and throbbs if i try to do alot i limp if the temp drop a few degress in the house while im sitting on the couch and starts swelling and throbbing in the car if its alittle chilly out i haft to ride with the heat right on the floor got any ideas
Avatar universal
I had athroscopic surgery on March 9th of this year stemming from an accidental injury on November 29th of 2011.  The first orthopedic surgeon I saw determined that I had completely dislocated my left knee cap, torn my ACL, torn my MCL, fractured my left ankle, and severely sprained my right knee and right ankle.  The ER sent me home with crutches and an immobilizer and said I had "probably torn some ligaments."

The first surgeon wanted to treat my injuries coservatively through bracing and physical therapy.  The crutches were out of the question because both of my knees and ankles were injured.  My parents ended up renting a wheelchair and ramps.  I had to move home with them because they live in a ranch and I could do steps in my condo.  It's not handicap accessible.

After 3 months it became apparent that my knee was still badly dislocated.  The doctor wanted to wait until the swelling had gone down before he sent me for an MRI.  I had an MRI on February 9th, which confirmed the doctor's suspicions.  He said it was the worst knee he had seen in 31 years of practice.  Because he was retiring soon, he rederred me to one of his colleagues for surgery.  

I had surgery March 9th of this year.  I was kept in the hospital overnight because the surgery was difficult  (they had to us a donor ligament and 2 screws to keep the knee cap in place after a failed lateral release.  The had to shave the bone on my knee cap to make room for it).  I also reacted badly to the anesthesia.

I did five months of traditional physical therapy. They released me because it was no longer considered medically necessary because I had full range of motion.  But I still had crippling pain (6-7 daily on a scale of 10) and stiffness. And Instill hadn't met my goal of returning to work.

I was in a wheelchair for five months and had to use a walker for another 3 months.  I am now using a cane.  My surgeon says that at this point my pain was most likely due to arthritis and not the surgery, even though I've had the same type of pain since the surgery.

He recommended that I get 3 Euflexxa injections, which were supposed to help with pain and inflammation.  I'm done with the injections and they haven't touched the pain. I also had one cortisone injection, which didn't help much.  He then wanted me to do a work hardening program.

I researched work hardening programs, and could only find one that would take my insurance.  Most of them only deal with workmen's comp or auto insurance.  I've been doing that for a month now.

I'm still using a cane, and my employer won't allow me to return to work with a cane.  I've been out for almost a year now, and I'm scared they won't hold my job beyond a year.  I applied for SSDI in August, and it can take up to six months to find out if you get approved or not.  

So in spite of all the rehab, my pain level is still a 6-7 daily.  I still need a cane.  I seriously question if I'll be able to return at all, because I have to be on my feet for 8 hours a day.  I can't do a lot of major functions of my job.  I just wonder if I will ever recover at this long.

Avatar universal
thank you for posting this! i am giving this a try! I had surgery three months ago to repair torn meniscus and have been in pain since. Still can't walk without a walker, and only a few steps alot of days. my knee is still very swollen and stiff. It feels like a wooden leg. I have had the "three month" kne injection two weeks after surgery, and also the series of three injections within the last month. Still no results. I go back to the same doctor in two days, and something's got to be done, or I'm going to see someone else. God bless you too!
Avatar universal
To You and to Many of  the personal blogs I have read,
As an RN and a Patient I can empathize with your pain. For 6+ years I have had  continuous pain of my "knee-replacement knee" ~ Total of 4 surgeries and a possible 5th.
#1 > Partial right knee replacement in 9/2006
> 6mo later, in 3/2007 due to failure, I needed a #2 >Total Rt Knee Replm.

Due to acute/chronic knee pain > I sought a 2nd opinion with a highly recommended Knee Ortho Specialist from Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, MD  By physical exam he said I needed a Revision b/ c spacer was too small.
#3 surgery >Revision of Right Knee!.  After months of post-op PT and hoping to finally have Pain Relief....the same sharp knee pain Persisted!!

I consulted w/ my Physical Therapist to determine if more PT would relieve my pain > i had 3 months of PT without any pain relief. I returned to Specialist at Sinai Hospital b/c of increasing, sharp nerve-like pain. His diagnosis for my continuous pain was a Neuroma in knee area.  
#4 surgery > Removal of 3 nerves w/ neuroma.  Finally, hoping for pain relief >"Not" and so discouraged!

Along w/ Fibromyalgia, which was diagnosed years ago, and my knee pain,
I have been seeing a Pain Specialist for three years.  i have been treated for 3 herniated discs and bilateral hip pain. I have had many procedures for this issue.

(I was hoping that I should be able to condense my blog, but it seems somewhat therapeutic to mentally-verbalized all the pain I have had now for almost 7 yrs).

Recently, it was recommended by Pain Specialist that I have a Trial of Cortisone Injections for this knee pain. In retrospect, after 2nd cortisone injection in this knee, I realized that the increased pain & swelling started in mid-Oct. First Inj was mid-Sept and the 2nd Cortisone Inj was Oct 8th!  

(Before these Steroid Injections, it was confirmed by office that they "did not use the lab" that have recently had life-threatening infections from Steriods Injections)  So I proceeded...

SINCE MY 2nd CORTISONE INJ IN EARLY OCTOBER, I HAVE BEEN EXPERIENCING WORSENING PAIN AND SWELLING > so much pain that I have been needing to use a walker all the time :(

Early Dec I consulted w/ a Johns Hopkins Ortho Specialist.  He ordered a. BONE SCAN OF RT KNEE  to rule out loose prosthesis > done 12/26/12.  He also ordered an INDIUM WBC SCAN to rule out an infection > done on
Jan 3. I received both reports (per my Request) from the hospital where I had both scans done. It states : Probable Infection.

My Appt with Johns Hopkins Specialist is this Thurs Jan 10th
According to Indium Scan > I have an Infection.  Not sure what Rx will be??I I have been googling a lot & have found this blog site to be very helpful in allowing me to tell my story and...HOPE THAT MY SITUATION MAY BE HELPFUL TO YOU OR SOMEONE ELSE.

I will post after my Dr Appt in Re:what the follow-up treatment or possible surgery is needed.
Avatar universal
Hi I Had a total knee replacement four years ago. And I keep having alittle pain but I could always take ibu an sora keep the swelling an inflammation. My knee was still slightly bigger then the other one.  I had blood work done three Weeks ago an my doctor told me my liver enzyms were really high an my cholesterol was 319 any way I have to get my liver enzymes down an one of the things she told me was no ibu no over the counter pain meds at all  so what the heck do I do for the pain now, I  have not taken anything for pain in three Weeks. I worked last night when I went to go home it was all I could do to get my knee bend to get it in the car. My knee is swollen the size od a grape friut  What do I do
Avatar universal
hey i was just wondering if you found anything out i had a meniscus surgery over a year ago my knee has hurt worse then the injury the pain and swelling has not gone away  if i go outside when its cold my knee swells so bad i start limping again and im in so much pain i gotta put the heat right back on it i can only be outside for 2 mins when its cold out do have the same problems have u found anything out yet
Avatar universal
hey just wondering how you made out with your knee i walked like that for 8 months after my surgery infact i didnt think i would ever walk right again untill i got pissed one night cranked my knee hard around to the left and something went back in to place my back hasnt gone out sense the swelling went down and now the only time i have a problem is when its cold out my knee swells and i start limping again im working on getting second opion
Avatar universal
I think you should keep looking for a doctor.I don't know what State you live in but if there is a city look there or the next state over,don't give up,sounds like you may need the knee replaced,but not by your current doctor.Doctors don't like fixing another doctors mess but there are doctors out there that will.i will pray for you to find one
Avatar universal
Hi,I had tkr and it was a disaster.first I had arthroscopic,and when the doc came to the recovery room he said,it's not gunna work you have stage 4 arthrites you will need to get a total knee,so 6months later had a specialist do it,did everything right aggressive therapy I went 5days a week was there for 3hours a day,three months later had manipulation under anthestesia.well 9months later due to excessive scar tissue I had a revision,then10months later another revision the scar tissue loosened my knee up.so then 1year later I had a nerve release and all this time in severe pain and now still in crazy pain,he's testing me for metal allergys,so you are very lucky to have a smooth tkr.i am happy for you I wouldn't. Want anyone to go thru this
Avatar universal
I had bilateral knee surgery to repair torn miniscus and this was almost two yreas ago! My knees are still painful and swell, not to mention my calves hurt so bad when I stand for very long. I have given up on ever getting any help. My surgeon passed away a couple of weeks ago.
Avatar universal
Fall #1:  Hit right Iliac Crest and low hip.  Syptoms, burning, stabbing, throbbing pain at iliac crest, burning at low hip, swelling and sharp stabbing pains in lower left quad pelvic area.  Feels like I am perforated in my lower intestines or bladder.  Light bladder incontinence occured not long after fall.  X-Rays and MRI showed no fractures.  MRI's with dye showed a little bursitis.  Hip surgeon says it is not my hip but my spine and spinal surgeon says it is not my shpine that it is my hip.  Third opinion said he was upset with other two Drs because it is both my hip and spine.  Nothing done.  7 months later PC finally tried injections in all areas without any relieft.  Went and had two Nerve conductivity test that were pretty much negative.  Can't drive for a 16 months, can't make bed, can barely cook and wash clothes.  I was on crutches for a year and the day I got off them I had fall #2.  Over 9 months after first fall I have them test me for a Labral Tear - waht an ordeal it took 3 weeks of phone calls back and forth with Imaging department to get all my special needs met, and when the day came the Dr said he knew nothing of my special needs and the dye test was a horrific experience due to their neglect.  I referred myself to an Orto pedic surgeon who only focused on the test that said I had a little bursitis.  His suggestion was injections.  i told him I have a history of a high tolerance to lidocaine and needed a stronger strength and if he needed to talk to my PC and prior surgeons for other matters that was fine.  The injections were unbearable, he only used 1% lidocaine and in the past I need 2-4% and extra or I could feel them cutting into my flesh.  At 16 months I found the North Penn Hernia Institute online and aske dmy PC to test me for that and guess what - I have a hernia and who know that all the other symptoms I have match the referred pain list.  Too afraid to have surgery, but am now having more pain as food travels down the desccending colon onthe side of my Inguinal hernia.  It is unacceptable with all those specialist that I was the one who correctly diagnosed my own condition after all that time.

Fall #2:  1 year and 4 days after first fall.  Injured right knee, right shoulder and left sternoclavicular joint.  My leg immediately swelled and was horribly bruised from knee to toes.  A trip to ER and multiple x-rays were taken at least nine of them.  Less than 10 minutes later I am told everything is fine I am just bruised.  I could hardly make it out the door on my own power, nobody even offered a wheel chair.  My PC was to afraid to touch my knee for 4 months.  Chiropracter used ultrasound and electrotherapy and cold laser therapy and later started Acupuncture.  I went back to the same Orthopedic surgeon who said my xrays show no breaks or fractures and he suggested an injection - I refused due the low dose of lidocaine, then he spoke to me like I have no idea what the difference is between lidocaine and the cortisone and said he could just use water!  Then he said I need to exercise the knee after I told him I can't even kneel down and put pressure on it.  Now I wonder if I shoudl ask my PC for an MRI to rule out tears or other injuries to the meniscus, Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL),  intra-articular cartilage / bone (fracture), Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL), Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL), quadriceps tendon or patellar tendon; since I still have swelling from 4 inches above the knee clear down to 6-8" below the knee.  I am a mess and at 50+ years, I feel my life is over for I have to quality of life.  I am not suicidal, but if God picked my number out of the jar I wouldn't put up a fight.
Avatar universal
Hi i have 9 arthroscopys on each knee i am an ex rugby player my last 2 opps have left me in so much pain i had my right done & i am waiting for an acl reconstruction & my left knee i had meniscus's repair & have grade 3 ware & tare this was 6 weeks ago & i am still limping my knee is swollen & due to my right knee been bad i cannot walk properly. I have tried pain killers physio & my surgeon is going to drain my knee & give a steroid injections. I am concerned because in the past i have played rugby 6 week's after an opp i am now feeling depressed & cannot sleep any ideas please?
Avatar universal
I had a miniscus tear repaired nine days ago and was doing great. I noticed yesterday i have swelling from my knee down through my calf. Went back to surgeon and was sent directly to get ultra sound to rule out a blood clot. BE CAREFUL WITH MOBIC !  I 've been taking it for about 6 years for a shoulder injury as it was the only thing that really worked. Even better than the narcotics. MOBIC is really hard on your kidneys and can cause kidney failure. I'm seeing a specialist now to see why my kidneys are working 35% of what they should be. First thing he said was to quit taking Mobic which I had heard before but ignored because it worked so well. I still am still at a loss as to what to do about the pain with my knee...but no MOBIC for me
Have an Answer?
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Find out if PRP therapy right for you.
Tips for preventing one of the most common types of knee injury.
Tips and moves to ease backaches
How to bounce back fast from an ankle sprain - and stay pain free.
Patellofemoral pain and what to do about it.
Smoking substitute may not provide such a healthy swap, after all.