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Avatar universal

Total knee replacement

I had my knee replaced on Feb. 22, 2012. I am very worried about being able to move my knee like normal and it still hurts. What can I expect with this surgery? How long does it take to recover and what should I be able to be doing now? When I go to PT I still cannot peddle a bicycle all the way around. Is that normal?
14 Responses
Avatar universal
Hi bboop111557 - First let me welcome you to MedHelp's PM (Pain Management) Forum.  
Avatar universal
Hi there. i had a knee replacement last may. may 19 2011. it takes a long long time to heal. almost a year. four weeks is too early to worry. i couldn't ride the bike for two months. Did you or do you have the cpn machine?? please use it as directed. after about two to three months i was able to walk without a cane for short distances. knee replacement is the painfulest surgery you can have...according to my surgeon. ice alot. Stretch alot. move as much as you can. knees have to be moved or they get stiff. don't expect miracles this early. it takes alot to recover from this. but i can say...after six months i didn't hurt or swell up ...i can say its well worth it. i love my new knee...i even went to six flags over the weekend. before i couldn't even make it thru walmrt ....i still swell after a very active day. but rarely. i swelled for six months. if you have any questions ask me. send keep a pm. i will answer the best i can.

I also have 100% range. yep. 100%. i can remember telling my therapist to push it back a little more than i could. you have to. or you'll get scar tissue. and you def don't want that.

Are you walking unassisted in your house yet?? what is your range?? it took me two months to get good range. past 100 degrees. where are you at?? and come summer we need to swim. its the best thing for knees. low impact. just keep telling yourself you'll get that peddle around the bike. the first time i did i thought i was gonna pass out. but i made huge leaps after that. good luck and don't get discouraged
Avatar universal
I'm so sorry but I hit the "post" button accidentally.  :(  I wanted to let you know that there are no Dr.'s on this Forum.  We are all CP (Chronic Pain) Patients that help each other through our own experiences.

I have never had a knee replaced, although that will be in my future at some time, but I have had my left hip replaced 3 times.  The first was when I was 35 and lived in Tulsa. Then it was replaced again 26 years later, after it finally wore out, this time in Nashville, TN.  Unfortunately, the second time it was put in incorrectly and it was loose from the very beginning.  This last time I had it replaced in Sept. 2010 and I had the very best Orthopedic Surgeon in AZ.  He was phenomenal and I had great results.

Now, the reason for all of this background it that I have several friends that have had knee replacements.  As with a hip, the same basic things apply.  First, a lot depends on your age as to how you will respond to the surgery as well as to the physical therapy and the recovery time.  I bounced back extremely quickly when I was 35 years old.  I was thin and in good health and active and was wearing 4" heels again within 2  1/2 mo. of the surgery.  You'd never know that I had the surgery at all.  The second time I was older and since it wasn't the best job to begin with,  and my health wasn't very good anymore, it was more difficult as the pain was much greater since every time I took a step, I could feel the increasing pain from the hip moving around.   Now this last time I was in my mid 60's and with my DDD (Degenerative Disc Disease) in my back and Osteoporosis in my bones, it caused my femur to suffer a small fracture.  I wound up being in a live-in re-hab facility for almost 2 mo., it took considerably longer to get over it.

So much depends on your over-all health and whether you are normal weight or if you've added a few extra pounds, as most of us do over the years, as to whether or not you are able to bounce back as quickly as you think you should.  More than anything it depends on how diligently you stick to your PT (Physical Therapy) routine.  It's the most important thing that you can do.  I know how hard it is to make yourself do it but believe me it's totally worth it.  

The next thing is to be sure and do everything that your Dr. tells you to do.  I know you want to get to feeling 110% normal as quickly as possible but remember we are older now and it will take a little time to accomplish this.

Like I said earlier, everyone is different, and will recover at different rates. You can't gauge it by someone else.  One of the best people that you can ask is your Physical Therapist.  He/She will have some sense of what you can expect.  You can't gauge it by what your friends or their friends might have experienced because you are different.  Talk to your PT and talk to your Dr. and ask them anything you want to know.  That's what they are there for.  Also, remember if something really hurts when you are doing it, you need to stop and question it.  Your PT needs to know when it is too painful.  You will experience some discomfort but it shouldn't so painful that you can't stand it.  You will learn to be able to tell the difference.

You have barely been out of surgery for a month tomorrow.  It's going to hurt for awhile.  Don't try to do too much too soon, you could do more harm than good.  You could actually damage your knee beyond repair.  Just be careful.

What is your PT and Dr. telling you about your recovery?  Are they pleased with what you're accomplishing?  

Personally, I believe that the Knee Replacement Surgery is much more difficult to come back from than the hip surgery is.  Your knees bear all of your weight, several times over, with every step that you take.  Remember that if you weigh 120 lbs, every step you take is, at least, 360 lbs. of pressure on  each of your knees.

I know what you are going through and I know how frustrating this can be.  If you need anything answered I will do the best I can to answer it for you. Nothing is considered to be a silly question at all.  If I don't know that answer I will attempt to find out for you.

Hopefully, others that have been through this will come along also.  There are a lot of people these days that are in this little "club" that we have of knee and hip implants.  A lot more than there were back in 1981 when I had my first hip done. :)

I hope I've been able to help you in some way and as I said I'm here for you if you need me.  I'm thinking of you and I wish you the very best!

I'll be looking for your updates or questions or anything else you may need.

I hope that you will be an active member on MH as I think you will be able to give a lot of people incite  to what you are going through.

Best wishes and I'll be watching for you..........Sherry  :)
Avatar universal
Thanks for answering. I am so worried about this. I have had a brain anursym, and back surgery but nothing like this. I would LOVE to be like you, at 100% but feel like I will never make it. I has also not  helped me with depression. I had a shattered disc in December and now this surgery. What is a cpn machine? Is that the machine they put u in to move your leg around? I had one while I was in the hospital but not at rehab. I still have swelling. My dr gave me relifin (spelled wrong) but I cannot take anything like that BC it messes with my kidneys. I do walk around the house a lot without a cane or walker. I was really proud of this. My pain is a constant ache even with the pain pills. They do not take away the pain. I sometimes wonder about not taking them since i still hurt just so I dont get addicted to them. I also cannot sleep on my stomach. That is the way I always slept and never slept on my back. BC of that I have been taking sleeping pills. Now I am worried about being addected to them! What did you mean when you said "send keep a pm"
I sSO HOPE I get to 100% like you. That is my biggest hope. Then my next worry is my other knee will have to be worked on. Everyone I talk to here talkes about having the other one done within 6 month to a year after the other one. I hope that don't happen.
I think my range os around 87%. It has been a week or so since she measured it and to bend it, it was -1. That is my other fear, not being able to bend my knee all the way.
Kort has told me I can keep going to them I could come every month for $25 but that is really about exercise. They also is a hotel close to me that has a pool. I guess I need to join that so I can use their pool.
Thank you so much for answering. It made me feel a little better. If U know things that will help me please let me know
Oh BTW How long was u doing Phy therapy and how many days a week did u go and for how long?
Avatar universal
thanks. My PT thinks I'm doing great but time will tell
547368 tn?1440545385
Hi Bboop,

Welcome to the Pain Management Community. I am glad that you found us and took the time to post.

You've been offered some good support and opinions. I know how frustrating it can be when you are going through rehab. When it's your knee it can it seems like an ever longer process. Most every female member of my family over the age of 35 has knee joint issues and have had to have a TKR.    

We all heal and recover at different rates. However you are still young and shouldn't encounter any complications as long as you follow medical advice. Be sure that you continue to exercise the muscles around the replaced joint as directed by your Physicial Therapist. This will help prevent scarring which could lead to contracture and it will help  maintain muscle strength for the purposes of joint stability. Ppl that don't do this have more pain and difficultly as time passes.  

It should be encouraging that your PT thinks you're doing great. Wonderful news. You will probably never be able to participate in contact sports or high impact activities. In several months your pain should be significantly improved but it does take time. It may swell for the first year following activity, that's normal too.... the area went through a major insult and trauma.

Your knee may never be completely pain free but the pain should not be acute or constant after rehab. Some aching now and again may remain but again everyone is different. Many of my family members claim they have/had no knee pain after 6-9 months, others continue to have periodic pain that again is usually related to activity.  

I hope you'll keep in touch and let us know about your progress. We're here to offer our support and welcome you to be active in our community.

Best of Luck,
Avatar universal
Just checking in on you get... please don't get to frustrated. i wanted instant result lol. it took me six to eight months to get that range. ice ice ice.  and stretch. do you feel clunky ?? for swelling take your motrin ....don't get too discouraged. its just been a month. at a month i was still stuck on the couch
Avatar universal
Went  to PT today. I was at 93%. I know I am getting better but just not use to this much pain. Also not sure about Motrin BC meds that help swelling also mess with my kidneys. It did make me feel good to hearf 93%. I just hope my insurance does not make me quit PT before I am ready.
Avatar universal
Went to my Dr Tuesday. He says my rom is 2 weeks behind! He wants me back in 2 weeks. He said if it doesn't get to where it needs to be he is going to bring me in and work with my knee and break up the scar tissue! I am now worried about this. I haven't heard of this and I was so upset bc I thought I was doing so good. so now I am wondering what this procedure is called and how he does it. he said he will be moving my knee around to break up the scar tissue but I don't remember if he said he was going to put me out or numb my knee. Now I am. Really scared! Have u heard anything about this or what it is called?
1602878 tn?1304339616
I had a total knee replacement February 17, 2012, so I'm almost 7 weeks post op. Please don't get discouraged! I would encourage you to remember to use ice after you exercise and many times during the day. I have had many surgeries, most on my spinal cord or fusions in the back. I had heard that the knee was the worst for  recovery, but I found it was a piece of cake. This is NOT usual, but I am thankful. I bet you are just at one of those stuck points, where if you persist, you will get past it and jump ahead!! Try peddling backwards first, some say that helps. Good luck.
Avatar universal
I am now able to peddle all the way around but my Doctor told me a couple of weeks ago that I am 2 weeks behind. I am at 98 % and -2. I am suppose to go see him again on April 10th. He said if I am not a lot better he wants to do Manipulation with anthestia. He said he would bring me in and put me to sleep and move my leg around to break up the scar tissue. It really let me down. I thought I was doing so good. Now I am worried about that it will put me back to the way I was after surgery. I also worry about my other knee. It is bad too any everyone I talk to that had done one knee ends up doing another one in about a year. Did u just have 1 knee done or both of them?
Avatar universal
Thank you for your post.  This is the only one I've found offering hope.
Water therapy - I hadn't thought of that.

Would hot tubs be good for those muscle aches at 9 weeks?  Mom's thigh muscles hurt so bad she can't stand it.
Avatar universal
Hi, has anyone out there had a total knee replacement after 1 yr. previously had talonavicluar fusion and couple of years prior an ankle fusion. Im 5weeks out after TKR and worry when I go to PT I may damage my fusions. Seeing my Dr. Next week for 6 week check on knee however, foot do by other Dr.
Avatar universal
I am 58 year old female. I just had my second total knee replacement to the rt knee on Nov 18,2014.  This one has hurt and swelled so bad. I felt pretty good on morning after surgery. Got up with therapy and walked 300 ft. did all the other stuff, heel slides, etc. Well they killed me that night, they put me in that cpn machine and set it for 110. I was in that thing all night. I could hardly walk to the bathroom little alone do anything else. I had ice on it, swelled up really bad, and pain meds didn't help. I thought surely they wouldn't place me in that machine again,boy was I wrong, they lowered the setting to 95. I hurt so bad could hardly walk. I got through my therapy that day, with lots of pain and swelling. I refused to be put back in that machine that night! Therapy was better next day, and I refused to use it on Friday night also,. Did my therapy and got to go home. I go to therapy 5 days a week, I take pain med before and it still hurts so bad I cry. This has been a nightmare for me. I can only get my my knee to 90 %. If anyone has any ideas to help please let me know. Thank you
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