10 weeks TKR (Total Knee Replacement)

Monday marks the completion of 10 weeks since my surgery.  I continue to struggle getting to a “0” extension but some improvement has been made.  I’ve now progressed from a walker to a cane to unassisted.  I am driving in my neighborhood.  I have avoided the freeways so far.  However I still walk with a limp and walking is pretty much limited to getting in and out of buildings due to pain.   I am not able to take a stroll around the block or walk for exercise at this time.  I am beginning to apply what feels like equal weight on both legs for a few minutes at less swollen times of the day.  Walking and standing for more than an hour is not possible at this time.  I can not sleep through the night and moderate pain is evident 24/7.  Crazy right?   How do I have surgery and I am worse than before!!??

Most people are feeling so much better by this time.  Many have returned to work.   I have the added burden that I must stand and move about all day with my work and really can’t be thinking about body aches and pains. That is just not possible yet.  I am still in PT 3’xs a week so that pretty much chews up most of the day on those days.   By the time I get home, get some lunch and ice it’s mid afternoon.  I’m very swollen from PT and  3-4 hours of being on my feet.  Tues and Thursday I frequently have some other Dr appointment and/or obligations like the 2 quilt related day long bees I host each month.  Those are still very hard on me.  I still can’t really sit or stand to cut and sew for more than an hour without needing to elevate. 

I changed physical therapy groups in my 7th-8th  week I believe.   I pretty much have the same exercises but I have more hands on manipulations which help me and I am also getting electrical stimulation for pain management.   It’s so hard to not overdo and set off swelling, sometimes things just  have to be done!   I will be so glad to get my extension straight and can walk and stand easily.  Most people don’t have the extension issue and have trouble with the bend.   I’m at 130 flexion on my bend,  but maybe 3 or 4 on my extension.  There are some people that do not get to 0 but they don’t limp either.   I don’t get it?! Wish that was my case!   I am also having issues with my incision area, my orthopedic surgeon says my body does not like the internal stitches and is trying to expel them.  It actually looks worse now than about 6 weeks ago.  I would love to add some hydrotherapy but I can’t get in the pool yet due to my incision.  It will be interesting, many report that the knee feels heavy and they feel like they are sinking when they swim.

Some basic info about knee replacements and recovery.  Everyone is different.   Folks have both knees done often experience different rates of healing for each one too!

You have to understand that they sliced open your leg, sawed off some bones, drilled a few places, hammered some stuff, glued a few things, screwed some things in and then stitched and stapled up the slicing.   The femur and tibia and surrounding muscles went through a great deal of trauma and it will take time to get everything back to where it should be.

Short-term recovery also involves getting off major pain killers and having a full night’s sleep without pills. Once a patient no longer needs walking aids and can walk two blocks  without pain or resting; all of these are considered signs of short-term recovery. The average short-term recovery time for a total knee replacement is about 12 weeks.   It should be noted, however, that recovery time for a total knee replacement can differ vastly from patient to patient. It may take up to twelve months for a knee replacement patient to regain normal range of movement in the joint.

So, here I am.  Not sewing, quilting or even doing much housework.  Still pretty much 24/7 dealing with my knee. But I am making progress.