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Frustration & A Total Knee Replacement

It’s been almost six months since my total knee replacement surgery and I go in and out of frustration with the recuperation process. Even though I am grateful for not having the joint pain I used to, the recuperation process is still trying.

Going downstairs is very slow, with my knee needing much increased flexibility. Plus, it is painful. I know that I need to keep working at it, but it is just frustrating. I did not expect it to take so long to recuperate from a tkr. Stairs are a great exercise for me, though.  I do notice the increased flexibility, too.

My knee area is still swollen. I was told by the doctor’s office it would take about 2-3 months. Sure. I know nothing is wrong, since my x-ray is perfect. My recuperation is just taking time. Everyone has a different recuperation time.

There is still muscle and tissue pain surrounding my knee, even when I stretch it out. Usually, the pain is greatest in the back of my knee (hamstring). However, the pain is much less than it used to be.

My lower leg swells up when I sit in a seating position with my feet on the floor.  This can be painful. That’s why I’m keeping it elevated today. My shin and ankle swelling could be much worse, though.

Don’t get me wrong.  I do not regret at all having the total knee replacement surgery done. I am much better off than before my surgery.  It’s just frustrating at times.

I am sharing this information since I believe others are in the same boat. 🙂

On the positive side, I walked for four miles earlier in the week without any joint pain at all. That in and of itself is worth the long recuperation process. 🙂 There is no way I could have done that prior to my surgery. How nice is that?


127 Responses

  1. I read with interest your frustration with your recovery from tkr. I am also 6 mos. and 2 wks. post surgery and I am also frustrated. I felt better three months ago than I do now. When the pain and swelling began to increase, I went to the doctor. X-rays showed nothing wrong. He diagnosed mild tendonitis and prescribed anti-inflammatories (which killed my stomach). He said when I got to the point of feeling better, I probably over-did my activities but I don’t think so. The doctor and his nurse both told me it could take up to a year for complete healing. Have you heard this? If so, I am disappointed. The nurse had tkr herself and said she could predict rain for a year then all of a sudden, the pain and swelling stopped. Sounds crazy to me.
    Anyway, from your account, I guess I’m not the only one in this situation. I just thought by now I’d feel 100%. Like you, I have pain on the stairs and swelling, plus a lot of pain in the knee cap area. Getting up from a chair is miserable.
    I was so enthusiastic at first, I couldn’t wait to get the other knee done–now I’m not so sure I want to.
    What have you been advised to do?

    • Hi Margerate,

      Yes, my Dr. told me that It would take another year for me to totally heal from my TKR. Agitated? You bet I am. I still at 10 months out of my surgery have problems and pain with climbing stairs. So for me, I’m looking at next august 2010! I’m ticked off but I had a great Dr. who gave me the best of everything I needed. I just thought before I had the surgery, 3 months and I’ll feel great! Not the case at all. I still have quite a bit of pain, my knee feels like a squeaky door hings and it pops out loud. I have fluid yet so sweetie the best I can tell you, is to hang in there. Were obviously in it for the long haul. Good Luck and God Bless! Write me anytime.

    • I had my replacement in february of this year 2009. I still have lots of pain and some swelling. Everybody is different but I think we can all agree, it takes a long time to be pain free. I’ve been taking pain pills for 3 yrs. prior to my surgery and still 11 months after I’m on them. I also take a muscle relaxer, (soma) 2 times a day. They really are great and helps me to sleep at night. I still have problems with steps and my other knee is acting up. My Dr. said its a mess too but I’m not ready by a long shot to go through the replacement pain again. I just get cortisone shots in it. I have to be so careful not to fallbecause my Dr. said if I fall on my replacement knee, I would be in big trouble and my left knee not replaced yet keeps buckling on me. I don’t know if I’ll ever get it done because I can’t bend down with my replacement knee at all and barely with my half good one. My replacement knee was pretty much crushed and I fear my left one is close to it. I guess we all just hang in there andkeep sharing our experiences. I find it helpful and comforting to know thatI’m not the only one who has’nt reached full healing yet.

    • Hello everyone who still suffers pain, dispair and agony on total knee replacements. I will be i year on my replacement feb. 2nd. I’m getting better but still have difficulty and some pain with stairs. I’m looking at my other knee being replaced but now that I know the length of the healing process, I’m holding out as long as I can. I’m in much pain in my left knee and leg but the replacement pain is not so bad anymore. However, I do have intermittent pain a little swelling. Hang in there folks, it will get better but my Dr. told me, mine would be about august of this year before I would be pain free. Not so sure about the steps but I take it one day at a time.

    • Hi,

      In reading your letter I was not surprised at all that your knee is not better yet. I had TKR in feb. last year over a year now. I have to say its much better but I still get swelling and my whole knee is tender. So your told one year recupe time? I was told by my Dr. that I’m looking at august this year. Whats bad is now my other knee needs TKR! No, I’m not in a hurry but I have to say the pain is very bad at times. I went through depression at the slowness of recuping and still do from time to time. I cry still but not from the pain anymore. I cry because I feel like the person I was before my surgery does’nt exsist anymore. Why? You might ask. So many things in my life that I use to love doing are history. Like, I love dancing really fast as in jitterbug and line dancing. I cannot do that anymore. I can’t run or jump anymore and it hurts me because I use to do those thingswith my grandkids and they miss me doing it with them. I know I will eventually get better but looking at another TKR is agonizig to me because I know the pain very well as so do you. I’m glad your doing better so just hang in there. Were all in this together…..

    • I’m 1 yr. 1 month of replacement and I still have pai. Getting up for me is miserable. I have difficulty with stairs and yes my knee still swells. My other knee needs done really bad too. Actually it hurts more than the other but in different ways. I too am disappointed with the length od time in healing but my Dr. told me about august of this yr. which would make 1 yr. 7 months. I’m not really looking to see that happenbecause of the way my knee is now but it surely would be welcome. Just hang in there. Thats the best advice I can give you.

    • Honey, I don’t mean to pull your hopes down but I’m 1 yr. and 3 months out of replacement and I’m better but still have really bad pain in my knee. I have good days but more bad than good. I cannot do stairs yet and I’m so aggravated with the whole thing but yes it took away the pain but on the other side of the coin, gave me another kind of pain. You just can”t win here! My other knee needs done too but I’m holding out as long as I can. I can’t run, can’t dance anymore, its depressing if you think about it much. I try not too but how can you help not too? I just heard that for women only, they have a replacement knee called the ‘Gender Knee’. Why wasn’t I told about it? I can’t figure why its always too late for these things because I have the knee thats buldging, warped and knotty looking! Good luck hun…..

      • I had TKR on both knees ,three years ago. Problems form the get go.Massive scar tissue formed in spite of Rehab ,the motion machines etc. My therapist finally called my surgeon and refused to keep trying to bend my knees,for fear of doing more damage. I have 33 degree bend in one leg-66 in the other.I have gained almost 75 pounds. Can’t walk as before. Have fallen several times. The surgeon said for me to come back when I am 65 (2 years) and on Medicare and he will “fix” my knees. That’s a laugh. Will NEVER go back to him in this lifetime..
        I have elevated Blood pressure due to the weight gain. Can I get on a tread mill and walk?I have to do something. Weary of being a victim!!

    • Yes it appears that all of us were not fully informed on the after shock as I prefer to call it. I’m 15 months out and I still use a can because I’m so fearful of falling again. I don’t know if you read my post about the ‘Gender Knee’? Made only for women and it does’nt give the fat buldgig look that most of us have now. My other knee is rubbing bone to bone and has set up arthritis too. Very painful I might add and stairs are very difficult. I still have difficulty with stairs on my TKR. I waited for over 2 years in pain before I got that knee replaced. I’m now over a year waiting trying to decide if I’m going to go thru another replacement. I don’t see any other choices but TKR for it but I’m gonna go with the pain and buckling under of my knee as long as I can. Its just not a very comfortable thing to go thru or deal with. My life has been totally changed by the TNR. I cannot walk fast yet, cannot run at all, can’t jump, can’t dance which I loved doing and lets don’t forget I’ve gained so much weight because I’m not able to move fast enough to burn calories. I do know however if I had a treadmill that I could lose this weight which has caused me to obtain, high colesterol, high blood pressure and diabetis! Crap I say! I’m really angry at all of the side affects that nobody bothered to tell me about. I have a fantastic surgeon but when you’ve passed the year of check ups on your new knee, your kind of like history to them. I’m angry, upset, mad, and I went through depression all winter because I could;nt get out for the fear of falling on ice! This knee replacement has more not so good side affects than I expected. Plus we can’t forget, no MRI.s, and if dental work is needed we must take antibiotics before seeing the dentist to keep infection from going to out new knee! I don’t mean to bring gloom to you all, I’m just telling it like it is. I know eventually it will get better but it will never replace the knee we had. My Aunt had one done in 1985 & she still hurts. I know people are different but in my case I hope and pray it gets better for me and you all also.

    • I’m now 15 months post op TKR on the right knee. A few months after the knee replacement I noted horrible pain in the calf muscle when I would attempt to walk which I attributed to the TKR (same right leg). I waited for months for that pain to subside and I never was able to walk as much as I would have liked to build the leg muscles up from the TKR. FInally I went to a podiatrist and found I had a huge bone spur growing into the attachement of the Achilles Tendon. I had to have surgery almost a year to the date last year that I had the TKR. Six weeks with no walking on it, leg elevated above the level of the heart for healing. I was sooooooooooooo outdone. When I finally could walk again, I didnt’ have full extenstion on my knee as I had to stop rehabbing it for fear of completely tearing the Achilles Tendon. Finally, I am up and walking and stretching that knee. As I said..it’s been 15 months now post op on that knee an it does get better. I’m careful not to fall but I don’t have pain or swelling in that knee. I still do stretching exercises on it and the foot is gradually getting better but that is expected to be a full year for total recovery. Hang in there…it will get better.

  2. Thanks for visiting my blog, Margaret. I have heard from some sources that it takes a year to recuperate. I know how disappointing this can be. My doctor’s office told me the swelling would last for three months. Yeah, right. 🙂 ?
    As stated in another blog post, my physical therapist told me that if I was in pain for two hours after exercising it meant I overdid it.
    Going downstairs is very slow and painful. I, also, take my time getting up from a chair.
    Still…being able to walk without pain and climb upstairs like a “normal” person is well worth it to me.
    I’ve been advised to keep working at it, at my own pace.
    Let’s “Keep our faith and keep working at it!”
    Good luck…
    Marie (aka Booktoots)

    • I’m with you on that. I have to say exersising will make you sore and will hurt. I’m not there yet with stairs, getting up from sitting nor walking long distances. I’m out 1 yr. 1 month and the pain can be excrusiating some days. I try and elevate my legs as much as I can. Just do the best you can and take your pain meds. My Dr. told me august of this year should be my full process but I don’t know if I’m with him on that.

  3. Thanks for the encouraging words. I’m still waiting for the “pain free” part, though. I guess we’ll keep on working on it.

  4. Just returned from Mayo Clinic in MN. Had one year check up for TKR.
    Report excellent.
    Have about 120 flexation and total straight extention. Flexation was a challenge for me. I seemed to have more pain at around six months expecially on the outside of my knee. But then I realized it was numb and the numbness was wearing off and so I felt the pain for about a month or so. I had a friend who had one done three weeks later then I did and she experienced the same thing.
    I also think we become more active.
    I flew from MN to FL after five weeks and flew to CO for a week at one month. It wasn’t easy but forced me to walk more. I religiously did my PT for the first six weeks and then went on my own. Weight lose, walking the best.
    Sitting in a glider helps too or a rocking chair Helps one flex without thinking about it so much.
    My Dr says he thinks to fully be healed is a two year process, so don’t get discouraged. I suppose he means more endurance, strenth, and total healing of the inside. Good luck, each month is better, Keep moving.

    • I agree. My Dr. put me at 1 yr. 7 months. Everybody is different. The pain on the outside of your knee is very common so don’t look for it to leave very soon. My Dr. can’t really explain that to me but he did say the numbness would always be there. Good luck to you and I fully know your disappointment. You can do therapy everyday and it will hurt but some things about the new knee will never go away but its nothing we cannot deal with.

  5. Thanks for your positive feedback, Joan. It’s very inspiring. The rocking chair is an excellent “exercise”. I forgot all about that. 🙂 Thanks for reminding everyone.

  6. I underwent tkr more than 6 months ago and am still experiencing pain especially when I walk or stand for more 15 minutes. The surgery was well done and the knee looks good. The first dew weeks of recuperation was good. I do an hour of swimming a day and half an hour of exercise. I have stopped lifting weights as this caused more pain. I don’t know what else I can do. Can anyone give me advise? I too am disappointed and frustrated.

    • Hi Ariel,

      Honey, I’m out 10 months from my KR and I have bad pain, cannot stand but barely 15 minutes without numbness and pain all up my leg! Treadmill is good. Swiming is great if you can this time of year. I swam alsummer and its great exercise but your gona hurt afterwards. I was in therapy 12 weks. 4 weks at home and 8 weeks outsid of home. I would’nt recomend weight lifting at al. Your body is heling from an extrme surgey and it does’nt ned the add stress. Write me anytime!

    • You can do leg lifts. Do you know what your flexion is? Mine is 137 and 130 is excellent so I went overboard! lol Lots of ice, elevating the leg, wearing an ace bandage doesn’t hurt either. Actually if you have a brace for your knee, it will help on walking as in down the street etc. Good luck. I’m so aggravated as I thought me being out of replacement 1 yr. 7 months that I would be way better than I am. I have to walk up and down stairs one step at a time and since I have upstairs its really disappointing. Good luck and hang in there!

  7. Thanks for your comment, Ariel. I think it’s great that you’re swimming. Kudos to you!
    I find that an exercise bike works wonders. It’s painful, but really does the job of increasing flexibility. I expect to have pain until my knee flexibility is ‘up to par’. That’ll be awhile, too. 😦
    For myself, my knee gets very stiff when I stand still for any amount of time. If I move around, it’s better.
    The recuperation process is tough, time consuming, and painful. It does get better, but just takes time.
    I’m not a doctor, so maybe if you’re really concerned that something is wrong…contact yours.
    Good luck!

  8. i ihope you do not mind me joining in here. i am only 12 weeks after my LTKR but have excercised diligently and from my surgeon’s point of view i am doing very well. However i have felt some frustration regarding what I have considered to be a slow recovery. It’s apparent had no idea how much time is needed for muscles to repair and now it’s clear that one year is a more reasonable goal for a complete return to strength in the operated knee. Like many of you I am generally happy. My knee has little pain unless I ‘push’ it too hard. Working out what the replacement knee will cope with is trial and error. My only other problem has been lack of sleep. That also will get better I think. Just have to have faith in the healing process.

    • Hang in the hun, your in for a pretty good ride before you reach total comfort. I’m 1 yr. 7 months and still have complications. Nothing unusual but aggravating. Good luck.

  9. hi all, thank you all so very much for posting your comments.
    As im very new to this!! had tkr 8 weeks ago, just started walking with-out sticks exercising and doing every thing im told to do by doc, but have alot of nerve pain, and i still can not get any sleep.
    Becouse of this i feel like im going mad, iv tried using pillows ext, but i keep bending leg in my sleep waking up screaming out and in alot of pain unable to cope.
    Im then frightend to go of to sleep again.
    Has any one been through this? and can they help.
    Thank you
    Lor raine

    • Hello Lorraine, I understand and can relate to your pain. I had tkr in March. It has been very challenging for me as well. I found helpful is elevating my knee at night with two soft pillow the long way. Then I put two pillows one on each side of my knee to keep it for moving around to much at night. I also got some muscle relaxers from my doctor. cyclobenzadrine flexiril this help my muscles relax at night .

      What work’s for me is icing it at least 5 times a day. Try bags of mixed veggies frozen. Use those just for your knee. I don’t sleep with anything under my knee now. You will get there but these first 3 months are the most important.

      Do your leg pushes and lifts in bed while watching tv first.
      Even when you don’t feel like doing them do them, you’ll be glad you did.

      Take care and feel free to contact me.Best Wishes for a happy and more pain free new year.

    • Yes hun, I’ve been there. I would wake up all through the night screaming and crying because I moved my leg the wrong way. Actually took me several months before I could get a good nights rest. Hey, its part of the deal nobody told us about but we will make it eventually.

  10. I am 3 mo post TKR surgery today. I can now completely straighten my leg and bend it to 130 degrees. There is the stiff ness, swelling, and nerve pain but it is by far so much better than before my surgery. I have also been told that it will take time to recover. At 43 I am in no rush. If it takes a year to heal then so be it.

    I had the the surgery performed at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhatten. It was an very good experience.

  11. Hello everybody,

    It’s nice to see this kind of forum and people are posting their experience after having a TKR.

    Anyways I have not done any TKR but my mother (age: 50) has done her Left TKR since 3 weeks back, i think it’s too early to be here in this forum, but I want to know about yours experience after a TKR.

    My mom complains about less sleep at night, having pain , stiffness and swelling…some time she complains about numb feeling around the operative area, is this common for all for several weeks after a TKR.

    She is feeling week, but able to walk and do exercises as per the doctor and physiotherapist recomendation. She is able to bend her knee more than 90 degree but less than 100.

    Can you please share all exercises what you are doing , how many times in a day , number of times in a set and the frequence in a day.

    Please share your experience how to get recover from a TKR with less time and effectively without having any complication.


    • Hi, Your Mom is really fresh on her surgery ut her flexion is good. I was just searching on-line one night for anything I could find on TKR and I believe God led me here because it just popped up out of nowhere! People are eager to share their experences and hear others experiences as well. Best place I know for good honest answers.

  12. Thanks for your comment, Anil. You’re mom is lucky to have 90 flexibility so soon. It took me much longer than 3 weeks.

    It’s not too early to be on this blog, readers range from contemplating a tkr to post 2 years.

    I highly recommend icing to deal with the pain and swelling. I’m still swollen after almost 9 months.

    Stiffness is common in the am.

    There are posts regarding exercises throughout my blog.
    Good luck to your mom!

    • I hear ya hun. We all have pretty much the same things going on. Some just longer and more experienced but were all glad to share. I love this site because I found out I wasn’t the only going through these different events with TKR.God Bless!

  13. Thanks booktoots for your quick response…
    I hope everything will be fine..could you please let me know the link where i can find the blog about the exercises?? It seems you seat on the floor..do you really able to seat on the floor??

  14. My os told me that when they do a knee replacement, they cut a nerve that crosses the top of the knee. This will cause numbness on the outside of the knee which may decrease with time.
    Swelling is something most of us put up with for quite a while. I am five months out and have lots of swelling. I also have varicose veins which has caused me even more problems with range of motion due to pain behind my knee. With time, I am hopeful this will improve. It is not uncommon to have swelling for up to a year.
    Purchase the book Total Knee Rehabilitation for your mother. It has exercises and an some excellent information of recovering. Written by a orthopedic surgeon and a physical therapist, excellent info!

  15. Thanks Charleen for your comments..

  16. Hi Anil,
    No, for the most part, I don’t sit on the floor for any of my exercises. I sit on an exercise bike or regular chair.
    There are a variety of exercise blog posts on here. It just depends upon which ones you are interested in.
    Good luck and keep in touch!

    Thanks so much for your helpful comment. 🙂

    • Hi,

      Oh, I do sit on the floor and its great to know I can do it. The problem is getting back up. Very painful but you gotta dowhat you gotta do. Bike is great but the treadmill is absolutely the best of all.

  17. Hello,

    Anybody experienced with swelling on the knee some time if you do more exercise or work something like that.


    • I sure do have swelling and I’m 1 yr. 7 months out. Thats just part of the TKR. Icing is great. I use to hate ice anywhere on me but I’ve learned to love it very quickly as it helps tremendously!

  18. Hi Anil,
    Definitely yes. Whenever I get done exercising, no matter how much, my knee swells up more than usual. And, it’s been almost 11 months since my total knee replacement.
    Icing helps with both the pain and swelling.
    Hope this helps. Best of luck to you!

  19. Booktoots Thanks for the information…

  20. Hi everyone – I just came across this site trying to find info on different types of pain after tkr. I’m up as usual at 3-4 am with medial knee pain. I’m 49 yrs old and am 8 wks post-op. I also had to go back to have a manipulation under anesthesia on 12/10 due to some scar tissue that formed rather quickly.
    I’ve had problems getting my flexion to 90, now it is up to 108. Still having a lot of difficulty getting my leg to extend flat. I go back to work full time next week.
    I just can’t seem to make it thru a night without waking up with this pain. I’m told by my PT that it’s most liketly a tendonitis and it will take time, exercise, ice and anti-inflammatories to help it. Of course my x-rays are all just fine.
    Has anyone else out there gone thru this and /or had to have a manipulation done?
    Thanks for “listening” to me!! Happy New Year!!

    • Your still out early hun. Take your time and your leg will lay flat eventually with therapy. You say you’ve already had manipulation? Dang! I’ve been waiting for many months for that but my Dr. hasn’t done it yet. My knee sounds like a squeaky old door hinge when I get up or move certain ways. I have to say my knee grinds too and I know its calcium build up and scar tissue but my Dr. has never said he would manipulate my knee yet even though I ask him too. You actually had one really fast. I’m 1 yr. 7 months out and I think if I had the manipulation a while back, that I would be doing much better than I am. Your flexion is great at 90 degrees! Did anyone ever tell you about a Bakers Cyst? Their suppose to be removed during surgery but obviously some Drs. don’t remove them and they are very painful and can affect your flexion although you seem to be doing good on yours. I have to have my other knee replaced too and of course behind my knee is the good ole Bakers cyst that will bug me until I have the replacement because my surgeon removes them. I’m not in any hurry to get my other knee done. I’ll take the pain as long as I can.

  21. Kris,
    I’m your age and seven months post TKR. What you are experiencing is nothing unusual. In fact, from what you wrote, you are doing very well. I had the same problem with sleep for a number of months and thought it would never go away, but it will. Believe me, all things will improve in time. Recover from this procedure is frustrating, but it requires patience. My TKR knee is almost as normal as my other knee, and I expect further improvement over the next few months. Sometimes I even forget that I have a replaced knee. You too will discover improvement will occur as the days pass. Hope this helped.

    • I sure wish my knee felt like that! Sometime it almost feels like I’m carrying a bowling ball around it. Like I’ve said before, everybodys different. Bless you!

  22. Kris…having my leg “flatten out” was one of my main concerns. Two ways to work on this: sit in a chair and extend your leg, have your foot placed on another chair. There will be a space between the two chairs allowing the knee to be nonpropped. Place a weight on your knee. Keep it there for as long as you can handle it. It will be painful. Start out with a 2 pound weight and increase as time goes on. Also, increase your time doing this as you progress. Be sure to ice afterwards. This worked wonders for me. Good luck! I have not had any manipulations.

    David…thanks for your encouragement. 🙂 It’s refreshing. Kudos to you!

    Thank you both for visiting my blog and commenting. 🙂

    • I do this too to get my knee to full extension. I sit on the floor and put a rolled towel behind my ankle, the I put weights on my knee. It will go to 0 extension. At first it was very painful on the muscles and sore behind the knee but each time I do it, it gets better and less painful!

    • My leg flattened out during therapy at home. My therapist was awesome but dang it sure hurt! I would cry everytime he came because the idea is to get the new knee to come up and the leg to flatten. I promise you, when your new knee cap comes up, your leg will flatten down. I love this site! Helps me a lot!

  23. To Booktoots and David:
    Thanks so much for your comments, good information and support! I feel much better now and will keep on going with my exercises.
    Thanks again and Have a Happy New Year!!!

  24. You’re welcome, Kris.
    As the modern day philosopher, Red Green, likes to say…”We’re all in this together.” (That’s my attempt at a joke. For those who don’t know…Red Green is a fictional character with a popular Canadian television/comedy show).

  25. This is my first entry, but have been reading the sight off and on for a few weeks. I am 8 wks out from tkr. Started out 90deg when I left hosp. Has gradually decreased ever since. Now down to 45 deg. PT says quad muscle won’t release. On muscle relaxers, but doesn’t seem to be helping. They are talking about manipulating. Won’t this be like starting all over again? I am 54 yrs old and seriosly thought I would be back to work by now(construction). Very frustrating! Any advice on the manipulation?


  26. the best excercise to get the flexion, straightening is to do your quadsets with a pillow under your ankle. and the best excercise to strenghten the muscles are the quadsets. i do them all the chance i get. watching tv, standing, when i go to bed, when i wake up at night. i think ii also helps with stiffness. and the best antiinflammatory you can take for yourself is FISH OIL. i take 1 tsp a day of the liquid PRN BRAND that my os has help developed. i can’t be without it. and of course it has other advantages to taking it. look it up online sometime. but the biggest thing you can do for your recovery is to BE POSITIVE. attitude is a really big part of recovery. and also don’t expect your doctors to tell you EVERYTHING. not that they are keeping anything from you its just that there is so much involved and so many patients with different issues, you have to be proactive for your own health. there are many resources to get information, form the internet to the library to sources like this, where people tell you their experiences. you are in charge of your own health so do your homework and ask all the questions you want answered. everyones recovery is different by age, previous surgeries, type of tkr put in etc. but in the end whether it be one year or less, the result will be worth it. i’m sure you all will think so for one reason or the other. take care, excercise, and think positively, and take fish oil if you can. god bless you all.

  27. Wow, Sharon, what a great comment! Thanks for sharing.:)

    And, Tom…I’m not familiar with manipulation myself. Maybe others visiting here will be, though. Good luck!

    • Without trying to sound “uppity” I am somewhat of an authority on TKR, manipulations, you name it. I am 52 and have had both knees replaced, one revised and in 4 days will have the other revised. I have had to have manipulations with all surgeries due to quick build-up of scar tissue. If I have learned anything,k it is to be patient, and not unlike pregnancy and delivery, everyone’s experience is different, and there is a wide range of what’s normal. It does hurt, and it does take time. “I have also had different degrees of success with different surgeries…same Dr., same knees, just diffferent results. Be patient and be kind to yourself. It’s a big surgery.

      • I couldn’t agree with you more! There are no two knees the same, not even your own. Had a tkr and in 11 mos had a revision. Prior to that I had 3 surgeries on that same knee. And will be up for another revision before june. Different degrees of success, oh yeah. Be patient and be kind to yourself, yes and to others, even though you are in pain and discouraged. It is a big surgery and takes a big amount of patience and lot of hard work. how long before you needed revisions and what did they revise? I will be turning 50 in a few weeks and never expected to be this way when I started to have knee surgeries 5 years ago! I guess the older folks have better results than us youngins for some reason. But I wish you better results. Good luck and take care. keep us posted.

      • Question for all: I am going in for TKR revision in 3 days. This will be my 6th knee surgery this year, and 16th lifetime. My Dr. uses and epidural fwith morphine for pain control after surgery, but the morphine makes me insane with itching. Each time I have it it gets a little worse. Benedryl does not help. Has anyone had any good pain control with any other medication? Dalaudid(sp?) or Fentynal?
        Please advise, and quickly….Thanks!

        • Christy,

          My Dr. took very good care of me when it came to controlling pain. I was on the morophine, perocet and I also had a temporary nerve block to get me through e pain until I was released from the hospital. Dalaudid made me forget the exsisted. I did not like it at all. Percocet was best for me but I had 2 at a time 8 times a day at first. Now I use 2 to 3 a day. Percocet is my recomendation with the nerve block. God luck, God Bless…..Write me anytime.

        • You might read the article at the link posted below re your itching problem.
          The answer is near the bottom of the article, but the entire thing is worth reading…very interesting!

          Good Luck!

          • Sorry I took so long to respond. This was great information. I appreciate the site. Thank you. I already had surgery and this time they used Fentynal (sp?) I had much less itching. Yea!

  28. Hi Guys, I had tkr 8 months ago and I’m having problem with nerve sensation that feels like tingling,from the inner side of the leg just below the plate .to the tibial . muscle below the plate. It goes to the ankle at times with a tingling sensation. I’m 66 years old,female and depressed. The xrays are normal and my doctor says it could be my back? He is very good and says we will find out what the problem is. I go in next tuesday to see him again and will probably have a cat scan done.. I know they say it can take a year to recover but has anyone had this problem? It is my right knee

  29. Hi Mary,
    I have the same thing, but on the outer portion of my tkr leg. I was told it is due to extensive nerve damage caused by bone spurs that I had prior to surgery.
    The tingling can go down to my foot. The tingling is not as common as the pain. It can go from my hip down to my knee. I just live with it, cuz there’s no way I’m going through another surgery (if one is even available for that).
    You’re not alone. Good luck & keep in touch!

  30. i am 49 and 5 mos tkr. this knee had a scope arthoscopy done. it did not really help but i had this numbness on the innerside of the knee where he went in with the scope and that is where the saphenous nerve is, a year later the knee was no better or the numbness. so he went in on an open procedure, down the middle and cleaned it up again, drilled some holes in the kneecap to form some natural cartiledge, cut off some of the kneecap, did a lateral release again and also seen that the saphenous nerve was entrapped in scar tissue so he did a saphenous neurectomy to release the nerve fibers. a year later still no improvement. did another scope to clean out. still in pain can’t do anything without pain. and all of this is due to a pothole under my kneecap due to osteoarthritis. now i have numbness throughout the whole knee. i feel every movement that my joint and muscles make because it is numb still. a year later a tkr after much research, second, third and fourth opinions from surgeons all over the valley. with the opinions that none of them want to touch me at this point because of the previous surgeries and mainly my age. a tkr at age 48 is not done . i even went to get a nerve study and muscle study. which turned out the there was not nerve damage or muscle lost even though i was numb and could not step into my knee anymore to walk up hills, down hills, steps etc. did my homework on the type of knee he wanted to put in. talked with my surgeon again in detail and decided that i had nothing to loose at this point except my natural knee. and now i have no pain in bending and alot more range of motion. but i am still numb, weakness on doing steps and now have a 3 step cracking when i walk. which my surgeon attributes to either scar tissue or the bearing may be too small. if thats the case then it requires another surgery. which has to be done or it will wear out too soon because it keeps hitting. wow now that i write my journey in words i am a little depressed. so go ahead be depressed and then stand up and do what you need to do. keep up the hard work it takes to get the results you need to have a quality of life that you can live with. have faith in your surgeon and therapists. and move on. if i can do it anyone can. people call me crazy to go through all this but only you can understand it all. good luck with your appointment and would love to hear about your outcome. i have a feeling that you will be fine mary. god bless you and take care.

  31. Thanks Sharon, I will let you all know the outcome. God bless and keep the faith. I have heard about the saphenous nerve and I will ask the Dr. about it when I go. Mary

  32. Thanks everyone for your comments. I am 10 wks post right tkr and I have found this blog very helpful. I also thought after a few weeks I would be back to normal but I know now it will take awhile. Sleeping is my worst time. I fall asleep Ok but wake after a couple of hours and toss and turn the rest of the night. I can’t sleep on my back. I fall asleep on my left but wake up and my knee is bent. How does everyone keep the leg straight when sleeping? Thanks

  33. All coments have helped me. I am just 4 weeks from TKR and frustrated by pain and lack of flexibility. By reading your coments I am feeling much better that this is a 6month plus recovery.
    I need pain medicine at night when I wake up from pain and than maybe once more during day, trying to cut back as its a narcotic.
    Funny that doc’s etc. don’t discuss length of recurperation or if they did I didn’t read or hear it (and I read a lot of stuff on tkr).

    Thanks for comments, especially those that finally started to see full recovery.

  34. Maggie: Sleep? What’s that? The best way for me to keep my leg straight is to lay on my back and place it on a pillow.
    Have you tried placing a pillow between your knees? That may help keep your bionic knee straight. Just a thought…

    Tom: Welcome! Recovery is time consuming and frustrating. I agree that us patients are unprepared for it. That’s one of the reasons I started writing about my experiences. Luckily, we’re not alone….:)

  35. Marge, Don’t worry about your knee being bent at night, just make sure you do straightening exercises in the day. Two that work for me, place your foot on a chair/ hassock far enough away to cause the leg to be a straight as possible and use a weight just above the knee, not on the knee, it takes a year to two years for the knee to totally heal. A second way is to put a weight around your ankle, lay on your stomach on your bed, with only your legs hanging over. The weight will help straighten the knee.
    I am 6 months out from tkr and try to bend my knee when I sleep as much as I can handle. once it is in a comfortable position I sleep better. I use a pillow, but not between my knees, I prop my knee on my pillow and lay on the opposite side. The knee is bent and I have no problems with it in the morning, other than the usual stiffness.

    Bootstoots -I can’t imagine how frustrated you must have been on Friday. Some days are just so difficult. Thank goodness icing helps you! I do know that with time, we will all recover and look back and “probably” say, it was the best thing we did. :>)
    Hang in there!

  36. Charleen,
    I forgot about the “exercise” of laying on your stomach, lower leg over side, with a weight on ankle. That’s a great one. PAINFUL….but does its job. Thanks for reminding us. 🙂

  37. Yes, it really works! I had a friends in North Carolina who was given that exercise and I used it faithfully. When I went back for my 3 month check up my leg was straight and I have really never had a problem since.

  38. Wow, so glad I started looking for “after knee surgery pain” and found this blog! I am 55 year old female, 8 weeks post tkr…..still off work for another 2 weeks. I am frustrated at the slow rehab process, when my Dr. originally said I would be off work for 6 weeks.

    I am still experiencing stiffness, pain, swelling, and a new “nerve tingling/shooting up my leg” pain on the outer knee.

    I was not told pre-op that the younger you are, the more difficult it is to rehab the knee, and that scar tissue can be a problem. A little annoyed at learning that after the fact.

    I must be able to stand/walk on a concrete floor for 8 hours a day (not at first)…….I never sit, there is no carpet, just a couple of anti-fatigue mats in my office. Today I reached 104 Degrees bend with help, but my PT said 110 (on my own) is what the Dr wants. Ouch.

    This has been more than I bargained for, and I did my research and talked to 5 people who’d had this done…..however, all but one person was at least 20 years older than me.

    I will continue reading…..thanks!

  39. This is a great source of relief. Thank you to all for your comments and experiences.

    It’ s been almost 4 weeks since my TKR and have been very frustrated with the vicious cycle of “do nothing and you’re stiff”…exercise and you’re stiff and in pain.”

    I had physical therapy prior to surgery so I’m now able to move around the house without a cane or walker. I do use the cane when I go out, security.

    I so want to have full range of motion, now. Howvever, after reading the various comments, in this wonderful blog, I know I’m not alone in my frustrations and experiences. My last measurement was at 95 degrees, so I guess I’m ok for now. Of course, it’s a whole lot less after I stop the exercise.

    I will be doing the exercises with weights on my ankle (in bed, of course) and hope to report back on my progress. Also, my PT says I’m ready to go to a Sports Center for a more rigorous workout.

    Again, thanks to all.

  40. Debi,
    Welcome! Glad you’re getting use out of this blog – that’s the purpose. I was feeling like I was alone in this tkr recuperation, so just starting writing about it. Seems that others are going through the same things…:)
    Good luck!

  41. Thanks………I see my doctor on the 21st and he should release me to go back to work then……I am working very hard this week to do everything I can to get the dang thing to bend MORE……..

    My job involves standing/walking on a concrete floor, so that’s my main concern when I go back. Today, I wore my work shoes (which are just a solid black version of my New Balance tennis shoes) and my support hose that I normally wear to work…..just trying to get back into the swing, and see how it feels.

    Now, if I could just get motivated enough to dismantle and pack away the Christmas tree…..

    I really should have googled more and found this blog before my surgery!

    Good to know I’m not alone…..


  42. I too had a TKR at the Mayo Clinic and was told it could take two years to have it completely healed. I am at fifteen months and it still can hurt at times although my strength and flexibility are good. I did have an accident three weeks ago stumbling over cement piece in a parking lot and it has aggravated the leg and knee again. Has anyone else done this? Also this leg gets colder sometimes then the other one.

  43. Had total knee replacment about 12 weeks ago and went thru rehab with flying colors. By the fourth week my knee felt great. Then about the sixth week I woke up and my knee was in pain and hurting. This is the sixth week after that and my knee is still hurting. Sometimes it is so stiff I can hardly get up and going from a chair and has a tendency to bother me in bed. The doctor told me it could take several months to recover but this is getting old. THey don’t tell you all before the surgery. I guess I am not the only one who has trouble as my friend can only bend his knee partially.

  44. Just searching for a website about pain as I had tkr on right leg in August 08 and still have stiffness and pain on shin when I drive sometimes. I too thought it would heal faster as I had a partial on left knee 2 years ago and it is fine…don’t even know I have a partial. I am 56 yrs. young and was always doing physical activities like jazzercise and aerobic kickboxing before osteoarthritis kicked in – so this has been very disheartening journey.

    Also experiencing the same frustration as booktoots when it comes to stairs. The stairs are a challenge – still going down one at a time and trying to go down steps normally. I do the stairs at work and try every day – up and down to get better. Even my family can’t believe I’m so slow on the stairs still. My friend who had tkr 2 years ago said it just takes time and patience and to keep working on the stairs.

    Sleep- I can’t determine if it is due to the knee or just that time in my life where I have broken sleep. Usually sleep for 4 hours and then toss and turn. The knee is stiff in the morning and the cold weather hasn’t helped either. Everyone has told me to give it a year – so after reading these comments…I’ll continue with the exercises and hope come August it is better.

    For those of you who have had tkr in the last 4-6 weeks – it does get better just be sure to do all the rehab. I can at least go shopping now and walk for a good 2-3 miles which I couldn’t do last year.

  45. I am replying after visiting my orthopedic surgeon after tkr and he is still puzzled over the tingling sensation and sent me to a Dr. in orthopedic bone and spine specialist. They did a MRI,plus Xrays and he said my back look like a 35 year old. That’s great since I’ m 66 years old. He is sending me to a nerve specialist and I will have a nerve conduction test done next monday the 26th. It may be I just need to excerise more and do the time. I’m now almost 9 months post tkr. They say it could be a year or more before everything is normal? I have a wonderful surgeon and he told me that we will see this thing through and he wants me to be not 100percent but 110percent well. He was impressed that I could bend my knee to 125 degrees

  46. sorry I missed my flexion . It shoud be 120 when I am setting but a lot less when I lie down.
    does anyone else have this problem?. Keep the faith and exercise and hang in there. Mary

  47. hey mary,
    i have been wondering how you were making out with your appointment. good news on the back! a great idea going for a nerve study. that will show you so much. i am surprised that they didn’t do that first. because it is so easy to hit a nerve in a knee surgery, as they did with my saphenous nerve i told you about. i don’t understand your flexion problem you speak of. 125 is a great flexion. but what do you mean alot less when lying down. do you mean like with heal slides to get a bend? if so, i questioned that also in pt and the therapist told me that you use a different muscle in your quad to bend it that way. what they did in pt for me was to stretch my quad. they did it 2 ways. one way was to lye flat on back close to edge of table or bed and hang the leg over side while the therapist would grab by ankle and pull it back. keeping your hip on the table, or lay on your stomach and they put a wedge under my leg and he grabbed my ankle and lifted my leg up until i felt a stretch in my quads. i hope i explained them sufficiently so you can imagine the excercise. it works great and felt so good after doing it. unfortunatly someone has to help you with these. the next time i came for pt she could not believe how much rom i got from last session. the heal slides got so much easier. pt is very important but you have to communicate with them, because they have an excercise for everything. i’m sure that you are no longer doing pt though as i am only doing on my own too. but get someone to help you with these. i can go into my pt place anytime and talk to them and they will print out excercises for you. maybe yours will to. anyway, hang in there i think your on your way to getting perfect. this test will tell them alot and then they can get you something to help with whatever they find. the test is not painful but very informative as they usually explain what is happening as they do it. at least mine did. ask them what you want to know because the results are right in front of them immediately as they do the test. keep in touch and stay positive. i’ll be thinking of you. sharon

  48. Good news! I get to return to work next Monday….today I got 110 degrees flex which was the best so far.

    I am starting back next week, just 5 hours a day M,T,Th, and F…..that’s with a lunch in the middle so I can sit and relax.

    My hubby and I have started going to the local middle school and walking the track there, every afternoon, so that will help us both, as he is losing weight.

    My knee is far from 100%…..but I’ve got to go back to work!

    I’ll come back and give an update after that first day on my feet…lol


  49. Knee started feeling better the last two days but I started to fall and twisted my knee. Really felt good. It seems to me even though the dr. and rhab said my knee is in good shape a person still loses a lot of strength in that leg. My advice is to take care when doing something and don’t take any chance. Mary just keep up the exercise and time will heal. I talked to a man tonite and he has been having swelling and pain for almost a year. The docs don’t always tell us the way it is which may be good otherwise we wouldn’t try to get relief.

  50. I have had both knees done at the same time mid December 08, now in my 6th week. This site is awesome since now I know I am not alone. I work pretty hard at PT, and at home execrise but afraid of getting back to work (stairs and a full 8 hour day) , taking public transportation in Chicago, and just doing what I do normally. I am still glad I did bilateral TKR, I feel better when I stand and walk. I can now plan trips in the summer, etc. I guess this is going to be longer than I though to be normal, thats all. Thanks for sharing.

  51. I made it through my first day back at work…….worked 8-230, a total of 5.5 hours…..took about an hour for lunch, came home put ice pack on my knee, took a pain pill then went back and was okay the rest of the shift.

    I had to take a few “sit-downs” during the day,, but overall it wasn’t as bad as I expected it might be! However, tomorrow may be another story. I did take a long nap when I got home.

    Our weather is turning nasty icy tomorrow evening through Wednesday…..so I’m glad I’m not working Wednesday, and will be home before the ice hits tomorrow night!

    I will definitely take a pain pill to work with me every day from now on…..just in case! I have been hoarding them like gold for this week!

    Hope everyone is staying warm and dry!


  52. Greetings from Mary in Alabama. Sorry you are getting bad weather. It has been cold here too. I went for my nerve conduction test Monday and everything looked great, no nerve or muscle damage. Dr. Goodman is a physiatrist(physical medicine Dr.) specializing in nerve, muscle and spinal disorders. He is one of the best in the southeast. He will do a lumbar (L5) spinal block this thursday using a fluoroscope to find the site for injection. He will also do a sympathetic nerve block in addition to the lumbar block. He thought that with time I would get back to normal? These injections should help with the tingling and numbness I have been feeling. I really believe that in some people it just takes time and FAITH. I know it also takes a great deal of patience on the part of your loved one to go through this with you and I have after 49 years of marriage the best. If this doesn”t work I am just going to let time take it’s course as I don’t want to see another Dr. at this time. Thank you Booktoots’s for this outlet .It’s good to talk to other people and know that my problems are small compared to others. God Bless Mary

  53. Thanks so much for your feedback and kudos, Mary. You comment is very interesting.

    This blog provides me with as much enjoyment as it does you and everyone else who visits here and takes part. 🙂

  54. Hello,

    I am 58 years old and had bilateral TKR on June 5th, 2008, eight months ago. I had one previous surgery on my left knee to remove lose cartilage about ten years ago which caused much stiffness in that knee.

    My knees were so bad the Dr said he wanted to do both at the same time as one was not strong enough to support the other during recuperation so suggested getting it all over with at the same time. I thought he was crazy, and then, upon awakening in recovery, I though I was crazy! I’m very glad now that I did them both at the same time so I won’t have to do this again.

    My therapy was stopped a few months ago, although my husband and I have continued to stretch and bend my legs daily. I’ve recently begun using a recumbent bike daily at home and am finding it invaluable. It’s helped tremendously in keeping my knees somewhat flexible.

    Stairs are still a challenge for me and I’m still doing them one at a time, although I have days when I can do them slowing, but without pain. I’ve tried to determine if I ate something special the day before, if it was the weather, or what makes me have such a great two or three day span, then back to the painful rest of the month, but haven’t come up with an answer. Sorry.

    Before surgery I had about 90º bend in both knees. I had been having problems with my knees most of my adult life but of course, was put off by the surgeons as they only want to do this sort of surgery on someone once in a lifetime. By the time I finally played my last card, “lack of quality of life”, I had lost much bend and movement in both knees and stopped hunting, fishing, walking, shopping, etc. If I had it to do over again I would have forced the issue many years ago, before losing so much muscle flexibility, etc.

    When I left therapy about four months after surgery I had about 97º bend in the left knee and 101º in the right. I think I have a little more since then but have not been to my Dr in a few months.

    The right knee has turned out great, except for some numbness at the outside lower edge of the kneecap.

    I’m still having a lot of pain in my left knee in the muscle just below the kneecap on the outside of the knee. This area also has some numbness, but I’m told the numbness will likely never go away as some nerves are cut during surgery that cause this. It does seem to be a bit better as time goes on.

    My husband bought me a book last month and I wanted to share it with all of you because it has helped me tremendously with the muscle pain problem! The book is called the Trigger Point Therapy Workbook by Claire Davies and is truly amazing. You can Google it and find used copies on amazon.com for about $12.

    In doing what the book mentioned above instructs, I’ve discovered trigger points that completely relieve the pain for hours at a time allowing me to sleep more than two or three hours at a time, etc. It has great photos of the muscles, where the trigger points are that cause the pain and detailed explanations of how to massage these points.

    I’ve also discovered, over time, that when I sleep on my left side, (the one with the pain), if I use a standard bed pillow under the right (top) leg, placing the pillow lengthwise behind the lower leg that is touching the mattress, the lower leg can completely relax and I feel no pain in it at all, so can sleep for hours this way. YAY! It took me a few months to find this comfortable position.

    As for pain meds, I’m down to a total of four extra-strength Tylenol a day and only take them when I can’t deal with the pain any longer. I’m looking forward to when I won’t need them at all…soon…very soon!

    In the meantime, we retired in October and moved from WA state to CA…not sure if THAT was a good move, but time will tell.

    Thanks for all the input. It’s enlightening!

    Wishing you all a speedy recovery and happy days ahead!


  55. Just keep plugging away and things will get better. I had left knee done about 4 months ago and I still have problems with it. I can not turn over in bed without pain in that knee. However I can now sleep at night without medication. I have talked to several people that have had knee replacement and it seems we all encounter problems. I have been told by two docs that this is one of the most painful surgerys one can have, due to the weight placed on the knee. Also told it may take a year or so for the knee to really feel good. THe only thing that bothers me is that if I go the dentist I have to load up on antibitotics for the next two years so I don’t have a chance of infection. OTher wise I am just waiting out for the time when all is well. Good luck and time heals all wounds.

  56. There will be life again, it just takes a lot of patience. I had R & L hips replaced when I was 40, almost 18 years ago. Last November I had to have a revision of my right hip. The sleeping problem is for real. I seem to think that we have favorite positions that we want to sleep in, and surgery does not allow you to always curl up the way you would like. And when we are attempting to rest, even though we may not be feeling pain during a busy day, those quiet times let you realize how much muscle tension and swelling that may still be present. Sleep is essential for healing and if you need to take some meds to get there, I think it is probably worth it.
    I remember that it was about 1 year after each of my hip surgeries before I was not aware of every step I took. Depending upon how long you may have been in pain before surgery, I think that our bodies need to go through a lot of “rewiring” after surgery to adjust to being fixed.
    Best of luck.

  57. Hi all , was looking through posts to see if anyone could help.I had TKR in 2002 this sadly came loose and I had a full revision in August 2007.Everything was ok for the first few weeks, but since then I have been in acute pain at night, and now during the day at rest as well as walking.This is centered about 1″ below my medial cartilage ,any advice for a sufferer from across the pond?

  58. Hi all,

    I’ve written to you before Booktoots. You may remember. I’m from Australia and my 81 year old mum had the tkr in November, so nearly 5 months ago. She’s definitely taken a long time with the recovery and whilst she’s walking around the shops and places again it makes her very tired and she’s usually very sore the next day. One thing that gets her down a bit is that the knee always feels hot. Anybody else experienced this? It drives her crazy. She puts ice on it. I think she feels that she’ll never play lawn bowls again which she really misses – not just the bowls but the social side of it. She looks good, but has a lot of pain now after the tkr. She regrets having it done. I’ll print out these posts cause she will find them interesting and will see that there is still a long road ahead but hopefully will be back doing bowls and stuff again.

  59. I had tkn in October and I know that my knee on cetain days feels warm. I have talked to several people that say the same thing. I still have pain and stiffness in this knee and I believe that I always will have some. I have a friend who cannot bend his knee but about half of what you are supposed to. He had his surgery about two years ago. I think once you have any surgery you are never the same. I think your mothers age comes into play on the surgery and in time she will recover. I played golf yesterday for the first time and by the time I was done I was stiff and sore and had to take some pain relief when I got home. So I think time will heal.

  60. Hi Nigel,
    I just know that icing, massage, and elevation do miracles for my knee pain. I swear by icing. Any other feedback?

    Hi Lyn,
    I remember you and your mom. My knee still gets warm and I’m a year post tkr. I understand the warmth to be due to my knee being exercised (my pt lady told me that).

    Thanks for your positive feedback, Jerry. 🙂

    Good luck to all!

  61. This is interesting……Wednesday, I went to a meeting that was 5 hours long, drove almost 2 hours round trip, and climbed the 16 stairs up and down, THREE times….then I was off on Thursday…..my leg hurt terribly all day, I iced and elevated and medicated all day. Worked Friday and it was better, but today when I came home from work at noon, my leg was swelled really bad……so I elevated, but didn’t ice. It is still very painful above and around the outside of my knee….

    So, now I know, that sitting for a long time with my leg bent makes it hurt more than standing and walking around….I have to have a “happy medium” of both.

    It’s just hard sometimes to tell if you are exercising TOO much or not enough!

  62. its great that you are doing all of these things, but the bottom line at 4 mos postop right, you are doing way to much too soon. and your knee is telling you just that. and from what i am told from other tkr veterans is that our new knees will always tell us when we do too much and not enough. take it easy and always ice.

  63. At age 41 (2004) I had a L TKR due to Osteoarthitis. It
    was the most horrible/painful surgery I ever had. Post op pain was uncontrollable even after taking morphine,
    demerol oxycontin, percocet, versed, fentanyl and
    dilaudid. I was overly sedated, couldn’t participate in a
    PT program. I was immobile 9 days post op, developed a blood clot. Experienced burning nerve pain, stiffness, limited ROM, swelling and severe pain.
    Ice made the pain worse. Had manipulation done 4 mos. post op, didn’t help at all. Spent 5 mos in therapy
    with little improvement. Knee became hot/feverish. A bone scan indicated loosening of the knee implant components, the femoral and tibial had debonded from natural bone structure within a seventh month period. There is no medical explanation for this happening so early and prematurely. There was no
    infection present, no injury or trauma to the knee, no
    strenuous activities, no wrong movements, no wear or tear. A revised TKR was necessary which went much
    better, but continue to have pain, stiffness, swelling, etc
    I wanted to share my story to see if anyone else had experienced an early and premature loosening of theTKR and what caused it. Thank you in advance…

  64. Hello TKR people,

    I am so thankful that this website exsists! I too like many of you have so many questions that were not brought up or addressed before or after my TKR. I am 6 weeks post-op tomorrow March 16th so I’m fairly new here. I still have pain but it seems to be a slow progression towards pain free! When does that ever happen? I was told by my surgeon that the down time for this surgery was 2 months. I will see him tomorrow and I’m loaded with questions for him. I wonder if anyone out there has the symptom of your knee getting hot? Mine does this rather frequently and I can’t figure it out. My new knee pops which I’m told is normal as long as there is no pain and I’ve been having some pain. I’m in out of home therapy and tomorrow starts my second week. I won’t miss an appointment either because its so important to healing. My knee is still swollen and is not quite straight yet. I’m at 99% flexion and my therapist wants me at 105%. It so hurts still to walk so I use a cane. I am getting better but it just seems to be such a long drawn out process. I suffered with incredible pain for 2 1/2 years before giving in to this surgery and I so want to be pain free! My Pastors wife had this done and she told me in three months she was feeling great and doing anything she wanted, so I guess were all different in this process. I’m gonna pull some answers out of my Doctor tomorrow for sure. He’s a super Doc. but most usually if we don’t ask questions, they will not offer any explanations right off the cuff. Well, people take care and if anybody has the problem with your knee getting hot, pleeease let me know and let me know why it gets hot if you know. Hanging in there till later.

  65. Hi Cowgirl,
    Glad you’re enjoying my blog. 🙂 My knee was getting very hot the first two months after my tkr due to exercising and using it. My pt person told me it’s a good thing.

    We’re all different in our tkr recuperation period, so don’t compare yourself to others.

    Good luck!

  66. Hi Cowgirl,

    I am nearly 10 months out from bilateral tkr. It has been a long road, but I’m happy to say I’m still noticing improvement on a regular basis.

    This past week has been a great one for me in that I’ve got much less pain due to using a little tool called The Knobble. I am not associated with this company in any way whatsoever, but after finding the trigger points mentioned in my previous e-mail I can honestly say the Knobble was a great investment for me! Three full days and nights pain-free is a wonder at this point and something I thought would never happen. I DID have several somewhat pain-free days previously, but nothing like the past few days have been. My husband has asked that I quit telling him how great I’m feeling, but after nearly 10 months of 24/7 pain I feel I’m entitled! lol

    My left knee gets hot often, but that’s the one I’ve had lots of pain with. I find doing too much, standing for long periods, etc makes it hot, as does exercise, but I’m doing the exercise anyway. Then I relax and prop it on the ottoman and in about an hour it’s no longer hot. The heat seems to be the norm with lots of use, so I’m not overly concerned about it. I would think using the knee is causing friction, hence the heat. (my left knee is also the one that was done first, on the same day as the right one. I guess the Dr got it right the second time.)

    I’m still using a cane when I go out, but the past few days have been using it much less at home, a good thing, since it does tend to get in the way often.

    I hope this has helped.
    Have a wonderful and sunny day!


  67. Hello from Boston!
    This site is such a help! It’s so assuring that I am not alone in experiencing all the wonderful and not so wonderful things that occur in recovering from a TKR.
    I’m a 48 y.o woman. In 1978 I had a left menisectomy due to a sports injury -before the days of arthroscopy. Over the years I continued to play sports, dance, and up until last August did long distance biking charity rides. About a year ago, I had an MRI due to increased swelling and found out that I’ve been functioning without an ACL and I’ve been bone on bone for some time.
    After having cortisone injections for a year and then having a popliteal cyst (bakers cyst) burst in my knee in Jan (which is so not fun!) decided to have a TKN on 2/19 – so I am about 5 weeks out.
    I’ve been experiencing a lot of the stuff people have been posting and
    it’s assuring that this is what the recovery is with this proceedure. I wish it were different -but sounds like we have good days and lousy days….perhaps even broken up into good mornings and bad afternoons.
    I’m finding with each improvement – a certain amount of pain and maybe backsliding occurs – then the hard work pays of days later. It’s a frustrating process.
    I’m walking with a cane, as of yesterday – and my body feels like it’s beat up today. I am trying to cut back on the oxycodone to 5mg twice a day – and that ain’t fun either. I’m doing the tylenol -fish oil thing as well. I’m not supposed to take NSAIDS due to ulcerative colitis, but I do sneak them in anyway. Tylenol doesn’t do much for the swelling. Ice, Ice, Ice.

  68. Hello,

    Hubby & I have just returned from our “around the US” tour, having driven nearly 10,000 miles in the past six weeks! We had a great time, our first of what we hope will be many trips now that we’re fully retired. We left home on May 18th and drove about 10 hours a day, stopping often to move around, eat, potty-calls, etc. I don’t think we missed a single state around the perimeter of the US except for northern New England. We’ll save those states for the fall of one year in the near future.

    It’s now been just over a year since my bilateral KR and I have to say I’m STILL seeing improvement. YAY! I’m nearly cane-free now! I have to say it’s been a real trial doing things with that cane hanging off one arm so I’d have two free hands, etc. I’ve learned how to manipulate that thing until I just couldn’t find another thing to do with it other than to leave it behind, so that’s what I’ve been doing! That happened accidentally, but was a real eye-opener for me. I went shopping a month ago and discovered I’d left my cane behind when I arrived at the grocery store and went to reach for it. I was pretty happy about that, since I’d become pretty dependent on that cane.

    We leave for Washington to visit family next week and the cane will come along just to keep me company, but I don’t plan to use it much.

    How are the knees doing? Well, the left knee is still giving me fits and starts with pain at the bottom left of the knee cap, but I am still using trigger point therapy for it and it makes a world of difference. I find I can be pain-free for hours after applying pressure to the trigger points I’ve found for that part of the knee and it’s a great relief to me so will just continue until I don’t need it any more. It sure beats using pills!

    I’m still using the recumbent exercise bike and stretching the calf muscles. Those two things seem to help me the most.

    Would I do this again if I had to? YUP! It’s been a very long year, but I have no pain IN the new knee joints, just in the surrounding muscles and that will go away eventually as I continue to exercise. At least that’s my plan!

    Wishing you all a happy July 4th!

    • Sounds encouraging! I’m just dealing with one knee……can you share your trigger point therapy? That sounds interesting….


  69. Hi Debi,

    If you scroll up to my post dated Feb 8th you’ll find the info you’re looking for to purchase the book, etc, if you’re interested. Simply put, finding knots in the muscles and applying steady pressure to those knots is what it’s about, but the book tells you where to look for those knots and how to apply the pressure. It takes more than one application before noticing a difference, but for me it was only two or three tries within a day or two to find the trigger points (knots). Some of them are well below the surface so something hard and smooth, such as a golf ball will help access them. You may be able to find more info online without purchasing the book, etc.

    Good Luck!

    • Thanks Helen……I ordered it just now….along with Kristin Chenoweth’s book, which I’ve wanted for some time……had to get enough for free shipping, right????

      Looking forward to reading this and seeing if it will help.


  70. Hi! I had a tkr on Sept. 22nd 2009…So far I am glad I had it done. I am 6 weeks post op and can bend it at 94 on my own and 98 with the PT pushing me…Hoping to break a 100 next week. I have noticed this burning pain on the medial side of my knee when I walk and when I am lying down straightening my leg…what is this? I have a good idea, but really would like some input from others who have had this issue…IT is very frustrating at times..which I know can happen, but I am positive about where my new knee is taking me and I just want to know if this burning will go away…I am going to order the book “total knee replacement & rehabilitation – the knee owner’s manual” and see what it has to offer…I want to be as proactive for my knee as possible. I think this blog is great and keep up the great work!! Thanks a bunch!


  71. I have been on this site before as I had knee replacement in Oct. 08. The first three months I began to wonder why I had the surgery. I would wake up in the night with terrible hurting in my leg. I could not sleep and finally the doctor prescribed some strong drugs. I did the rehab as I was told and after the lst three months everything feel into place. It has been over a year and I feel great and am glad I did the TKR. I would say that if you follow dr. orders and do your rehab as told to do, each day more than once, as I did you can buy all the books in the world and I don’t think they will help. It just take persurverance and time.

  72. Hello my partners in knee pain/recovery. I am a pro having had both TKR and both revision as well as manipulations, etc. This last revision (9 days ago) I experienced a new phenomenon…intense swelling from toe to butt….especially in my thigh/quad. I have had swelling before, but never, ever like this. I wanted to take an exacto knife and open my thigh up to get relief….not really, but the thought did occur. I have done everything…ice, elevate, ankle pump etc. Just wondering if anyone else has had this massive thigh swelling problem. (Wearing TED hose was out as it was way, way too tight on my inner thigh.)
    Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving to all. Enjoy your families.

  73. i am 47 year i got TKR in 2mth ..but still frusted wakeup the morning pain and diffcuit when walking

  74. i am 47 year i got TKR in 2mth ..but still frusted wakeup the morning pain and diffcuit when walking.i stop take painkiller.Because still cannoti painkikker sleeping

  75. I’ve been reading all these comments about problems with healing and all I can say is hang in there and be patient. I had right tkr in August ’08. I fell on my tkr last month and went to the doctor fearful I had done damage. No damage and he gave me the go ahead to push hard exercising which I hadn’t been doing on a regular basis. I am now doing the bike 30 minutes, eliptical 20 minutes and working on leg weight machines 6 days a week. It is getting better and even with Chicago dampness and cold – don’t seem to have the aches I had last Winter. Time does heal all wounds – and exercise and patience. I too went through depression last year thinking when would this get better – and it finally is.

  76. I had tkr last may but it itches alot if I move it alot walking etc why would it itch inside?

    • Hi Audrey,
      My tkr itched on and off for the first few months. Itching is usually part of the healing process, from what I understand.
      Good luck!

  77. i had TKR .BUT I HAD DO MY EXERCISE very day 3 times until i got frusted .still my left leg bend cannot until 100 degree .and wake-up leg became cannot move .walking still limp.why…………………………………………..

  78. Hi Rose,
    My tkr leg was stiff upon waking for at least the first year afterwards. No matter how frustrating your exercise may be, do not give up.
    My tkr bends to about 115 and probably will not increase due to the extensive knee damage I had prior to my tkr.
    Limping? In my case, that diminished as I strengthened my leg muscles.
    Hope this helps.
    Good luck!

  79. I just had my Achilles Tendon repair almost a year to the date after my tkr….same leg. I was so disappointed to find I needed to have this surgery. I thought by now my tkr would be rehabbed and I would be walking but not so. I’ll be in a wheelchair for two months, then rehab on the tendon.

  80. Hang in there! It takes awhile before you start feeling normal again,

  81. If one tries to remember that the new knees ARE artificial and they WON’T be just like the old ones were when we were younger and they worked properly, assuming yours DID, (mine never did), you will have a much better realization of what is going on with your new knees.

    It will be two years since my bi-lateral knee replacement on June 5th and I feel great compared to before the surgery. I still cannot do stairs well, still have some numbness on the outside of the leg beside and just below each knee, the muscles around the left one are more prone to aching than the right, but overall, I’m not unhappy with the results.

    If I had it to do over again, I’d do the same thing and believe me when I say doing them both at the same time was a VERY BIG decision, but thankfully I had my hubby’s full support and cooperation. He is my partner in every sense of the word after nearly 41 years of marriage and has seen me through some pretty negative times in the past two years.

    Keep up with the exercise daily and for the most part, ignore negativity as it doesn’t do anything but make YOU more depressed and negative. If I don’t exercise, the next day is less productive.

    The pain is mostly gone and I CAN dance a little now, have to take my shoes OFF to hug and kiss my hubby as we’re the same height, but he now seems to be shrinking…lol. Ok, I think my new knees are great in that aspect. haha

    Thinking positive is the ONLY way to get through this, so stay upbeat and BELIEVE that it WILL get better, because it WILL!

    Good Luck!

    • Just browsing on my computer, trying to look for info on post TKR pain. I had my Feb24/10, and I am totally depressed over this decision . The pain has been unbearable. I ahve been unable to tolerate anything stronger than tylenol for the pain. My knee is able to straighten, however will only bend to about 85. I have had lots of pain with my hamstring and now it feels like the spacer on the outside of my leg is pushing inot my leg. I have a job where I have to be able to walk , bend and at times run. I was hoping to return to work by summer, however, now I feel like I’ll never be able to return . I ahve regular PT, however I feel like I,m really falling behind. i would appreciate any advice that may assist me

      • Hi Darlene,
        You sound exactly like me when I was at your stage. I know what you mean about the pain level and drugs not working. My tkr knee wouldn’t bend more than 85 for the first three months post-tkr. I kept working and working at it. To this day, my tkr doesn’t bend more than 120. That’s better than before my surgery, though.
        I hope you can take some time to read my blog here. There’s plenty of info that may help you. And, the support is tremendous.
        As corny as it may sound, it does get better. Honest. Good luck and keep in touch!

  82. Hi Darlene,

    You are barely out a little over 2 months. I think your doing good. What we were’nt told is that everybody isn’t the same on this TKR. I’ve ome who have excelled right away but most of us are in the slow boat. I had my replacement feb. 2009 and I still have pain but its getting better. I know the feeling of the spacer as you describe it. Also I don’t mean to rain on your parade but my Dr. told me and I’ve seen it to be true, that I will never be able to run again. Only walk fast. I cannot do my dancing other than slow dances. I think its crappy that some of these things were not told to us before the surgery but its too late to cry now. I really miss dancing too, but you hang in there your 85% flexion at where you are is great! God Bless and good luck!

  83. Note with interest Darlene’s comment of May 2. Hang in there – I had right TKR done 8/25/2008. It takes a long time to heal. I fell on my knee in January ’10, and fortunately everything was okay after x-ray. Doctor gave me go ahead to really start working out. I do 3 miles on the eliptical and at least 2 miles on the exercise bike at least 4 times a week and using weight machines too at health club. Took a Zumba class for 6 weeks too – I’m not the most coordinated but give it a good shot. As for running, I can walk fast but don’t think I’ll ever run again. Gardening has been a challenge – but I just keep moving best I can. Keeping positive and being patient with yourself is the key. The exercise helps the depression too – as I too experienced sadness and frustration in not being able to do things right away. It takes a long time.

    • Cowgirl and Mary Ellen

      Thanks for your words of encouragement. I will try and remain positive, however itis very hard. Spacer still giving me lots of discomfert., especialy at night. Very difficult to get to sleep. I saw my doctor , I now he thinks I may have something called Regional Pain Syndrome. Has anyone else ever had this following TKR ? It’s is really hampering my PT , and seems to be effecting my hamstring . Any advise on this would be appreciated.

  84. Hello, I’m 18 I’m 4 wks post. I also had tkr nt bcuz of arthritis. I was involved in an accident that totally crushed my knee cap. Next thing I know I’m waking up from a tkr and also getting 3 screws in my hip and a 10” tit. Bar installed in my leg. Right now all I have is an on & off throbbing pain in my knee on up. I still use my walker to get around. But I can say for the most part my leg feels much better than what it did from the beginning. I know it has just been 4 wks and I have a ways ahead of me but all I want to do is just walk again and go back to work. I have been feeling so down bcuz of my restrictions & handicap. My pt only came through twice out of the several times he was suppose to come. So I have been working with my leg mostly by myself. I’m appreciative of my parents bcuz its so hard to get anything done by yourself when your
    walking with a walker. I have read most comments on this blog so now I’m worried about the recovery process.

    • Hi Courtney,
      Thanks for visiting my blog. It’s understandable to be weary of recuperation process. No reason to be worried about recovery process. At least you’re aware of what’s involved. I wasn’t when I started writing this blog.
      You can receive support and info from this blog that can help you in a variety of ways.
      Keep a positive mindset and keep truckin’. Good luck!

  85. Does anyone else have tendonitis of the hamstring and the IT band, as the doctor told me I have? I have been enduring pain for almost 2 yrs-my TKR was exactly 18 months ago. I fell on it at 111/2 months but have been told that the part is ok, but now I have the tendonitis. Cortisone via ultrasound didn’t help (he injected in 2 locations). I don’t understand how I could get tendonitis, when all I do is go on the stationery bike for 30-40 minutes, walk for about 30-40 minutes on level surfaces (walking up or down hills, up or down stairs is still very painful), and that’s about all I can do. I’m still very swollen and misshapen (my knee! ha ha!), and I still ice quite a bit. My range of motion is good-about 125, and I can flatten it. But how can it be that it has taken so long to heal? As someone else said, my life is not the same, and it’s very depressing-especially the weight gain! Anyone have the same experience?

    • Hi Karen,

      Please read my post for July 2, 2009. I can’t begin to tell you how much the trigger point therapy has helped me with similar issues. My Dr never said what the cause of that pain was, but I’m guessing we had/have the same problem.

      June 5th was the two year anniversary of my BKR and I’m glad I had them both done at the same time now.

      I’ve been pain free with that area in the left knee for over a year and it has just returned, aggravated by doing two sets of stairs several times a day (still difficult for me after two years, but still improving slowly) at our daughter’s house over a two week period. So, back to the Thera-cane and trigger points to get rid of it again. I also went without my recumbent bike for two weeks, so I tend to stiffen up without daily exercise, which doesn’t help the muscles.

      No, we’ll never be the same, and one cannot expect to be the same…your knee is no longer natural, BUT, it does work, and the joint itself is/should be pain-free. The muscles and tendons need to be brought back to working condition after being so traumatized, and they usually take much longer to heal than bones.

      Hope this helps!

      Stay positive and determined and it will all work out.


      • Dear Helen,
        Thanks so much for referring me to the book. I will look for it. I really appreciate this blog and the responses of others, because everyone else I know who has had it done felt great in a few months, and they tell me there must be something wrong. So it’s good to know that I’m not alone. Communicating with others in the same boat about one’s frustrations really puts it in perspective. By the way, I’ve lived and taught in southern CA all my life. This period of time is particularly challenging. How are you finding it?

        • Hi Karen,

          I’m not a “sit still” person, so yes, I’ve also found this time in my life challenging. I’ve learned to do Sudoku puzzles and many other things, such as small quilting projects, cleaning the sink after using the bathroom, one at a time, etc. I just make my movements count now. If something needs to be done and I happen to be in that spot for another reason, I do it then.

          For the longest time after surgery only half the bed got made, the dishwasher only got loaded once a day instead of after each item use, but I did laundry almost daily, mostly because it was easier to just do one small load than a bunch of bigger ones. I’ve found out that nobody cares if you add your undies to a colored load! lol

          The biggest thing for me is to stay positive. Once you start thinking negative about your recuperation it’s hard to get out of that mode and I believe it is detrimental to your recovery, causing more stress and tension than what is already there. We all have pain after the surgery and we all recover at different levels. Some of us just take longer to heal than others for one reason or another.

          Keep thinking good thoughts!

  86. Morning TKR people. I thought I might say a word or three this morning on the subject. I had my right knee replaced in feb. of ’09. Now I’m looking at the dreaded replacement of my left knee. I’ve know for some time its needed to be done but with long thoughts and remembering my replacement last year I’m a bit hesitant even though I can barely walk. I cannot sleep thru the whole night or even thru a short nap. I cannot have anything to touch the inside of my knee as it gives me horrendous burning and pain. Plus the darned thing freezes up in whatever position I put it. I can’t stand the thought of going thru this again. I’m going to get a cortisone shot in my knee the 1st. of july with hopes I can get thru the summer without the surgery. Such a pain staking ordeal to go thru. My other knee isn’t totally healed up yet after 16 months. Takes a long time people. Some may have better luck but the most of us, it will be an almost unbearable rtecovery time. I still cannot go up or down stairs without holding on tosomething for support. Good luck everyone!!!!

  87. I have had both knees replaced in the last three years and last year my right knee broke loose and I had to have it operated on again totally opened it up and fix. I now have alot of clicking and when i walk I can feel it in my ears and my main issue is they slip out of socket and cause pain and i have to wiggle it and hope to get it to stop hurting when i go to returning to walking again. My left heel has fluid now due to the pressure i put on it to favor the right knee, I start Tuesday for Quad therapy in hopes that is the issue. Please help me to feel confident in this or give me advice. I am close to going away to a new doctor

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