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Better Patient Preparation for TKR Needed

Prior to having a total knee replacement, some hospitals offer a pre-op tkr class. Potential patients see the actual knee implant, learn about pre-surgery preparation, and have questions answered. Mine was a good class.

However, there is no preparation for the – at times – frustrating, lengthy recuperation process after a total knee replacement surgery. I was told my knee would be swollen for 2-3 months. So, I didn’t give it much thought about all that recuperation entails. I just knew I’d have to keep doing exercises to increase my knee’s flexibility.

It’s been 7.5 months since my tkr, and the last couple of days have not been fun. I know it could be much worse. However, sometimes my knee is painful just from walking. It is more swollen at times, more than usual. My balance is easily off. My lower back is painful. Going down stairs seems to be more difficult. Other times I can lift my leg higher to have more “bounce” in my downstairs journey. Not the past couple of days. In other words….it’s discouraging.

All I was doing earlier today is walking around the enclosed shopping mall. How hard can that be? Well, it seemed to be. And, I’ll still ride my exercise bike in a few.

I don’t like to complain because I’m grateful for having the surgery. I just don’t understand why the recuperation process is so time consuming. I can see if I didn’t do any exercises and just layed around having others waiting on me. However, I don’t do that. I exercise regularly.

I believe there needs to be a better preparation process for the new tkr patient to prepare us for recuperation.

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3 Responses

  1. I’m looking at a TKR as well and am due to have surgery in a few months. Your blog has been very helpful.

    During the interview process of trying to find the right doctor for me to do my surgery, a doctor said after surgery he likes the patient to exercise only a few times a week in order to keep the swelling down and thus enhance healing.

    Check with your doctor on the swelling. Maybe you are doing a little too much on your new knee. I was told the healing process can take up to 18 months.

    Hang in there! Based on some of the other forums I’ve visited on TKRs, your progress is outstanding and I could only hope to do as well as you.

    Be patient with yourself. You’ve come a long way and this is considered major surgery.

    Moni

  2. Thank you for your encouragement, Moni. Good luck to you, too.

  3. I will be two years TKR in October, ’09. I very seldom think about it anymore. I did have one rather unusual situation. When I went for my one year check up I mentioned I kept getting strange groin pain on the same side as the TKR.
    Then two months ago I thought my knee was acting up as I had to lift my leg to get in and out of the car and I was having trouble walking. Pain from groin to knee. Went to two more DRS had a CAT scan and nothing. Finally one DR sent me to a sports surgeon who had me stand up and cough and could feel the hernia. A sports hernia. So I had surgery and a patch put on it and the pain was gone the next day and I was walking. Of course no one will ever know how a middle age women got one, but I think it was because I used my upper leg so much at first to avoid using the knee as much. Anyway and interesting theory. Take care, and yes it does take about 18 months to 2 years for many people to fully recover the use of the knee. Remember you can exercise it while watching TV by sitting in a glider and allowing it to flex.

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