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Eight Months After A Total Knee Replacement

It is one week and eight months after my total knee replacement surgery. I like to keep track of how things are going, so I figured I would update it here.  In addition to keeping a physical log, this post will be part of my emotional log.

Yesterday I went for a wonderful walk, my usual Sunday walk. It is a 1.25-1.5 mile walk. Ranking-wise, it is easy. The walking surface is varied – gravel, wood walkways, pavement, and grass. So, it is hard to get bored with. The walk was a great exercise and I felt fantastic afterwards. Then….

Two hours later, as I was driving home…I got very tired. My knee started to hurt and swelled up more than usual. I took a couple aspirin. Then I ate lunch, took a shower, and layed on the couch. I iced my knee, figuring it would do some good.

The rest of the night, my knee hurt and stayed more swollen than usual. I iced it again for awhile. I feel like I am coming down with a cold, too. I’ll have to fight that, too. This is tiring.

Today, my knee still has increased swelling (even though I iced it earlier), some tingling from my damaged nerve, and has pain on and off.  I’ll ice it some more.

I’m so tired of this. I’m grateful for the surgery, but this recuperation process has got the best of me today. It’s tiring and ticks me off so much – I’m depressed. I know it could be much worse and feel bad about griping about it. So why am I? I know as time goes on, things will work out. These negative emotions are just temporary.

I want to get things done, but live upstairs and just don’t want to “do the stair thing” today. Sometimes I just can’t stand the sight of stairs. Today is one of them. 😦

It’s tiring.


39 Responses

  1. Hang in there, the powers that be tell us it gets better. Try this prior to going to bed: 1/2 a Vicaden and a Benadryl and then listen to some soothing music. I use my iPod a lot at night. I have Panasonic RP-HT21 headset (its the most comfortable I could find). I hate ear buds! lay on your side with your knee bent on a pillow. Don’t know if it will work for you but it does me. I can usually get a good 6 hours if I do this right away. If not…Ouch!
    Are you near a pool with a hot tub? I stated pool therapy on my own a couple of weeks ago. Bought the book Total Knee Replacement and Rehabilitation and use it faithfully. I also started rocking in a rocking chair and riding my stationary bike more often. That limbers me up better.
    I know how you feel about the stairs, I live in a split level home, I have to climb stairs no matter how I look at it, food it up stair, bed is downstairs.
    Tomorrow will be a better day.
    Sleepless in Minnesota

  2. I had total knee replacement in January, 2008. I had been working out faithfully and my legs were in good shape. My recovery/rehab went very well. In June-July, I played 40 rounds of golf in St. Andrews, Scotland–walking and carrying my clubs. No trouble nor pain in my surgical knee!

    I am scheduled for replacement of my other knee in December (osteoarthritis). Again I am working out to get in the best shape I can. The rehab is tedious and boring–but necessary. Three months of pain and tedium pays off. I didn’t need many painkillers after my first surgery.

    I am 74 years young. Remember–age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter!!


    Jinx Hoover

    • Sorry, but I don’t believe you didn’t need any painkillers after surgery ~ IMPOSSIBLE.

      • I am with you Joyce,

        I had a TKR in July last year & don’t believe anyone would have no pain medication.

  3. Hi….

    Try not to let this setback affect you. Maybe think back to what you could do a year or more at this time. Were you even able to walk 1/4 of a mile? Where you in much pain over a year ago?

    Hang in there! Things WILL get better. It’s tough to slow down your pace when you feel as if you could do so much more.

    Maybe the key to preventing swelling and pain is to pace yourself. Instead of walking 1.5 miles at one time, walk 1/4 of a mile every other day (if this isn’t something you have been doing.) When your knee is able to stand that much activity, add another 1/4 of a mile. In other words take baby steps.

    BTW, the book that Charleen mentioned is very good. Lots of exercises and one of the people who wrote the book is a doctor who had knee surgery.

    One of my friends had TKR and she told me some days will be great; others not so good. But two years after the TKR, she says the surgery was well worth it.

    I have a feeling that by next year at this time, you’ll be speed walking through your neighborhood!



  4. I had 2 total knee replacements 7 weeks ago. The stiffness is really getting to me. I do great at physical therapy and have very good movements. In the morning I can hardly walk. Today the weather is bad and I am sore. I also can feel my new knees rubbing against my slacks. Totally annoying. Any body else can feel there new knees???

  5. Hi Jeanne,
    Yes, it’s hard to move in the morning. All kinds of aches and pains, to be sure. It’ll get better, though. Just keep doing your exercises diligently and icing as needed.
    Kudos to you getting both knees done at one time. And, it’s only been 7 weeks. You deserve a lot of credit!
    My bionic knee doesn’t rub against my slacks since I wear baggier pants than needed just for that reason. I agree, it’s not a comfortable feeling when it does happen. Plus, I notice that fleece helps ease the discomfort.
    You’re only 7 weeks out of bi-tkr surgery and you can feel your knees? Good for you! I’m still partially swollen.
    Good luck!

  6. It’s encouraging to read all these reports that others have with their TKR…I had mine 10 weeks ago..
    I can walk good, but getting up and down from seated position causes a lot of pain…right across the middle of my knee..I expected to be just about pain free by now..I have been discouraged…I just want the pain to go…

  7. Well how very interesting reading everyones good and bad experiences after having a TNR.
    My own experience is that I am a little disappointed that after 10 weeks I can still only manage about 1 hour sleep at a time in bed and then I have to move my position. I try with a soft pillow under my knee with a small amount of success but still only manage about 1 hour maximum. Pain killers do nothing for the discomfort. I am not too unhappy when its time to get up as I know that at least when I do get up I will be moving about and in less pain. Whatever way I try to walk the knee Klonks all the time, its just as if it is not in line properly. Stiffness in the morning seems normal after reading everyones experiences. I am disappointed that the knee is still swollen even though I use ice packs 5/6 times a day. I have always done the correct excersizes given by physio and as I live in a bungalow I have also recently purchased a stepping machine. I was led to believe that I should be ready to return to work 12 weeks after the operation, but I am nowhere ready. Lets hope time will be the healer.

  8. It is 3 months after my TKR. Feb 2, 2009. I have not missed a day of some type of physical workout. My knee is very strong and I can walk a mile or 2 just about every day. Monday, Wednesday and Friday are my gym days so you can see how hard I am working to get my knee in shape. I have no problem with stairs (up or down). I still have some swelling and a click just about every time I bend my knee. I have a little pain at times. The worst time is during the night. Not a lot of pain but aching enough to wake me up. A good nights sleep is a thing of the past. The worst thing is a sour muscle in the top of my calf. At times it does not bother me, and other times it is painful. it has hurt for about a month and does not seem to get better. My surgeon told me to keep working and it will get better!!! Hope it does. Good luck to everyone.

  9. I’m glad that I read everyone’s post. I was under the impression that I would be feeling great by now but I also have all the problems mentioned here. It’s been a little over two months and my skin feels as if it will tear apart when I bend my knees. Been doing PT three times a week and trying to take a short walk each day. My knees still swell up and ache and my physical therapist told me I’ll be happy I did both knees in about a year. A year!!! Wow, I had no idea it would take that long. Okay, the older I get the faster times go by so maybe a year will be here before I know it. LOL…. Good luck everyone, hope we will all feel great soon.

  10. I’m 3 months post tkr. No knee joint pain but my muscles ache especially after sitting for a while and getting up or getting out of bed in the morning. It usually ceases after I walk around for a while. Also I don’t have full extension yet. I have to sit on the floor and put weights on it to get full extension. Then I can walk without a limp. I can also prop it on a chair and shove down gently to full extension.

    Do your muscles ache also?

  11. Robert Summerville
    I’m 4 months (next week) post tkr. I don’t have joint pain. I still have some calf muscle pain after hard workouts. I have no limp and have full extension & 130 bend. My leg strength is very good, I still hit the gym 1 1/2 hrs 3 times a week. I play golf 3 times a week, walk 9 holes, ride 9 holes. Still have a little discomfort during the night, still not bad for a 70 yr old. Besides that, everything is doing ok. It is sure better than before surgery.

  12. I had a TKR of the right knee done 1/6/09, I am 54 and have always worked out, I still have pain on the outer right side of the knee, I still get stiff, I have a 130 bend, which is good. I still have problems going up and down the stairs and getting up from a sitting position without hold onto sumething. I know in time this will get better and I am hoping before the year is out. I do what I am soppose to do, but I get discouraged because I am doing the right things and I strill have these problems. what else can I possibly do? I will try anything other than take a lot of medicine. I try to stay away from that. I do massage my knee a lot.

    • Barbara……I am at almost 8 months, and my report sounds much like yours. I’m not sure that my bend is 130 though, although I am curious.

      I have difficulty going from sitting to standing without pain in my quads right above my knee now. I’m working on some more exercises for that, and also swimming every day as much as possible.

      Leg stiff gets stiff if I sit, or stand too long, and at night I sometimes put an ice pack on it to combat the swelling, which is not nearly as bad as it was.

      I do massage with a good cream twice a day…….

      I feel bad these days saying anything about it, because, most people think I should be well over the whole thing! So, I suffer in silence as much as I can…..I come here to post b/c everyone here understands!


  13. Please leave me a comment

  14. Still posting on this one because I am at 8 months now…..this morning I went to the Therapy Place and asked Rhonda if she would measure my flex to see if it is any different…..so…it’s 110 degrees, just what it was when I stopped rehab in January.

    I suppose it’s good that it’s not worse, but I was hoping it would be better. She did say my extension was “excellent”….and my knee overall looked good…..so, there I am!

    8 months and still 110 degrees…..

  15. Just a update, almost 5 1/2 months after my TKR. Everything is about the same as the last time I posted. Playing golf 3 or 4 times a week, hit the gym 3 days a week. I still have some swelling but not much pain. I don’t sleep as good as I would like to but that is getting better. Overall I am very pleased with the results. I know I have a lot of hard work to keep getting better but it is great to be able to do things I haven’t been able to for years. Hope everyone keeps getting better results with your new knees.

  16. I am so envious of that 130 bend……..I have bend envy……

  17. Robert,
    Thanks for the update, it’s great to hear and very encouraging.
    I agree…it’s definitely better than before surgery.

    Your comments are so helpful and so entertaining. I love that bend envy. lol

  18. I had bilateral knee replacements this past Feb.
    I am so tired of my legs aching. Can anyone tell me if this will eventually go away?

    • Yes, eventually! I’m at 11 months now and finally feeling like I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel!

      I can sort of cross my legs, I can put my shoes and socks on with my knee bent where I can actually reach it without bending all the way to the floor to reach my foot.

      Mine still gets stiff from being in one position too long but once I stand up and get started moving, it’s fine. Still the transition that gets me from time to time.

      It will get better…….really!

  19. 9 months after my total knee replacement. The past month has been my best. My knee feels like it is part of me, I was not sure this would happen. Almost no pain now. I still workout 3 days a week for 1 1/2 hours per session. I have not missed one day since i finished my therapy.
    Play golf 3 or 4 times a week and walk every round. This is not bad for a 70 year old. It has been a painful struggle to get my knee in shape but I think it was worth it. I hope everyone has the same success I am having.

  20. I had TKR on 10/26/09. My major concern is sleeping. The steady ache keeps me awake. I’m probably averaging 1 to 2 hours per night if I don’t take a pain pill and/or a sleeping pill. I try to stay off the medication as much as possible but it gets physically draining when going to work without sleep the next day. I drive but not any distance (15 miles at one time is all I can stand) before pain sets and I need to put my leg up. My foot, during the day, goes numb and the knee always swells up. My extension is great and my flex is 122 degrees but when does this all end?

    • Hi Dave,
      You’re doing much better than I was at your early post-tkr period. Hang in there. Read through this blog and you’ll find plenty of support and info to help you.
      Keep in touch and good luck!

  21. Hi Dave, it takes more time. I am 10 months after my TKR. I have worked really hard in the gym (3 days a week) and I had the same problems that most have with swelling and pain. After about 6 months my knee improve almost daily. Now I have a little pain once in a while but most of the time it is perfect. I don’t even think of the knee.
    I play lots of golf and walk most of the time. My legs are in the best shape in 20 years. (70 yrs old)
    Just give it a little time and keep working on it and thing will get better soon, Good luck!!!

  22. It takes about a year to feel completely back to what you felt before. I was about 4 months out before I could stop taking anything for pain.
    I had both done at the same time in Feb. this past year.. and I can say I’m almost there. It takes time and the recouperating is very slow…but worth it. Just keep moving….

  23. Hello all my TKR buddies. Tomorrow I will make 10 weeks post op left knee. Thx so much for all your good and horror stories. Still very stiff in the AM and sleeping only cat-naps (hate nights). Pillows not helping at all. Back and forth from bed to recliner. Never know where I’m going to wake up at. I am at about 110-115. Pretty much on my own with PT and most of the times confused. Nice to have read your blogs. Helps me quite a bit especially when discouraged with my progress. Thx so much. Happy holidays to you and yours. God bless.

  24. I hd TKR 12/9/09 (it will be 6 weeks on wed) Your posts — everyone — are really helping me this morning. I’m impatient – want to be a year out NOW so will take a deep breath & continue one day at a time. I drove on Saturday – solo! A week ago I tried & it hurt so much to brake & gas — don’t know why I tried this past Sat but am really glad I did. Again — thank you all for sharing – It’s very reassuring!

  25. it was both knees.

  26. Hi I am 9 weeks post surgery for rtTKR. I have 130 degrees of bend . My other knee needs to be replace also and is failing fast. I have quite a bit of quad pain but it is manageable and some calf pain ( tendon I think) I am sleeping about 4 hours in a row now and am managing with tylenol . I have graduated to physio to once a week but exercise everyday for about 45 minutes and walk the dog aoubt 10 blocks once or twice a day. I am planning a trip after Easter at the 10 week mark. I can’t believe I waited so long to have my TKR while it was not a piece of cake for the first 5 weeks it has been better and better every day. i think I have been very lucky.

  27. I had TKR on my right knee about 14 months ago and then had my left one replaced 10 weeks ago by the same surgeon.
    I have no problem sleeping and get by without regular pain killers and can walk a mile or so with no trouble..
    My problem is the pain across the front of the knee I get when getting up out of a chair and when walking up stairs.
    I have also notice that I am now inclined to be knock kneed which I wasn’t before surgery.
    Not sure if I am expecting too much – maybe someone can comment

  28. As to those who are having trouble sleeping, ambien has delievered me peace each and every night. after presently disappointing TKR results.

    • Hi Eric,
      Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving your comment about Ambien. It never crossed my mind to use a sleeping aid….especially a prescription-based medication. If it worked for you, great. Personally, I don’t like the idea.

  29. I had both knees totally replaced 5 weeks ago..the pain is slightly less but the stiffness in the legs is the worst..pills or ice do nothing to help this..i walk and do the exercises..it is getting me down….we are flying to Spain in 2 weeks time and I am dreading the flight (3hrs) sitting in one position..any tips?…it is a v.v.v. slow healing process…sounds like 1 yr is the turning point!….also my backache is very painful which is another story!….thanks.

    • Hi David,
      Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving your comment.
      Bless your heart for having bilateral tkr. Yikes…Having one at a time is bad enough.
      Re: airplane flight. Can you get an aisle seat which will allow you to stand and stretch every 20 minutes? Also..how about doing isometrics to keep the blood flowing? That would work for me.
      Keep in touch and good luck!

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