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Eleven Months After A Total Knee Replacement

It is that time of the month again…time for my monthly update. As of today’s date, I am 11 months post total knee replacement. Here are some of the results:

My scar is beautifully healed. Only the top 1.5” above my knee is discolored. I like my scar and view it as a trophy. 🙂 I took care of it while it was healing.

My bionic knee still has flexibility issues. However, I expect that and work on it regularly. My total knee replacement was not your typical one. It was trauma related, so needs a longer recuperation process. Riding an upright bicycle is the key, I have found. The flexibility is better than before my surgery, though. I can get on the exercise bike much easier than previously.

My knee is still swollen, only less than last month. Still, the swelling increases after prolonged periods of standing or exercising. No complaints.

My knee has clicked a couple of times this period. It’s more of a curiosity than concern, however.

My range of motion has increased without the accompanying pain.

I can walk more than a city block without pain. This was not so before my total knee replacement.

I can ride my upright exercise bike at a lower seat level and greater tension with much more ease than previously. The pain level has diminished, also. (I probably shouldn’t say this because Murphy’s Law follows me around, you know).

The damaged nerve, caused by my former bone spur, results in painful sleeping. Sometimes, it bothers me during the day.

I can sit comfortably in a chair. This was not possible for months after my tkr.

The overall knee pain has diminished.

I can perform various yoga, belly dancing, Tai Chi, and stretching poses without much pain. Not prior.

Stairs are still a pain in the butt. Or..knee, back, leg – and pride.

Actually, not much else is different from my tenth month update. The biggest difference is the decrease in swelling and overall level of pain.

I have taken care of pain in my nonsurgical leg by using my tkr leg more.

Hope this helps others going through the exciting recuperation from a total knee replacement.

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30 Responses

  1. It’s good to hear that even after 11 months you are still seeing progress. I have a recumbent bike and haven’t ridden an upright since surgery. I didn’t think it would make a difference until you pointed it out. It’s tempting to go to a gym just to try. I hope you continue to have less pain. I struggle with recuperation and look forward to the point where I can say it’s worth it like you did.

    • Just be careful about overdoing it. I was 2 months post tkp and doing fine–no walker–no cane–..until I used a resistive water pool feature…soreness that night..next day and for the next two monhs, I was back using a walker..I just started using a cane again..doc said it was a partial quad tear above the knee. The key word in rehab is ‘gradual’.

  2. I don’t have a medical background, but your recovery seems to progress well. Best of lucks.

  3. I am about two years post-op. It took that long fully to heal. But I was impatient and tore into rehab and perhaps I overdid it. Now I can ride a bike and walk for miles and miles. I do squats in the gym, do personal training and lead a yoga class. I’m seventy years old and I am relatively pain-free.
    After my TKR (left knee) I got certified in personal training since I’d always been interested in fitness. I am not a yoga adept per se but the people I train wanted one day a week for yoga and so I teach what little I know and which I have made my own.
    I can’t do yoga with as much flexibility as I once had, nor can I go fully down – or lift as much – with my squatting as I could before the TKR. But given my age there are many things I can’t do as I once used to! Having the TKR was a great thing for me. Now I have to learn to pull back a bit and accept the limitations as well as the positives of my new knee.
    I would do it again…. and I may have to some day. It has been a great thing for me.

  4. hey dave,
    I am 6mos post op tkr and 49 yrs old. after reading your blog i want to be just like you when i grow up. how fantastic! keep up the great job and i look forward to some healing like yours in the next months ahead.

  5. I am up for a new knee in May. i am 64 (today) and
    social dance. Will I be able to square dance and tango
    and waltz? If so when?
    Thank you.
    Sandra

  6. Hi Sandra,
    Thanks for your comment and for visiting my blog. You’ll have to ask your medical pro about your concerns.

    I only write about my experiences and do not give medical advice.

    Good luck!

  7. I can do all those things, Sandra, so I don’t see why you couldn’t. It is important to keep your weight down. I’ve read that for every ten pounds you gain overall, there is forty pounds more stress on your knee. It will probably be a year before you feel comfortable enough to feel at ease — maybe more.

  8. Thank you, David. 🙂

  9. Hello Suzi,
    Can you provide more than advertising and anecdotal evidence about the benefits of the dynamic splint? Have any scientific studies been done? I am very skeptical about such devices.
    On the website you claim : “clinical studies have demonstrated a 53% average reduction in rehabilitation time and cost with the use of Dynasplint® Systems in conjunction with physical therapy.” Where are the clinical studies? Where are the references? How can we know tha it isn’t the “physical therapy” itself that is the key in the long run?
    On reviewer wrote:

    “I didn’t start using it until Jan.16th. Almost 2 whole months after my knee surgery. I am very unhappy with it. I even had to quit using the straightening splint as it pulled on my hip so bad I couldn’t stand it. I feel like the flex slpint is just as bad, and I have not improved at all since I started using them. I am going to quit using the flex as they want me to use it at least 6 hours a day, and I can’t sleep with it, and don’t have that much time for it. I use it about 4 huors a day, and can hardly walk after I use it. If there was a window of time for starting this, I think mine was way too late.” [http://www.topix.com/forum/health/knee-replacement/T6R9AC4NIIIMGS7CC]
    Hard work — stretching, strength-training and yoga — is the way to go. Sure, there is pain involved. But you get nothing for nothing. If it seems to good to be true then it probably isn’t true. I suspect Dynasplint is another consumer product with more to claim in theory than in fact. I would love to be proved wrong.

    • I have used the dynasplint system myself. I found that if I went to a massage therapist while using the splint helped alot. My hamstrings would get tight as a rock but after the massage it was able to walk better. I had a good massage therapist she taught me how to massage my leg so I didn’t have to go to her alot. She treated my lower back then worked on both legs. I fully recovered until a blood clot formed and looks like I will be using the splint again.

  10. I am a happy knee patient — now. I did nothing except work very hard. At times the pain was excruciating.
    My life’s work is not to track down research articles and prove they are bogus or anecdotal- as the one I just read about the dancer. Pray tell me, what is “a senior saint?” And how would we know what is the result of PT and rehab and what the result of the splint? It is pure marketing gibberish to claim a 53% average reduction time. It’s like saying “30% fat-free.” It’s in essence just meaningless advertising fluff.
    PS: Anybody want to buy a slightly used Thompson Unloader Brace? I can sell one very cheap- 90% off my cost. Yours for $100. And I can also send anecdotal evidence about how effective it is! Reduces pain by 83%.

    • Thank you, David. I agree, and know…Hard work is the only way to get the proper rehabilitation after a total knee replacement. No gimmicks.
      I have deleted her advertisement since they were unfounded and this blog is not the place for such things.

  11. Thanks Ms. Booktoots. There are no shortcuts to health and fitness. No pills, no ab or thigh reducer, no magic diet. Calories in and calories out is the secret to a healthy body- and that includes knees, and hips as well. Many knee problems can be traced to too much weight on the joint over the years. The most important exercise of all? The Pushaway. As in, “Thanks, I’ve had enough,” as you push away your plate and push yourself away from the table.

    Thanks for your blog.

  12. Hi, I had my knee done three months ago, just want to know is it safe to go to the gym? I have all the symptoms of every body else, I have torn my ligament several times I must be over doing my exersice. I go on my bike for about 15 mins a day is that to much?
    Gwyn

    • Absolutely go to the gym. How old are you? How much do you weigh?
      If you have to ask about going to the gym then you should certainly get there as soon as you can. I am not a doctor but if you really did tear ligaments then something is very very wrong. I doubt that you really did tear a ligament. To do that three months after a TKR would mean you went through an enormous amount of terrible pain. You would have experienced bleeding in the knee area and not been able to continue.
      I think fifteen minutes of bke riding is the minimum you should do in the gym. You should get in there and play. Strengthen your upper body as well as your leg. It is all connected you know. You should concentrate on your pushaways, accept your real limitations, and use this as an opportunity to get yourself into the best shape of your life. It won’t be easy – but you can do it.

  13. Hi Gwyn,
    Exercising is important for proper tkr rehab. I’m not a medical pro, but know that riding an upright bike is imperative in your recuperation process.
    I started out with only a couple of minutes and increased time as I progressed. Start with low tension and increase that slowly, also.
    And, like David said, work on your upper body.
    Good luck!

  14. Help…I had a TKP 2 mon ago. Following exercise bout, that even, I developed a sore area on leg..by the next morning I found I couldn’t bear weight on leg that had the surgery. Now, one week later, I don’t have a lot of pain but I cannot raise the leg more than a few inches..I’m back to a walker. The PA said xrays look fine and he suspects a muscle strain…been using ice all week, no help….see a PT tomorrow…any thoguhts?

  15. Keep working on gentle stretching. Rehab on this is a real bear, as yo are discovering. Setbacks are normal and nothing to worry about. Try to be aware of what is muscle pain, what joint pain, and what post-op related pain. Pain after this serious operation is normal. Try to take it in stride (pun intended) and keep going forward.
    And watch your weight and stay away from crowded places where you might pick up a bug. Remember to wash your hands several times a day when you’re outside the home.

  16. I am moving into my eleventh month now….and have noticed some remarkable improvements in the last 2 weeks, even! Just the other day I sat on the edge of the bed to put my socks on, and I was able to pull my (TKR leg) foot up on top of my other knee and put my socks on! I can almost cross my legs now…..except my legs are kinda chubby and it’s uncomfortable, but I can do it…..lol

    I really feel like I am on the home stretch…..that my knee is at least 90% normal….and I am so relieved!

    I see my doctor again in November for my yearly followup and xrays……I think everything is fine.

    YAY….for me…finally! It has been a long, hard road….and I was terribly impatient and depressed at times…..

    Thanks again for all the wonderful info and support!

    Debi

    PS…..on October 24th, I am going to see “Vicki Lawrence and Mama…a Two Woman Show”…..and I am going in my Thelma Harper costume……I have FRONT row seats……woohoo……I’m so looking forward to meeting (hopefully) her after being told my whole life how much I look like her!

    • Well, I’m coming back to this post today……to tell you about my trip to see Vicki Lawrence Saturday night…..I had a blast….I DID get to meet her before the show back stage, b/c there was not going to be a “meet and greet” session after the show…..and one of the guys with her show spotted me in the lobby (where I was causing a scene) and took me to meet her. I had my picture snapped and she autographed my piece of sheet music of The Night the Lights Went out in Georgia that I bought in 1973…..lol….

      If you’d like to see pictures, here is a link to the message board thread where I posted my progress from the beginning…….http://www.singsnap.com/snap/forum/topic/b52c9bf

      I made my appointment today to see my doctor on Wednesday for my one year check up…….which is really a couple weeks early, but that’s okay. November is a busy month for me.

      Debi/Thelma…….lol

  17. I am five and a half months out of surgery – I feel so inadequate. I know progress is slow, but it seems ridiculous! There is much swelling at night (I am a teacher and up all day). When I sit, getting up is still quite difficult and the first ten steps or so are painful. It gets better after that. I thought that just living daily life would be helpful in the recovery, but it doesn’t seem to be. Guess I need to get to a gym? I have gained twenty pounds in the last four years (prior to surgery due to pain and of course now due to inactivity). I am TRULY frustrated!!!

  18. Dear Karen- have you read the previous posts? It took me well over two years to heal fully. For years I went to bed regretting that I had the operation. I thought it had been a mistake.
    From what you said, you should definitely watch your weight. I have nothing to add to what I, or anybody else, has said. It takes time, determination, and a willingness to withstand pain. Recovery from this operation is a long process and requires daily dedication.
    I have 90-95% of my knee function back and I am 71years old. I work out (VERY hard) three times a week, walk a lot, mow the lawn, go up and down stairs when I can (rather that take the elevator). I park farther away from the supermarket doors. I do FULL squats, ass to the grass, in the gym.
    Whatever effort you put in now will be repaid in a year or so. If you do nothing you will suffer for it. And if you don’t watch your weight you will end up worse than before. I did heal, other people have, and you will too. Good luck and keep the faith.

  19. I am 6 weeks into tkr rehab and doing fairly well but can’t got the whole way arond on the bike yet. Workingon it but need pain meds to get by a night.

  20. after out from hospital .i taken fish cord soup or bird nest .this is two thing for cure is inside and outside wound .this can get in chinese shop .because cure outside wound one mth dry
    because tkr

  21. I am exercising , stretching, losing weight, taking a few pain pills, and that might work for me.. I might not need a tkr.. I enjoy this site because of the stories. I would like to know more, how a TKR feels through daily life activities walking . bending etc. compared to a pre surgery knee. One thing that really bothers me is articles and information, in magazines books and on the internet that omits ligament removal in tkr surgery. Even books and animated videos don/t mention it .. I wonder why?

  22. I am 3 weeks into my total knee replacement. I am very diligent about doing my exercises and stretches. I can ride a stationary bike and i tried to ride my mountain bike yesterday just around the house, but it is too much for now. But I can see that within a couple more months I’ll be able to ride my bike outside. I swim and use fins to strengthen my weak legs. It sounds to me by reading others posts on here that pain will be a problem for a while so I just accept that this is the way it’s going to be, for now. I try not to over due it and I am quite surprised at how easy it is to overdue things. But I am inspired knowing that the pain will ease up around the 1 year mark, maybe 2. I will not give up on strength training, after all, having the knee replacement was better than living in constant pain with my old worn out knee to the point where I could no longer ski. It affected my lifestyle and I refuse to let that happen. Sounds to me from hearing everyone else on this post that be patient, it will get better with time.

    • You are right about being patient. But the knee will not heal fully by itself. It will only heal properly if you develop strength and flexibility, the pursuit of which might hurt at times. We all know that, don’t we? It will all be worth it in a couple of years, when you can walk without pain and have properly functioning knees again.
      Good luck and keep the faith!

  23. Hi i live in australia and had TKR 5/01/2010 my drama is im in a lot of pain but beffore i had TKR i had huge blood clot which made all my deep veins in compitent i have very bad swelling and around knee is severe pain and large amount of fluid it sucks my knee in and as soon as i stand or w alk i get huge swelling on right side of left leg i have been told no one can help please is there someone who has had same drama i had blood clot back inh 1999 and they say the damage is not possible to repair what will become of TKR is it possible to heal and also because of fliuid i am un able to bring leg back it restricts it from moving it is tight

  24. I followed the common sense rules. Lose weight, diet, exercise and guess what it is working, Two ortho surgens I went to said I need TKR, because of osto arth,,,I asked them about losing weight , exercise.they looked at me like I was crazy..I asked for physcial therapy. the pt was honest with me, said TKR recovery is long and difficult. I thought to myself, listen to the doctor who will make lots of $$$ with my tkr or the pt.I listened to the pt, For the past 4 months I have been on a diet, exercising , streching, strengthen knee and lower body. It is working. less pain , less pills. I watch Dr Oz on tv. a over weight woman asked him what to do with her bone on bone knee pain. he said ( lose weight and execise. ) Common sense. Work hard first , or work even harder after surgery. I feel sorry for he people who had TKR and all the problems with it. Iam sorry but I don’t trust many doctors and nurse practioners..I am tuning up my body and forever exercising and eating right…

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