after care for total knee replacement

harebell2 Member Posts: 6
edited 7. Dec 2010, 15:00 in Living with Arthritis archive
Hi all, I was very grateful for allthe tips received when I last posted but it's now 2-3 weeks since the op and I am feeling housebound and in pain. I have had the staples removed but my knee is still very swollen, even though I am trying to do the exercises and spend time with frozen peas on the knee. I have told my family never to eat any pea soup I offer in the next few months! Any suggestions to reduce swelling and feelings of misery would be gratefully received. Love to all.


  • ironic
    ironic Member Posts: 2,386
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I have not had any joint replacements so I am not much help to you. There are quite a few on here that have and I am sure they will reply to you soon. It can be a bit quiet around here at weekend.
    Sorry you are having a bad time of it.
    Lv, Ix
  • elnafinn
    elnafinn Member Posts: 8,043
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi there Harebell

    It is still early days since your TKR and I am afraid you may have to be patient :roll: difficult, I know. I have had both knees done one in 2008 and one at the beginning of this year, at the end of January. We all react differently post op, I know this because there are quite a few peeps on the forum who have had one or both knees replaced. Some may suffer no pain post op and get fully mobile quickly and others have pain for quite some time although mobility may be good. I fell in the latter category.

    You should have started physio by now. I hope that this was put in place for you. For the pain, I found, medication and RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) helped me. Plus doing the exercises three times a day and seeing the physio quite regularly. I could share with her how I felt I was getting on and also to get more exercises as things progressed. My consultant emphasised to me that it was a major operation and that it could take anything from one year to eighteen months for things to settle. In my case I would say it took me around 9 months before I no longer thought about my knee op.

    I did use a tubigrip for a while, suggested to me by my physio and I found that helped in the early days when the knee ached and had a tendency to swell up if I was on my feet for too long. The tubigrip has to be long enough to stretch half way down the leg and halfway up the thigh.

    Please ask any questions you may have or private message me.

    Try not to be too impatient, your knee has gone through great trauma and it will serve you well if you treat it kindly and be patient. :)

    You will become friends eventually. :wink:

    Elna x
    The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything.

    If you can lay down at night knowing in your heart that you made someone's day just a little bit better, you know you had a good day.
  • bertyboy
    bertyboy Member Posts: 2,052
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I had a tkr this last april , and i must stress how you must do the excersises as much as you can , i am not sure mine is quite right at the moment will know more on that in december , but do rest and elevate i also put a couple of pillows under the end of my matteress to elevate it more in bed it is still early days for you be gentle with your self xx
    I know i am a lady ,all life is a journey xx MAY xx
  • julie47
    julie47 Member Posts: 6,142
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi thereharebell

    I havent had a joint replacement but my motherinlaw had her knee done in the summer.

    It took atleast 6wks for her to recover. In this time she was doing excercises that had been recommended and it did at times cause discomfort. she also felt quite down at times.
    She did really well and was walking properly no aids after about 3 months. she is 76 and walks brilliant.

    I hope you too strt to feel better soon , then you can wear them dancing shoes again :)

    take care
    juliepf x
  • cherrybim
    cherrybim Member Posts: 334
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi there Harebelle,

    Elna has given such good advice, totally spot on :) It does take a long time to straighten up and fly right after a TKR but the end result is hopefully what you always wished for. It certainly has been in my case!

    For what it might be worth, lol I'll put in my twopennyworth.

    It's most important to do the exercises and I can't stress that enough! I know of someone who just couldn't be a**** to do them 'cos she thought it was too painfull...end result...she's back to square one, such a pity!

    I've a schoolfriend of 50 odd years standing who is an eminent physiotherapist and she gave me a few tips.

    To reduce the swelling caused by the deep seated bruising of such a traumatic op, it must come out from the muscles and tissues. Arnica (tablets) long term old fashioned remedy will help with this (check with your Doc to make sure it's ok) Drink lots of water 'cos that will help the fluid disperse.

    Secondly, the oedema (swelling) can be helped by massage. Always towards the heart and because I've got PA the WD40 (aka E45 cream prescribed by myDoc) is very suitable because it also helps the overstretched and peeling skin that comes as a result of the swelling.

    It's now 13 months since I had a right TKR and having "come out the other side" I can promise you it will be wonderful in the end although as Elna says "you have to have patience"

    I had a left THR in August and that was an absolute "walk in the park" compared with the knee!

    Wishing you every improvement possible but as Elna says it does take time so don't get cross with yourself. Pamper, that's the word. Give your leg a soothing massage and have a pedicure so you can look at pretty tootsies.

    Cherry xxx
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,558
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    These things take a while: one's limb is thoroughly abused during such an op, and there will be much internal bruising and scarring as well as the external. Sometimes surgeons fail to tell one about the realities of these ops - they stress the benefits but info about the timescale in achieving those is often neglected. Don't be too impatient, these things take weeks and weeks to settle. Do the exercises but rest the limb too - as someone else mentioned RICE is the best thing. I bathed my bruises with witchazel - arnica does nothing for me tho I know it is very effective for others. I wish you well. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • harebell2
    harebell2 Member Posts: 6
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you all very much. I felt better just reading your advice. I have probably been moving around too much and haven't elevated my knee the way you recommended. Here we go again. Love and hugs for allyour kindness.
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,558
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    It must be very difficult, I do empathise. Try not to do too much tho, give those poor muscles etc a chance to heal! The better you 'behave' now, the quicker the recovery - well, that would be my take on it! I hope things start to improve soon - keep in touch, let us know how you are getting on. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • sharmaine
    sharmaine Member Posts: 1,638
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I had my first TKR in February and I'm very satisfied with my knee. I do remember those first few months of pain and discomfort! I found that getting my pain relief sorted was the most important thing I did. I was initially co-dydramol but it did nothing. My GP then prescribed tramadol x 5 daily. I could also take paracetamol alongside these if pain was really bad. I took one tramadol in the morning one in the afternoon, one after tea and 2 before bed with 2 amytriptilines. This really kept the pain and discomfort at bay. It meant that I could do my physio and manage a fairly good nights sleep.

    I found that I had to use 2 icepacks between 3-5 times a day during the first six weeks. On bad days I used a combo of a heat pad then ice - I'm sure this helped. Then I gradually cut these down to 2 or just one a day. Keeping up the ice packs were really important. During the first few weeks I got tired really quickly and couldn't stand or sit in any one place without my leg hurting. I made good use of my perching stool in the early stages when cooking a meal etc.

    I found it hard to lift my leg up onto the bed or settee so used the belt of my hubby's bathrobe which I hooked under my foot - it worked a treat.

    I also found elevating my mattress helped at night. My husband raised it with a couple of pillows.

    It does take time for things to heal and if you get your meds right you'll cope a lot better.

  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 26,765
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00

    I expect the others have already said - we all heal diferently and at different rates so it is easy to compare yourself to sonmeone else who seems to do brillliantly and recover so quickly and have not too much pain etc.

    I am in the other end! I am the slowest healer and the most cowardly of patients - I reckon you are in the middle :wink:

    You are doing ok from what I hear of other's progress.

    I do hope things settle for you very soon (Oh by the way for me - It all comes together in the end :wink:

    Toni xx

    Toni xxx
  • Kaybeel
    Kaybeel Member Posts: 1
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi All,

    My 79 year old mom had a total left knee replacement in Oct 09, according to the surgeon and physio the op was a success. However my mom is still struggling with shooting pain, which can go through the centre of the knee or down her leg. Thankfully it isn't constant pain but when it comes it is severe, so much so that she said that she would never have her other knee replaced. However following a recent consultation she has been advised that her right knee also need to be replaced but obviously she is very apprehensive. The surgeon who is due to perform this op has advised that he will also replace the kneecap- which wasn't replaced on her left knee.
    He said he preferred to replace the knee cap and that individual surgeons had their own preference, he thought that as the kneecap wasn't repalced in her left knee then this could be the reason why she was still in pain from her 1st op.
    Has anyone else experienced anything similar or have any pros/cons for kneecap replacement?

  • speedalong
    speedalong Member Posts: 3,347
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Harebell and welcome,

    I'm not a knee op person, (i'm a hip op person) but just wanted to offer my support. The biggest healer will be time - do not underestimate how powerful time is!! It is very frustrating .. but you are the right side of the op and the swelling etc WILL improve.


    PS try a row of pillows under the foot end of your mattress - leave them sticking out a little so they don't slip. This helped with my hip swelling.
    I have had OA since mid twenties. It affects my hips and knees. I had a THR on the left aged 30 and now have a resurface-replacement on the right - done May 2010.
  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 26,765
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi harebell

    Just wanted to check in and see if you are feeling any better at all?

    You were still suffering last time we spoke and i am soooooo hoping things are beginning to improve.


    toni xx

    Toni xxx