TKR and Walking Aids

Wobblylegs
Wobblylegs Member Posts: 99
edited 20. Apr 2016, 14:50 in Living with Arthritis archive
Hi All,

Just curious to know of those who have had a TKR or BTKR how long did you use walking AIDS for after the op.

My surgeon wrote to he after mine and in the letter he stated 'I'm happy for you to go from two crutches, to one and then none over the next few weeks as you gain confidence! I will see you in six weeks."

To me that's very open lol. I'm still using 1 crutch indoors and 2 outdoors and I'm 5 and half weeks post op. Issue is I'm faster with them but should I be weaning off them now and going very much slower (which I will be). I walked about 1,000 yards yesterday but I suffered a little last night for it. The rest of my body objected too after all this inactivity.

As I said I'm just curious as I know everyone is different.
Wobbly X

Comments

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,224
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    How long did I use walking aids after my TKRs? More or less, until I got home :lol:

    Not strictly true but the fact is that I could never use crutches owing to the RA in shoulder, elbows and hands so they always send me home with a zimmer which goes as soon as I want to get myself a cup of tea.

    I'm certainly not advocating this as a universal policy, only to show that we're all different and, as you showed by gritting your teeth and getting through all the exercises on just paracetamol, where there's a will there's a way.

    The walking aids are, presumably, to make people feel stable and give them confidence. Of course, without them, you'll be slower for a while. If it were me, given your surgeon's instructions, I'd be aiming to get rid of the indoor one before seeing him again and maybe trying to use just one outdoors but that will depend on terrain. A flat pavement is a different beast to a tufty lawn or gravelly path. Or just a hill.

    You have much more to deal with than most of your surgeon's patients and you know your own body much better than he does. I have no doubt that you will get the very best out of this TKR and, if it takes you a little longer than most people, then so be it.
  • Helenbothknees
    Helenbothknees Member Posts: 487
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Wobbly,
    As you say, everyone is different. I found my crutches to be a real nuisance indoors, and after a week I asked the physio if I could abandon them and use furniture instead to hold on to. I should say we have a LOT of furniture! He was quite happy with that. About 4 weeks post op I went for a physio appointment, and another physio was horrified that I'd walked into the hospital without crutches, despite the fact I said I felt fine without them. She insisted I use them for several more weeks. I did...when she was looking! She said I needed them for balance. I didn't really get on with them, and felt safer relying on my own good sense of balance than a rubber tip, which I found slipped in the wet. But I know several people who used them for much, much longer. I think this is a case of listening to your own body...but I'm not an expert.
  • Wobblylegs
    Wobblylegs Member Posts: 99
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you stickywicket and Helenbothknees that was a really fast response :D

    I guessed that might be the answer. I feel very unbalanced without them, but of course that is probably the MS as well! Yes, my Physio told me I had to use them until six weeks, I showed her the surgeons letter and she said she had never seen one like that and deals with many hospitals. I think he's confident in his work!

    I'm testing out using just a walking stick around the house today which I suppose is a start. I see my consultant next Monday so he may have tolerate me using a stick. It's a long corridor at the hospital and my MS often makes me look drunk as I bounce of walls. It's the main reason I started using one many years ago.

    I must admit yesterday I walked about 1,000 yards or so and was very shocked by how deconditioned my other leg and the rest of me had become in these last few weeks. Did you find that too? I'm putting Voltarol on my other knee today and keeping my fingers crossed that that one will never need doing after the drugs issues this time lol. But it probably will!

    Thanks again, this forum is brilliant!
    Wobbly x
  • barbara12
    barbara12 Member Posts: 21,279
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello wobbly..has you know I have had this THR..its 4 weeks this Thursday coming..I hate the things even more than when I had my first one..but will always have a stick or crutch due to this spine..I think first time round I used one after 4 weeks in the house that is and 2 out..but be careful we dont want any accidents..
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,224
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Wobblylegs wrote:
    I walked about 1,000 yards or so and was very shocked by how deconditioned my other leg and the rest of me had become in these last few weeks. Did you find that too?

    Oh yes! Every time after ops but even in normal life too.

    We go to stay with our son in California for a month every year. At home I live in a bungalow and have things arranged so that I cope well with normal household tasks. He lives in a house which has two flights of steps up from the garage and another to the bedroom. Because I have to ensure I can get to bed(!) I have to curtail other activities. Cooking is out of the question as I can't reach anything, use his knives etc or even cope with the rather high work tops. I also get lax with my basic maintenance exercises as I can't just walk into the bedroom to do them on the bed. As a result, typically, I returned home two weeks ago, after a month of this, with a very impressive muscle on my 'leading leg' (for stairs) and absolutely no strength in any others.

    I'm working on it. It takes time but, yes, it's normal. It's not as if we start off as superfit athletes 8)
  • Wobblylegs
    Wobblylegs Member Posts: 99
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Barbara! How lovely to 'hear' from you, I did post on your thread to ask how you were getting on, but as I didn't hear I was a little concerned. I hope you are progressing well too? Mine is 5 weeks this Thursday so maybe it's not that unusual to still use them. I know I'll always need a stick too as I've got Arthur in my spine too and of course the MS.

    Stickywicket, yes if I'm sensible I know all this, we live in a bungalow too, well it's a dormer actually with the 'guest' bedroom upstairs for when family stay, our bedroom is downstairs. I have the same problem when I stay at my sons. But always assumed it was because of the knee I've just had done.

    As this is my first major op of any kind it's a real learning curve.
    I suppose I'll have to accept the other knee is pretty rubbish too AND I have left sided weakness with my MS.

    Well at least I'm fit and 18 years old in my head! Lol

    Thanks for sharing both, it helps a lot, talking to others who just 'get it'.
  • Wobblylegs
    Wobblylegs Member Posts: 99
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Wobblylegs wrote:
    Mine is 5 weeks this Thursday so maybe it's not that unusual to still use them.
    Well I obviously can't count either, it's 6 weeks this Thursday!!

    I've just did the same walk today as I did yesterday but this time I listened to my body and broke it up with a couple of short rests on a bench in the sunshine. Your right, there is no rush eh?

    Thanks again xxx

    :deckchair:
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    After my first synovectomy in February 2002 I was told to use the crutches until things were fully healed (this was before anyone knew I had some form of inflammatory arthritis). I ditched them in May but still had to use a stick (it was a huge operation). By the September I was back on them because my newly-operated knee was swelling again. Hey-ho. We're all different in what we need and how we need it but as you are already used to having a stick to get back to just that will be good - but what's the rush?

    I wonder if your ortho surgeon is aware of the MS? If so then to me that was a very thoughtless if not stupid thing to put into a letter: he is obviously only thinking about his handiwork and what he wants you to achieve and not the impact of your other conditions.

    Losing muscle strength and tone can happen very quickly, After my synovectomy I was told to do the exercises for that with my other leg too, to help keep that in better shape for when I started walking again. I still do that to this day. DD
  • Wobblylegs
    Wobblylegs Member Posts: 99
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks DD that makes a lot of sense. The walking I've done the last 2 days has had a major effect on my unoperated leg too. I've failed to think about the fact that as I was struggling to walk for so many years I can't suddenly just do it!

    My knee was very swollen after the walks and doesn't seem to like being without at least one crutch at the moment so I think I'll just stick to that.

    It feels like a set back but if I think in terms of my pre op capability it's not.

    Thanks for sharing your story.
    Xxx
  • Helenbothknees
    Helenbothknees Member Posts: 487
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I wonder if your ortho surgeon is aware of the MS? If so then to me that was a very thoughtless if not stupid thing to put into a letter: he is obviously only thinking about his handiwork and what he wants you to achieve and not the impact of your other conditions.

    I found myself thinking along exactly the same lines as DD. I know very little about MS, but I don't suppose your surgeon does either! Listen to your body - if your knee thinks it needs a crutch right now, then it does. That's my experience anyway.
  • yiayia3
    yiayia3 Member Posts: 19
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi,as all these nice people have said everyone is different,I used 2crutches for the first 2 weeks then 1 for 2 weeks then a stick as and when needed,this was on physio's orders.Hope this helps a bit
    YiaYia
  • barbara12
    barbara12 Member Posts: 21,279
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello Wobbly
    Sorry I didn't answer you on my thread, I did read it but dont like keep dragging it to the top..I should have PMed you.. :? my brain is mush at the minute..well most of the time come to that :o
    You will have to be extra careful with the MS...just carry on improving..hopefully we will both be down to one very soon..x
  • Wobblylegs
    Wobblylegs Member Posts: 99
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Just wanted to say thanks to all on this thread and sign off on the subject lol.

    You all talk more sense than I do and I'm the one with MS. I saw my Physio today and she said more or less the same that you stay on either 2 crutches or 1 for as long as you need too.

    As far as she is concerned all my signs are very positive, she is VERY happy with my progress and I need to stop being so hard on myself. As she pointed out if you've always used sticks to balance with then your not suddenly going to be able to walk without them! She said ignore the surgeon and point that out to him when you see him.

    But thanks for keeping me going on this one guys you are all amazing.
    Wobbly xx

    :D
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    You are in unknown territory when it comes to TKRs. We are in unknown territory when it comes to MS but we know about TKRs (well some of us do, some of us are still waiting to find out). I'm learning from you and I thank you for that; in the future we may have another person in a similar boat to you so at least I will be a little more informed about how someone in your situation has coped: you have so hopefully that will give them hope.

    When in the middle of struggling with a post-op recovery it can be very hard to see the progress that's been made but, when viewed from the 'outside' we can reassure you that it's going far better than you might think, simply because it is. It takes years to reach the point where a new joint is required but for some reason we think that within weeks we will be back to normal. The body has to relearn so many things as well as heal. It's not easy.

    I learned very early on not to compare myself to others' achievements and not to listen too hard to healthy surgeons (and rheumatologists) making promises to me about what they would achieve for me with their efforts. The ortho who did all my synovectomies is still running marathons. He dealt practically with surgical theory whereas my rheumatologist lied. I live with grim reality. DD