Total Knee Replacement finally done.

MissA Member Posts: 54
edited 14. Feb 2023, 17:16 in Living with arthritis

How do people cope when both knees need replacing, as all the physio implies I have a fully functional ‘good’ knee to rely on?

This time last week I had my right knee replaced. It was drummed into me how important it was to do post op exercises, so I have been doing them every day since. Before going into hospital I made a conscious effort to lose weight (I was around 2 stone overweight) I lost a stone & am continuing to lose the weight as my appetite has taken a hit. I only spent 1 night in hospital & the physiotherapists were so happy with my mobility I was sent home with crutches, bath chair & a frame to help me lower onto the loo & a bag full of morphine & blood thinning jabs. Everyone has been remarking on how well I am doing, I even surprised myself.

However; my knee needed replacing due to the damaged caused by my Rheumatoid Arthritis & that has obviously not gone away. Luckily It’s been under reasonable control, despite me having to come off my biologic meds, to enable my op to be done. The only problem is, I cannot even take the anti-inflammatory meds I was on, until I have finished the blood thinners (for another 3 weeks). My left knee was never that great but now it’s starting to hurt a lot more & I suspect it’s because it did not like the strengthening exercises I’ve been doing for my new knee. I’ve started to strap up the left knee but I feel it’s going to stop me from making the progress I was, it now hurts more than my new knee! I was so optimistic & now I feel my hard work is being undermined.

What can I do to help myself?


  • MissA
    MissA Member Posts: 54

    I just want to add that I am realising post op is an emotional experience for me. I guess the pain relief meds added to the mix can exaggerate the emotions. One day I am very optimistic the next not so. I did think I would see constant improvement but I am learning some days are good, other days seem I’ve gone backwards but then things improve the next day 🤷🏻‍♀️. I guess it’s all about learning how far to push yourself without overdoing it.

    I’ll keep you posted on my progress & hopefully tales of my experience will help others in a similar situation.

  • Lane
    Lane Member Posts: 113

    Hello @MissA thank you for being able to tell us what has happened to you.

    You have recently had your right knee replaced, having successfully lost a stone. You are waiting to take your anti-inflammatory meds, once you have finished the blood thinner. Also having to do strengthening exercises, it sounds a lot for you.

    I have attached a couple of links from our website for you to have a look at, let us know what you think:

    Keep posting and you will connect with other members who can share tips with you.

    Best wishes.

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,686

    I think you're doing great and being very sensible about it all.

    When I got my first TKR, way back, both knees needed doing and I was allowed to choose which went first. The other was done as soon as the first had healed. About 2 months. I don't remember it being worse for the second while it was 'supporting' the first though it would make sense. I think, at this stage, you just plod on optimistically.

    Incidentally, I've always done the exercises on both legs, just half quantities on the one not currently needing attention. Keep going and keep us in the loop.

    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • MissA
    MissA Member Posts: 54

    Thanks for your replies.

    I had a day off the exercises yesterday, as I think the morphine meds were causing intense stomach pain. I finished the morphine I was prescribed & was so thankful to have been given it, I’m not sure I would have got through that 1st post op week without it. However, I do wish they had mentioned the importance of drinking plenty of water, or even prescribed a laxative with the other meds. The tummy pain was worse than my current knee pain & it was all down to constipation. I never realised such a thing could be so painful, I started to worry it was something else (but that’s me all over). I bought some over the counter laxative mix which solved the problem (Just tell pharmacist what other meds you’re on too).

    My advice to anyone prescribed morphine is make sure you keep well hydrated while taking it. Especially as lack of appetite after op can compound (literally) the issue.

    Onwards with Day 10 of my recovery 👍🏻

  • MissA
    MissA Member Posts: 54

    After 4 weeks I finally came off the blood thinners. Not nice having to inject my tummy daily but to be honest the thought was far worse than actually doing them. So I’m back on the celecoxib(anti-inflammatories) now. I need to book an appointment with rheumatologist to discuss going back on biologics, after being off them so long I really want to have a review of my meds, without feeling rushed.

    I’ve seen the physio, although I had to contact them as I was meant to hear from them 2 weeks after my op, but they gave me an appointment date quickly so that was ok. Physiotherapist was really impressed with my progress & gave me a few additional exercises to do.

    Week 5 I’m no longer using my crutches or the bath chair & loo frame the hospital loaned me so I will be pleased to be having them collected from me next week. Although I still use my bath bench to get out of the bath, I can’t see that changing for a while.

    On Monday it will be 6 weeks since my op & once again I have had to chase up the post op appointment, this time with the orthopaedic surgeon. All the literature I was given says I will be contacted but nothing heard, I’m getting used to having to chase them up.

    I’m doing all I can to straighten my leg as much as possible, although it’s not perfect, it’s far better than it was & I am pleased not to be hobbling around the house & hanging off the walls to steady myself anymore. Although it does feel stiff if I’ve been sitting too long. Hopefully the surgeon will be as impressed as the physiotherapist was. I do find it hard to get off to sleep though as I am aware of a dull ache in my knee. Ive been taking 1 Amyltriptiline 10mg tab at night & a couple of paracetamol to help. I’m not sure how long the sleep issue will last, I’ll see what the surgeon says on Monday.

    Overall, I am really pleased with the difference it has made. Friends & family cannot believe how successful it has been so quickly. I’m even looking to book a long weekend away in Spain soon, something I would never have been able to consider pre new knee. I will probably book assisted boarding if I do fly as I cannot be standing in queues for long periods.

    When the weather picks up I will be planning walks with friends around the local beauty spots with pub lunches thrown in, such things I was scared to look forward to be doing, in case my op wasn’t successful, I now feel optimistic about.

    Although I will still have to manage my RA I am so relieved to finally be getting a huge chunk of my life back.

  • Louisa77
    Louisa77 Administrator Posts: 242

    Hi @MissA

    It sounds like your recovery is going well, hope you get some encouragement from the surgeon that you are doing everything right. It all sounds very positive!

    Have you seen the new before and after surgery toolkit we have created? There might be some interested info.

    Best wishes


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