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It's The Small Steps – TKR

Throughout a total knee replacement recuperation there are times when it seems that all the exercise and hard work just does not seem to be doing anything except cause pain and discomfort. You do not see results and it’s so easy to get frustrated. Well, this blog post is intended to provide hope and cheer for every person going through recuperation from a tkr. Why?

I’m coming up on seven months after my total knee replacement surgery. My recuperation has involved exercise of some sort every day, sometimes more than others. And, just the other day as I was laying down at night my mind wondered to the time period involved since my surgery. Every tkr patient probably goes through the same steps, only at different times. Here is what I came up with:

It dawned on me that just within the last week, I can lay my leg flat against a surface (usually my mattress or couch) and there is DECREASED PAIN! Sometimes, there is no pain AT ALL!! This is after suffering from pain of different strengths affecting my hamstring for months and months. For the first few months, I could not even straighten my leg – as previously mentioned.

My leg can easily be moved off of the bed. Immediately after surgery, I could not lift my leg at all. Zilch. And, for the first few weeks after my tkr, my muscles needed to be strengthened enough to allow me to do something as simple as that. In fact, physical therapy dealt with many of these exercises. The exercises were exceptionally painful at first. Now, my leg can be moved as if it is second nature. Wow. That’s huge.

My leg can be bent outwards while laying down. This means that I can bend my knee enough to stretch my inner thigh muscles. This couldn’t be done before.

There was a time when it took all of my strength to simply lift my leg onto a step. (In fact, that is a physical therapy exercise). Now, the effort is much less. Of course, some days are better than others.

My knee can be straightened out. This was a concern with my surgeon since I had a definite bend in it immediately after surgery. I had worn an inch shoe lift for 30 years and it was now showing in my muscle structure. This is a HUGE improvement for me and I am thrilled by it. 🙂

My gait is “normal”. Now, I feel my ankle and knee “swing” like a regular walker. It’s fun and entertaining, actually. 🙂 Prior to my surgery, I couldn’t do this. This took TONS of work to accomplish, however. And, it still needs worked on.

The back of my knee touches (lays flat against)  the surface I am laying on. Whooppeee!!! This is another HUGE improvement to me. 🙂

Even though I have a ways to go in fully recuperating from my total knee replacement surgery, it is progressing. It’s a lot of small steps, a lot of pain and discomfort, and sometimes a lot of frustration – but it’s worth it.

It’s the small steps that add up to the big accomplishments. 🙂

5 comments to It's The Small Steps – TKR

  • Vickie

    IT has been 11 weeks since by TKR. I had the new minimally invasive surgery and walked out of the hospital 2 days later on my own. No crutches or waker. I was amazed! Even going up and down stairs was no problem. I had 6 weeks of physical therapy and when I went back to see my orthopeadic surgeon at 6 weeks he asked me to walk for him and I did so with a normal gait so he told me I needed no more PT. He told me to walk or ride my stationary bike for at least 30 minutes a day. I started out following his advise to the letter, but have gotten lazy the last few weeks. I sit at a desk all day in my office and can’t walk much at work. My knee feels really stiff. I can lay it flat but can’t bend it nearly as far as my other knee. It still aches, more so at night. I know I need to ride my bike religously but the seat hurts my bum. I have bought and returned 3 new seats. Does anyone have any advise for me?

  • booktoots

    Hi Vickie,
    I had the same problem with a bike of mine. The seat was so uncomfortable, it caused pain and discomfort.
    I was looking around for something to fix the dilemma and came up with this…
    Get some bubble wrap and duct tape. Simply wrap the bubble wrap around the seat to your desired comfort level. Then, duct tape it in place.
    It may not be pretty, but it sure does do the job. Hope it works just as well for you.
    Have duct tape, will travel. 🙂

    Good luck!

  • Vickie

    Thanks Booktoots! I’ll try that! I ordered an elliptical machine over the weekend. Maybe between the two of them I can loosen up the stiffness in my knee. Is your knee still stiff?

  • Glenna Tolliver

    Hi I am almost 7 months, but past 2 or so weeks, my knee seems to be stiffer, and not walking as good as before. Is it the cold weather? Not working enought?\
    I also seem to hear a clicking sound now and then.
    Would appreciate your reply. Helps to talk to someone
    who is going thru the same thing.
    Pain is not a problem until I try and bend it back under
    me, and then lots of pain when I release it forward.
    Can reply to my email if you have time
    Thanks

  • Lyn Lalor

    Mum mum always slept on her side before the knee replacement op but now just finds it too uncomfortable. She didn’t sleep on the side that’s had the op, but can’t sleep on her side at all. Does anyone have any suggestions for her to comfortable sleep on her side? I wish we’d read all these blogs before she had the op – she wouldn’t have had it had she known the recovery was so long and involved. She’s 81.

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