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Why Comparison Is Not A Good Idea For TKR Patients

Even though it is a good idea to read about other tkr patients and their experiences, please remember that we are all different. Everyone recuperates at their own pace. And, everyone went into their total knee replacement surgery with a different background, different experiences. Some have experienced trauma, some have experienced aging, and some have a combination of the two (like me).

My tkr is the result of a car accident which happened 33 years ago. There was trauma to my knee and entire leg. The main leg injury was a fractured femur (thighbone). At the time, the doctors said I had arthritis in my knee as a result of my knee smashing against the dashboard. I was told then that I would not really have any problems until 30 years down the road. As a 21 year old, I thought…”Yeah, ok. That’s when I’m old.” So, here I am 30 years later. And, I’ll deny being “old”. 🙂 Funny how that works, in my opinion.

I’m mentioning this since my tkr recuperation has added concerns as compared to the typical osteoarthritis (aging) concerns. That’s the way it is and I accept that. I don’t compare myself with others. What’s the point in that?

Recently one of my patients suggested having a flexion contest among the tkr readers/patients on my blog. I love that competitive spirit and found her enthusiasm refreshing. However, I would not stack up at all, and I’m not going to try to. While other tkr patients are striving for 115-135 flexibility range (kudos to you all!), I am not in the same ball park. I’m not your average bear.

Even though gauging yourself against other tkr patients will give you a general idea about experiences, comparisons between flexibility and activities is just not a good idea. That’s my opinion, anyways. For instance, I know that to “graduate” from physical therapy, 95 was the flexibility target goal for me. I saw other tkr patients, at the same time period of my surgery, with 115-120. I started to feel inadequate since I was struggling to reach 95. And, that was with my physical therapy lady pulling and pushing on me so hard I could have screamed loud enough for Asia to hear me. 😕

The only comparison you need to make is with yourself. All you can do is keep bettering yourself. Remember your pre-tkr flexibility and activity level. Then, compare it to how you are after your surgery. In my case, my flexion and activity level have both increased remarkably. Yet, I do not have more than 100 degrees as of today. And, I may never have more than that. My doctor told me to be prepared for that based upon my prior medical experience. Prior to my tkr, though, my degree of flexibility was probably around 75. It was not good.

I believe it is important to mention this since comparing yourself with others can make you doubt your own accomplishments. What good is that? Anyone diligently working (doing their exercises) after a total knee replacement surgery needs to be proud of what they have accomplished. Don’t doubt yourself.

So, when you hear of or see other tkr patients with their desirable activity level, impressive flexion degrees, and other aspects you want to have – remember we are all different.

Good luck!

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1 comment to Why Comparison Is Not A Good Idea For TKR Patients

  • Debi

    I agree with everything you said! I know my flex is probably not what it was that last day of therapy when Rhonda was pushing against my leg to get that 110 degrees…….however……

    I am able to work an 8 hour day, like today, without taking a lunch and without sitting every 30 minutes to rest, and not come home and collapse in pain. I have more better days than bad ones now, and for that I am thankful.

    I see my Dr. April 15 and hope he is pleased with my progress. I feel like the flex will be greater as the weeks go by and I keep working on it.

    I am normally a competitive person, but not with this knee…it’s too important to me! I’m just happy to be back at work and functioning normally again!

    Now, if I could just get my shoulder to stop hurting…..from all those weeks of pulling/pushing myself up out of the chair…

    I’m like a Ford…..Fix Or Repair Daily……(but better than Found On the Road Dead)


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