I’ve been getting comments from recent tkr patients who say they are sorry for undergoing the surgery. We (tkr vets) all understand the initial negativity. With all the pain and frustration, it’s easy to not see the big picture. I hope my 22 month post-tkr update helps….
Wow, it’s been that long already. 🙁 There’s a saying that time goes faster the older we get. It must be true. Anyways, I thought I’d give an update on my tkr deal.
Joint pain. I have no joint pain in my tkr whatsoever. It’s probably because I don’t have a joint. (I’m chuckling to myself here.) This brings back memories of when I had my initial follow-up doctor appointments after my tkr. “Do I still have arthritis in my knee?” I asked.
“It’s hard to have arthritis when you don’t have a jointâ€ was the chuckled response I received. If looks could kill, he wouldn’t be here today. Now, I can chuckle about it. At the time it didn’t strike my funny bone.
Walking aides. I don’t have to carry crutches around with me. I am not concerned about my knee locking up on me like it did prior to my tkr.
Walking. I can walk without pain. Period. That alone is worth the tkr and all the recuperation it takes. I absolutely love walking. (I was going to say “simply walking” but had to change the wordage since it’s not simple when you cannot do it. We have to build ourselves up to do it.)
Drugs. I am not taking any medication. The only thing I do take occasionally is some aspirin.
Weight loss. I have lost 20 pounds that accumulated while I was unable to do continuous aerobic exercises.
Flexibility. My tkr leg can be fully straightened, which is no small feat. It feels great to be able to sit and stretch my hamstrings.
Flexion: I estimate my flexion as being 110-115 degrees. That’s better than before my tkr.
Stretches. I can do a variety of stretches and yoga poses which benefit my entire body. That was not possible until months after my tkr.
I can touch my toes (and floor) and have the stretch feeling wonderful, not painful.
Body stretch. I can usually do a full body stretch (like a cat) prior to getting out of bed on most days. This was impossible until just a couple of months ago. It feels wonderful.
Pain. There is no sharp or dull pain surrounding my tkr from exercising.
Sleep. My sleep is much more sound than during the initial eight to twelve months post tkr.
Not negatives, just concerns:
Even though I am grateful for all I have, and do not want to come across as griping, there needs to be some items that are not totally positive. So…
Stairs. Stairs are not my favorite thing. When I’m going both up and down, a slug would win the race. Going upstairs seems to be more difficult due to my “good” leg taking more of the brunt (my body weight). Going downstairs is slow, but doable.
Nerve pain. There is still the nerve pain from a previous bone spur. That is always going to exist, so it’s not that big of a deal to me. Sometimes sleeping on my tkr side makes the pain worse, so I just shift positions.
Remember that joke, “Doc, it hurts when I do this?” With: “Don’t do it” replies the doctor? (Changing sleep positions was NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE due to the pain level during the first year post-tkr.) The pain seems to get worse after my walking exercises. Strange how that occurs. It does not happen after riding my stationary bike.
Tightness. There is still some tightness in the front of my tkr. It usually takes me a couple of minutes to loosen up on my exercise bike until I can pedal 360 degrees.
Dressing. Dressing can be a drag or bummer. Putting on pants and/or socks, especially, is a pain in the patoot (slang for butt). My tkr does not bend enough to make the process easy. Same with pantyhose. Still, it’s not painful like before my tkr.
Shopping. Clothes shopping is a bite. Even though I’ve never really enjoyed clothes shopping (I used to make all my clothes in my school days), it is dreaded now. Trying pants on is not fun at all. Oh oh….I am griping.
Swelling. After exercising for longer than 45 minutes, my tkr swells up. The swelling is much less intense than previously, however. And, the pain is not there like during initial phases of tkr recuperation.
Well…I can’t think of anything else now that related to my 22 month post-tkr update. Hope this helps others going through the same thing.
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AUTHOR NOTE: Booktoots Healing helps total knee replacement patients find support throughout recuperation and beyond. Its mission is for patients to understand they are not alone in their ordeal with either a tkr or other physicality concerns.
This award-winning site is owned and operated by Marie Buckner, a published author and tkr blogger plus patient who has been living with various physicalities for over 30+ years. She enjoys sharing her experiences to help others going through the same thing.
Marie is also a proud WEGO Health Patient Leader.