Five Months Post TKR Update

Hi my favorite readers! Well, something great happened today. It is five months after a total knee replacement. I will consider this improvement as part of my five months post tkr update.

I was icing my knee after an hour long walk when I noticed something. I could see the outline of my kneecap (patella)!  That means that my swelling is starting to go down, and I could actually feel my knee cap for the first time since my tkr surgery.

To reiterate, even though it is five months after my tkr, I still need to use the RICE procedure. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation. I do this regularly.

My flexibility is around 100 after my joint replacement. This was approximately the extent before my tkr. I was told this prior to my surgery. I have no problem with it at all.

Back to being able to view my kneecap…It’s amazing how the small things in life can be so important. 🙂

There is still a ways to go with my total knee replacement recuperation, but….woohoo!! Hope this helps others going through the same thing five months after a total knee replacement.

Find this five months post tkr blog post interesting? Kindly share my total knee replacement recuperation story with others…Thanks!

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 site is owned and operated by Marie Buckner, a published author, tkr blogger, and tkr patient who has been living with various health conditions for over 40+ years. She enjoys sharing her experiences to help others going through the same thing.

Marie is also a proud WEGO Health Patient Leader.

54 thoughts on “Five Months Post TKR Update”

  1. I’m now 5 months post TKR, left knee, and I’m still in so much pain. It gets stiff, it pops when I walk and that hurts, and sleeping is still extremely difficult. No position is comfortable and I end up tossing and turning and crying out in pain when I shift my left into different positions. I can bend it, I can walk on it, and I can ride my exercise bicycle twice a day for 15-20 min. intervals but the pain and numbess are still there. When does this go away??

  2. Hi Carolyn,
    Thanks for visiting my site and leaving your comment. Everyone visiting this site, who has undergone a tkr, understands how you feel. It may not seem possible now, but it does get better. It took me a solid eight months before I could sleep more than two hours at a time.
    Take a look around this site to find more information and support. Hang in there, keep exercising and keep in touch!
    Good luck!

  3. Donnell Edman

    I am glad I found your site. I am taking the Internet seriously now. I am retired and can dive into it. There is quite a rich diversity of information in blogs so I am getting involved and commenting.

    Your blog is not like most of the blogs that I read on the Internet, and I like the style of what you are presenting here. I am approaching this from all sides, sonce I recently had a tkr and am starting my own website with its own blog. TheVeryBest2You

  4. hi
    i am 5 months post up and very upset i am 50yrs old an a nurse i went back to work but still work with a cane still cannot sleep at night i stop pt cause i am so tried and have no engry to go to pt so i walk to work and used the staries daily i walk alot at work will i every be the same

  5. In 2 days it will be 5 months since my total knee replacement on 12/12/12. My knee never felt better or more natural. The other knee needs the surgery and is scheduled for late November and I couldn’t be more happy with the results. I felt it was important to write about the great results because many times we only read about the problems people are having. I believe that most are very satisfied with their TKA. Here is what my experience tells me is important to having the results you’d like: first, try to get in the best physical condition your body will allow before the surgery. Pick a surgeon who uses the best and latest technology both of which can be learned about by researching on the internet. Choose a custom knee system the uses CT scan evaluation of your knee prior to surgery so the implants can be fitted to your individual anatomy. If you smoke or consume alcohol limit both or quit all together prior to and during your recovery. Use an ice and compression device after surgery and do all the exercises your doctor and therapist ask. Find a pool to work out in as well as a gym or fitness center and work that new joint as advised to do. Most important is to have a good and positive outlook and the confidence that if you do what’s expected you’ll have the results you’d expect. I believe the patient is the most important element of successful TKA surgery! I’m getting ready for my next TKA and I expect the outcome to be even better the second time around!

  6. I am five month post tkr. When I leave leg straight I pains me fro buttocks through ankle. It
    It it a burning sensation that causes pain I my ankle. Any ideas

  7. I am also 5 months post op. My knee still gives me problems at night but much of the pain is gone. I still have bad pain climbing stairs and standing from a soft or low chair, but the walking is much better. It does not feel natural. Instead, it feels like I am always wearing one of those metal jointed knee braces. I can live with that. I still need to increase muscle strength but I do think that I’m improving slowly but surely.

  8. I am five months since my tkr.The first three months I had hardly any pain.On a scale of 1 to 10 mine was a 1 or 2.After the third month my knee started to hurt a little more.The pain now is probably a 5 or 6.The most pain is when I stand up from a low chair.It just seems I am regressing instead of progressing.Hopefully this is just temporary.

  9. I am seven days from 5 months total knee replacement, surgery was April 23. I still have difficulty walking my knee is very still even though. I have pt twice per week. I also have a bike one like the ones they have at the gym, I exercise one hour daily at home. My range of motion is less than 100. My problem is that after the exercise I can walk and bend my knee then after a short time it is stiff again. I feel like it is taking too long to heal I am doing the work but I am not seeing the results. It is very uncomfortable to sleep without taking a sleeping pill.

  10. Hi Shirley,
    I just sent a private message. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment.
    You’re experiencing the same things I was at your stage of tkr recuperation. It will get better!
    Keep in touch and good luck!

  11. I’m 5 months post TKR and two weeks post hernia surgery (HS). Still have a lot of pain and swelling in my knee. My pain an swelling has increased since HS but I expect that to improve as I recover. I too was starting to see the outline of my knee cap right before the set back from HS. I know everyone’s healing time is different, I’m just really looking forward to the day I wake up pain free!

  12. Same exact problem as Paul. First 3 months little pain. Now 5 months painfull when first standing, eases after a few steps.

  13. Hi Gerald,
    Thanks for stopping by and leaving your tkr comment. I am certain others, including Paul, will appreciate your insight. Keep in touch and good luck!

  14. I’m a little over five months and still stiff and in pain. I walk every day, do Pilates and yoga, ice, have a great social life, don’t drink or smoke, and am a size 12 headed toward a size 10. I include my size for those Yonkers who assume tkr’s result from weight! RA , osteo arthitis, and low thyroid run in my family. I assume that auto immune issues lead to slower healing. If any of you have auto immune disorders, they could be the reason for slow healing. However, the friends that I know who have had both knees done will tell you that each knee healed differently. One can heal quickly and one can heal slowly. Doctors have no idea what causes slow healing. A young, thin, active person can heal slowly while an 85- year-old less active person can be driving and buying groceries in four weeks. I know two of the latter and one is an unhappy person. So don’t let people insinuate that it is somehow your fault. It is what it is. We just have to keep icing and smiling. And waiting. ?

  15. I should add to the above that I am bending at 135 degrees, proof that I did well in rehab. My doc is very happy with my extension and flexibility. He says docs have no explanation for healing rates. My next knee, he said, could recover quickly, though I’m in no hurry to find out!

  16. Almost 5 months post TKR. Still very stiff in the morning. I try to go to the gym 2-3 times a week. I was up to walking 2 miles at the gym but decided that my good knee hurt after that exercise. I can use an exercise bike for 35 minutes. I always am pushing forward on a step and pushing my knee as far back as I can on a recliner in a sitting position. My knee still has fluid and hurts when I try to push it forward and backwards as far as I go physically go. My knee looks a lot larger then my good knee. Hopefully my knee will look normal size in the months to come. I just want to get the water off and the scar tissue to unlock at some point. I hate that I had this done, I am 66 and very healthy but I have had one up hill battle to recovery.

  17. TKR both knees 5 1/2 months ago i feel at times that they are tighter now than after 1 month .Yes i can put on socks and x my legs and thank fully i have not had trouble sleeping.But i feel at times that the tightness will never end.Please tell me i’am wrong.

  18. Hi Robert,
    Thanks for stopping by and leaving your tkr comment. You asked about tightness in your tkr area. Wish I could be positive on this area, but it is still happening to me. It’s been nine years since my total knee replacement. Sometimes it is worse than others, but it still exists. It could be much worse, though. Hang in there!

  19. 4 1/2 months post bilateral TKR. yeah yeah, yeah, it does take time. I’m not “there” yet, but what helps is to notice the changes for the good. I notice, and appreciate “wow, see how much smoother I am getting my legs into the car???” that kind of thing. somewhere in the 3 month period,my right knee began to feel “normal” first,” glimpses” of normal, then more and more. (mind you I still get stiff (again, slowly less and less) when sitting too long, like in the car etc.at 4 and 1/2 months FINALLY, my left knee is feeling normal, again NOT full time, but glimpses, then longer glimpses, etc. I’ve finally turned the corner where the “glimpse” is lasting longer. It shows me it IS healing and I know it will continue to get better. It just takes time dammit!!! both legs are weak, I can’t walk great distances, but thats improving too. I remind myself that the fine print on these new knees says “6months to a year” for full recovery, and sometimes more. I recommend just keep at excercising, try to find that sweet spot between not enough and too much, stats show 95% of us will get there.

  20. Hi, just found your site. July 8th will be 5 months. I’m doing really pretty great, 135 degree bend after 9 weeks (only self physical therapy no help just at home alone) was driving my weekly 200 mile round trip at 7 weeks postoperative. Haven’t taken pain pills in months unless we are going hiking. Lots of swelling gone, does get stiff if sitting long.

    I don’t understand though why I have had pain in my hip since, why my knee is still popping , why when I lay on my side in bed and bend sometimes I get a sharp stabbing pain in back above my knee. Tendons? Ligaments? And I don’t understand why when I look down at my knees in a sitting position the operated knee looks crooked.
    Anyone else experiencing these things?

  21. 7 months time recovering from my right knee replacement and other than tightness, it is doing great! However after five months with my left knee replacement, I can’t say the same thing. I understand the tightness, but lately I am having pain when I moved my knee in any left or right motion in front or back. Anyone else having this issue. I will wake up at might in extreme pain because it has moved into a postion that causes pain. Don’t know whether I need to call doctor or if this is normal?

  22. Hi Sue,
    Thanks for visiting my site and leaving your tkr comment. There is no such thing as normal. Everyone recuperates differently. If it is any consolation, I experienced the same type of pain you have at your stage. If it still concerns you or continues, I would recommend calling your doctor. Good luck and keep in touch!

  23. I visited you site today 15 December 2017, after 5 1/2 months of TKR, and am glad to give my 2 cents. I can tell the readers, that in my case, I have no pain, don’t use a cane any longer, and really glad I did the procedure. I do ride my bike here in Hoi An, Vietnam for an hour every other day, and walk the beach for a few minutes, but other than that, not much exercise, as I am a Wall Street-er, and sit quite often by the screens. I can say that when I walk, I know that I have had the TKR, but no discomfort and no pain. I sleep like I did before, great. I am 76 but a former world class athlete, so maybe good genes. They say that after 6 months (2 weeks from now), most TKR patients are pretty much back to normal and I think I must be on target. Best to all those that are recuperating with me, John

  24. Hi John,
    Thanks for taking the time to visit my site and leave your interesting/inspiring tkr comment. It sounds like you are doing great! I am certain your positive feedback will help others.
    Keep up the good work and check back often.

  25. Jan 3, 2018 will make me 5 months post op tkr of right knee. I did great with my surgery and recovery. Walking without cane at 3 weeks, no pain when sleeping pretty much right away, did really well with pt and was released after 4 weeks.
    Now I have stiffness in my knee that’s driving me nuts. So glad I came here and saw so many with the same which is telling me this is normal for this time of recovery. My knee pops too, don’t like it. I have no pain at all, just uncomfortable from stiffness.
    Unfortunately exercise is limited as I’m having my left knee done on Jan 9, 2018. Walking is limited to very short distances. I can stand in one spot for 20 min w/o pain, buy boy do I get stiff.
    Surgeon told me full recovery can take 18 months. Sometimes I think I’m nuts for getting the other done, but I really think I will do much better when that pain is gone and I can actually go for a walk.
    Hang in there fellow TKR’s. I’m sure the pain we all had pre surgery was a lot worse than anything we are experiencing now.
    Wish me luck for Jan 9th!! ?

  26. Fellow patients,
    I’m a male 70 years if age. Feb. 18, 2018 will be five months since my total right knee replacement. Stairs fine. Half hour bike, half hour treadmill four times a week. Also some swimming. I no longer have pain while sleeping. Stiffness when I get out of bed. I can get my leg dead flat on a hard surface only by having my wife put all her weight on the knee, which I do twice a day for two periods of about thirty second each, and it’s a very, very painful procedure, but I persist. I can flex to 130 degrees or better with some pain. There is still considerable swelling, but it has abated steadily. I use Mederma twice a day to reduce the visibility of the scar. I also, conscientiously, keep it out of the sun.
    I’m optimistic, but I thought I’d be further along by now.

  27. Thanks for taking the time to visit my site, Bill, and leaving your tkr comment. Sounds like you are doing well, being diligent in your tkr recuperation work. You’re doing better than I was at your stage. 🙂
    Stay in touch and best of luck! It does get better..

  28. 2nd TKR ice do everything right. Still feels like a band around it. 5 months out. How long does it take for this to get better?

  29. I’m a 57 yr old male and I had TKR about 5 months ago. Progress seemed good for the first 3 months but now it seems like I’m walking with a limp and still have pain when I first stand up from sitting. When I do strengthening such as on the leg press it does not hurt and I can do it, but the next day walking and standing hurts more. Many that I have talked too say it takes about a year for it to feel totally normal. Its interesting to see that others have the same or similar recovery issues. Thank you for the forum.

  30. Hi Felipe,
    Thanks for taking the time to visit my site and leave your informative tkr comment. TKR recuperation is, indeed, different – but same- for all of us. Keep up the good work and best of luck!

  31. Five months ago I had tkr on left knee. I still have pain on both sides of my knee and can only straighten it out to a 2 degree angle. I can come close but after an hour it is back to about an 8 degree bend. No matter how much stretching this remains the same. Also I have an IT band (Iliotibial) problem that may also require further surgery. My surgeon has no comment perhaps because not enough time has elapsed. This procedure is brutal on the body and the mind. I also have osteo- arthritis in my right ankle and surgery for now isn’t happening until joint replacement surgery takes a big step forward. Also, commitment to physical therapy is critical at home, however, for me it did not produce the results I hoped for. So, do think hard and long about knee and ankle replacement and look for other ways to put this off.

  32. Hi Michael,
    Thanks for visiting my site and leaving your informative tkr comment. Your flexibility sounds the same as mine did at your stage. I am confident my readers will find your comment helpful and insightful.
    It is a difficult surgery that requires immense recuperation and patience. Stay with it.
    I wish you only the best.
    Keep in touch!

    Marie B (aka Booktoots)

  33. i’m a little over 4 months out from right tkr. I’m struggling at work walking and standing. Sitting I have little to no pain but a soon as I walk my leg feels heavy and I have pain behind my knee up to my hip. I go to the gym 2-3 times a week and ride the bike. Still not able to straighten all the way bend is 115. Better on a good day. Any suggestions?

  34. Hi Linda,
    Thanks for visiting my site and taking the time to leave your tkr comment. I have written numerous posts about straightening tkr leg, working after a tkr, and other issues you are concerned about. Take a look around my site for more insight. Use the Search Bar found on the upper right corner of my site to help you find what you are looking for.
    Keep in touch and good luck!

  35. Here is a comment I received from Mike, copied and pasted from marieb@booktoots.com:

    Five months ago I had a tkr done. During the first four months I did
    physical therapy in two sets of one and a half hours per day. After this
    time, I was experiencing no improvement, none. I then researched the
    pain on the left side of my left leg (tkr site) and found out that I
    probably had a iliotibial band problem. My surgeon gave me a stretching
    exercise to do, but with little success.

    Also still stiff and cannot straighten out my left leg. I have about five degrees to go. Percoset was prescribed to me but medication had no affect as a pain protocol and so just endured.

    I have no positive of negative input from my surgeon
    and he wants to see me in nine months. A little late to address my knee
    I think and it will be what it well be. Any comment or advice would be
    appreciated.

  36. Hi Mike,
    My previous response didn’t go through for some reason. Anyways, thanks for visiting my site and leaving your tkr comment. I have experienced the same type of pain you did and find that lower back stretching works. It may do the same for you. Good luck!

  37. Hello

    This is really an excellent website. I am now 69 and had my first knee replacement about 4.5 years ago. I made excellent progress and was back playing golf after three months. After a couple of games using a buggy I started walking the course with very little side effects. The swelling had all but gone and I was absolutely delighted.

    Next week I am five months into my second TKR and things are not going so well. I used the same surgeon and the same physio. I tried to follow the same regime as I did before but progress is much slower. I am off any pain killers except when I play golf. I can walk the 5.5 miles for the round but it takes me ages to recover and the knee swells up. Swelling is the main source of my worry as I am sure this is the reason for my poor range of motion compared with the progress of my other knee.

    It was only a couple of weeks ago I got past 90 degrees and that is after strenuous exercises and joining the gym. I have a poor quality stationary bike which I use every day but it is very difficult and painful. The bike at the gym is a lot better and I use that two or three times a week.

    After 3 months the surgeon discharged me for the first TKR but this time he wants to see me after 6 months.

    I think what I can confirm and has already been discussed here is that every knee is different and the healing time varies. My own feeling is I am three months behind my first knee but slowly getting there. My physio stresses I should be positive and I am really trying, but it is not easy.

    I am so pleased I found this website and hope my experiences are helpful

    John

  38. Hello John,
    Thank you so much for visiting my site and taking the time to post your informative tkr comment. I am sure others will find your insight useful. It’s always nice to hear my insight and site is helping others. Your kind words make my day. 🙂
    Keeping a positive attitude is difficult at times. I have written posts about ways to do this, fyi.
    And, as Bette Davis once said..”Getting old ain’t for sissies.”
    Stay in touch and good luck!

  39. Hi, glad I found this site, nice to know I’m not alone. I probably don’t exercise as much as some folks seem to be doing, but I dread the pain. I sleep well at night either on side or back, so, grateful for that! My knee is stiff after any long time sitting or standing. Just joined a gym after many former tkr patients raved about doing exercises in the water. I feel like the little mermaid in the pool, but like a manatee when I get out!
    Thanks to all who shared their experiences –I’ll not give up. Would like to know more about the illotibial band. Has anyone had a surgery to fix it? Is it scar tissue?

  40. Hi Sandra,
    Thanks for stopping by and leaving your tkr comment. I also dreaded the pain of exercising, but kept on going. The results far outweigh the negatives.
    Are you aware I have written a water exercise book, based on personal experiences? You can order it via PayPal. I am certain it will help you with your tkr recuperation – as it has for mine. Head on over to my Books page for more information.
    Here’s the link:
    https://booktoots.com/books

    Good luck and keep in touch!

  41. Hi everyone. I received this comment from Noel, a fellow reader who contacted me via the Contact Us Page. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

    Noel is going through what I did at the five months post-tkr stage. Since I have not had a manipulation…I cannot provide further insight. Thanks for any help..
    Marie B…aka Booktoots

    I really love this site but am unclear how to post a comment. I am 5 months post surgery and am wondering if anyone has had an issue with continuing physical therapy. I seem to stiffen up and experience increased pain after i perform home my home pt.

    I cant walk more than 1/2 mile without experiencing pain in kneecap. I’m wondering if the pt is harming, not helping. I seem to be improving in that i can move around easily but my range of motion remains unchanged. My knee is stiff, hard to go up and down stairs, cant fully bend or extend.

    My surgeon suggests that the spacer in my knee could be replaced with a 10 mm instead of the 12 mm and that would increase my range of motion. But he wants to do this at 6 months. I had a horrible 4 months post surgery and don’t want to go through that again. Also, I’m hoping for improvement over the next 7 -12 months. Some people just heal slower. Thoughts?

  42. Hello Jaya,
    Thanks for visiting my site and leaving your comment. The reason you don’t see your original comment is because..1) Your posted it incorrectly to the ‘Contact Us’ Page. It belongs here under the ‘Five Months..’ post/article. At first I thought you were confused about using a blog, but after seeing you found this blog post, I stand corrected. I need to copy and paste your comment to this blog post/article’s comment section.

    2) I authorize every comment that appears on my site. This is due to receiving an enormous amount of spam (my site has over 23,000 to date) and inappropriate comments. So, seeing that your comment was made when I was away from the computer, it was not approved in the time frame you expected. Authorizing comments assures my site remains viable and reader-friendly. It assures high quality for all involved.

    I hope this answers your concern. Good luck and keep in touch!

  43. Hi Everyone…Here is the comment Jaya posted to my ‘Contact Us’ page. I have copied and pasted it from that Page to this blog post/article’s Comment Section…Its proper location in order to receive reader feedback. Can you share any of your experiences to help with Jaya’s concern?

    “I had my left knee replacement in May 2019. The surgery was successful. I went to PT for full one month and got most of my movement 125 degree flexion, resistance etc. But lately for the past 10- 15 days I am having a lot of pain/ soreness in the thigh muscles. Is it common to have this? There is no pain in the knee but the thigh muscles just above the knee is pretty sore. Any feed back on this??”

  44. I had a tkr on my right knee in June. Surgery went well without complications. About two weeks after I developed what the surgeon called a fracture blister, (my knee looked like I had fallen off of a bike). I was not allowed to bend my leg until my knee area had healed, which took about two months. The surgeon didn’t want my incision to open. I went through physical therapy, (after it healed) and am able to bend and straighten my leg without problems. Physical therapy caused an ankle issue on my left side, so I’m waiting for my podiatrist appt. next month. I am 4 1/2 months out and I still have to walk with a cane, and have muscle or nerve pain on the outside of my knee while walking, or I should say hobbling. I do my exercises every morning, and I pedal a small exercise bike every evening. I am able to sleep without complaints. I feel like I will never walk freely again!

  45. Hi Kathy,
    Thanks for visiting my site and leaving your tkr comment. I also sent you a private email. Kudos to you for keeping up with your exercising regime, after all you have been through. I am sorry to hear about all your setbacks, but with your persistence, it will get better. I know you feel hopeless now, but it will reach a point where you can walk freely. Here’s hoping for the best!

  46. Hi , I am so happy to have come across this site . I am 58 and had tkr 5 months ago on my right knee . I have always been very active . I ride a stationery bike for exercise and no longer attend gym due to covid 19. I struggle going down steps . Better at up . I have arthritis in my left ankle . So walking is hard . The arthritic pain has left my right knee . Which is great . But it is stiff . Sleeping is hard . Tossing and turning a lot to get comfy but I do think that has improved in the last month . Even though the majority of deterioration was on the inner side of my knee . I have pain on the outer side of my knee when walking now . A circle of pain about 3 cm . The inner side feels great ?? Anyone else experience this ?

  47. Hi Sue,
    Thanks for visiting my site and leaving your message. For some reason, I never received it. So, I apologize for my long overdue response.
    I had pain on the outer portion of my tkr knee, as well. It was/is due to a pinched nerve in my lower back. Physical therapy helped out tremendously!
    Plus…I have written about sleep deprivation and other concerns you are going through on other posts throughout this site. Take a look around!
    Best of luck and keep in touch! Stay safe and do the best you can with what you have. 🙂

  48. I’m 75 born with suspected cerebral palsy but managed a pretty normal life and becoming a champion tennis player at school but at the age of around 62 found my balance and walking deteriorating rapidly and after extensive examinations it transpired that I had SPG7 that ‘imitates’ cerebral palsy but is in fact an inheritance of this defective gene that causes the legs to turn in ( valgus) more and more and finally resulted in a tkr needing to be done on my ‘leading’right leg. This had the effect of straightening the whole leg so I’m left with the left shorter, weaker leg still turning in causing more strain on the right leg trying to heal!
    I guess it’s going to take me longer to heal and, as we are all unique, no one can give me a time scale .
    I am managing to walk small distances ( 150 yards or so) before resting using one stick
    Thanks for ‘listening ‘ to my story and I’ll try and get it on your post.

  49. Hi Matthew,
    Thanks for visiting my site and taking the time to leave your tkr comment. I am certain others will benefit from your insight. TKR recuperation does take time, for sure.
    Keep in touch and best of luck!

  50. Hi Matthew,
    Well, it is on here now. 🙂 I approve all comments before they become visible to readers. As soon as I saw your posting, I approved it. Thanks for contacting me about this. Keep in touch!

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