How To Find Motivation to Exercise After A TKR

Hi everyone. Usually, it is easy to back out of exercising. Many people continually make excuses about why they don’t exercise. However, I want to share some great ways on how to find motivation to exercise after a tkr. Read on…

Be diligent in doing your exercises while recuperating from your total knee replacement and you will get excited about what used to be difficult when moving your body. Why? You will reap your rewards. Here’s my take on the issue….

* You will love how thrilling it is to be able to walk without pain.

* It is great to have what is known as a ‘normal’ walking gait without walking aides.

* It is fantastic to be able to walk fast enough to get out of breath and work up a sweat. (To some this would be “speed walking”. I like to think of it as walking faster than I did prior to my tkr.)

* It is wonderful to be able to walk trails, take in the scenery, and smell the air without feeling any joint pain.

* It is a nice feeling knowing that you are getting the most out of your total knee replacement surgery.

* It is so welcoming to have clothes fit better. I know, in my case, there were times when my dryer shrunk too many clothes. 😕

All of these combine to provide motivation in staying with, or starting, an exercise program.

Hope this helps you get motivated to exercise after your tkr (or any time, for that matter).

Always remember to be grateful you can walk.

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

Shoe Lifts: Little Known Benefits

Hi my favorite readers! Wearing shoe lifts, whether they are noticeable or not, provides many benefits. It can be easy to focus on the negative, but what’s the point in that?

I previously wrote about being grateful for my 1.5 inch shoe lift. And..seeing that the post received such positive feedback, I thought I’d talk about it again. Enjoy!

Some may think that wearing shoe lifts is a hindrance. After all, not everyone wears one and the wearer could be on the receiving end of some strange looks. I know since I have been wearing a noticeable external lift for 42 years. I am still sensitive to the strange looks I sometimes get.

Part of my recuperation from my tkr includes having to adjust my shoe lift thicknesss. That is a process I hope none of you have to go through. Anyways, that is why I have figured out reasons to be grateful for wearing these beneficial orthotics.

Puddle Conquering. Depending upon the thickness of a shoe lift, puddles can easily be walked through. Your shoe will not get wet, unlike your regular shoe. This statement applies to shallow streams, also. Your feet will stay dry.

Self Defense Tool. If someone starts to give the wearer a hard time, shoe lifts can be used to place a heavy kick to the groin. The extra weight will make for an extra punch.

This maneuver only applies if you can lift your leg high enough to get a good kick in, though. Your leg muscles may not be strong enough. If you have difficulties lifting your leg, give a good kick to the shins. Ouch!

Convenient Bug Squasher. The extra weight of shoe lifts can provide for an easy elimination of bugs that are otherwise hard to kill (such as immensely oversized cockroaches known as Palmetto bugs. Eww..!!).

All you need to do is get a quick whack! or stomp in and the little critter will be saved a lingering death. Plug your ears in case the critter has a hard shell. You do not want to hear the crunch..believe me. Be sure to apologize to them before the killing process, though. They usually do not mean any harm.

It Improves Mobility. Of course, the best reason for wearing a shoe lift is the fact that it improves your mobility. It balances out your musculoskeletal system and gait. As a walking aide, it makes getting around easier and less painful.

There’s nothing funny about this. Just a plain and simple, hard, cold fact. It has helped out tremendously since my total knee replacement.

Hoping this helps others going through the same thing. Do you have similar stories to share? Feel free to post your comments….

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 and tkr patient who has been living with various physical conditions for over 40+ years. She enjoys sharing her experiences to help others going through the same thing.

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TKR Exercise Is Critical

Hi everyone! One of my readers sent me this article about the importance of exercising after a total knee replacement. I thought it was interesting and wanted to share it again. The powerful data never grows old…

Exercise after knee replacement critical..

It may be uncomfortable at first, but doing exercises to strengthen your quadriceps after you’ve had knee replacement surgery due to osteoarthritis is critical to your recovery. In fact, it can boost the function of your new knee to nearly that of a healthy adult your age.

That’s the finding of a University of Delaware study published in the February issue of Arthritis Care & Research.

The authors include Lynn Snyder-Mackler, Alumni Distinguished Professor of Physical Therapy at the University of Delaware, Stephanie Petterson, clinical faculty at Columbia University, Ryan Mizner, an assistant professor at Eastern Washington University, Jennifer Stevens, an assistant professor at the University of Colorado at Denver, and Drs. Leo Raisis, Alex Bodenstab, and William Newcomb of First State Orthopaedics in Newark, Delaware.

“It sounds logical that exercises to strengthen your knee should be a component of your post-operative physical therapy after a total knee replacement, but it’s not the convention at all,” says Snyder-Mackler.

“There are all of these old wives’ tales that strength training is a detriment to the patient and that the new knee should be treated delicately,” Snyder-Mackler notes. “Our study demonstrates that intensive strength exercise as outpatient therapy is critical to begin three to four weeks after surgery.”

Nearly 500,000 knee replacements, also known as total knee arthroplasties, are performed every year in the United States to treat severe knee osteoarthritis, the loss of the cushiony cartilage padding the knee. The joint disease leaves its sufferers with persistent pain and limited function, resulting in an overall diminished quality of life.

While knee replacement alleviates the pain of osteoarthritis and improves function, patients exhibit impaired quadriceps strength and function for such activities as walking and climbing stairs, and the levels remain below those of healthy people of the same age.

In a randomized controlled trial at the University of Delaware’s Physical Therapy Clinic conducted between 2000 and 2005, 200 patients who had undergone knee replacements were given six weeks of progressive strength training two or three times a week starting four weeks after surgery. Half of the group also received neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES).

Their function was compared to that of 41 patients who received conventional rehabilitation and home physical therapy. Quadriceps strength, knee range of motion, and gait were measured in such tests as timed up and go, stair climbing and a six-minute walk.

The group in the progressive strength-training program showed significant improvement in quadriceps strength and functional performance. They also demonstrated substantially greater quadriceps strength and functional performance after 12 months than the group that underwent conventional rehabilitation.

“This study clearly demonstrates the importance of surgeons encouraging their patients to be compliant with progressive quadriceps strengthening during their rehabilitation to enhance their clinical improvement and function post-total knee replacement,” notes Dr. Leo Raisis, a total joint surgeon and adjunct associate professor at the University of Delaware.

“Why undergo a $25,000 elective surgery and then not do as much as you can to get the most out of it and improve your quality of life?” Snyder-Mackler says. “Older people are incredibly motivated—they hurt after the surgery and they want to be better. They need to do this.”

Hope this helps others going through the same thing. Remember, you are not alone. Check back here often for further insight to help your tkr recuperation process.

Find interesting? Kindly share…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. The site is owned and operated by Marie Buckner, a published author and tkr 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.

Balancing Exercise for TKR

Balance has been an issue for me for a long time. My tkr seemed to highlight that fact. As we all know, it takes a while to recuperate from a total knee replacement. It is a step-by-step process. Finally, I have reached the stage where I can improve balance while walking. I thought I’d share…

Walk with your regular gait. Slowly turn your head to the right. Hold for a couple seconds. Return neck to straight ahead position. Keep walking. Slowly turn head to left. Hold for two seconds. Return head to center position. Repeat as desired.

Make certain to start out slowly. Difficulty will lessen the more you do it (as with anything in life…:) ).

Good luck! Hope this helps others going through the same thing.

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Curbs & A TKR

As I was walking outdoors earlier today, my journey included walking up a steep incline and conquering a couple of curbs. (I make it sound like mountain climbing.) The curbs are still exercise for me, 17 months post tkr. So, it got me thinking about sharing this info with others. Then….

This post has been difficult to write. I started out just intending to share the information about how to view and use curbs to your advantage after a tkr. Then, I recalled how we need to work out way up to this level (of using steps). We need to develop our gait, balance and leg muscles in order to accomplish this feat. As any tkr patient is well aware….it’s easier said than done. Hmm…

Let me see if this works…

When you are out and about, use curbs as a form of step up exercise. You don’t need to go to the gym or purchase any special equipment.

That’s it. Hopefully this info can help others. As the famous philosopher, Red Green, says…”We’re all in this together”. 🙂

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14 Months After My TKR – Progression Update

Sharing personal experiences about my 14 months after my tkr – progression update.

Hi my favorite readers! It has been 14 months after my tkr – total knee replacement surgery. Some of my readers have been wanting to know about what they need to be concerned about, what to expect, and/or are they progressing like others. Here is where I am at. You can use it as a general guideline, since everyone recuperates at their own pace.

I must admit, however, that I am cautious about talking about all of this. It seems that Murphy’s Law follows me everywhere. As soon as I say how great something is doing, BOING, it acts up again. I’ll take a risk, anyways in writing this – just because I want to help others going through the same thing…..;)

Walking. Starting out VERY slowly, now I can walk at brisk pace similar to that of a speed walker.

Hamstring. After months and months of painful stretching exercises, my hamstring is finally stretched out. When I walk, I can feel my tkr leg swing like a “normal” leg. Nice.

Nerve pain. In recent posts, I was commenting on the severe pain that ran on the outside of my knee from my lower back to my ankle. It has decreased tremendously.

Leg straightening. First out of surgery, the main concern was my leg needing straightened out. This is where the hamstring stretching came into play. PAINFUL, yet effective. My leg is straightened now.

Gait. After wearing an inch shoe lift for 30 years, my gait was off after my tkr. Now, I need to wear a shoe lift again, but my gait is more “normal” than ever.

Flexibility. This is the area I need to work on. It is at around 100. However, after having trauma 33 years ago, I am not that concerned about it. It is much better than prior to my tkr. And, I will continue to work on it daily.

Quadriceps. Immediately after my total knee replacement, my quadriceps needed working on big time. Now they are strong enough to support my leg and tkr knee. That is an important happening to mention in my 14 months after my tkr update.

Leg movement. This has gotten progressibly better, only because I have done exercises diligently. I can now move my tkr leg in all directions. This was impossible the first few months out of a tkr.

Stiffness. My tkr knee does get stiff. I counteract this by riding my upright bike every day. That helps immensely.

Sleeping. We all know about the difficulties, or lack of, sleeping during the first few months after a tkr. Well, just within the last month, I noticed I can – for the most part – sleep painlessly. I also can sleep in any position I want without extreme discomfort. NICE!

Laying flat. Even though I can lay my tkr leg flat onto a surface (such as a bed), after about 15 minutes it does sometimes start to hurt behind my knee. Then, I just prop it up on a pillow. It could be much worse.

Well, that is about it. Considering what my total knee replacement recuperation was like the first year after surgery (frustrating, painful, sporadic, etc.), it has improved 100% in only two months.

My post has been written. Please don’t respond, Murphy. 😕

Copyrighted Information, 2009.

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Walking, Bruised Feet & A TKR

Something strange occurred THREE weeks ago after my taking a walk. I have walked for up to four miles since my tkr without any concerns. However, this time I changed my shoes and head out for the trail. These shoes were sold as “walking shoes”. Here’s the lowdown:

Near the end of my walk, I started getting pains in my total knee replacement side foot. I could feel my shoes pinching my big toe and causing a disruption of my steady gait. However, I did not give it much more thought. I just thought that it was a good walk, but I may have overdone it. I was simply planning on coming home, taking a shower, and becoming a couch potato while enjoying my beloved hockey. Oh…and ice.

Upon rising the next day, I was in for something I had not ever experienced before. My big toe was completely bruised. There was a bruised area on the top of my foot above my middle toe, also. Woah…I then realized I needed new shoes. Some “walking shoes”. 😕 I also figured that my bruising would be gone within the week since that is my average recuperation time from bruising. I handle bruises well, usually.

Here it is three weeks later and the bruises are still there. I do not like calling my doctor over something like a bruise, but after having a total knee replacement, I was not comfortable with the time period involved between my walk and bruising period (aka….NOW). Plus, one of my friends suggested that I call just to be safe.

I just got done calling my tkr doctor’s office and was told there was no answer unless pain was involved. Luckily, there is no pain involved. Just bruising. “That’s a good question,” I heard. Another area of concern, I was told, was if there was bruising anywhere else on my body. There is not.

So, I guess I will just wait for the bruising to run its course. It is crazy to have it around for this long. In the meantime, there has to be a good pair of walking shoes out there somewhere with my name on them. 🙂

I thought I would share this information with my readers in case anyone else is going through, or has gone through, the same thing.

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A Total Knee Replacement Workout – Snow Style

I live in an area that was blasted by a snow storm within the past couple of days. It makes for a great way to enjoy the holiday season, but provides isolation since I’m “snowed in”. There is about 12 inches of snow on the ground as I write.   However, there is time for fun….

Being almost 11 months out of a total knee replacement, I was curious to see how I’d fare by going for a “walk” in this snow covered wonderland. I knew I wouldn’t be slipping or sliding, and felt secure about the venture. So, I bundled up by putting on my boots, ski pants, Detroit Red Wings jacket, knit cap, and University of MI ski gloves. I was ready.

Turns out that it was a blast and provided me with a great workout. I “discovered” a new way to exercise with my bionic leg. Seeing that the snow is so deep, I needed to lift both of my legs like I was in the marching band. That’s the exercise…a marching type gait. It was fantastic! The traction was awesome. (Gotta have good traction, you know).

The snow was so deep that even as I finished cleaning off my car, I plopped over (another way of saying “fell over”) due to uneven footing. (Some of the snow compacted faster under one foot). No problem due to the extreme cushioning the snow provided. It was really cool. Whew…:) No pain, either. Double nice.

I really wanted to do a “snow angel”, but just couldn’t see myself getting down and up from the snow that easily. Oh well. And, I couldn’t build a snowman/person due to the snow not being that compactable. Bummer. 🙁

Legal stuff: Let me say that even though this exercise venture worked great for me, it may not work for you. I am in good health other than my total knee replacement knee still recuperating. I am not obese or overweight. I can move well other than my bionic knee still needing better flexibility. So…this is my way of stating that if you try this….do it at your own risk. I am not responsible for your actions.

Ten Months After Total Knee Replacement

Hi my favorite readers! It’s been ten months since my total knee replacement (already!?) and I thought I’d take the time to update my recuperation process. So, in a sense, this is a Progress Report…:)

It’s remarkable to me how my leg is now almost fully functioning. Immediately after surgery, my leg muscles could not even lift my leg AT ALL. To remember that and see where my leg is at now…is amazing to me. It involved a lot of work…but is so worth it. 🙂


  • Leg lifts: accomplished from all angles – up, sideways, backwards (with some pain)
  • Balance: good balance on both legs.
  • Walking: walking is not an issue anymore. Do it faithfully. My gait is “normal”.
  • Knee bends: still tricky, not very deep, but doable
    • Hamstring: now being used, still needs stretching to work properly
    • Icing: Finally appreciate the benefits of icing and use it regularly
    • Bicycling: Exercise bikes for flexibility. Good.

Working on:

  • Flexibility: Still being worked on. The best exercise for this, is using an exercise bike. My flexibility is still a major issue. The largest tkr after effect, actually.
  • Stairs. No comment other than frustrating. On the positive side, I have noticed the degree of angle between stairs. Never noticed that before. 🙂
  • Swelling. Knee is still swollen. Worse after exercising. Requires icing more.
  • Pain. Muscles can hurt during and after exercising. Oh well. Part of the process.

Less Than Positive:

  • Recently, my nonsurgical leg has started to hurt in the hip area. It’s probably due to the fact that I am still favoring my bionic leg. I just take breaks from stairs when this happens. And, I ice.
  • Nerve pain near bionic knee. Oh well, so be it.

Hope all this helps others going through the same thing. Everyone recuperates at their own pace.

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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. 🙂