14 Months After My TKR – Progression Update

Hi my favorite readers! It has been 14 months since my 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 is different.

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.

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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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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Kneeling After A Total Knee Replacement

Hi my favorite readers! One of my previous blog posts consisted of an exercise involving kneeling on the floor. In the blog post I stated that I could do it. After giving it some more thought, I realized that was an understatement. A heavy duty understatement. Here’s the true story….

The end of this week will be my one year post-tkr date. How hard could it be to kneel on the floor? I found it to be a curious endeavor since in theory it seems like a great way to get more flexibility in my tkr knee. So, anyways…I tried the exercise out for size.

Kneeling on the floor involved my hanging on for dear life to something with each of my hands as I SLOWLY lowered my body to the floor. It was not a pretty sight. Once my knee hit the floor, I would not call it kneeling. It was more like a dreaded bend that was begging to be stopped. So after two seconds, I did.

As I held on to the sofa with one hand, and my exercise bike with the other hand, I started to lift myself back up. Sure is good that neither of those two vices could tip over. My return to an upright position was another vision for sore eyes.

I’m glad that exercise is over. 😕

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Eleven Months After A Total Knee Replacement

Hi my favorite readers! It is that time of the month again…time for my monthly update. As of today’s date, I am 11 months post total knee replacement. Here are some of the results:

My scar is beautifully healed. Only the top 1.5” above my knee is discolored. I like my scar and view it as a trophy. 🙂 I took care of it while it was healing.

My bionic knee still has flexibility issues. However, I expect that and work on it regularly. My total knee replacement was not your typical one. It was trauma related, so needs a longer recuperation process. Riding an upright bicycle is the key, I have found. The flexibility is better than before my surgery, though. I can get on the exercise bike much easier than previously.

My knee is still swollen, only less than last month. Still, the swelling increases after prolonged periods of standing or exercising. No complaints.

My knee has clicked a couple of times this period. It’s more of a curiosity than concern, however.

My range of motion has increased without the accompanying pain.

I can walk more than a city block without pain. This was not so before my total knee replacement.

I can ride my upright exercise bike at a lower seat level and greater tension with much more ease than previously. The pain level has diminished, also. (I probably shouldn’t say this because Murphy’s Law follows me around, you know).

The damaged nerve, caused by my former bone spur, results in painful sleeping. Sometimes, it bothers me during the day.

I can sit comfortably in a chair. This was not possible for months after my tkr.

The overall knee pain has diminished.

I can perform various yoga, belly dancing, Tai Chi, and stretching poses without much pain. Not prior.

Stairs are still a pain in the butt. Or..knee, back, leg – and pride.

Actually, not much else is different from my tenth month update. The biggest difference is the decrease in swelling and overall level of pain.

I have taken care of pain in my nonsurgical leg by using my tkr leg more.

Hope this helps others going through the exciting recuperation from a total knee replacement.

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