How Long Does It Take To Heal From A TKR?

One of my readers (you know who you are..:) ) let me know about this interesting article written for tkr patients that I – in turn- wanted to pass along. The Guest Post is as follows:

Total Knee Replacement: How Long Does It Take To Heal
Written by Richard Haynes.

When you finally decide to go ahead with a knee replacement, you can get bombarded with a lot of information from friends, family, and hopefully the surgeon. When it comes to friends and family, most of the information you will get are opinions though they mean well you get very little fact. The time it took for their knee to heal can vary and unless they had the knee operated on within the last 4-6 months the information you get may be inaccurate.

Your surgeon may or may have not discussed with you some of the experiences you will encounter when, it comes to the actual amount of time it will take for the knee itself to be completely healed.

During the healing process your knee will go through what I consider three phases from a rehabilitation standpoint. The phases are the acute phase, the post-acute phase, and the long term healing phase.

These are phases that I have discovered are important for a patient to understand. The time I feel to discuss them with the patient is not only prior to surgery but, again after surgery as there will be information during the pre-operative briefing that will not be retained.

In general the phases mentioned above tend to play out for the patient in the following way:

1.Acute Phase: This is without question the most painful. It lasts from the day of surgery out to week six.. This time can vary from patient to patient but by week five there is a noticeable decrease in pain. The knee will go through the swelling phase and “throbbing phase” when it comes to pain. It is vital that your understanding and compliance with pain control measures are followed. The use of ice before and after rehabilitation are recommended along with foot elevation to keep the swelling to a minimum. Sleepless nights are generally in store and are not unheard of due to pain. The best measure found to relieve the pain you will encounter during sleep is to move or pump the knee back and forth five to ten times as the knee gets stiff and the spasms occur.

2.Post-Acute Phase: This phase kicks in from roughly week seven to week twelve. Here is where you begin to get a better handle on how to control the swelling and you also have learned as well how temperamental the knee can be. In other words as you become more active the knee will fool you. You will be tempted to do more then the knee is ready to handle physically.

if you take on more then the knee is prepared for, the next day you will pay the price in increased pain and swelling. The use of pain medication though not as frequent is still advised. You should at this point be up on a single point cane and away from the walker which with the new found freedom add to the subtle ability to overwork the leg.

3.Long Term Healing Phase: This is the phase that most orthopedic surgeons will tell you will take close to a year for the knee to be totally healed. You will be able to however to do most anything within reason at this point unless it involves a high-impact activity like constant running and jumping. Pain, swelling, and muscle spasms at this point have completely subsided.

You will have obtained all the range of motion of the knee that you will get. Your strength gains however can always be improved in the muscles surrounding the knee. Your walking pattern has now been established and the knee can and will endure most anything you ask it too.

There will always be some differences among patients when it comes to set time frames with pain and recovery. Having a total knee replacement is considered a major surgery and the advances made in surgery have shorten the time frame by weeks if not by months with some.

The key to joint replacement recovery is patience. By having some patience you develop a stronger more pain free recovery instead of pushing yourself to the edge of suffering from chronic pain and overall physical breakdown.

Find interesting? Kindly share…Thanks!

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Comparing an Upright to Recumbent Exercise Bike for a TKR

Hi my favorite readers! Recently, I was given an upright exercise bike to aid in my total knee replacement recuperation. I thought my flexibility was coming along fine until I used this bike. See, I have been using a recumbent bike for the past 6 months and doing just hunky dory – in my mind, anyways.

What are the differences between using the two exercise bikes? As best as I can describe, here is what I have found:

More difficult to get on and off of.
Seat is like a “real” bicycle. I need to cushion it.
Crotch “chafing” is common due to my body still going “back and forth”.
More intense workout. Sweating comes very easily.
Seat can be adjusted up or down for more knee flexibility. Very helpful.
More “forcing” my knee muscles to stretch and work.
More pain. That’s good and bad. Good – I’m getting a good workout. Bad – I don’t like pain. 🙁

The upright exercise bicycle is what the physical therapist put me on when I went for therapy. When I asked why I couldn’t be put on the recumbent bike, I heard…”That’s for people with more knee flexibility.” I didn’t understand that then. Now I do.

The upright exercise bicycle is superb for increasing my bionic knee’s flexibility during my total knee replacement recuperation. I can, without a doubt, feel my muscles stretch. Sometimes it’s a big “Ouch!”…

An easy on and off of.
Seat is very comfortable, like a lounge chair – almost.
Seat is very cushioned.
Seat is large enough so I don’t get any “chafing”.
Not that easy to work up a sweat.
Seat can be moved forward or backward for flexibility purposes. Still, even at the closest point, my tkr (total knee replacement) knee seems to only get about 95% angle. I don’t get the range of motion that I do when using the upright bicycle.
It’s better than not having any exercise bike at all, in my opinion.

Both the upright and recumbent style exercise bicycles have adjustable tension, timers, and arm workout availability. Nice.

Hope this helps others going through the same thing. Find interesting? Kindly share…Thanks!

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When is Too Much Exercise?

Hi everyone! While going to my physical therapist for my total knee replacement rehab, I asked her how to tell if I was overworking my muscles. “How do I know when too much is too much?” is what I asked her. She told me very matter of factly….”You can tell you’ve done too much when you hurt for two hours after your exercise is done.”

I’ve been using that as my benchmark ever since. It may work for other total knee replacement patients, also.

BTW…..I totally trusted my physical therapist. She was the only one who truly knew what I was going through. If you go to a physical therapist, you need to trust the person. You are in their hands, literally and figuratively.

Hope this helps others going through the same thing.

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.

The Dreaded Twisted Catheter

While hospitalized for my total knee replacement, an episode occurred which had me in a different state of mind. Here’s what happened….

After surgery, I was connected to a catheter. One day I suddenly started feeling like I was getting ‘backed up’. I pushed the call button for assistance since I thought something was wrong with my catheter. After all, it should just flow like the wind into the trees. It wasn’t.

An orderly (I think that’s what she was) answered my call. When I told her that I thought something was wrong with my catheter, she took a look at it and told me it was ok. She left.

My bladder was extending itself and I was in pain. I pushed the call button again (I couldn’t see the catheter tubes leading to the collection bag). More than five minutes went by, my pain increased. Then, at just the precise moment of my heightened discomfort – in came my physical therapist.

She asked how I was doing. A common question that usually elicits a response of “ok”, I am sure. However, I was hanging onto the Jane bar, crying for help. When she asked that question, I must have given her more expletives than the U.S. Armed Forces could use. I don’t remember. I just know that she ran to get the nurse. The nurses came within minutes and….what do you know….there was a twist in my catheter tube.

The nurses unraveled my tube and the liquid was flowing. In fact, it was flowing so fast….a crowd gathered to admire my ‘collection’. One liter jar, then another….

“Man, you really did have to go,” the nurse said. What an understatement. 🙂

I asked to have the catheter removed after that discomforting episode. I wasn’t going to take the chance of it happening again. So…bring on the bed pan…That’s another chapter. 🙂

End of the dreaded twisted catheter story.