Are You Experiencing Any TKR Swelling?

Are you experiencing any tkr swelling? I commonly get asked that question. If you’re like me, you thought the swelling would go down (or away) shortly after your tkr. Well, to answer the question…Mine sure swells up, even nine years after my tkr.

I promised Renee from Croatia (“Hi Renee!”) I’d write an updated post about this topic, so here it is. Thanks for the request, Renee. 🙂

NOTE: I originally wrote about tkr swelling eight years ago. Where has the time gone? 😕 You can search for this post/article by utilizing the search box found in the upper right hand corner of my home page. Simply type in ‘tkr swelling’ to bring up a series of posts related to this topic. You may find my personal insight particularly helpful.

My tkr swelling is nowhere near what it was during the first couple years after my tkr. Currently, my tkr area swells up when I overdo it. I may not realize I’m overdoing it until I get home and take a look at my leg.

Other times, I can feel the swelling occurring because my knee area loses its flexibility. Or, my jeans tighten around my tkr. That’s a strange feeling. 😕 Go figure…

Swelling occurs more frequently when I walk on uneven surfaces like gravel, unpaved trails, broken sidewalks, or other similar areas. This is because my ankle shifts from side-to-side.

When I speak of tkr swelling, I am also talking about the calf area. This is very common in my situation. There are times when my knee area will not significantly swell, but the front of my tibia sure does. The area known as the shin looks like the mumps, if you can picture that. There is no pain, though.

I hope my experience helps others going through the same thing. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

No matter what your level of tkr swelling, always remember that icing and rest will bring the situation back into check. Hang in there!

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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.

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.







Eight Year Post-TKR Update

Hi everyone. Has it already been eight years since my total knee replacement, otherwise known as a tkr? You bet it has. February 2008 was when I had this surgery. So..it is time for an update.

KNEE FLEXIBILITY. My knee flexibility is still around 90-93. It is due to previous scar tissue dating back 30 years. The degree is about what it was prior to my tkr. I have written about this in numerous posts throughout my site. It is of no concern to me.

LIMITED PHYSICAL ACTIVITY. Due to the hindered flexibility, I am unable to ride a typical bicycle. Or, let me say that I can do it, but not at the speed to keep the bike and me upright. My body tilts to the right since my left tkr knee does not bend fully. Am I painting a proper picture? I hope so. I can use a stationary bike, but it certainly is not a pretty picture. 😕

TKR CLICKING. Just within the past two months have I noticed a regular clicking of my tkr. Before this, there was sporadic clicking during my initial stages of recuperation. Now, it happens daily. It is a curious event. There is no pain. Sometimes there is a sound, other times not. I guess ‘bizarre’ would be the best word to describe it.

TKR SWELLING. Only after being on my feet or sitting for an extended period of time do I notice any type of swelling. I simply elevate the leg, rest, and maybe apply ice.
By ‘extended time’, I mean about three to four hours. It does vary.

TKR PAIN. Pain occurs on such a minimal level, that I feel embarrassed to mention it. Again, when overdoing it, my tkr may be painful. I take an aspirin, elevate, and ice.

OPPOSITE HIP PAIN. I have noticed an increase in pain involving my opposite side hip recently. It may be due to my shoe lift being the incorrect size. It increases when doing stairs.

STAIRS. Speaking of stairs, if a slug and I were taking the stairs at the same time, the slug would finish first. I take my time while holding the rail. Going up is more painful than going down. Going down, however, is more difficult.

That is about it for now. If I think of anything else, I will be sure to update this eight-year post-tkr update.

Hope this helps those of you going through the same thing. If you find this post interesting, kindly share it 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. 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.






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4-Year Post TKR update

Some of my readers contacted me and asked about my tkr flexibility so long after my surgery. I inadvertently didn’t mention that in my 4-year post-tkr update. So….(thanks for asking, btw…short for by the way..)

My tkr flexibility is averaging 95, which is about the same as it was before my knee replacement. I have no concerns with this issue since it’s so nice to walk without pain and, besides, I couldn’t bend my real knee that well.

There’s excessive scar tissue around my tkr area, causing the inflexibility. Again, that’s no concern to me since it’s been accumulating for over 35 years.

I have noticed that my opposite-side knee is crunching. I’ve been told I have mild osteoarthritis in the knee. Again, I’m not that concerned since my “good” knee has been accommodating my body weight because of my “poor” knee for a long time.

There are times when I notice my opposite-side hip is letting me know it needs relaxing due to my leg length discrepancy. That’s life. A little icing and relaxing never hurt anyone. 🙂

Hope this helps others going through the same thing.

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22 Month Post-TKR Update

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 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.

Positives:
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 joint” 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.

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 feel 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?” “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. Hope this helps others going through the same thing.
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20-Month Post TKR Update

It’s hard to believe it’s been that long. Anyways, I thought it would be a good idea to give an update regarding the ongoing saga of my tkr.

I have been very fortunate in that I have not had any complications, infections or negative results from my total knee replacement. When I read stories about those who have these concerns, I definitely count my blessings.

Findings:
When I sit for an extended amount of time, like 15 minutes, my knee gets stiff. It takes a few seconds to stand up and get ready to move.

Stairs are not the least bit fun. There is no pain in my joint (cause I don’t have a joint…:)) so that I can climb stairs more easily than prior to my tkr. However, I usually take stairs one at a time due to my “good” knee being sensitive.

Going downstairs is a bite. This is when I’m glad someone discovered and invented railings.

I have difficulty with stairs that are deeper than the standard six-inch height. I need to find something to hold on to in order to make the ascent. Sometimes that’s not a pretty picture. Or, maybe someone should video it and put the clip on YouTube. It could be labeled, “Climbing the Nontraditional Step After A TKR”.

Speaking of my “good” knee, it has started to making crunching sounds when doing elevational walking (going uphill or climbing stairs). It mildly swells up after exercising.
That’s a further “no comment” on my part.

My tkr still swells up after a bout of riding my stationary bike or walking. The swelling is above my knee cap. It’s not a pretty picture, either, but could be much worse.

While stretching my knee during my exercise bike workout, it can still be painful at certain points. I just keep plugging along.

My nerve alongside my outer leg still lets me know it’s there. The pain level is much better than earlier, though. Plus, the duration is less.

My tkr leg has settled upon a length. During the earlier stages of my tkr recuperation, my leg length would change throughout the week. Some days, when the swelling was greater, my leg would be shorter. Other days, when there was not so much swelling, my leg would be longer. It was very strange. And, it made it extremely difficult to determine what amount of shoe lift I needed. (My tkr leg has been shorter than my “regular” leg for 34 years due to my fractured femur).

It stings a bit when a 40-100 pound large dog smacks its strong tail against my knee. Nothing personal, Sadie and Molly.

Let’s see…
I can get into a number of poses without pain. Touching my toes is no big deal anymore. Stretching my hamstrings is not painful. That’s a HUGE relief.

I can stand up for longer periods of time than ever before without experiencing any discomfort. Nice.

As I work on my balance, it is improving daily. Standing on one leg can be accomplished easier than ever before. Nice. 🙂

When I do not exercise daily, my knee gets stiff. I like to exercise, so that’s no biggie.

I do isometrics throughout the day and it helps improve my blood circulation and muscle strengthening. Plus, there’s no pain now. 🙂

My tkr does not click anymore. It only did that a handful of times throughout my recuperation.

Most importantly……I can perform daily activities without pain. That is worth more than words can describe.

There’s probably more, but I’ll come back when I think of them. Hope this helps others going through the same thing.

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One Year Post TKR Update

Hi my favorite readers! It has been one year already since my total knee replacement surgery. I had my follow-up appointment that was informative. The results were positive, mixed, and of concern.

Positive:
X-rays
. On the positive side, my x-rays looked perfect. My implant is properly placed, secure, and of no concern whatsoever. Nice. Good job by my surgeon. He rocks!

Scar. Scar looks healthy with no complications at all. Another nice. I was not expecting any problem anyways in this area. I have an attractive looking scar. And, no, I don’t try to hide it. 🙂

Movement. My implant moved fine when slightly manipulated by the doctor. All the doctor did is move my knee gently back and forth, and from side to side. The minimal clicking is “normal”. Nice.

No complications. There are no complications from the tkr. No infection nor side effects to speak of. Again, I was not expecting any concerns in this area. Overall, I have very good health and take pride in that.

Stairs. I can go up stairs in a slow and deliberate manner. This was impossible prior to surgery.

Walking. I can enjoy walking again without pain nor needing crutches.

Walking aides. I do not need any walking aides anymore. I did prior to surgery.

Mixed:
Flexibility
. My flexibility is around 95. It may never increase due to prior scar tissue from a trauma injury sustained 33 years ago. My femur fracture and subsequent surgery (original reason for knee problems) has old scar tissue that inhibits my movement. Bummer.

Knee appearance. My tkr knee is still swollen, more so after exercise or standing for a while. That will be around for some time. I was told my tkr knee will never look like my healthy knee. Oh well. That’s life.

Shoe lift. I need to wear a shoe lift due to leg length differences. Prior to my tkr, I wore a shoe lift for 30+ years. The amount has decreased by 1/2” since my total knee replacement, though. Various reasons. This aspect is being viewed as ‘mixed’ since I was hoping I didn’t have to wear a shoe lift anymore. However, since it’ll result in my body being aligned properly – I am not griping. It’s surprising to me how it took a year to reveal itself, though. Come to think of it, it was revealing itself through my
opposite side hip and knee pain.

Of concern:
Stairs. Stairs will be difficult to go down due to decreased flexibility and a shoe lift. Bummer.

Flexibility. Even though my tkr knee may eventually have more flexibility, it may not. It is much better than before my total knee replacement surgery, though. Much better.

Dressing. It is not fun getting dressed. I haven’t mentioned this before since I forgot about it. Putting on pants is a bite. Could be worse, though.

Nerve damage. This can be a biggie, especially when trying to sleep. It is not consistent throughout the day, luckily. I have blog posted about this previously. It is not going to get any better unless I want to have surgery done on it. I will not do that. I refuse to have anymore surgery. I have found that massaging my leg along the nerve line does help, if only temporarily. Icing helps, also. Yoga movements also help some. The way I look at it…I’ve lived with pain for the past 30+ years, why stop now? 😕 Could be worse.

Overall….I have no regrets AT ALL for having my total knee replacement surgery. The recuperation is difficult and time consuming, but that’s life.

Hope this helps others going through the same thing.

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Not Understanding A TKR Recuperation

I Don’t Understand

It’s been 10 months since my total knee replacement…

I ride my exercise bike regularly, 5-7 times weekly.
I walk regularly.
I take breaks as needed.
I ice after working out.
I seem to be recuperating just fine.

And…
My knee is still swollen (but getting better).
My knee still has flexibility concerns.
My opposite side hip is hurting.
My opposite side knee is hurting.
My hamstring has contracted.
My recuperation from total knee replacement is frustrating.
My dislike of stairs is at an all time high.
I feel like a burden to others.
I know it could be much worse, so why am I feeling down?

I don’t understand. Is anyone else in the same boat?

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Frustration & A Total Knee Replacement

It’s been almost six months since my total knee replacement surgery and I go in and out of frustration with the recuperation process. Even though I am grateful for not having the joint pain I used to, the recuperation process is still trying.

Going downstairs is very slow, with my knee needing much increased flexibility. Plus, it is painful. I know that I need to keep working at it, but it is just frustrating. I did not expect it to take so long to recuperate from a tkr. Stairs are a great exercise for me, though.  I do notice the increased flexibility, too.

My knee area is still swollen. I was told by the doctor’s office it would take about 2-3 months. Sure. I know nothing is wrong, since my x-ray is perfect. My recuperation is just taking time. Everyone has a different recuperation time.

There is still muscle and tissue pain surrounding my knee, even when I stretch it out. Usually, the pain is greatest in the back of my knee (hamstring). However, the pain is much less than it used to be.

My lower leg swells up when I sit in a seating position with my feet on the floor.  This can be painful. That’s why I’m keeping it elevated today. My shin and ankle swelling could be much worse, though.

Don’t get me wrong.  I do not regret at all having the total knee replacement surgery done. I am much better off than before my surgery.  It’s just frustrating at times.

I am sharing this information since I believe others are in the same boat. 🙂

On the positive side, I walked for four miles earlier in the week without any joint pain at all. That in and of itself is worth the long recuperation process. 🙂 There is no way I could have done that prior to my surgery. How nice is that?

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Four Months after a Total Knee Replacement

Sharing insight into four months after a total knee replacement.

Hi everyone. Here is my four months after a total knee replacement update…

Four months later, my tkr knee is still swollen and the flexibility still needs improved.  It can be depressing, but there is no joint pain like prior to my surgery. I can walk without pain and do not need to carry around crutches like I did prior to my total knee replacement.

When someone (friend) asks me how my knee is, I reply “It’s getting there.” What else can I say? It’s a long process. Am I wrong to think that replying “oh, I’m working on going downstairs, I can go upstairs, I still need to work on flexibility, I have no pain in my hamstring, etc,” is not interesting to others?

I’ve learned to reply this way since I’ve heard “suck it up” so many times throughout my life. I don’t need to hear that when the pain is so intense, it’s depressing.  That includes a week after having this total knee replacement surgery. Who needs that?

FYI: I started going downstairs without using the railings, but it is still slow. Going upstairs is easy, though.  Nice.  Stairs are not easy to do during the recuperation process. It is not a pretty site, either.

Hoping my tkr blogging insight helps others going through the same thing four months after a total knee replacement. Find interesting? Kindly share…Thanks!