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I decided to have my knee replaced when..
How my life changed after knee replacement

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41 year old TKA

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I just received my new knee 1/6/2015.


I had a Lt Knee Arthrotomy/partial menisectomy at the age of 5. Over the years of sports injuries, numerous Arthroscopies, (mainly for just cleaning up debris in my knee).

My last knee scope was 10/23/2014. This was done to repair a possible meniscal tear on my lateral meniscus. In May, I slipped and hyper flexed my knee, which caused a lot of pain in my lateral compartment. An MRI showed a tear, along with DJD. This was going to be my last knee scope. I keep prolonging the inevitable knee replacement. After my scope, I also opted for Euflexxa injections. The first injection was during my knee scope, the other 2 injections 2 weeks apart. I've previously had these injections with some pain relief for a very short period. This last scope/injection confirmed that it was time to stop procrastinating due to no pain relief.

I've tried to prepare myself mentally and physically. Since I operate myself, the surgical part I was mentally prepared for. It's the rehab that I was concerned about.

I arrived in preop 0845 on Tuesday, 1/6/15. My surgery was scheduled around 1130am. My surgeon has 2 TKA to do before mine. Since I work in surgery, I was able to watch his first case, just to see how he does things. I was ready.

I had a femoral nerve block, spinal, then converted to general due to over sedation/obstructing airway. We opted for LMA (laryngeal mask airway) instead of an ET tube. 45 minutes after surgery began, I'm in recovery.
The first night was a breeze due to the nerve block. I was able to walk 440ft around the unit at 10:30pm the evening of my surgery.

The next day I walked that 3 more times in the am. Working on the exercises seemed easy and I was going to fly through this. My extension was almost normal, my Flexion was 90+ degrees. We even talked about being discharged post op day 1 since I was doing so well. I was increasing the ROM on the CPM machine. I'm glad I decided against that. The evening of post op day 1, my nerve block was completely gone. OMG. I was now in pain trying to play catch up. I was already on oxycodone, IV morphine, Dilaudid, and Tylenol. My knee and lower leg swelling increased. I think I had overdone it. We had a ultrasound done to rule out a DVT since I had point tender calf and swelling. Plus recovery room didn't exactly start the SCD machine when I came there.

I spent 2 nights in the hospital. The second evening I finally got pain under control. I was discharged at 11:30am post op day 2. I have a walker/crutches/CPM machine at home.
The swelling is going down a little. Bruising is still evident. I can push my pain Meds to about every 4 hours. I also take NyQuil zzzquil at night since pain Meds keep me up. It's been a good combination. I try to use the CPM at night, and first thing in the morning to get the ROM started. I now have it set on 120 degrees and -10 extension. I follow that up with the polar care cooling pad. That thing has been great in my recovery from other knee surgeries.

Right now I have good Flexion, still tight and swollen. Extension is almost normal. Now I need to do some strengthening exercises. I will update as I get further out post op.
I am now post op day 4. I am trying to pace myself and not push my knee too hard. I've noticed the more I do, I feel at night and the next day. I am a little more than 90 degrees Flexion and I'm guessing 5 degrees extension. Overall, I'm satisfied with this being only 4 days Post op.

I am doing all of the exercises from "my knee guide" and it is helping. At least I keep telling myself that.

I am going to do them 3 times a day. After I do the exercises, I go on the CPM machine with my polar care on. It has also been helpful to take my pain medication 30 minutes before I exercise.

Aleve has been added in since I've had a lot of swelling in my lower leg. Bruising is still evident.

I try to do the CPM machine at minimum 4 times/day with 1hr minimum while using the polar care ice pad. I am able to walk around the house today without any assist devices.

The reclining rocking chair is nice for me. I can extend out the leg of the chair and exercise. I can also use it to help me gain more Flexion as I rock and gently push my knee further to flex. In between commercials I will do some sort of exercise.

Sleeping at night has been better while taking my pain Meds, Aleve PM, and cold therapy. Elevating my leg on pillows at night/rest is kind of helping with swelling.

I will post more as I get further out.
Today is Post Op Day 7.

The last couple of nights have been rough sleeping. I think that the pain Meds, being limited to activities, and trying to get comfortable with leg elevated contribute to restlessness.

I'm still doing all of the exercises in "My Knee Guide" at least twice a day in addition to walking around the house. Yesterday morning and this morning I was extremely sore.

My knee,calf, and ankle are still swollen. Still have bruising from tourniquet, as well as my knee and ankle. The Polar Care ice therapy machine is great. I have used it on my knee, calf, and ankle. Its really helping moving it around. Its been a treat after exercising. Taking warn showers without dressing on has also been kind of a treat.

I've been trying to cut back on pain Meds. I find that ibuprofen with the pain Meds helps with the swelling as well as the pain.

Still working on my Flexion and extension. Pushing that little bit extra at the end to get even more degrees out of it. It doesn't really hurt, just very tight and swollen.

I have noticed that the achy, nagging, almost like a toothache feeling that I've lived with in my knee for so many years is gone. My knee can actually rest and lay still instead of always moving it to get comfortable.

I had to play catch up on pain yesterday and it sucked. I now make sure not to miss dosage. I know I still need it, so I'm still taking as directed.

I have PT on Thursday afternoon. I think I'm doing ok and ahead of not on par where I'm suppose to be. It will be interesting to know my progress to this point compared with others. I will keep updating as I get further out.
Post op day 9.

Went to PT today. Mainly just measurements. Doing all the exercises and ice machine is paying off. Flexion is 111 degrees and extension is 0 degrees. Calf still more painful than the knee. instead of going to PT 3 x/week. They suggest 2 x/week. Still excited about the results in such short time. Still room for improvement. I'll keep posting.
Post Op day 10.

Had a rough night since PT. Didn't really do too much at PT appt so not sure why. Pain is really bad in my calf. Point tender as well as medial side of ankle. Swelling in knee still very evident. Bruising a little better. Slept like crap with calf hurting. Almost in tears this am which is pretty bad.

Texted my surgeon, we decided to get an ultra sound to rule out DVT. Pain med not really working on calf pain. Feels like a Charlie horse with some burning feeling. We are thinking since he doesn't use a drain, blood is in the muscle tissue. But we want to make sure. So I went to see him.

Dr. appt went well. He is pleased with the way the knee looks and moves. Took staples out and sent me to ultra sound.

Ultra sound turned out negative for DVT. Thank goodness. Pain Meds kinda catching up. Probably wasn't a good idea to be walking around with full weight on knee most of the morning. The prescribed me a different pain med.

I feel like I'm having a set back. But not going to let it get me down. Didn't do much the rest of the day. Some CPM machine, polar care, Meds, and rest.
Post Op Day 12

Been taking it easy lately. Cut back my exercises. Still working on extension and Flexion so I don't lose any of that. I have a couple new exercises for calf and ankle.

Calf is still sore. Trying to stretch it out some. Pain Meds are helping. As well as heat on calf, trying to break up clots, keep muscle warm. Still icing knee to keep swelling down. Very manageable.

Just taking it day by day. Not trying to do too much so I don't feel it the next day.

Seems to be a balance. When I feel good, I do too much and pay for it the next day and get discouraged. Take Your Time. Don't Rush It! Plus, I'm only 12 days out. Gonna try to start walking more to get some stamina back, focus on proper technique i.e. heel to toe.
Post Op Day 13

Went to PT yesterday. I was not looking forward to it.
I started off on the stationary bike for 10 minutes with 5 minute cool down. At first my knee was tight. After a couple of minutes, my knee began to loosen up. I had the RPMs going pretty good. Ended up doing 1.2 miles at 10 minute mark. Probably 1.5 miles after cool down.

Now we started stretching and regular exercises. We stretched out my calf muscle which now feels so much better. That's been the only thing holding me back. Extension was still at 0 degrees. Flexion was at 119 degrees. I'll take it at 2 weeks out.

The difference in exercises that I do at home vs PT was the amount of reps. It was now time for stimulation machine and ice. Yes please.

Still stretching out my calf. Doing regular exercises today. PT is 2x/week. Still on ice pad for knee, heat for calf.
Thank you for reading.
I started back to work on January 26, 2015. Twenty (20) days post op. At first, I thought maybe it was a mistake. Now that it's Friday, I'm glad that I did and it's the weekend.

First day back to work and my calf is still sore. My knee is fine other than the normal swelling. Pain is minimal. Worked standing during an operation for about 5 hours. After my the case, I can feel my knee swelling and calf hurting. The rest of the week has been the same. I usually try to wrap up leg with large Ace bandage and tuck an ice bag inside. Seems to comfort some. Walking slowly with no assist devices.

Therapy is still 2 times/week. Now adding weight to leg extension and raises. Its a little rough going to PT straight from work. With the added swelling, I look forward to just getting through PT. The bike and ice are the best part. Hit 120 degrees Flexion with a little painful push. Extension is still 0 degrees.

Also been massaging knee, incision. Making sure to break up scar tissue and sensitivity. Hopefully calf pain will reside soon.
Let's see how next week goes.
I am day 23. sometimes I feel like 3 steps forward and one step back. I think you are right on doing too much when you feel good you pay for it. Slow and steady wins the race. I'm at 101 but not straight yet. Good luck and keep working
Opr8nu -- I am curious about the point tenderness on the medial side of ankle. Was there discoloration/bruise look also? Felt hard? What was it and has it resolved itself? I have the same thing now which appeared after knee minesectomy last June 2015. It appeared in July and has been quite painful since September/October. I think it's starting to resolve now, but no one has been able to tell me what it is. Thanks in advance for your story.
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