Recovery of bilateral knee replacement

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Topic Title: Recovery of bilateral knee replacement
Created On: 06/15/2006 10:54 PM

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 05/11/2008 12:26 PM

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pam140

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Angela, I am going in tomorrow for bi-lateral knee replacements and after reading this forum I am scared to death! I had no idea the recovery was so hard. My surgeon told me about the patient he had seen right before me that was 10 days out and he said he was pain free, just stiff and doing well. I had been sitting across from him in the waiting room and could not take my eyes off of his incisions! Holy cow! He walked very slow with a cane and his wife and his knees were somewhat bent. I was not told anything about it taking months or even a year or more to recover. I am 49 and a single mom who basically lost her job due to this upcoming operation. I was teaching in a pre-school. I am worried that I am making the wrong decision. I am also about 80 pounds overweight and diabetic. I have lived with this pain for most of my adult life and was told this was going to be my ticket to freedom. Now it sounds like a ticket to hell. It sounds like I will be worse off them I am now. Are you sorry you did it?
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 05/11/2008 02:00 AM

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morko

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Hi Angel,It has been over 2 years since my bilateral knee replacement. I'm 45 now. I still remember how hard those first few months were. I really think a full recovery takes a year to 18 months. I will say that I now feel pretty darn good most of the time. I have had some ongoing balance problems that seem to be from an inner ear problem I had before the surgery but just didn't realize it. I am very glad that I had the surgery and really want to encourage you to not be afraid that you have made the biggest mistake of your life. It is a very slow recovery. Do your exercises every day (twice a day if you can) and do your PT religiously. I remember the first 3 months as the worst, but even at 6 months I was surprised I was not doing better. Everyone is different, and people recover at very different paces so don't be too quick to judge yourself based on how others are doing.The best thing for me at the beginning was to think of my progress in weeks, not days. I couldn't ask if each day was better than the one before, because they fluctuated a lot...but if I looked back at each week, then I could realize the improvements I made.I don't remember how long it took to be totally off of pain medicine, but I do remember it took a lot longer than I planned! What really matters is that you are making progress and that you make yourself do you exercises, even if they are painful. If you didn't push yourself so hard on exercises, you could probably get off the pain meds quicker, but the exercises are crucial to recovery even if it means you take meds longer. Take care and good luck!Audrey (morko)
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 05/10/2008 06:54 AM

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angel16

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HiI amangela, aged 55. had bilateral op 8 weeks ago. I thought i would be on the mendandpain free now!!! Please advise how you aredoing now, a year or so down the line.Angel16
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 05/10/2008 06:51 AM

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angel16

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Hi,I am angela, aged 55. Just had bilateral knee op 8 weeks ago. Cant believe how slow recovery is! Thought I would be well on the mend and free of pain by now! Guess its a long slow haul.Any advice you can give? How much exercise should \I be doing,how far shouldi walk daily etc?I realise its a long while now since your op, so be nice to hear how you are doing now.Angel16
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 01/01/2008 11:05 PM

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Valorie2533

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Hi all - I'm so glad I found this site. I had bkr on 11/12/07 - what an experience. I'm now stuck at 90 and 92 degrees. I'm going in forknee manipulation on 1/3/08. Can anyone give me some advice - I'm beginning to have anxiety over this; I realize that I must dothis. I've been in therapy 3 days a week since Nov. 19 and there is not one day that doesn't go by that I exercise for a total of 2 hours at home. Looking forward to hearing from someone - Thanks
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 12/10/2007 10:49 PM

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lgchap

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hi-- i'm laurie & 20 months post bkr-- also my husband just had his first tkr 6 weeks ago--(one more to go)-- there is SO MUCH STUFF TO GO THROUGH after surgery, i don't really know where to start!!! every new person, PLEASE try to remember & remind yourself DAILY --- it is a TOUGH SURGERY, try not to get discouraged, and keep checking in this forum-- it was a lifeline for me...and EVERYONE here cares and has been through it themselves, we are a wealth of knowledge, if i may say so. and more importantly we all CARE!! laurie
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 12/10/2007 10:49 PM

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lgchap

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hi-- i'm laurie & 20 months post bkr-- also my husband just had his first tkr 6 weeks ago--(one more to go)-- there is SO MUCH STUFF TO GO THROUGH after surgery, i don't really know where to start!!! every new person, PLEASE try to remember & remind yourself DAILY --- it is a TOUGH SURGERY, try not to get discouraged, and keep checking in this forum-- it was a lifeline for me...and EVERYONE here cares and has been through it themselves, we are a wealth of knowledge, if i may say so. and more importantly we all CARE!! laurie
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 12/10/2007 04:08 PM

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jack625

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Morko,There is no trivializing "graduating" from the toilet extension. It IS a major milestone in your progress. Congratulations!!!Try rubbing Vitamin E cream on the scars twice each day. Rub it in good.JackP.S. Had my one year checkup with the surgeon two weeks ago. He said he does not need to see me anymore. All is well with the world.
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 12/09/2007 11:22 PM

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chrissy0

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lalitha9You had asked to talk with me before your surgery but you never contacted me through email. If there is anything else I can do for you, please write tochrissy0@sbcglobal.netI am now 3 months post surgery and still having trouble. Still going to therapy and still out of work but really not in knee pain, more back and buttocks!Chris
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 12/09/2007 07:58 AM

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lalitha9

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I know this has been a long time after bilateral.I just went thro on oct 29,2007 bilateral.How are you feeling? any tips you can offer to me.Can I talk to you offline.I am a 57 yr old female working my way tho.
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 07/26/2006 07:46 PM

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morko

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Hi Vic,At 5 months, I STILL keep getting improvement in my bending. Especially my left knee. You can expect to very gradually increase the bending if you keep working on it. It doesn't happen overnight, but it does happen.As for Physical Therapy, if you feel you are getting something out of it, and can afford it then I would continue with it if I were you. If all they are doing is the same exercises you do at home, then tell them that you don't see the point in continuing. They did some things with me that I couldn't do myself. Some kind of pressure on my knees (for the life of me I can't remember what they called it) where they would lean down and move the joint slightly. It seemed to help. They also were able to get me on equipment that I don't have access to anywhere else such as a Total Gym and an exercise bike. I kept with it until my insurance ran out (about 2 months worth).Try not to look at your progress a day at a time, because you will still have roller coaster days. Try to look at your progress over the week. It made me see that I really was making progress, as I tried to think from Thursday to Thursday (that was the day of my surgery). I could see those little steps of progress.As a Special Education teacher, I do have quite a bit of patience. I have learned to see success in the small steps that go into the larger goal. You need to be able to identify your specific goals, then break them down into small steps. Then from week to week, see how you are doing on the small steps. Don't be too hard on yourself. Your body has been through a very traumatic event and it will take it a long time to fully recover. Everyone heals differently, but just realize that you are doing all that you can and that's all that you can do.It helped me when I was able to get out a little more. I still remember when some friends took me out to dinner. We had to call around to restaurants to find ones that had chairs with arms! You would be amazed how many do not, so keep that in mind if you go out to eat somewhere. But it does make you feel a little more normal.I am tickled to report that I have been able to get rid of the extension on my toilet. Woo hoo!! Another step forward. I can't wait for the scars to look better though. They are definitely Frankenstein scars. I live in south Texas and shorts are what I wear to work everyday. I work with small children, and they seem to be a little more careful of me when they can see the scars. I don't know if they are afraid they will hurt me, or if they are grossed out, but either way they are more careful! Take care
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 07/25/2006 12:46 PM

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vlc549

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Thank you Marko for your help. I am taking diurectics for several days now. I dont take diurectics very well without complications.I go Thurs. of this week to get the stent out of my kidney and hopefully it will drain by itself now.I think I have been expecting too much too soon from my bilateral knees surgeries.I AM NOT a patient person with myself. I am 58.On Mon. I was really struggling with bending my knees. Today it is alittle easier but nearly where I should be. After I get all this kidney stone adventure over with, I wonder if I should go back to Physical Therapy again ?? I do all the exercises here at home religiously.I keep thinking everyday is going to be better than the next. I get discouraged when it is not.Maybe I should get out more. I haven been anyplace except to PT and to doctors visits.I sit in my glider rocker and in my porch swing and try to get more bending that way.Will bending gradually come as I progress ?? I also ride a stationary bike here at home.I am new to this forum and really appreciate everyones input and how they are doing.Any advice please feel free to help me.Thanks,Vlc
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 07/24/2006 07:38 PM

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morko

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If all that fluid has settled in your knees, it will feel like you are going backwards. I believe it is still very normal to be stiff, but the fluid will make them even more so. I had both knees done in Feb, and in June for some reason my feet (and knees a little) starting swelling a lot. The surgeon gave me 5 days worth of diuretics, and that helped a lot. Not only was the swelling in my feet better, but my knees were bending better as well.I'm at 5 months now and still get stiff if I stand, sit, walk, etc for too long. I have to keep moving. I'm 44, but feel like about 90 when I get out of the car after going to or from work (an hour drive). Once you get the swelling handled, I hope you continue to make forward progress. I would say my big turning point came at about 4 months. That was when I really started to feel like I might not regret the decision for the rest of my life!! I actually have moments now where I "forget" about it. For so long, the surgery and recovery was never out of my head. Not even for a moment. I'm starting to feel human again.As for the swelling...drink lots of water. You need to do that for kidney stones anyway. I have had them two different times. The SECOND time they told me once you have had them, you are more likely to have them again. I am much better about drinking my water now! As a last resort, talk to your doctor or surgeon and see about getting a few days of diuretics.Good luck.
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 07/23/2006 07:04 PM

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vlc549

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I had bilateral knee replacements on MAY 10. Took Physical Therapy 3 times a week and also did the exercises at home. I still dont hve the range of motion in either knee that I think I should have.I sit for 20 minutes to watch a TV show and I am soo STIFF. The Dr. said I was sitting too long.Gee....I get stiff if I sit too long and stiff if I am up walking too long. I am able to get along without my cane unless I go to the mall. I havent been icing as much as I was in the beginning. I am still on pain meds. To top it all off..last Sunday I had a kidney stone attack and was admitted to the hospital.Stones were lodged in my kidney and I was dehydrated. At the hospital they pumped me full of IV FLUIDS AND I CERTAINLY RETAINED FLUID.My knees especially were full of fluid. I had to have a cystcopy and lithotripsy.I think I should be further along with my knees and dont know how to get the fluid off now.Makes exercising really tuff. My surgeon says people heal differently and at their own pace.He said my knee bending was not acceptable right now. I have 105 degrees in one knee and 100 in the other. I feel like I am going backwards.Any suggestions would be helpful.Thanks,Vlc
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 07/14/2006 11:44 PM

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soski

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I had bilateral partial knee replacements May 8--I can identify with all everyone has shared here. I, too, thought I should be doing really well in three or four weeks. I'm a little over two months post op--still hard to get up from the sofa, rocking chair, office chair, etc. Not easy to stand for very long, still wake up at night sometimes and find moving to a straight leg from a bent knee position hurts quite a bit. Everyone else says I'm doing great; I think recovery is going way too slowly.I'm almost 62, about 100 pounds overweight, so you can imagine the fun I had trying to lift that extra poundage off the toilet stool or out of a chair! I lost 15 pounds the first two weeks I was home because I couldn't force myself to eat more than a few bites. The appetite has returned however.My surgeon told me it would probably be a year before I was fully healed. Each week is better than the last and that has given me hope that if improvement continues until May of next year, well I'll be dancing up a storm by then!I hope each of you continues to report your progress on this forum.
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 07/09/2006 11:38 AM

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morko

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I wanted to tell you that in the last couple of weeks, I have really noticed an improvement in the stiffness. Especially in the right one. The left one has been more difficult all along, but the Dr doesn't think we need to do the manual manipulation so that is good. It's still getting better as well, just not as quickly as the right. You are right that it just feels good that it's done. One recovery instead of two. Not fun, but doable. I'm nearly at 5 months, but have really noticed a lot of improvement in the last couple of weeks. I was able to get on the floor and get back up (very slowly and I'm glad there were no cameras around!).
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 07/08/2006 08:37 AM

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Paulab

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My bilateral knee replacement was june 1 and I have to admit - it has not been much fun. My Dr. says the most common complaint is "I did not realize it would take so long to recover." I actually thought two or three weeks and I would be good to go! I am having a lot of back problems. There is an interesting article in Consumer report - june I think -about joint replacement.Right now PT three times a week and One lortab at night. My PT says I am getting good extension - they just feel so tight! I guess I am glad I did both - it least it is over.
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 07/07/2006 01:07 PM

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bubrat

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I had a bilateral knee replacement on June 7th 2006 and for now I'm still in everlasting hell. I guess judging from your case, I can't expect relief anytime soon. I wish to God I had never even had these. It's like waking up to a nightmare every day,.
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 06/22/2006 10:33 PM

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morko

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Thank you for the information. Though I haven't had any other surgery on that left knee, it has been about 20 degrees behind the right one since the day after surgery. The right one is now at about 125, but the left is between 90 and 100. I know a lot of PTs and they said they also put you to sleep before the manipulation because it is very loud, like bone breaking sounds. No thanks, I'd rather sleep through it! The Dr. said I would probably miss a few days of work because it will be pretty sore. It makes me nervous, but since it's not invasive and it's only one knee...I guess I can take it. Might as well get my money's worth. I didn't go through all of this to have one knee stuck at 90. A year to be normal again??!! Yikes, I am a patient person, but that is a lot of time. I guess it makes sense though. I'm a single mom, but my son is a young teenager and able to help out quite a bit. Thank heavens driving is easy and comfortable. I would really be in trouble if that was tough. I guess the stiffness is just something we have to live with for a while, but I am an optimist and have to hope it won't last forever. I don't mind a little pain, and the pain that I have isn't severe. At the worst, it is about a 5 or 6 and that's just when I stand from sitting. That is the most painful thing. Standing too long isn't a great joy either, but I can sit down somewhere and that takes care of it.I wish you a speedy recovery, and thanks for your input!
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 06/21/2006 11:48 AM

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burkhame

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Hello Morko,I don't know if this will help, but here it goes.I had TKR on 5/10/06 (6 weeks ago today). I'm 45 yrs old. I'm recovering (according to my Doctor & Physical Therapist) extremely well. I had only my right knee replaced. Not both like you did. As of 6/20/06, I am able to bend my knee from 0 - 114 degrees. The doctor has my goal set at 120 degrees. (which is what my good knee can do).I'm surprised that your doctor only prescribed Vicodin !! My doctor has me on Oxycontin. As a matter of fact, Oxycontin is the pain releiver of choice for TKR that most doctors prescribe. And I'm still on it. As far as pain is concerned, as i'm sure you are aware, during Physcial Therapy, the pain is AGONY !! While not in Physical Therapy, (just doing nothing).... the pain varies between 0 - 4 (On a scale of 0 - 10 (with 0 being no pain & 10 being the worst pain imaginable)). There are times that it does get to be 5 - 8. That's when I go running for the Oxycontin. I have noticed that durring the past week, my pain has not been as bad or as frequent.My doctor told me last week, that my swelling will probably last about another 2 months. He didn't say about the pain. But he has me going back to work on 7/17/06 (Which is 9 weeks post surgery). So I hope the pain will be gone or at least minimal by that time.Regarding stiffness: I to experience stiffness, if I don't continually move about. I asked my Physical Therpist about it and she said that is normal & will take awhile before that goes away.Currently, I am able to walk quite gracefully without a cane, for quite awhile. Like going to the mall. But I am pretty sore afterword. I'm able to go upstairs pretty well (alittle stiffness though). I'm able to go down stairs (but NOT gracefully). From what I have heard from the Doctor, Physical Therapist, & people who have had TKR.... It takes a Full Year before you will feel back to normal.You mentioned that you are going in for Manual Manipulation...... I suspect that the doctor suspects... Scar Tissue is building up. If you have had a lot of surgeries on your knee(s), scar tissue will inhibit your ability to bend/flex your knee. I don't mean to scare you, but when they do manual manipulation, they will probably put you to sleep for a few minutes. From what I have heard, it is very painfull. It's to breakup the scar tissue.It's to early for me to say that "Overall I am very pleased". And I'm not a patient man to begin with. I sure hope the both of us will get back to normal soon.Best of luck to you !!


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 06/15/2006 10:54 PM

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morko

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I had bilateral total knee replacement in February of 2006. I was 43 at the time, am 44 now. I have recovered pretty well. I went back to work at 8 weeks. I continue to do my exercises every day. I have been going up and down stairs to my bedroom (not gracefully and not more often than necessary) for a couple of months. I am having more difficulty getting my left to bend as well as my right, and may be going in for a manual manipulation withing a month or so. Overall I am very pleased. My question is, is it normal to still have a good amount of pain? Going from sitting to standing is the worst. Every once in a while, it doesn't hurt....but mostly it hurts a lot. I also get VERY stiff if I sit for long, and I still can't stand or walk for very much without needing to sit. I don't need a cane unless I am going somewhere where I will be walking for a long time (like a big department store). I am able to do most of the things I did before (still can't get on the floor yet, though it is something I would typically do at work) but I get frustrated at the pain. I don't take any pain medicine on a regular basis anymore. The over-the-counter stuff doesn't seem to do much, and I have quit taking the Vicoden at night. I wake up frequently and have to change sides, but I seem to be able to go back to sleep easily most of the time.Any input or information would be appreciated.
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