Questions about total knee replacement surgery (1 Viewer)

Norwajun

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I'm having a total knee rerplacement done in a month and I'm starting to get a little nervous. As the thread title suggests, I have some questions that are best answered by someone who has had the surgery, or who has a friend/loved one who did.

I'm taking short term disabiity from work, and I currently am planning on being out a month. I guess my first question would be if that timetable is reasonable. I work in the natural gas industry, and I do have to occasionally walk on uneven surfaces, climb stairs and ladders, etc. But I am not in a job that requires a lot of physical labor. So, those of you who may have experience, what timetable should I set for returning to work? How difficult was the recovery? And how quickly were you back on your feet?

I watched the video and did the consult with the surgeon, but they are very vague with the answers. If anyone can give me some insight I would appreciate it.
 

You

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My mother did it at 78yrs old and she didn't do much post op rehab because she was lazy.
It didn't really seem to matter.

Otherwise, the surgery went well. She never seemed to be in pain afterwards.

Best wishes for a smooth surgery.
 

LKN H20Girl

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My mother did it at 78yrs old and she didn't do much post op rehab because she was lazy.
It didn't really seem to matter.

Otherwise, the surgery went well. She never seemed to be in pain afterwards.

Best wishes for a smooth surgery.
I first read that as "died at 78" and I was thinking WTH did he just tell him that? LOL.
 

saintsfaninva

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Did your doc talk to you about cartilage transplant instead? You are off you feet for longer, but it's all your own natural parts. I have some in a lab and when I'm ready for the surgery, they will start growing it for me.

My mom just had her second knee replaced within a year of each other. Both times she was not able to return to work for two months and she doesn't do anything physical. Doing things too quickly will hinder you in the long run. Call you doc and ask how long he suggest you be out of work.
 

kevin from buffalo

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i know two people that had it done..they claim to have no more arthritic pain and are feeling good..one about three yrs ago and another last year. on the down side..no way will you be going up and down a ladder in one month..not going to happen. good luck.
 

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I just want to say that the advice you got from Brown is very poor. DO YOUR REHAB with this surgery. It will be painful and horrible, but it is absolutely necessary. Not to speculate about his mother (whom I don't know), but there are times when age, weight, level of activity, other conditions, etc. can inhibit someone's gait to the point that a poor recovery from a knee replacement would be unnoticeable. For a younger, more active person, however, not doing the rehab will cause a noticeable hitch in the way someone walks and will limit range of motion, running, etc. Your best bet is to choose a rehab facility (inpatient would really be most helpful for the first week or so, providing that your insurance covers it for knees), and go talk with them about the recovery time frame and expectations. The physical therapists there deal with these types of recoveries on a daily basis and will be able to give you an accurate list of expectations as well as a general time frame for returning to work.
 

BHM

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MIL had both knees replaced within two years. Took her a couple of months using a walker before she was able to do moderate activity.

Keep in mind that she is old, out of shape and overweight. One thing I remember hearing is that you need to do as much as you can to strengthen your leg before the surgery. Good luck and I hope it turns out well for you.
 

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My mom had it done, but with her surgery she had a newer style of surgery where the doctor didn't have to cut as much of the quad tendon, just enough to slide the kneecap instead of totally flipping it off to the side. Her incision is about 5.5 inches long. so the timeframe was shorter than the older style which is more invasive and takes more time for the quad tendon to heal. She did all the rehab faithfully and then some. (She's a nurse so she knows the importance). I asked her. She was on pain meds for about ten days, took her rented walker back a bit before 3 weeks. She was walking the steep stairs in the house at about 3 weeks or so, still using the railings for support. She was 55 when she had it done, in reasonably good shape, and was in miserable pain because she had worn away almost 1/4 inch of bone on the inside of her knee. So her pain tolerance was pretty high. She thinks if you have the minimally invasive surgery like she had a month is probably ok, if you have the more invasive one possibly closer to 6 weeks. She also said the key is in the rehab. It sucks and hurts, but she walks with no limp in her stride at all and has no limitations on what she can do- 3 years after she hiked in Yosemite with me.
 

Lurkaholic

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My mom had it done, but with her surgery she had a newer style of surgery where the doctor didn't have to cut as much of the quad tendon, just enough to slide the kneecap instead of totally flipping it off to the side. Her incision is about 5.5 inches long. so the timeframe was shorter than the older style which is more invasive and takes more time for the quad tendon to heal. She did all the rehab faithfully and then some. (She's a nurse so she knows the importance). I asked her. She was on pain meds for about ten days, took her rented walker back a bit before 3 weeks. She was walking the steep stairs in the house at about 3 weeks or so, still using the railings for support. She was 55 when she had it done, in reasonably good shape, and was in miserable pain because she had worn away almost 1/4 inch of bone on the inside of her knee. So her pain tolerance was pretty high. She thinks if you have the minimally invasive surgery like she had a month is probably ok, if you have the more invasive one possibly closer to 6 weeks. She also said the key is in the rehab. It sucks and hurts, but she walks with no limp in her stride at all and has no limitations on what she can do- 3 years after she hiked in Yosemite with me.
Absolutely. You seriously cannot overstate the importance of the rehab with this surgery. Both in the time it takes you to get back on your feet and the final outcome of the surgery moving forward.
 

Goatman Saint

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Both my grandma and 2 of my aunts have had the surgery. None of them did the rehab. They all walk very very stiff legged and can't walk that well at all on a non smooth surface. My mom always tells people that your surgeon will fix your structural defect. It's up to you if you walk unable to bend your knee or run, which my 65 year old mom with a fake knee can do.
 
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Norwajun

Norwajun

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Thanks for the replies. I'm going to rehab at a Sports Medicine Clinic with a Certified Athletic Trainer. And I'm going to utilize a lot of pool therapy to help out. This thing has been degrading for almost 30 years and there is nothing left to it. The doc wanted to wait, but I insisted I had waited long enough.

I spent 8 years in the Marines and could run 5 miles no problem in my 20's. I was used to being active, and I refused to allow a high school injury dictate the rest of my life. I was stubborn and stupid. That's probably why my knee is now so arthritic. I'm currently in my 40's and fat, miserable and can barely walk down the street without pain and swelling. Because of this, as soon as I get into a good exercise routine I have a setback and have to lay off for a couple months. The layoff gets longer each time. If I don't get this thing fixed now I won't have any quality to my life in a few years. I'm really looking forward to being able to walk without pain.
 

atceagle

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My mom is a school teacher and had hers done over 5yrs ago. She would call me in the middle of the night in excruciating pain. After the surgery, she was pain free. Her surgery was sometime in June and she was able to start work on time when school started in August. The only advice I can give that's any different from previous posters is to find yourself a recumbent bike for home. This will work wonders for your ability to gain functional range of motion.
 

Humbruh

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Pre-op: check with your doctor first regarding exercises. Strengthening your legs prior to the surgery will give you a huge advantage for your recovery time. ( quads, hamstring, gastrocnemius) Include cardiovascular exercises to help your endurance. ( it will help with walking distance and activity tolerance after surgery).
Rehab will make a BIG difference! If you can get inpatient rehab, work religiously to get as much knee flexion as possible the first week ( at minimal, 90 degrees flexion ). Take pain medicine 30 minutes to an hour before your therapy session if you need to so that you can tolerate your therapy. Use ice pack after the therapy to help the swelling. The less swelling you have after surgery, the quicker your recovery time and the LESS PAIN you'll have.
If you don't have inpatient rehab, ask for outpatient rehab. By one month, you'll be able to go up/ down a flight of stairs ( using handrails for assist). At age 46 ( and I'm assuming, good health/ good strength/ active) you'll be off all walking aid devices, but walking distance and tolerance will still be limited.
I would not count on climbing ladders that soon though.

Good luck with your surgery !
 

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Great advice from the last two posters.

Is there a particular reason you settled on an athletic trainer at a sports medicine place instead of a physical therapist at a rehabilitation center? I would think the rehab center would be set up much better to handle your needs, not to mention more experienced in handling cases like yours due to sheer volume.

Also, I'll reiterate again that I STRONGLY urge you to get inpatient rehab if it is at all available to you. Having a staff and physicians in your immediate care that know what you are experiencing and need can make a crucial difference in allowing you to start your rehab from the start of your recovery. If you wait until feels ok to start exercising, it will probably already be too late to gain a full range of motion.
 

porculator

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Speaking from my experience of 7 knee surgeries including 2 transplants, try to get a workout regimen in before your surgery, to work on weight loss and upper body strength (I like the rowing machine--accomplishes both.)

Being on crutches sucks either way, but the rehab was much easier for me after surgeries where I had a head start of getting back in shape.
 
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Norwajun

Norwajun

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Great advice from the last two posters.

Is there a particular reason you settled on an athletic trainer at a sports medicine place instead of a physical therapist at a rehabilitation center? I would think the rehab center would be set up much better to handle your needs, not to mention more experienced in handling cases like yours due to sheer volume.

Also, I'll reiterate again that I STRONGLY urge you to get inpatient rehab if it is at all available to you. Having a staff and physicians in your immediate care that know what you are experiencing and need can make a crucial difference in allowing you to start your rehab from the start of your recovery. If you wait until feels ok to start exercising, it will probably already be too late to gain a full range of motion.
Sports Medicine because my brother is the trainer. He's been working with me for a while now and the trust factor is there.

Speaking from my experience of 7 knee surgeries including 2 transplants, try to get a workout regimen in before your surgery, to work on weight loss and upper body strength (I like the rowing machine--accomplishes both.)

Being on crutches sucks either way, but the rehab was much easier for me after surgeries where I had a head start of getting back in shape.
Thanks for the input! And sheesh, SEVEN surgeries?! I thought I had it bad with 3.
 

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