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Readers Respond: How Difficult Was It to Go Back to Work After Knee Replacement?

Responses: 114


Updated January 09, 2011

After 6 months of knee replacement

After 6 months I have a stiff knee and my entire leg, from top up to my ankle is swollen every day. I also have a lot of water around my knee and that makes it difficult to walk. I limp when going up or down with stairs. I had a sonar for blood clots, blood test for allergies, x-rays etc and still nothing. I am so frustrated because I can't do my work properly not even my walking exercises.
—Guest Loraine


I had my right knee replaced July 3rd. It is not right. I do not have the horrible pain I had before, but it is still very stiff and steps going down is not good. I feel the doctor put too big of a knee in. I am suppose to get other one done but noooo way. It is not the way I had hoped it would be. Not happy with results.
—Guest Elaine Frank

LEFT TKR lots of pain

Well I had my tkr 3 weeks ago. I'm home now and will start going to PT on Tuesay . I can't bend my knee yet or put a lot of weight on my leg yet. I operate heavy equipment for a living been doing it for 21 yrs. I don't think I can do that anymore. Do you guys think I can get total disability for this.
—Guest marc moore

Two knees replaced

I had both knees replaced on 14 th January 2013. I'm 55 and it was the best decision I made. Have really had no major pain and only take Panadol 6 :hourly. Do exercises at least 3 times a day and can walk without crutches in the house but use them outside mainly for my own confidence at moment. I'm a dental nurse and hope to return to work in a couple of weeks. Best tip be positive. Sleep with small pillow between knees. Keep up meds and do your exercise. Good luck
—Guest Fiona

34 with both knees partially replaced

Hey everyone, I understand this is a battle and frustrating. I had my right knee partially replaced with and a 18th of an inch of metal placed behind my knee due to lack of cartilage. I was technically supposed to do a full knee, but my dr really didn't want to because of my age and I agree. This was on Oct 1, 2012. I can feel the strength coming back slowly and the pain is less and less. Still feels weird and was told that would go away in about 6 months to a year. On Nov 28, 2012 I did my left knee due to a mitochondrial defect in the bone (a chip in the bone) which caused a lot of pain. I have injured my meniscus in both my knees playing sports, but never thought I'd have to go through all of this. The left one needless to say, I have had some complications, I fell day of surgery in the hospital, then forgot to wear my stocking one day and started to bleed at my sutures, and then got a small infection at the bottom of my sutures. So its been fun. Keep your head up, it gets better.
—Guest Danelle

Not as bad as expected

Sorry to hear of so many bad stories. I am 79 years old and have always been fit. I had both knees done in a period of six months. I do my own exercises and dismissed the PT after the first week. I don't trust them and I can torture myself, I don't need them. I had severely bowed legs and I believe that caused a higher level of pain due to the straightening. My Dr. is the best and I have no visible scar. You have to get close to see it. No staples on either knee. Was out of the hospital on the third day and went through what most of you did but threw away the pain meds on the fourth week and use the ibuprofen (4) twice a day to manage the pain. Also, for the muscle pain I use DMSO. Look it up and get it. It works on the muscle pain. It is worth the pain in the end, but a good Dr. is the most important part. Do your homework first. Good luck.
—Guest Gino

Constant pain

Will it ever get any easier? I am 35 and have 4 young children so when I had to have a partial knee replacement last August I thought it would make life easier and cut down on the amount of pain I had each day. Nearly 6 months on, I am left wondering why I did it. The pain is still there albeit a different pain but my knee feels less stable than it did before. I still walk with a limp and am on stronger pain killers now than before I had it done. I have a good bend but am limited with the things I can do as it is too painful to kneel on. I am about to undergo an arthroscopy on my other knee for torn cartilage but can not even think about having that one replaced as I would rather stick with the pain from the arthritis. Over the past 3 weeks I have noticed that my foot on the leg with the replacement has started to change colour and becomes red and feels a little swollen. I have not spoken to my doctor as am a little nervous about going back but really want to know what it is.
—Guest Gemma


My knees were replaced one year ago and were doing excellent - then I had to have open heart surgery - both knees are stiff now - and as we know, stiffness is painful. How can you loosen knee replacements back up after three months limited movement due to open heart surgery?
—Guest Annette

TKR Recovery

I am four weeks post op and have been doing very well. By third week I was almost pain free then I started to suffer pain on the inside/outside of my knee made worse from air cond chill. Strange as we are told to use cold packs to lessen swelling. It seems to work but I have found it necessary to go back on pain meds. Given the state of my knees I am glad I had it done. I am due to have the second one done and I pray that recovery will be successful. I also have been told that the numbness is normal after this type of surgery. Take heart from the testimonies of those who have gone before. Just remember that the law of averages says that not all TKRS will be successful but go into yours with a positive frame of mind and prepare for your op by getting your knee as ready as you can.
—Guest John

TKR December 27, 2012

I'm now 5 weeks post op and I suppose I'm doing well. I sure wish recovery would be faster but forums like this give me more patience. My extension/flexion is 0/123. I have trouble sleeping due to pain at night but try not to take narcotics during the day. I can walk a mile on the treadmill which I could not have done 1/4 that much before surgery. I'm glad I did the surgery--just wish recovery was faster. I tentatively plan to return to work in two-three weeks. And I think I will be ready. Will have to be ready due to finances. I am a nurse and work will be a challenge but then work was a big challenge before surgery. Good luck to all you others out there!
—Guest Kate

Don't try to get up!

My father age 74 had R knee replacement 11/15/2012. 4 days PO transferred to in PT rehab x2 weeks. Came home with home health. Wasn't home 3 hrs and fell. He lives alone. He injured the knee trying to get up. It's been hell since. Sprained the knee and this resulted in a quad lag. He should have gone to nursing home rehab but refused. We now nearly 11 weeks out and he's still on walker. Also has had problems with endurance. Had onset of confusion and took to MD. has UTI. Took chest X-ray for c/o SOA but negative. X- smoker so suspect some degree of COPD. Going to OP therapy 3x week now. Flexion at 120 but full extension still not there. Closer to 5. I had to return to work so have hired a nurse aide 2 days a week. Medicare will not pay for home nurse aide while he is going to OP therapy. He is becoming depressed and even though I get him out as much as I can, I am at my wits' end with him. I am also a graduate student and classes started back 2 weeks ago. Have mercy on us caregivers.
—Guest Caregiver

Working thru both knees being replaced

I am a 54 year old woman, my Christmas present-tkr of both knees, left on Dec. 7, and right on Dec. 28, 2012. Having dealt with plantar fasciitis in 2008, a torn meniscus repair on 2009, and ongoing knee pain in both knees which was to the limping stage for the past two years, I didn't hesitate to know I wanted knee replacement done. Still with a 13 and 16 year old at home, I had become so depressed, feeling disabled and like I was 90 instead of in my 50's. As a caregiver, I have heard a lot so I feel I was mentally prepared, plus I'd had therapy before with the torn meniscus. (Although it never felt very successful-the therapy) I have found that this is going well and am faithfully doing the therapy exercises, using the meds. as prescribed, less than the first two weeks, and feel very hopeful and positive I made this decision. It helped to hear from someone to not expect the recovery to be complete until about a year out. I have a job in a daycare center. Hope in Feb to be back.
—Guest Diane M.

TKR left knee 1 yr ago, getting rt. knee

Still have stiffness in left knee. Dr. says I am off balance due to both knees being bad, 60 years old, corrections officer. Don't know if this will affect me at work due to running, jumping and standing long periods and just in case a fight breaks out. Is SSD possible? If anyone has a answer please respond.
—Guest ribbs

Total TKR

Hi guys I have got one tkr in September 2012 and getting left TKR done on February 14, 2013. My right knee still hurts. I have osteo in ankles and back and I am 52. Sometimes pain so bad I can drive but just auto. I can't stand for long, the pain is so bad at times.
—Guest Peter

Two weeks after TKR...Very Happy

I am 14 days post TKR. I have had minimal pain throughout the past two weeks the first two days where rough but on the third day it became easier. I came home after four days in hospital, the ride home was rough. I live about 45 minutes from hospital. But I got home and I was fine because the surgery was on the 28th of December I went home on New Year's Eve so my home health nurse didn't come until the 2nd and it was the 4th until my first physical therapy. I had continued the exercises from hospital, this afforded me the right to get rid of walker first visit and since I have continued to do home pt at least three times a day. Walking approximately 5/8 of a mile now, broken up into three sessions. The swelling is minimal and pain is manageable if I am having a rough time I exercise, it helps more than meds. I have one major set back its an ultra sensitivity to ice can not do it. Oh yes I received the Smith and Nephew Genesis II knee replacement system, stayed awake and received spinal.
—Guest Rick
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