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

Responses: 46


Updated January 09, 2011

No to floor physical therapy

Two weeks after knee replacement I was driving, walking without a cane, doing everything on my own at age 76. Then I went to floor phys therapy, great first 2 sessions. However, new assigned therapist determined that 105 degrees wasn't good enough and pushed an intensive exercise, two days in a row. After that one, could not walk more than a few steps at a time and only with a cane. It's now been two weeks and still having a lot of pain and think I've regressed to around 90 degrees or less. Surgeon concluded that my mended tissues were retorn and that resulted in internal bleeding of the knee. I wish I had known that hydrotherapy was and is available in my town, Brookings, Or. Whatever. All future therapy is on hold for now and when I have the courage to return, it will not be to floor therapy which, I believe, is not the way to go when knee problems are caused by osteoarthritis.
—Guest judith mcfarlane

Knee revision

3 mo out after a knee revision. Had a manipulation and still very very sore. I am a merchandiser and am on my feet 8 hrs a day.
—Guest carmine

Will I work again?

I had knee replacement in January. I am ok, no painkillers or walking sticks now and can bend it 130 degrees, but have been told I will not be able to go back to work as I do a lot of kneeling. If anybody has done this please let me know.
—Guest Guest samuel

Return to work?

I am 3 months now after total knee replacement and I am not doing well, I am having a lot of pain in both knees and can't walk very far without much pain. I am worried about being able to return to work, I am a factory laborer and must return to work 100 % or lose my job! What to do? I don't feel I can walk 8 hrs on my knees all day.
—Guest jay

Two New Knees for Christmas

I gave myself the best present ever for Christmas this year....two new knees . I went into the hospital on Dec. 19 and was transferred to in house rehab. three days later. I stayed there for 7 days and went home. I had excellent care throughout my stay. Pain was well managed. I left the hospital using crutches. I went up and down stairs from day one at home. I had a commode in the bedroom so only did stairs once per day. I had a VNA for 6 days providing PT and checking on my blood levels. I did exercises faithfully for a month before surgery and continue to work out daily. I went back to work part time after three weeks and full time after five. I finished outpatient PT at 8 weeks and now go to a gym a minimum of three times per week. I use a stationary bike on the days I do not go to the gym. I have some stiffness in the knees still but have 130 degree bend. I do have some nerve "involvement" and difficulty sleeping, but know I will enjoy a new life again soon.
—Guest GeorgeThomson

Great results!

I had bilateral knee replacements 8 wks apart. Had femoral block, no pain, pain meds first week home tapering off to oxycodene /acetaminophen 2nd wk and then as needed for PT. I was driving to PT by wk 2 of both. I am now 8 and 10 mos out and doing anything I want. I recommended finding the most experienced OS and NOT waiting too long. The longer you wait the worse your knees and muscles will be and the more pain and slower your recovery. I am thrilled with my new knees: Depuy rotating platform - playing tennis this spring!
—Guest Barbara

Total knee replacement left one

Left the hospital the same day of the surgery,went back to work the third week having the right one done in April. No pain
—Guest Marie

Both knees partial

Had my surgery done Jan 6th. Now it's Jan 21st! Phew, lots of work! Was in the hospital 5 days, pain yes indeed! Went home I had my boyfriend 24-7 for the first 10 days, believe me u will need it! The hardest thing and one of the most important is pt stretching! People do this massage your legs don't get lazy, I went in yesterday, had stitches removed, the wounds look ok, the sterile strips fell off:(, my brother went to pharmacy, and redid it! I have good days yes indeed, pain now is different, stiffness normal. I take pain meds, without them I would have been crazy:(. U have to stay above your pain! Pain pills yes most of us will be addicted! I am but in the mean time we have to just focus on getting better, and I am lucky cause I am an apt mgr so I live where I work! I have 100 support! Sitting at a desk I cannot even imagine:(. Move stretch do your pt never ever give up!! Am I glad I did it, maybe not the two knees together but they were both bad! I am 55, I want to play w the kid.
—Guest Vicki Thomas

Glad I read these responses

I had TKR on the right knee Nov 1, 2011. It was a traumatic experience and the most pain I had ever experienced. I have had a good recovery in terms of range of movement etc. But I am addicted to the pain meds and now realize it will be at least 6 months before I am recovered and unaware of my surgery. My knee is a little stiff when I first stand up, still puffy on the right side and of course, numb. Lots of weird pains as nerves try to reconnect and regrow and sometimes I just feel like I have an "alien" leg. I am not sleeping well either. I will wake with aching leg/knee and when my pain meds wear off my whole pelvis hurts. I guess it comes with the territory and I know it will be better but it's taking a lot of mental strength to get through this. I've wondered if I did the right thing but I think I'll be right as rain in a few short months.
—Guest Robyn

3 Months Later

Went back to work three months after bilateral total knee replacement. I work in an office. When at home I used the stationary bike several times a day plus my scheduled therapy. Sitting all day now has seemed to set me back a bit. My legs feel stiff after sitting a while. It is difficult getting up from a chair without something to hold on to. Steps are still ugly. I have been very diligent with my physical therapy. I have been using exercycle, stepper, weights since 2 months post op. Just dumped the cane last week. I am hoping that I have not plateaued. Have had back and hip aches off and on. Legs seem weak even after intense therapy over the 3 months. Range of motion is good though. Still take occasional pain med. Hope to hear more from others beyond 3 months. Can I expect to continue to heal? Getting a bit concerned that its as good as it gets..

Still in pain after 9 weeks

I'm at the end and hate to take pain pills but have no choice. I hope there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I get so depressed. I guess I need friends that have had it done.
—Guest cleta a gladio

Partial knees both done at the same time

My surgery, both knees, has only been about 2 weeks now. I had PT a few times at the hospital and a few times at home. My thing, when I lay on bed and try to stretch, it hurts and almost feels like my knees are going to break.
—Guest Vic

Back after bilaterals

Went back to work three months after bilateral total knee replacement. They were done four days apart but during same hospital admission. I work 12 hour shifts. Normally 3/wk. My first week back I worked two days. Now I am working 3 days/wk every other day so my knees can rest. I wore ted hose first 2 wks back at work. I have done well. I am tired. My knees feel stiff some times. My hardest thing to do is get up from chair or step up without something to hold on to. I have been very diligent with my physical therapy. I have been using exercycle, stepper, sled, weights and pool since 2 months post op. I am now looking forward to getting my own Nu step type equipment in my home.
—Guest Cheryl

Knee replacement

I had knee replacement six weeks ago. Worst pain I have every experienced. Had PT and my flexion is great but still high pain meds to make it thru the day. Can't sleep at night. The doctor says it will get better but the pain is not showing me that. Never would I go thru this again -- my left knee is bad but I said forget it.
—Guest sandra

Still pain 1 year after TKR

I had TKR 11-3-10 I still have continuous pain around the front of my knee. My Dr. referred me to another Ortho dr. after 3 visits he sent me back to dr. #1. Still having lots of pain, now going to pain Dr. I work in a warehouse, walking constantly, I have worked approx. 13 weeks since surgery. I am very diappointed in my outcome so far. My left knee needs done, but I am not going to have it done, I am too afraid, one bad knee is enough. I would never have had it done had I known it would be like this.
—Guest Nancy
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