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

Responses: 114


Updated January 09, 2011

Total Knee Replace-Dec 4 2012

Will not return til Feb 5th 2013. I have to stand on cement floors all day without little sit down. So I am at 120 flex and 0 flat (B4 my surg I could never flatten leg and lock knee) I'm slowly improving everyday. I go to phys ther 2x week outpatient and do recommended exercises at home everyday at least 1x. The key is to stretch and straighten. Walk as much as you stand w/o overdoing it. Also to straighten used a rolled up bath towel under JUST the back of heel and let the weight of your leg help straighten leg. My outer leg still feels numb from time to time-Doc says normal. I'm glad I did this as really I am seeing that as I heal I'm gonna have my life back. Good luck everyone & God bless.
—Guest Julianne

Week 7 TKR

I'm 47 years old which is young for a TKR. Had 2 other knee surgeries in the past 5 years that led to this one. Really glad I had my replacement surgery and wish I would have done it sooner. I had a great surgeon (only does hips and knees) and a wonderful physical therapist, but still having swelling and muscle pain. One thing that might help some of you that's helped me is Kinesiology tape. Going back to work tomorrow and I'm very concerned about being ready and on my feet 10 hours a day. I wish everyone luck with their recovery. Thank you for all your posts. They have helped me.
—Guest Sue

After 3 months

I am planning on going back to work after 3 months, had both knees replaced. The job I do requires heavy lifting, and lots of walking. I have 140 degrees of motion in both knees while the right knee will only straighten to 2 degrees. I pushed myself right out of the hospital bending and straightening my knees, and doing every exercise to get stronger. I feel good, but still have pain when I move wrong, standing is still a challenge, I can do it, but it is not pain free. I do support knee replacement, and both at once, which I believe pushed me to recover faster, after all I was not left with a good leg to stand on. I think I made the right decision, but will only know after returning to work next week. Hope I am strong enough for those 12 hour shifts.
—Guest J

Severe night time leg pain after TKR

10 weeks post op. No real issue with the surgery or recovery, same occasional pains around the knee but nothing too bad. I was using a cane the 2nd week and returned to full time work at 6 weeks. About 2 weeks after that I started waking up from pain in the back of my calf about every hour or so. Not a sharp pain but very painful when I try to move or straighten my leg. I have to bend it several times to make the pain go away like blood rushing back into my leg. I have no issues walking or bending during the day. Only this night time pain. It seems like it's getting worse. I'm having my other knee done next week but I'm worried I'll get no sleep if both legs are doing this.
—Guest Rugerlc9

Still cannot walk without canes.

Had two total knee replacements two years ago (September and December, 2010). Am only 54 years old. I still cannot walk without two canes or a walker. I am now on disability, and greatly miss my teaching job. I am severely depressed, and do not look forward to each day.
—Guest William Dobbs

Doing really well after seven weeks

I had my TKR seven weeks ago. I'm sorry to see so many negative posts as this has been a very positive experience for me. I'm 67 years old. The first week was the worst but I persevered doing exercises at home every day and then went to physio. I have almost no pain now, am walking straight, have 130 degrees flexion. My doctor only does knees and hips with years of experience. My friends are shocked and my physiotherapist says I'm way ahead of the game. In fact, I'm going to book the other one right away. Don't be discouraged. This is far better than all the arthritic pain I had before. I do have some numbness but that may improve.
—Guest Marilyn

Is numbness normal?

I had TKR 2/17/12 and have a lot of numbness on the outside of my knee down the leg. It seems to be getting worse. Is this normal? I did all the rehab required and did really well ...walking without a walker after 10 days.
—Guest frances

TKR 12/05

It would get stiff after working 10 hrs/day. Other than that it was manageable. No pain meds after 4 months. Then I fell at work 06/11 went to ER, there I was told its okay. Then the next day ER called me back at work told me to see my ortho Dr right away as my knee is loose. I went to my ortho he refered me to a DR in Chicago who wanted to do surgery right away. Work comp said NO. After many many months work comp sent me to their DR who said I needed surgery. Work comp still waited 6 more months then approved surgery. The surgery was relplacement of the poly shim (bigger). This was on 07/12, still today in alot of pain, cannot walk correctly. The last time I walked correctly was 06/04/2011 I fell on the 5th. Been doing therapy at home three times a day and going to therapy 3 times a week. Still pain and swelling. Now the Dr wants me to see a different Dr (in case he missed something). My left knee, the good one, is wearing out fast due to all this and I will never have that one done.
—Guest Randy

TKR 10/15/12

Still having "toothache" like pain. Flexion to 100 degrees. I never thought the surgery would be this bad. I would never do it again on my other knee. I use a cane outside, but in the house I am OK. Glad to hear that others feel the same way too. After surgery my whole leg turned black and blue from my foot to my upper thigh. I thought the Dr. had done something wrong, but he said it sometimes happens. I take Oxycodone when needed, especially at night.
—Guest Tina G.


They had problems when inserting the epidural. 4 times they tried and I still get pains at night in my back. Anybody had same problem? Cannot sleep zzzzz.

Have not had TKR yet

I am 29 and have to get a TKR due to a sports injury. Do you think this might be too young for a knee replacement and what brand/manufacturer would you recommend?
—Guest Tina

Went back too soon

Had tkr four months ago. Returned to work 10 wks after surgery. Sorry I did that. I'm a teacher (secondary) and on my feet all day (and so far three nights for parent/teacher meetings). Had to take cryocuff to work because knee very swollen all the time. Use it at lunch time and free classes. Steep, crowded stairs very challenging and I avoid them. At the end of the day knee painful and very swollen. I went back too early. And you get no sympathy so you might as well get on with it. It helps to take short walks outside during breaks. But at night-time, when I get home from work, I am worth nothing. Have to keep knee up high to bring down swelling. My doctor wanted me to stay away from work for at least another 6 wks but I insisted because I was concerned about my students. I regret it because I could have gone back stronger had I waited a little longer. However, I must say too that I turned a corner recently and pain hugely reduced now. Swelling continues. The walks really help.

TKR Right leg

I had a full knee replacement some 10 weeks ago and the pain is still intense. Am on the strongest painkiller available but still the pain continues.The knee is still very swollen. Have gone back to work part time but I think I have gone back too soon. Is the amount of pain normal? And should I have gone back to work?
—Guest richard Thomas

TKR post 7 weeks

I am in a lot of pain 7 weeks post op I have taken myself off medication during the day but I find it too difficult to do any exercises. I was 1 week in hosp after the operation then 3 weeks into rehab where I had physio and hydro every day of the week. This is the most gruesome surgery anyone can experience. My other one is no good but I do not want to go through this again. I had blood clot, then I had lots of swelling, then on week 4 I had cellulitis - big infection cleared up with strong case if antibiotics. I did 3 weeks of outpatient of physio and hydro going 3 days a week but this week I am in pain. I have pain from my hip down to my ankle, it doesn't seem right going to see the surgeon on Monday. I wish all and everyone one having one done good luck. I just want it better. Sick and tired of being in so much pain. I take two endone and two endep at night so at least I get some sleep. But when I try to get up to go to the bathroom I can't even weightbear it's so so painful.
—Guest Pink lady 59

Pain after 4 years

I had a TKR 4 years ago. Got MRSA in hospital so my rehab was delayed. I am having severe pain but the surgeon still say everything is OK. Started using Ardyss Le Vive and am now having some relief. Is this severe pain normal?
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