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

Responses: 46

By

Updated January 09, 2011

If you had knee replacement surgery, that means you had time off from work too. One of your goals following knee replacement surgery was undoubtedly to return to work as soon as possible. How difficult was it to recuperate after surgery and prepare for your return to work?

How long did you take off from work? Did you return to work on schedule or ahead of schedule? What motivated you to get back to work as soon as possible? Share your experience with regard to returning to work after knee replacement surgery -- and share with others what you learned that may make the experience less difficult for them.

TKR 3/27/12

HAD KNEE REPLACEMENT IN MARCH AND I AM DOING VERY WELL...IT WAS TOUGH AT FIRST BUT I WENT TO PT AND WORKED HARD...TROUBLE AT NIGHT THOUGH AND HAVE TO TAKE PAIN MEDS...I AM RETURNING TO WORK THIS WEEK---2 MONTHS POST-OP BUT I AM A LITTLE NERVOUS...HOPEFULLY, I AM DOING THE RIGHT THING...
—Lamcam

Doing Great "I Think?"

Had bi-lareral total knee on April 16th. Only five weeks have passed. Spent 5 days in hospital and 7 in rehab. THe first time standing was very painful and I now know what a 10 is on the pain level. Rehab was the best thing I did even though there were times the pain level was high. Still have swelling and discomfort at night. The right knee gives me the most problems due to the doctor having to take the bow out of the leg and making the foot point to the front intead of pointing to the side. Left leg is doing pretty good but still have some pain in it. Drove to the doctor yesturday and was told I was way ahead of most folks at this time. The key I believe is to have a positive attitude and know that as time passed things will get better versus not getting better before the surgery. I am a pastor of a church and was back preaching in 3 weeks and am now back at work full time. Even got to go fishing yesturday as well. Some pain today and some stiffness.
—Guest Kevin

3WEEKS POST OP

I HAD BOTH MY KNEES REPLACED APRIL 27TH 2012 WAS EXPECTING THE WORST BUT TO BE HONEST ITS NOT THAT BAD. I AM 47YEARS OLD FEMALE THE BIGGEST PROBLEM IS HANDING THE RUNNING OF THE HOME TO MY FAMILY. DO PHYSIO REGULAR THAT REALLY IS THE SECRET AND FOR NIGHTS I SAW A GUY ON YOU TUBE WITH A WEIRD IDEA THAT ACTUALLY WORKS JUST TRY IT. PROVIDED YOUR WOUND IS CLEAN AND DRY BEFORE YOU DO THIS GET INTO BED LATHER THE AREA OF KNEE WHERE OP WAS IN ANY BODY CREAM AND WRAP WITH CLINGFILM ROUND A COUPLE OF TIMES. CRAZY BUT THE LAST TWO NIGHTS MY KNEES HAVENT KEPT ME AWAKE WITH THROBBING ACHE. I CAN WADDLE ROUND HOUSE AND START HYDROTHERAPHY NEXT WEEK. CAN GET MY KNEES TO 105 DEGREES WHICH IS GOOD FOR ME. PAIN STILL WORSE IN ONE LEG RATHER THAN OTHER BUT STIFFNESS IS YOUR WORST ENEMY KEEP THEM MOVING.
—Guest PORKA1

Post 12 weeks

hi all after reading the post I feel that my experience having a bi-lateral TKR has been a walk in the park. After 4 days in hospital started waking with a frame then to rehabilitation for 8 day with PT and Hydro T walk out with out sticks drove the car after 4 week from the operation. Pain if any was controlled with a couple of paracetamols the only down side is that my boss sacked me! but I can live with that after years of pain caused through the work. Best thing I did
—Guest Garry

Mechanic

I had my knee replaced on January 4th with a Stryker Triathalon due to Medial Collateral Ligament damage. It seems as though it took forever to get beyong the pain. Although physical therapy was delayed until a month after the surgery. I wasn't sent home with a CPM machine therefore stiffness set in my knee. After beginning therapy everything was directed in stretching the knee. After further exam from a Doctor, he encouraged strength work. Since working mainly on strength rather then stretching my knee has greatly improved. I have now been off of work for 5 months because they consider me a liability at work. I will return as soon as they allow.
—Guest John Linaburg

Warehouse worker

Had tkr right knee 4days hosp, 2wks rehab facilty. Best thing I ever did now 3wks walking sore but expected got 105 bend not bad. Sore at night see my knee was bowed and knee cap protruded. Gotta stretch I'm 63 and have a positive outlook. I will return to work as warehouse forklift operator -- just remember think positive. Best of luck.
—Guest Michael

Bilateral Knee Replacement

I had both knees replaced in Feb. 2012. Following my hospital stay I went to an in-patient PT facility - got pneumonia and an infection - went back to the hospital for 5 days and then to a different PT facility. Things were going well - slowly getting better - medication was working. After 2 weeks went home and to outpatient PT. He pushed me hard to get up to 116 degrees and then I pulled a hamstring and we backed off. I couldn't even face PT without a pain killer. I have constant pain day and night - nothing works to stop it since I am off all narcotics (2 weeks). I lost range in motion and now after 10 weeks was only able to get to 110. Went to the Ortho and he said my knee was not healing with all of the stress. He stopped PT and put me on Steriods. But, no pain meds. So, I have swapped not getting hooked on meds to having to live with pain. Went to work at 6 weeks because I had to - not good. Since no PT I have lost range of motion - sad - still painful.
—Guest Scott S

Not happy with the outcome

Had my total knee replacement 6 months ago on my right knee. I can't stand or walk too much on it, I now walk with a limp. I try to get on my stationary bike every morning between 20 to 30 minutes which feels great when I'm doing that. I've tried walking but I'm in pain afterwards. I haven't gone back to work due to the type of job I have, a machine operator, which is very physical work. Dr told me that I won't be able to do that type of work. This has been a whole new experience for me.
—Guest Roxy

It has not been a Day at the Beach!

On March 5-12 I had Bilateral Knee Replacement and it has been an experience. I train for this surgery and was ready physically and mentally. I never in my wildest dream knew that I would have major reaction to the Narcotic Medicine. I could only take Tylenol/Codine...and it did nothing for me. I stayed in the step down unit in the hospital for another ten days for PT and at age 58 and being a man I am not ashamed to tell you I cried after PT! Only ice would help a little . Here is the good news, I came home and have not used the cane in 4 weeks. I have been driving and going to work after three hours of PT/Pool Therapy. I have walked up to an hour a day. Both of my knees are now over 120 degree in bending. My wife has been on my exercise (I hate them with a passion) stretching everyday. I still have pain but I get 1 day off and I feel great. I am so glad that I did both knees at the same time because no way would I want to do it again. I am way ahead on all charts but it has been painful.
—Guest kipturk

Disappointed

I had Knee replacement Feb 17. I'm going on 8 weeks out, still have a lot of soreness in my knee and stiffness, having trouble getting to bed. With help from Therapist got it to 114 but 104 before, she about killed me getting it there. I clean houses and hate not being able, I feel, to go back to work yet. What can I expect, this is taking a lot longer that I thought.
—Guest Carolyn Ryken

Knees ache so badly

I had bi-lateral knee replacement 18/08/12, I was off work 3 months and went back to light duties (I am a support worker in mental health) I was told by the surgeon to take a sedentary job (easier said than done) 8 months later the scarring is still sore, and my knees ache so badly it makes me miserable, sometimes wishing i hadn't had it done, but then I think of my life pre op when I couldn't walk down the street without being in terrible pain, my surgeon said 12 to 18 months to be pain free, so we will see, it's very difficult to know whether you are 'overdoing' it, what if any exercise you can do.
—Guest Janice Birkinshaw

Returning To Work

I'm 5 weeks post TKR, still having alot of pain, especially at night. My plan was to return to work at 6 weeks, but it has been put back to 7 and at part-time. My knee feels like dead weight when trying to walk-I can only be up on it for maybe 20 minutes before pain takes over. I had my left knee done 5 years ago and besides having issues getting ROM, I didn't have much pain or other issues. If it would had been this way the first time-I wouldn't have done it again. I'm praying I can get back to work, as I need the money. Good luck everyone.
—Guest Shirley

Pain continues

Weeks out, still pain, trouble sleeping, must take pain meds or cannot do therapy. Why do some people fly right thru it in 4 or 5 weeks? Makes me think something is wrong.
—Guest linda g

8 WEEKS POST OP, SEEMS OK

It is now 8 weeks since total right knee replacement and all seems to be going ok. Still have a little niggling ache in my leg but no severe pain. It is a bit stiff in the morning so do 10 mins on exercise bike and that seems to help. I was very strict with myself doing all the recommended exercises when I came out of hospital and it seems to have paid dividends. I still do not sleep all through the night but it is not severe pain, just annoying ache, have a little stretch and that seems to do the job and get straight back to sleep. Only using ibuprofen (3 a day). Walking without any problems but knee becomes a little stiff when I get home. I use an ice pack 3 times a day for 15 mins. Find no problem driving but just a little awkward getting in the car. Hopefully will be back to work in 4 weeks but not sure as job entails standing for 8 hrs, just see how it goes.
—Guest Brian

Second TKR pain issues

Had my first TKR done in August 2011. Like everyone I was shocked with the pain and meds. Had issues taking the pain meds and recovery was slow. After 10 wks I was spinning, walking and the pain was diminishing. My bad knee still prevented me from doing a lot. This January 2012 I had my left knee replaced. Knowing what to expect and adjusting the pain meds did wonders. The recovery came quick up to a point. I started playing golf, spinning, walking etc but then I started having pain at the top of my knee and sharp pains to the side and under the knee cap like a nerve is being pinched. Aches all the time and if I don't move it the pain intensifies. I don't want to take pain meds but still have to. My right knee (first surgery) feels great I know there is scar tissue under the knee cap that will need to be removed. Scared with what is going on with my left, why the recovery has stopped and taken a back step. I'm 58, back to work. Hope someone can help.
—Guest Ron
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