Knee replacement pain 9 months post-op

Knee replacement pain 9 months post-op

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Mary

San Antonio, TX

#1 Feb 8, 2010
Nine months after surgery and still in almost constant pain? Yep. I've had a neurology test (negative), infection test (negative), blood clot test (negative), test for a quadriceps tear (negative). My surgeon simply admires his perfect X-rays and tells me it takes time... some people longer than others. I was a model physical therapy patient, but my PT dismissed me 5 months ago, saying he could no longer help me. I walk 3X daily (a 2-mile total), do 3/4 hour of water aerobics once a week, ride a stationary bike & walk on a treadmill 3X a week for 20 min each. I was able to bend 135 degrees (with some pain) within 3 months after surgery. It's walking that's the problem. I haven't improved since Month 4.
I can't extend my leg to 0 degrees because every time I attempt extension exercises, the pain is intense for the next few days or week (my knee is really "frozen"). The pain has been consistent in the outer side of my leg from my knee down 4 inches (the tensor fascia lata?); months ago the PT had to stop a "moderate" massage I was in such pain. Touching my kneecap is also painful. I can't sleep soundly at night -- I must somehow get into a position where the pain wakes me up (I try to sleep with knee bent). I have to do a series of flex exercises to even get out of bed. Sitting is fine, but when I get up, the pain resurfaces.
Anyone else had my symptoms and history? If so, what helped to get rid of the pain and allow you to walk properly? Both the PT and acupuncturist (yep ... I tried both a chiropractor & acupuncturist but neither helped) say my TKR leg looks longer than the other. I did get a plantar some-thing-or-other (a painful lump) on the ball of my good-leg foot, but it hasn't gotten any worse now that I've added a Dr. Scholl's foot pad to "lengthen" my good leg.
kelly

Powell, OH

#2 Aug 22, 2010
Hi

I just had my 2nd TKR. A year ago I had my first one. Both times my calf hurt so bad right after, I couldn't put pressure to walk. Both times I was checked for blood clots and they were negative. It took a few months for my first knee to heal to the point where it did not bother me at night.

My recent surgery was June 16th and my knee is still 7 degrees from being straight. I walked on it bone on bone for about 2 yrs so I expect this will take awhile to get straight. I have two more therapy sessions left and the rest I will do on my own. In addition to regular exercises at home, when I'm watching TV I put my knee up on a chair and fill the saddlebags (the white cloth things they fill with bags of ice in hospital and lay over your knee) with 3# weights on each side. I leave them on as long as I can stand it, remove for 5 minutes and repeat. This seems to help with the straightening. I also ice underneath my knee after I'm done exercising as well as the kneecap.

I still have trouble sleeping and the ONLY comfortable position that does not hurt is on my back. I've never been able to fall asleep on my back, so I either take a Unisom, prescription sleeping pill or a pain pill to help me get to sleep. I still have what feels like "growing pains" in my leg like when I was little. Massaging for a few min seems to help. I pray the pain will subside and I'll feel more like my normal self in the near future. I still use a cane in the middle of the night if I'm up using the restroom because my leg won't go straight enough when I first stand on it.

My therapist told me it could take up to 6 months for all the swelling to go down. Hang in there!
Barb

AOL

#3 Aug 23, 2010
Misery loves company. I, too, have some of these problems having had my surgery in November '09. Then I fell right on the bare new knee when out of town. I was able to walk the same and it was merely bruised. When I got home I had it X-rayed and there was no damage. But I have constant pain and do go to the gym and ride the incumbent bike 30 minutes almost every day. I do the exercises, but have not done much walking. I have a treadmill here at home. Would that help? Stairs are still difficult and bending my leg backwards, but straightening it out is no problem. I've had a lot of therapy until the PT said he could get me any further. I have a Patella problem on the "good" leg and Sciatica that acts up whenever I carry anything or bend over. I'm so depressed that I can't do the things I want to do.
Will it ever end? Good luck to all of you and I hope next time we write we have something good to report.
Mary

San Antonio, TX

#4 Feb 1, 2011
Hi Barb. Being the computer illiterate that I am, I had no idea where I posted my cry for help last year. But miraculously I found it today. It has now been almost 21 month since my total knee replacement (May 2009), and I am dealing with the same amount of pain as when I wrote, if not more. My recent bone test showed "significant uptake" in the upper part of my tibia, near my prosthetic, to which the doctor says "there's something going on there." Do you think? Since MRIs don't work on TKR (and the X-rays and ultrasound show nothing), Dr. Arrogant doesn't know what it is. I have been in a wheelchair for the past 6 weeks, keeping weight off my leg, without any change. His solution is to use the wheelchair for another 6 weeks! I am turning into a jellyfish with no activity. Dr. Arrogant really doesn't want to go back and open me up because his surgery is "a classic case... with everything aligning perfectly." But he suggested that he may have to ... to drill out my existing prosthetic below my kneecap and insert one with a longer stem if he sees any crack or other damage to my tibia. Something about distributing the stress to my bone. Anyone had this done or experienced my continuing pain problem problem? Let me add that my kneecap has been and continues to be sensitive to even the slightest touch, like pants rubbing against my leg.
Barb wrote:
Misery loves company. I, too, have some of these problems having had my surgery in November '09. Then I fell right on the bare new knee when out of town. I was able to walk the same and it was merely bruised. When I got home I had it X-rayed and there was no damage. But I have constant pain and do go to the gym and ride the incumbent bike 30 minutes almost every day. I do the exercises, but have not done much walking. I have a treadmill here at home. Would that help? Stairs are still difficult and bending my leg backwards, but straightening it out is no problem. I've had a lot of therapy until the PT said he could get me any further. I have a Patella problem on the "good" leg and Sciatica that acts up whenever I carry anything or bend over. I'm so depressed that I can't do the things I want to do.
Will it ever end? Good luck to all of you and I hope next time we write we have something good to report.
Barb

AOL

#6 Mar 13, 2011
I'm not sure why so many of these posts do not show up for months or years after being posted. Mary's came just today and was dated Feb1 and that was her reply from Aug.2010.
After 1 years I am miserable. Have had all of the tests that show nothing. I'm seeing a new doc and he has me going to water therapy. Because my gait has been so off I am also seeing a chiropractor and a neuromuscular massage therapist.
I hate my life because all I want to do is lie down and sleep to be rid of the pain. I believe after a fall that something is loose in the knee and creating this pain even though it does not show up on the X-ray. I am ready to have this redone since I have no life to speak of at the moment. I wish I had the answer.
Brenda

AOL

#7 Mar 18, 2011
I am fixing to go into my 9th month. I am so miserable. My knee feels so heavy and feels like when I walk it is going to lock. My life is so miserable. Now I am experiencing tingling all through my body and I don't know what is causing this. My other knee hurts but I will wait till Jesus comes and get a whole new body. The doctor in not interested either. When I talk about the heaviness or stiffiness he says, What did I say, 6 months to a year. Its funny that he only said 6 months before he did it. Now its 6 months to a year. I am going for a second opinion. I hope this next doctor can help me. The doctor that did mine, if he doesn't want to ans your questions, he lets a PA see you from then on. Of course they will tell you more than a OS does. When you get our age (medicare) they don't give a rip about you.
janet b

Feltham, UK

#9 Mar 28, 2011
Had left TKR last March and went back to work after 10 weeks with no problems, had right TKR 10 weeks ago and don't feel ready to return to work as struggling with mobility and in pain with stiffness after couple of hours of walking, is this usual?
Bob Maletta

East Meadow, NY

#10 Mar 29, 2011
Betty Colvin wrote:
I am almost 76 and had knee replacement on July 12, 2010. I have had full range of motion from the beginning and can walk without pain. The problem is night pain or day upon lying down to the point I have not had a full night's sleep since the surgery. I have called the surgeon, related the problem to his nurse and asked for a nightly pain medication She said she would talk to the doctor but never calls back so I assume he frowns on that. Things like Aleve, Ibuprofen are of no help at all and I just have to get out of bed, stay up an hour and try again. I take 2 sleeping capsules every night, 2 Aleves and sometimes 4 Ibuprofen. I might get to sleep but then awaken around 12 o'clock, or 2 or 3 and this happens every night! My other knee is beginning to bother me but at this point, I will not have it done. I hate to keep complaining so I try to talk to others who have had the surgery to see where they are in their recovery I have no swelling and no redness but pain below the knee and , beside each side of the knee and behind the knee. Should it be gone by now or does it just take longer?
Betty, It has been 9 months since my surgery, and I am experiencing the same thing. When I go to bed and lie down, an hour later the pain ion my knee is so bad I have to get out of bed, walk a bit and then try to get to sleep. This goes on every hour on the hour and has been doing so ever since my surgery. Now they tell me my hip is bad and needs to be replaced. I still don't see how that will change anything. I don't have any real hip pain, only the knee. I am lost as to what to do next. I yearn for a good nights sleep.
Beverly Cambre

West Monroe, LA

#11 Apr 4, 2011
I had total knee replacement Aug 2008. I have always had some pain on the inside of the knee but it has now worsened and feels warm to the touch. Xrays show all is fine, blood test showed infection somewhere in my body, of couse due to the pain and warmth thought surely it was the knee. My Dr. drew fluid from the knee and tested it. Results came back clear???? I have been told to repeat the bloodwork in 4/6 weeks to see if it still show I have infection somewhere. In the mean time, it hurts to walk, wakes me up at night, is still warm to the touch and I am really ticked off!!
candide

Brooklyn, NY

#12 Apr 4, 2011
Wow! I'm so glad I found this forum --it has really been an eye opener. I am a 74 years old woman who is scheduled to have TKR next week-(best doc at best hospital) but having had a failed back surgery 20 years ago and especially having read a great many of the posts I am on the verge of canceling. What would you advise ? I can only walk 1/8 mile now but at least I can sleep and pain in my back is still worse than my present knee pain. FBSS means pain is still the same after all these years-I can't sit for more than 45 minutes and so lie down everywhere I go. Used to be able to lie on the floor but now I can't due to knee. Do any of you wish you'd cancelled surgery?
Paula In Missouri

United States

#13 Apr 4, 2011
I'm 9 months post-op TKR. My kneecaps are in constant pain; have sleep problems. My muscles are weaker than they were when I finished with PT in November. I must use my arms to get out of a chair.Once I'm up,I'm OK, except now the arthritis in my ankles causes them to swell. I'm like the person who just wants it all to go away. I talked to others who had the same surgery with the same doctor, and they are doing great. The Dr said I almost waited too long -- was using my ankles and back to do what my hamstrings and quads should have been doing. I'm afraid I'm falling back into those bad habits. My GP doesn't want to continue me on Vicodin, and I'm not too happy having that much acetaminophin either, but the NSAIDS give me ulcers if I take them strong enough to get rid of the pain. Maybe there just aren't any answers.... but I don't think a 2nd opinion would help, because others who had the same surgery with the same doctor are doing fine.
Paula In Missouri

United States

#14 Apr 4, 2011
I forgot to mention that the soles of my feet feel strange. Sort of numb, but "feels like they have crinkly scotch tape all over them" is the best way I can describe it. I don't notice it when I have on shoes and socks, but when they're bare it's more noticeable. Is it post-op nerve damage?
Teri in Florida

Saint Petersburg, FL

#15 Apr 5, 2011
I am so glad that I found this site! I had bilateral TKR last August. I, also did great in therapy. When I returned to work after 8 weeks it was really hard. I work in retail and have to be on my feet all day, also able to climb ladders, lift heavy objects, and reach bottom shelves. I still have trouble climbing and especially going down stairs. I cannot kneel at all and can,t squat. Luckily I'm short so I can bend at the waist for the most part to get to lower items. I have a lot of difficulty getting up after sitting for any length of time and wake up at night in such pain it's unbearable. The pain is not actually my knees, because they're pretty much numb. It's the muscles, nerves, and tendons(?) above and below them. I also seem to have a chronic pain in my righ inner thigh where it meets my torso.Has anyone else experienced this type of thing?
My surgeon was satisfied with my recovery at 16 weeks and told me "he would see me in a year". I think my family is getting sick of hearing about it. I hope that by 12 months most of this will subside. I am 46 and had stage 4 osteo arthiritis in both knees. That was extremely pain ful. This is too, but a different kind of pain. I'm sure most of you would agree with that statement.
Teri in Florida

Saint Petersburg, FL

#16 Apr 5, 2011
candide wrote:
Wow! I'm so glad I found this forum --it has really been an eye opener. I am a 74 years old woman who is scheduled to have TKR next week-(best doc at best hospital) but having had a failed back surgery 20 years ago and especially having read a great many of the posts I am on the verge of canceling. What would you advise ? I can only walk 1/8 mile now but at least I can sleep and pain in my back is still worse than my present knee pain. FBSS means pain is still the same after all these years-I can't sit for more than 45 minutes and so lie down everywhere I go. Used to be able to lie on the floor but now I can't due to knee. Do any of you wish you'd cancelled surgery?
I had both knees totally replaced last August(2010). I can't tell you how many times I wished I didn't have the surgery. But it does get better with time to a degree,and the pain is a different type of pain. I can't explain it, but at least it's better than continued degeneration of your knee joints. I hope this helped you a little bit anyway. Good luck!
Jo ann

Baytown, TX

#17 Apr 10, 2011
Wow. Great forum I am having knee replacement in a week a lot to think about. Really appreciate all of your comments.
Elaine

Charlottetown, Canada

#18 Apr 25, 2011
Paula In Missouri wrote:
I forgot to mention that the soles of my feet feel strange. Sort of numb, but "feels like they have crinkly scotch tape all over them" is the best way I can describe it. I don't notice it when I have on shoes and socks, but when they're bare it's more noticeable. Is it post-op nerve damage?
I had the same sensation for several weeks after my second knee replacement, and then that feeling went away.
Barb b

Cleveland, OH

#19 Apr 26, 2011
Maureen wrote:
I had TKR nine months ago.
My problem is getting on my feet from the sitting position.
The pain is acute! Dr says it takes one year.
I can walk, and bend the knee,however rising from a chair is dreadful
8.

Maureen,
I am also 9 months in, still go to therapy because it was at least 4 months until I could bend past 100. Now, am at 130 and 0 when straight but I too, am dreadful getting up. I feel like I'm 95 and am 58. My therapist says also, it takes more than a year. He ( and he is 35) has had serious knee ligamnet surgery and has some idea of my complaint. Good luck to us both. I am having the other one done in 1 1/2 weeks.
Bevie

United States

#20 May 9, 2011
I too am 6 mo. Out was doing well now my knee is swelling and pain hard to bend again. Im worried somethings wromg. My surgeon is great nothing he did. He also did my firt TKR and its 11 years old amd great. My new one Im concerned hard to sleep at nite and I get sharpe pains on right outside of knee. Help anyone like me?
Pam H

Austin, TX

#21 Jun 9, 2011
Wow. I thought I was the only one suffering with a TKR. I am two months post op and so frustrated and confused. My surgeon looks at my x ray and says all is fine. He sent me to a "pain specialist". Neither doctor seems interested in finding the source of the pain - they just keep prescribing more drugs. I am only 48. I have plenty of strength and have good flexion and extension in the knee. It just hurts like hell 24/7. I have not slept for more than 45 minutes at a time since surgery. My knee is still swollen.and hot to the touch. The pain is burning, throbbing, shooting - on the outside of the knee, mainly, but also in one spot on the inside and also behind the knee. Yesterday, it suddenly gave out on me - a good 6or 7 times. That has never happened before. Has anyone else had that happen? I am also concerned about nerve damage as the shooting pain often involves the two nerves where they put the nerve block in before surgery. Does anyone know if a CT scan is of any use with a TKR? Certainly there has to be some way to look at soft tissue! Would I see a neurologist for the nerve pain? And here is the most frightening thing I have found: I fear I am allergic to the damn thing! I assumed it was made from titanium. I told my surgeon before surgery that I am allergic to metal - nickel - and he said no worries with the implant. Now I have discovered that some implants are made of chromium and cobalt and do contain nickel. My knee is a Stryker and if I am reading the info correctly, they use the chromium cobalt combo for their knees. Anyone have any info on that little problem? I am truly blown away by how horrible this pain is. I had back surgery a few years ago and it was a piece of cake. I am not a wimp about pain, either,which is why I am so amazed at how bad this is. I can't believe I chose to have this done to myself. I would give anything to have my old lousy knee back! I'm thankful I found this site - any advice will be much appreciated.
Paula in Missouri

Prescott, AZ

#22 Jun 9, 2011
Gosh, Pam, I wish I could wave a magic wand and all the pain would be gone.

I had a lot of pain and the doc upped the Vicodin/acetaminophen prescription to 7.5/5.5mg, and it still wasn't much better.

But, then, something else took care of most of the pain: Some years ago my family doc prescribed a mild dose of generic Wellbutrin antidepressant (sort of a family predisposition to clinical depression). About 2 months ago he increased the dosage quite a bit, and *voila!* nearly all the pain is gone.

I still get pain in my ankles, from the osteoarthritis there, when I stand too long. Or in my knees if I try to do more activity than I'm used to, but those pains are relieved with an OTC NSAID.

I was surprised at the pain relief from the antidepressant. In the meantime, I notice that the TV ads for Cymbalta has changed. It used to be marketed as an antidepressant that had some pain-relieving qualities. Now, however, it is marketed as a pain reliever alone.

I don't understand the relationship between depression and pain, but obviously the same neurotransmitters that are related to depression are also related to pain(?) At any rate, when the pain is gone or is very minimal then I feel like getting up and doing stuff, which in turn strengthens my leg muscles, which then helps relieve the pain.

I certainly do hope the nerve damage clears up soon -- and that none of this is the result of nickel allergy! How awful that would be. I have Smith & Nephew brand knees; I thought they were titanium, but their website now talks about Oxinium. I'll have to ask my doctor. http://global.smith-nephew.com/us/patients/OX...

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