Knee replacement feedback? Update 3-22

BullerRiver1

Active Member
I'm having a total knee replacement in about a month. I've done research on recovery, but would appreciate any information for those of you who have had this procedure. Any information is appreciated, but I'm most concerned about recovery times vis a vis wading. I don't mind some pain but I want to be practical; I've already had to cancel a trip to Bolivia in early July.
Thanks and tight lines,
Rick
 

Yardus Maximus

Active Member
WFF Supporter
My 75 year old mother in-law had her second one done 8 weeks ago and it looks like she's ready for wading already.

The surgery these days is pretty amazing. Basically they just screw in plates onto either end of the existing joint with a pad in the middle, eliminating the painful bone to bone grinding. Not sure of the extent of your replacement but its the same and you hit the PT hard I would think you could reasonable be wading by June.

FYI not a doctor, just an observer in this matter :rolleyes:
 

dld

Active Member
My father was 58y/o when he had his done in 2005/2006. He had both knees replaced within a few months of each other, with a second surgery on one knee at the time of the first replacement (removal of metal from a surgery 14yrs earlier).

My father is currently 72 and is, at the moment, working on building a shop for relatives in Montana--he is doing the majority of the work himself.

I know it was painful for him, but I don't think he had more than a few days with more pain than he had before the surgery. Pretty impossible to get the guy to admit he's in pain, tho.

For what it is worth, before the surgery pops could walk about three city blocks before having to stop due to pain. Now he is capable of walking miles on end.

I don't know if you have a physical therapist yet, but I believe that the right one is almost as crucial to success as the correct surgeon. Remember, this is a person who is going to put you in pain one day, then come back and ask you to do it again. If you don't respect and trust your therapist, please find another. Fifteen years ago we convinced my grandmother to do exactly that, her mood improved immediately.
 

netsam49

New Member
I had total replacement on Dec.5, 2018. Followed recovery directions to the letter. Started PT the following week. Did home exercises everyday. Fortunately I was was in decent shape and had good muscle tone. The area of my knee that was the most painful prior to replacement was also afterwards. Doc said that was because they had to do so much repair/prep for the prosthesis. I worked diligently on stretching out the muscles as stiffness and tenderness were obstacles.

That being said I was able to be mostly self-reliant about the house. Fortunately, as a retiree, I could invest the time into recovery as needed. I was hoping to do the March opener at Lenice but there was snow on the ground and the trailer cover had some as well. With the lake being frozen it delayed by a couple of weeks any fishing. By the second week of March I climbed the ladder and got on top of the trailer, removing the cover. It was with considerable caution as the muscles were still recovering and I wasn't sure how much I could trust putting all my weight on the new knee.

Lenice went fine as has the rest of the year since. Most folks say full recovery takes a year and in my case maybe just a bit longer. Now 14 months on I don't give it a thought unless I'm looking to jump off something and I either plan to land on my non-repaired one or find another way. Walking used to present a promise of pain within a short distance. Now I just get tired and the knee does just fine. As for wading before surgery the pain caused me to give it up and primarily fish still waters from my pram. As that's the kind of fishing I've become accustomed to for the last years I've just stuck with it.

Please feel free to PM if you have any specific questions and "Yes", having a good PT, a personal commitment and good muscle tone is a key to quick and lasting success.
 

Riogrande King

Active Member
WFF Supporter
Had both of them done at the same time about eight years ago after decades of abuse. They wouldn't let me out of the hospital until I would trundle down a hallway a bit in a walker. About puked from the pain then:oops: but stuck with the physical therapy and am very happy to have undergone the surgery. Do the PT!!!!!
Easy to disparage modern medicine but I'd be totally immobile now without the metal knees.
 

b_illymac

Soap Lake Posse
WFF Moderator
As an RN I've taken care of probably over 500 knee and hip patients in the fresh post operative period (day 0 to home) in the last 8 years or so. It has certainly changed a lot in that time frame. It use to be people would stay 3 days in the hospital. Now a large majority go home the day after surgery and a few even go home day of surgery! The key is getting up and moving the day of surgery but don't over do it. Often you will have blocks on board that help control the pain hence if you over do it you will hurt more the next day. We get these old guys that want to dance down the hall's day 0 and they end up regretting it. The people who seem to do the best are height and weight proportionate and have upper body strength to assist getting out of bed. Be positive and motivated to move! You will have pretty strong pain medications available if NEED BE. Don't abuse it and take medication for constipation as the pain med's will definitely do that. To prevent a clot after surgery you will be on blood thinners. Often now just a adult aspirin twice a day which is good as you probably won't have to mess with Coumadin or injections but of course double check all this before discharge. Pay attention during discharge. People are on their phones and watching TV and then get home and call wondering what to do when it was already explained!

Be nice to the nurses and support staff. You will see them all day long. You will only see your surgeon for quick moments and at discharge. We are your life line :D
 

kpb

Member
My wife had a full replacement 3 years ago. She was diligent about doing PT and developing good muscle tone before the surgery. Her range of motion after the surgery blew the doc's mind. She had a quick recovery. Start preparing now if you already haven't.
 

BullerRiver1

Active Member
As an RN I've taken care of probably over 500 knee and hip patients in the fresh post operative period (day 0 to home) in the last 8 years or so. It has certainly changed a lot in that time frame. It use to be people would stay 3 days in the hospital. Now a large majority go home the day after surgery and a few even go home day of surgery! The key is getting up and moving the day of surgery but don't over do it. Often you will have blocks on board that help control the pain hence if you over do it you will hurt more the next day. We get these old guys that want to dance down the hall's day 0 and they end up regretting it. The people who seem to do the best are height and weight proportionate and have upper body strength to assist getting out of bed. Be positive and motivated to move! You will have pretty strong pain medications available if NEED BE. Don't abuse it and take medication for constipation as the pain med's will definitely do that. To prevent a clot after surgery you will be on blood thinners. Often now just a adult aspirin twice a day which is good as you probably won't have to mess with Coumadin or injections but of course double check all this before discharge. Pay attention during discharge. People are on their phones and watching TV and then get home and call wondering what to do when it was already explained!

Be nice to the nurses and support staff. You will see them all day long. You will only see your surgeon for quick moments and at discharge. We are your life line :D
Thanks for taking the time, and all the detail.
Tight lines,
Rick
 

BullerRiver1

Active Member
I had total replacement on Dec.5, 2018. Followed recovery directions to the letter. Started PT the following week. Did home exercises everyday. Fortunately I was was in decent shape and had good muscle tone. The area of my knee that was the most painful prior to replacement was also afterwards. Doc said that was because they had to do so much repair/prep for the prosthesis. I worked diligently on stretching out the muscles as stiffness and tenderness were obstacles.

That being said I was able to be mostly self-reliant about the house. Fortunately, as a retiree, I could invest the time into recovery as needed. I was hoping to do the March opener at Lenice but there was snow on the ground and the trailer cover had some as well. With the lake being frozen it delayed by a couple of weeks any fishing. By the second week of March I climbed the ladder and got on top of the trailer, removing the cover. It was with considerable caution as the muscles were still recovering and I wasn't sure how much I could trust putting all my weight on the new knee.

Lenice went fine as has the rest of the year since. Most folks say full recovery takes a year and in my case maybe just a bit longer. Now 14 months on I don't give it a thought unless I'm looking to jump off something and I either plan to land on my non-repaired one or find another way. Walking used to present a promise of pain within a short distance. Now I just get tired and the knee does just fine. As for wading before surgery the pain caused me to give it up and primarily fish still waters from my pram. As that's the kind of fishing I've become accustomed to for the last years I've just stuck with it.

Please feel free to PM if you have any specific questions and "Yes", having a good PT, a personal commitment and good muscle tone is a key to quick and lasting success.
That jumping off thing is what pushed the damage over the edge. I had a previous left knee patellar tendon rupture whilst playing basketball and so put the weight on my right knee jumping off the pontoon of a float plane in Alaska. Big mistake - I should have sacrificed my pride and sat on my ass on the pontoon, getting off slowly. As they say: pride comes before the fall!
 

KerryS

Ignored Member
WFF Supporter
Be nice to the nurses and support staff. You will see them all day long. You will only see your surgeon for quick moments and at discharge. We are your life line :D
I haven’t had a knee or hip replacement but I am experienced in surgeries and long term treatments. I learned early on some of the most important people, outside of yourself, involved with your treatment and recovery are the nurses. They see it all and hear it all. They have experience dealing with the day to day issues surrounding recovery and have ways to deal with those issues. Lean on them.
 

Krusty

Huge Erect Member
WFF Supporter
My wife had a total knee replacement over two years ago. Though the PT was painful she persevered and had a great range of motion in a few weeks. The operation really returned her to a fully mobile life!

I've known many people with artificial knees....the only ones who've had big problems were those who did not completely commit to PT. If you don't you could end up with a non-functional knee and the necessity of having the surgeon put you under (because it would be unbearably painful) to 'manipulate' the joint.

Use opiate pain killers judiciously, and study up on how to taper their use methodically. Surgeons often don't spend much time worrying about subjecting you to severe opiate withdrawals, since their prime objective is to facilitate PT...they know nobody dies from too abrupt withdrawal symptoms (though you might wish you were dead!).
 

Krusty

Huge Erect Member
WFF Supporter
I haven’t had a knee or hip replacement but I am experienced in surgeries and long term treatments. I learned early on some of the most important people, outside of yourself, involved with your treatment and recovery are the nurses. They see it all and hear it all. They have experience dealing with the day to day issues surrounding recovery and have ways to deal with those issues. Lean on them.
Indeed..."you always have the right to seek another physician's opinion" is nurse lingo for "I wouldn't completely rely upon what this doc is telling you".

Once had a physician's assistant tell my wife she had classic severe gall bladder stone symptoms...which was immediately over-ruled by an MD. The result? Month's of agony from the MD's incorrect diagnosis, incorrect imagery testing, inept treatment recommendations, and finally a risky emergency surgery to remove a gall bladder packed with stones.
 

BullerRiver1

Active Member
Indeed..."you always have the right to seek another physician's opinion" is nurse lingo for "I wouldn't completely rely upon what this doc is telling you".

Once had a physician's assistant tell my wife she had classic severe gall bladder stone symptoms...which was immediately over-ruled by an MD. The result? Month's of agony from the MD's incorrect diagnosis, incorrect imagery testing, inept treatment recommendations, and finally a risky emergency surgery to remove a gall bladder packed with stones.
Bummer, but not altogether surprising. I had a friend die from Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma after a misdiagnosis.
 

netsam49

New Member
A couple of things occurred to me after my post. One had to do with the type of prosthesis you're fitted with. It's my layman's understanding that there are "glue in" and "knitting ones". I'll let the professionals put the correct names to them. My basic understanding is the "glued" ones come on line pretty quickly while the other ones have to knit into the knee tissue for stability. I didn't know till after surgery that I have the "knitted" variety. Hence my recovery required more time.

As for knowing when you'll be able to wade fish again that depends on how stable and strong your knee becomes. Sounds pretty obvious but the point is you'll know when you can trust it. This isn't a place to practice, "no pain, no gain." If there's a bit of discomfort that's part of the recovery. After all as a doctor friend observed, "they cut you knee off!" Getting the joint to have a good range of motion requires diligence and reduced swelling. Aggravation would not be conducive.

In sum I'm really glad I had mine done. It's been a problem since junior high football, 57 years ago. Keep us informed of your progress or if you need a pep talk.

Gary
 

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