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Total knee replacement 2 weeks ago, questions about post op
oldordie posted:
The surgeon who did my knee replacement is doing what is being referred to as "fast track" surgery and post op. I was up and out of bed as soon as I came around enough to not stumble over my lips on the day of surgery, March 11. On March 13 I was released to go home and started physical therapy, outside my home, on March 14. To be honest, I felt like I was being tortured and forced to go through hell but am already glad I choose this path. By forcing myself to do what felt impossible I think I am getting better much quicker than others I have known that have had this surgery. Now I have a question about being told to not put a pillow behind my knee when I sleep at night. Why shouldn't I do this? It is difficult to tolerate the pain during the day, pt seems to be short lived pain that makes the constant pain feel better so no problem doing my exercises several times a day. I have been able to bend up to 109 and straighten nearly completely. It just seems that a pillow behind my knee would feel so much better when I am trying to get some sleep but I don't want to fail to follow instructions. I know this seems like a silly question, but I just want to have a good reason to keep telling myself so I won't give in to the temptation to cheat.
arbob5 responded:
After my tkr 8 years ago, it was suggested by my surgeon and my pt, that I use a pillow behind my knee at bedtime. I did this, and I have to say it certainly helped me sleep better. I had a faster than normal recovery, so the pillow thing didn't hamper my recuperatiion in any way. Was it just luck? Who knows, but it worked for me.
_swank_ responded:
I was told never to put a pillow under my knee. If you were told that then you need to follow directions. My understanding was that straightening the knee is the hardest thing to do and putting a pillow under there could make it very difficult to get the knee completely straight. My pt told me that getting the knee straight was more important than bending it early on.

That being said, it's very uncomfortable. I gave up trying to sleep after my TKR. I just resigned myself to taking catnaps when I could. Once I stopped worrying about sleepin it wasn't a big deal since I didn't have to worry about going to work.
dogwatcher1 responded:
I've been told the same thing and I think they tell you that because being able to straighten your leg fully is so important and letting it stay bent and supported by a pillow discourages the straightening. I have a lot of pain when I go to bed. I have been taking a pillow and laying it lengthwise under my leg so that it's not bent but is slightly elevated. It seems to help a lot. I do a ton of extension exercises through out the day. Ask your PT person if this is okay.
oldordie responded:
Thank you to all who responded to my question. I still do not understand why I can't put a pillow behind my knee while sleeping. My doctor has said it is okay to sleep on my side with my leg bending, but not to sleep on my back with a pillow under my knee. I get it that the knee needs to be straight as soon as possible. It just seems to me that being able to get a good night's sleep would do great things for my attitude. I wouldn't use the pillow behind my knee while awake. I guess I want to know why the pillow behind my knee is such a problem while I am sleeping. I know my leg needs to be straight but I don't understand the difference between sleeping on my side with my leg bent and sleeping on my back with a pillow behind my knee. It just doen't make sense to me.
dogwatcher1 responded:
I spoke with my PT today and he stresses that sleep is so important to recovery. I told him I wasn't bunching a pillow under my leg but was laying it length wise and it cushions my leg even when I turn on my side. I've been sleeping well. If you have good extension, I don't think you need worry about doing what you have to do to sleep.

Helpful Tips

You must do the exercises when having TKR. It alleviates stiffness and that hardening feeling. Also, see if you PT will do massage of knee, ... More
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