Skip to content
knee pain and swelling
crystal_angel posted:
good morning all! I had a total knee replacement close to 4 weeks ago. I know that's a short time ago, but am having pain, swelling, feels like there is a boards attached to the back of my knee and around the knee feels like a tight band. I get therapy here at home 3 times a week, i can bend my knee to 90 degrees and when the therapist goes to bend it up more it just plain kills me. It seems like the more it's used the worse the pain and swelling gets. ROM is not coming back so good as I would like. I know it's only been 4 weeks from surgery, but I thought by now the pain would decrease somewhat. I am hydrocodone and ibprofen which really doesn't help the pain. I do ice it and elevate the knee but the swelling doesn't go down. I guess probably everyone that had a replacement goes through all of this, but sometimes I feel alone. I tell my Doctor about the pain and ask if there's anything else I can take to help diminish it and he says just the ibprofen, that's all he will give. Sorry to whine, but needed to vent...thanks for listening
pross1242 responded:
I had knee replacement 3 1/2 years ago and still feel the "tight band" . I've been told that will never go away. The initial pain that caused the replacement to take place is gone. Several things I have learned... 1. The surgeon will never say what will happen. Example, the gait of my walk has changed causing back problems. 2. In my pre-surgery meeting with the physical therapy people, one guy told me to push the therapy as hard as I could. After all, it would only be metal and plastic in there. I'm glad I did because the therapists pushed me to 115 degrees. I WISHED I could have stopped at 90 degrees. And for straightening out the knee,, they made me go past 0 to -4 degrees. They said this was necessary for total range of motion to return after the healing. Shucks, even now I feel some pain and I believe I am still healing. A 650mg arthritis Acetaminophen takes care of any pain I have. There remains some numbness also. Others who have had the surgery have told me the they have experienced the same. My 3 aortic aneurysms and PFO cause me the most worries. Things will get better but A MUST is to totally commit to the therapy and do it as hard as you can. I was on a cane after 10 days. But getting up and down stairs was a hastle. Taking a shower was a nightmare. Luckily my wife was a great nurse! It will get better with time.
QueenB27 responded:
I am 61 & overweight. I had both knees done on April 13. then had 2 1/2 weeks at Baylor Rehab in Dallas, Tx. I was walking w/o a walker at week 4. I was driving by May 18 and back to work on June 1. When I came home I did my rehab on my own at the pool where I work out following the instructions I got at the center 5 days a week. God blessed me with a quick recovery. It is not whining to talk about the pain. My dr gave me oxycontin (spell?) and hydrocone for the bleed thru pain. try to find a water therapy place-it might help. some hospitals have this.....
crystal_angel responded:
I'm so glad you are doing so well with your recovery...unfortunately at 52, my body isn't like yours. It's takes a while for me to heal from things.....I'm around 13 weeks now PO and still have pain and stiffness and now have a cyst in the back of my knee....a few nights ago, I was stretching my knee and something popped in the back of Ortho said it's unusual for the popping of ? (whatever he called it) to occur this late after surgery but to keep an eye on it. Buck up with the pain?? believe me, I've done that from the start and think I've done fairly well pain wise (putting up with it I mean). Thanks for your input 4xjim....I am glad to see that you are doing so well...take care
bogeymac responded:
Hi all. New guy on the block. Retired Military--82 yrs old and except for right knee TKR in outstanding health. Had my left knee replaced in May 2003. Recovery was a miracle, walking the golf course in 8 weeks with no pain. Lower part of right leg started to go crooked, so in June this year had it replaced, and expected same results--NOT. Went through routine PT, progressed through walker, cane and finally walking but always pain involved, and the knee was always swollen. ROM was 130 deg and I was able to again walk the golf course. I noticed that the knee was also extremely warm, so I saw my Doc and asked him why. He did a quick OR and said he drained about 1/2 cup of blood from the knee and this should solve it. NOT. Again another OR and arthroscopic invasion cleaning out a lot of scar tissue. Wala in two days I was walking great. Took it easy for the next 5 days and was to see the Doc on day six. Day 5 I noticed a little pain in the knee, but went about my normal chores, took car in for Maint. and smog etc. but as the day went on, the pain increased and the swelling and heat returned. At 6pm after dinner, I sat back and elevated the leg and watched TV, and at 9:30 I was getting up to go to my back bed room and I could not stand any pressure on the leg. BAM just like that I was back committed to the darn walker on which I'm committed even today. That night I almost called 911 the pain was so intense. I rested on my back for 7 hours with no sleep. Saw my Doc next day, and he was beyond himself. He said he had put a lot of Cortisone in the knee and this might be a reaction. Coming on so quickly I bought it. Next visit, he drained quit a bit of fluid out of the knee which we took to the lab. I'm scheduled for another appointment tomorrow, but I'm tired of being crippled and I'm not sure he's going to help. Having an Engineering mind, I know something has gone wrong and there should be a reason for it. I'm willing to have it opened up again, but I'm not sure how wise it is to have the same Physician do it. But with a holiday coming up, and trying to link up with a new Physician, I'm going to be in committed to my walker for a long time. I am able to sleep, but only on my back with the leg up on a long pillow. I take two Darvocet for pain. Sorry to be so long winded, but I thought you'd find my sudden demise interesting. Also forgive the Medicine spelling. I hate taking them and I hate spelling them. I'll fill you all in after my appointment tomorrow. By the way, my Wife is my full time nurse and she's great.
LEM1000 responded:
I had a total knee replacement of my right knee Sept. 3, 2009. The best thing i ever did. After only a week I was off the walker and used a cane, after 2 1/2 weeks I got rid of the cane. I use the cane for walking outside on uneven ground. At 4 weeks and 2 days and I no longer need the cane at all. The pain level for the first week was about 6 out of 10, taking pain meds every 4-6 hours, the second week the pain level was down to about a 4, taking pain meds only as needed. I stopped pain meds week 3, at 4 weeks I am outside mowing the lawn (with rider) and doing anything I want. At this time I can bend my knee to about 120 degrees, very little to no pain, just a bit stiff and knee is still swelled a bit. I had my knee replaced with the JOURNEY KNEE, I am 57, no regrets. After about 3 1/2 weeks I could sleep the night and sleep in any position I desire / It is now 5 1/2 moths after TKR and I have a full 135% movement in my knee and the pain is 99% gone. The only thing is you do not want to kneal on the hard floor with that knee, that is painful, but will not hurt the replaced knee.I can do anything (other than kneel) that I did before knee problems. It does take a Full year for total healing. Have patience, it does get better and about the 3 month mark 80% of the pain will be gone, and just gets better every day after that.
sis765310 responded:
I have had both knees replaced in the past 5 years (one at a time) After the sutures were removed I found that soaking in a very warm tub of water helped loosen the stiffness or applying a warm moist (microwaved) towel on the knees. I know ice is for swelling but warmth is for pain. I would use my walker to exercise the knees raising one at a time for stretching and to keep the scar tissue from building (massage regularly on each side of incision using a massage cream) in a circular motion (no longer than 20 minutes as explained by my therapist.
Be careful with your replacements and pay attention to changes in your walking, my tendons drew up and my arches collapsed.
I have had one total foot reconstruction and the other is following. If you notice "anything" happening to your step in your feet tell your doctor. I kept complaining in PT and they finally watched me walk, one therapist said I was bull legged, I denied this and said I walk like I'm intoxicated and my arch hurts. Finally after 3 return visits to the surgeon (the one that did the knee replacements) he listened to me, checked it out and my arches had collapsed.
Such horrible pain, knee replacement was a breeze compared to this. I still have alot of trouble with the outside part of the knee of my first replacement with swelling, the answer I get is "All of the hardware is still in place and this is as good as it's gonna get. I "paid" for this reply!(?)
Since the replacement i have had a burning pain, then numbness, then pain that says sit down in the outside of my left thigh from my knee to my hip. They have done xrays, mri's etc... with no reasoning nor conclusion.
SeattleJeremy replied to LEM1000's response:
There are some encouraging experiences here to read - I am a strong 50 and my knees are failing. 3 little daughters and alot of work left to do. It sounds like good advice to keep pushing on through the pain as it comes up but be aware if it's destructive pain - I am scared because it is so new to me - I am extremely active and it seems that - very suddenly - my life has changed. However it looks like I might be able to jump back into what I do - so to speak...a 135 degree ROM would be terrific. I am glad there is a forum to toss stuff into. I am careful of weight and diet and general health - any tips are welcome - I could actually be a few years from a surgery but who knows.
paulallan responded:
im postop 4 months with one exception i had nerve damage. i still have pain and swelling , but for the pain i went to a pain management which has help me to progress so much faster, without it pm i would be stuck way behind the curve. hope this helps u good luck with your rehab.
atlantic69 responded:
Hi I had TKR 5 weeks ago, feeling great, no pain at all, haven't had any pain medication since I left the hospital, I can ride a stationary bike and walk pain free however, I did get a pulmonary embolisum while in the hospital so I'm dealing with that and coumadin which is a very difficult medication to get your blood thin, so I guess we all have some side effect, I will be on coumadin for at least 6 month, good luck to you I hope your pain starts to go away because to go through all of that surgery and still have pain is just a shame. Good luck
Bluesman575 responded:
I had my TKR on my left knee about 16 months ago and still have pain, but this was the 2nd major surgery on this knee, they,(the Drs.), tell me this is normal for having 2 major surgeries on the same knee,so what every one else is sayin I would say they are right, this is normal,but do insist on pain killers.
jewelyn responded:
Dear Crystal
You are still a newbee, You will be in pain sorry...for months to come..Your P/T will help just keep at it. the pull in the back is normal and will hurt like hell. Just keep at it..
I am post op 7 months..on Second TKR same knee.
Just hang in there.. and Ive found out drs where I live dont like to had out pain meds. So you might have to go to pain management in your area..
feel free to write note
bowmst01 responded:
Keep doing your therapy.To help my ROM I had a deep tissue massage...this helped the muscles around my knee and my knee.I increase my ROM 15%....try it you have nothing to lose.
ma_dukes replied to bobb61's response:
For the pain and swelling..I would recommend a SCD..most of us probably had them in the hospital..they are the leg cuffs that go around your lower leg and provide consistent compression (massage like) to the lower leg. I had to work hard to find one after surgery as the hospital didn't lease them but I did find one provider and the specific one I got was a Kendall Express. It rents for 400.00 a month from MedCom in Colorado. Seriously good item to have for swelling...totally eliminated mine. Can be worn all night - This is not the perpetual motion exercising machine you can also use in bed..this is a compression device that helps keep the circulation going well and controls the swelling. Well worth it from my perspective. It makes the difference between me waking up feeling as if I have to pull two lead filled limbs along with me and having the leg energy to get up and walk with some energy to accomplish tasks that have to be done.
Bobbiedearest responded:
Hi crystal. I had my total knee replacement on 2/2. I'm just past four weeks. I know exactly what you are talking about. I describe feeling around my knee as a cement block keeping me from bending my knee when I try to walk. Also I feel as if there is a bolt on the right side of my knee keeping me from bending backwards or putting my let straight out. I'm on norcol and still taking it every three hours. I've not yet seen my doctor and won't until march 14th.

When I was in rehab I had pandora downloaded into my mobile phone and listened to the ambient radio station. The music helps even to this day. Plus I do breathing exercises when the pain is bad. If you can get a relaxing meditation tape and use it to help with sleep and breathing for the exercises.

Some days I can barely bend my knee, other days I can barely walk. No one day is like another.

I also often feel alone. No one can understand what you are going thr except someone who is or has gone thru tkr.

I'm told I'm right where I should be in my recovery but like you I have concerns I'm not progressing enough.

I hope this helps. Seeing your posting encouraged me that I am not alone with my struggles at 4 weeks.
debcanada replied to Bobbiedearest's response:
Sounds like you are doing great but just know it make take a year or two for the pain to totally go away. Just don't let it get you down. I have been where you are and am having a whole new set of problems due to my tkr. But you know with all the drugs that has been put in your body and what you are on now will depress you. Try to keep talking to others or just blogging on WebMD. You will be helping others and helping yourself feel not so alone. God Bless, Debbie

Helpful Tips

I had my TKR done 6/30/15, and am back to work now. When I look back 3 mo. I can't believe how far I have come for the better. I also was ... More
Was this Helpful?
1 of 1 found this helpful

Related Drug Reviews

  • Drug Name User Reviews

Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

For more information, visit the Duke Health Joint Replacement Center