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    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
    _swank_ responded:
    This is all normal after having a knee replacement. It can take up to a year for it to heal. What's not normal is having to deal with the pain without the benefit of pain killers. You need to insist that your doctor treat your pain.
    ladydy1180 responded:
    It does take a long time unfortunately, but if you work slowly with it and keep progressing a little at a time then things will start to look up. As far as the meds go that doc needs to help you with the pain so you can progress, that was one thing that will stop the progress, if you can't control the pain you won't want to move forward in your healing. I wish you well!
    deb6633 responded:
    I've had both of my knees done, total knee replacements. I had them done about 1 1/2 years apart. I was in the hospital five days and then off work for a total of 7 1/2 weeks with both surgeries. Home therapy twice a week for four weeks. Very painful exercising the knee especailly with bending to 90 degrees or more. But without the therapy visits and doing the exercises twice a daily, once in the am and one in the afternoon I would not have recovered as well as I did. I was not allowed to walk on the legs other than to the bathroom and to the kitchen, I sat for seven weeks with my leg elevated. I had to ice the knees all the time. I hate ice to this day but putting ice on the knee is necessary. I know that every doctor is different in their RX for this but hopefully my experience will help you in some small way. deb6633
    4xjim responded:
    I have had two total knees..1 1/2 years apart. I played golf with 27 days after each operation. My physical therapist had me bending my knee past 90 degrees within 4 days. I was on the stationary bike within10 days for 10 minutes plus. What you need is a better therapist and buck up with the pain. I am 72 and feel great............
    magneto413 responded:
    Bad news, my friend....I am 5+ years out from knee replacement and am STILL having problems! The severe pain and swelling will improve somewhat, but it will take several months before you are anywhere close to 'normal'. I have been told that I will probably have to have the other one done, too, but ain't no way!!! I'd rather end up with walking assists.
    clothesguy54 responded:
    I have been told that I am bone on bone in my knees and my doctor doesn't know how I am dealing with the pain. I do see a pain clinic because I have several other problems, mostly joint and bone problems. I'm 55 and have had 20 surgery's already on joints and neck. My neck is fused at every level and hasn't fused completely at 2 levels. I also have broken screws in the hardware in my neck, so there is shifting of the plates and because of the excessive neck surgery's, no doctor wants to touch my neck now because they have to go in the front and in the back and it can become life threatening and also can cause paralysis. Besides the knees, I have torn rotator cuffs in both shoulders, 90% torn and I have severe lower back issues that prevents me from sleeping very well. Having said all this, I have told my knee doctor that I am so sick of pain and I have heard these stories like yours about pain and I don't dare do my knees because I don't want any more pain than what I already live in and if they don't take or settle in like they are supposed too, then you can't undo these... I would get really upset with the doctor about the pain medications. You shouldn't be doing this. You should be on Oxycontin for 6 weeks with the hydro for your break thru and possibly if that doesn't help, they should give you the patch. These doctor are so out of touch with pain that it makes me nuts. We shouldn't have to beg for these, especially when they know that THEY just created some of this pain. I know they are watched closely, but I am about ready to start an underground swell of hell for the DEA. They should not be making our lifes the hell that they are because they are afraid that we might get relieve. I have taken pain meds for 10 years now and yes, I still get relieve from the pain medication that they give to me. I would like a bit more but i'm at the limits, but they do give me relieve and that is amazing after 10 years... Good luck, pls take care and get what you need. There is no need to suffer.
    kcsusan responded:
    Your post is certainly the polar opposite of everyone elses. I have surgery scheduled for the week after Thanksgiving and hope that the recovery is even somewhat close to what your describing. Amazing, and what do you contribute to such good success? The type of knee, the surgeon or PTafterwards? Please share... thanks!
    AllensSheila responded:
    Crystal_angel, I saw your question and I just had to reply. I just had my first total knee replacement surgery on the 30th of September (2009). It has been 12 days now since my surgery, and I am in sheer agony!! My leg is so swollen up that it looks like a tree trunk, and I am covered with bruises from the top of my thigh to the tips of my toes! I've never in my life seen black and blue toes before, but all of mine are that way. Not only that, but my leg is still completely numb on the right side of my knee clear down to my foot, and I'm totally numb on the entire back side of my leg from top to bottom. Every time I try to bend my knee even a little, it feels like all my staples are going to be ripped right out. Before I left the hospital on day 5, I was able to bend my knee to 85%, but now I can only bend it to 30% because of the swelling. Like you, I thought the pain would be easing up as each day passed, but I was wrong. My pain is excruciating, and again like you, all I have is Ibuprofen and Oxycodone. The Oxycodone didn't even work in the hospital, so why my surgeon is having me take it at home is beyond me. I asked for something stronger, but of course I was told No. I also asked for Toradol which is similar to Ibuprofen only a ton stronger, but I was told they only give that through an IV. It's too bad, because Toradol was the only thing that helped with my pain while I was in the hospital, and it isn't even a narcotic! I'm getting physical therapy 3 times a week, but when I see my therapist's car pull up outside my house, I start to cry. I know therapy is necessary, but it hurts SO bad!! If you're still in pain after 4 weeks, I guess I won't expect anything better. If I had known this surgery was going to be this painful, I don't think I would have gone through with it....bone on bone or not! What terrifies me now though, is that I'm already scheduled to have my second total knee replacement surgery done 4 months from now!! I told my husband that there was no way on planet earth I was going to go through this again, but he keeps arguing with me about it. I am really scared of doing this again because I have so many other health problems it isn't funny. In addition to my bad knees, I have Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia, Severe Osteoarthritis, Degenerative Disc Disease, Sciatica, Bursitis and Tendonitis. I already live with pain on a daily basis and life isn't exactly easy for me, but if I do go through with the second surgery just 4 months after my first surgery, I'm not so sure I'll make it. I keep trying to explain that to my husband, but all he can think about is getting me up and walking normal again. If I knew that this horrible knee pain was going to leave soon, it would make my choice easy, but with you still being in pain after 4 weeks, I'm not so sure now. I guess I've got a lot of thinking to do before I make this decision huh. Anyway....I hope your pain starts to really ease up soon. It's terrible....I know.
    bobb61 responded:
    hi there, i had r-knee total replacement, pain and swelling for some time. A year later had arthroscopy on same knee. not much pain now except when over-use. can't stand long nor walk far at a time.

    If having trouble straightening knee ask for a stiff leg splint to help keep the knee straightened at night when sleeping. That helped me a lot. A nurse mentioned it to me that is what they give you in the hospital after the surgery. I learned to sleep with the splint, laying on my side with leg propped on 2 pillows. dr gave me oxycodone/apap 5/32, 1-2 tabs @ 6 hrs. it can be habit forming most likely cause weight gain etc. Needs to be taken before pain increases but try to take as least as needed but not to soon. if dr won't treat you, go get a second opinion.

    Ice is the good treatement for pain and swelling but only 15-20 miniutes at a time but continue use as long as need to. exercise is very helpful, trick is not to over due it at one time.

    I'm having trouble with left knee but holding off with replacement for as long as possible. getting a synvisc1 shot this week for a help. hopefully Good luck and have patience altho I know how hard it is and also those that tell you "it takes time" they're right. those that have had the replacement and tell you they never had any sort of problem etc and can walk all they want to, i say great for they. we all are different, and there are others out here just like you that do have problems. we are warned before the surgery but we never expected anything like this. Physical therapy is a must to strengthen the muscles around the knee. I went for some time , dr never said anything but one day after reading online I asked him and he said sure. That also gave me other problems with some things. After 2 years I went to higher grade of knee specialits in New Albany Ohio. Dr Adolph Lombardi. He is one of the tops in the state. God Bless, keep praying, and never give up. hope some of this helps a little.
    Patti85281 responded:
    I had TKR on my right knee in November 07, at the age of 57. While in the hospital, same day as surgery, they had me on a "CPM" (continuous passive motion) machine. The degree of movement is adjustable, starting low & working up. Doctor ordered me to use machine every day for 10 days for very long periods of time. Also had physical therapy at home 3 time a week, & once I could drive, went to the physical therapist 3 times a week. I actually enjoyed the CPM machine, would put me to sleep. PT hurt like h__l but you have to do it if you want complete range of motion. I can bend my knee further than the doctor expected. I believe that working through the pain is the reason I CAN bend so much. My only complaint is the swelling. My right knee swelling never went completely away. My knee is visibly larger than the left & I am a bit self consious of that fact. I went back to work after eight weeks & my job requires me to stand about 6 hours a day. Here we are, 2 years later & the knee is fine. No pain & still standing every day. Now the left knee is going & I WILL do it again. A couple of weeks of discomfort is well worth my "pain free future". Good Luck.
    Tweetyheart responded:
    I don't have first hand experience with knee replacement, but I do have chronic pain and I think that first most you need to make sure you have a doctor that is listening to your concerns and complaints at hand before you go any further. If you are in this much pain, it's very important that you have a doctor that is used to treating people in pain. Perhaps it is wise to seek out a pain center or pain program in your area. You may also find it beneficial to seek out some form of pain support which is available through The American Chronic Pain Association at or Both are very informative sites. One has in-person meetings and the other has more to offer online. Whatever is right for you. I find it most helpful to reach out to people in person for the most part, and to offer my help to people online when I can't sleep, for example. On top of those two suggestions I also try meditation to help cope with my pain and I find that a great deal of pain can be eliminated that way. Most pain is in the brain so if you can center your thoughts and stress than you can eliminate a lot of the pain. Just a suggestion from someone who's been at this for about ten years. Not that I am saying you will necessarily be going at it this long, but it's good to hear from people of all sorts of experience I would think. Good luck in your recovery!

    GalfromNV responded:
    Hi crystal. After a year of pain, I finally went to a wonderful doctor in my area. I have bone to bone problems on both knees on the inside. He recommended a partial knee replacement. When I told him I have an extreme allergy to nickel, he ordered a special metal allergy test. When the test came back, I found out that I have a major allergy to cobalt-chrome alloy. When I read the replies you got, and found some people are up golfing after 2 weeks, and some are still in pain after a year, it makes me wonder if this could be common. I'm hoping the company that makes the partial device can make them out of titanium. I hope this is helpful.
    udance2 responded:
    Only someone that has experienced this can understand what the writer is talking about. I had both knee's replaced at the same time, figuring if I was going to hurt I might as well get it over with. Instead of a general anaesthetic I had a spinal and rather than morphine for post-op I had an epidural which I would highly recommend. I was also on oxycontin when I got home, but despite my doctor telling me to take it regularly I would hold off until I couldn't stand the pain anymore. This is not the right thing to do but I had read so much about addiction to this drug.

    Immediately after surgery I was put in splints, these were removed in 24 hours. I was then put on that rotating device for short periods of time. The first time out of bed was a little scary wondering if my new knees would hold me......they did. I went home after 10 days and worked very hard doing my exercises at home before my physio started a few weeks later. It paid off as they said my range of motion was what was expected at the end of physio and just needed 2 more weeks to build up strength.

    The pain is horrid, 24 - 7 and that is what wears you down, not getting proper sleep, and deep down wondering why the heck you had done this. You definitely need something stronger than a Tyleynol and that is your doctor's role to keep you as pain free as possible. My goal was to walk 18 holes of golf and I did that 6 months after surgery, practically limping to my car after. After the one year mark the pain was almost gone. It is now 2 years and although my left knee is great the right one gives me trouble sometimes, pain and seems to lock at times.

    When you have this surgery, you have exhausted all other remedies so the only thing to do is bite it and get through it........and you will!!! :
    rcanne responded:
    I had both knees replaced approx 3 years ago, 6 months between each one. Best thing I ever did. Should have done it years ago. I can now walk further than my 30 yr old daughter and grand kids without pain. (previously could not walk even 1 step nor move or stand up without severe crippling pain). Best advice I can give you that was given to me. 1. walk and walk and walk, slow and short walks and build up gradually, 2. keep doing the exercises, slow and constantly. 3. First therapist I had was excellent and began 2 days after surgery but later on I had several different therapist all good and encouraging but one. who kept trying to force my knee to bend more and that only resulted in pain, swelling, irritation. Finally I stopped going to her and took previous therapists advice and do slow and slowly increasing exercises and walking and bending daily (several times a day) Even today I still do these exercises and keep the knees limber.. I remember the time period you are now going through and remember the tears and feeling sorry that I ever had surgery, But that passes with time and exercise and one day realized that it had been all day and I hadn't taken any pain medication. HANG IN THERE AND KEEP EXERCISING AND WALKING. Your day of pain free will come, Only thing I cannot do now is kneel on my knees without pain. But a small price to pay for being able to walk all day. PS: This year I participated in the ' Relay for Life' (Cancer Fund Raising) which was walking all night- 7pm to 7am. I amazed and did better than my teammates who had to keep constantly sitting down and resting

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