Knee Replacement Scheduled for May 30

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Nothing else can be done, so I am having Total Knee Replacement on my left knee May 30. I am excited and scared a little at the same time. It's major surgery, but I feel very confident in my doctor, and the hospital I have chosen. I will be posting blogs to update my recovery for my own personal records and to perhaps give others an idea on what to expect who may be considering the surgery in the future. I have read many other spark people pages who have had it done, and really didn't see anything but positive outcomes!

Since I started on SP over a year ago, I have lost and maintained a 10% weight loss. I keep trying and failing to lose more, but maintaining is good enough for me for now. Once I am back to 100% I should be able to do more exercise with less pain and continue in my weight loss efforts! That's the plan anyway, and I generally stick to my plans :-)

6 weeks pre-surgery my right leg is 50% stronger than my left one. They measured my strength in a machine using my legs forward and away, quads and hamstrings. Right was 108 and 50 lbs of torque, left was 64 and 42 lbs. I get measured again 1 week before surgery, then at several post op visits. I have been doing lots of leg exercises to strengthen those leg mucles, so I will be curious to see if it improves. It's a great program, and the data will be a great history to look back on! I have -5 degrees of extension in my right knee (hyperextension) vs. 5 degrees in my left, meaning I can't straighten the leg all the way and there is 10 degrees overall difference in the knee joints. Probably causing my stupid limp!

The exercises I have had to do for 6 weeks before surgery were given to me by proaxis therapy. Here's what they recommended:
Straight leg raise, tighten and relax quads with each rep- 3 sets of 30
Side lying hip abduction-outer thighs- 3 sets of 30
Bridges- holding 3-5 seconds 3 sets of 30
Extension stretch on a towel, plus calf stretch 5 x 30 seconds
Heel slides with belt, contract and hold 30 seconds 5 times. This has improved my flexion already, but don't have the starting number handy, will add/edit at the 1 week pre-op visit.
Hamstring stretches- leaning forward while seated to stretch- 5 x 30 seconds.

Hospital gave me a list of simple exercises to start 3 weeks before surgery, to be added to the ones above.
Quad sets-knee tightening- 20 reps
Heel slides- 20 reps
Short arc quad over 1 gallon paint can- 20 reps
Lying straight leg raise- 20 reps
Arm Chair press-ups- to help strenghten arms to help with moving after surgery- 20 reps. I hurt my elbow and have tendonitis, so I am doing tricep machine at the gym instead.

The strengthening has actually decreased my pain! Guess that's why physical therapy is one of the non-surgical treatments for osteoarthritis of the knee. That will be handy, since I will have to stop taking any nsaids or pain meds 5-10 days pre-op. I think I can have tylenol, but have to check my paperwork again to be sure.

I'd advise anyone who has a bad knee to try the exercises out and see if it helps, and for sure to be more prepared for knee replacement surgery. The stronger your muscles are pre-op, the quicker you will get better use of your joint afterwards. It can't hurt!!

For the record, I will be 47 when I have the surgery, and the implant they are using is a Smith and Nephew Oxinium implant, with up to a 30 year wear rate. The cobalt steel implants are only rated for 10-15 years, so it's something to consider for younger patients. If all goes well and I keep my muscles in good shape, I may be 77 before I need a revision! By then they may have bionic legs, lol. I have a lot of things to do, work, play, put the kids through college, travel with my hubby someday, and I didn't want to wait to have replacement until I'm almost too old to do anything but sit around anyway. I'd rather spend the next 20 years pain free and exercising on a regular bases!!

Okay, my first official pre-op record is written, I am hoping I can look back and reflect on the journey and a positive one.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I'd love to do more arms, but every time I do them I re-injure my elbow, so I've been laying off. Tendonitis is a hard thing to heal in an elbow. Thanks for all the helpful hints!
    3365 days ago
    Good luck with your TKR. I know from experience that arm exercises before the surgery really helps. Did lots of knee exercises before first TKR two years ago but no arm exercises. Resulted in soreness in both shoulders for about three months. Before by second TKR three months ago I did exercises for both arms and knees. Have had no shoulder pain this time.
    3366 days ago
    Since it relieves pain so well, almost makes me think to postpone the tkr! But no, that would be dumb...I still limp and want that to go away!
    3366 days ago
  • MEME102
    I agree about the exercises before relieving pain. A year b/f my 1st TKR (2008) I rode my stationary bike at least 10-20 minutes a day....went from 1 pain pill a day to a pain pill maybe every other month or so....if I hadn't gone thru it myself I would never have believed it!!Again, welcome to the team!
    3367 days ago
    Good luck with the knee replacement.

    I definitely know from experience that exercises to strengthen the quads, hamstrings, and calves are immensely helpful for decreasing the stresses on the knees. And being stronger should hopefully also help them in the healing process.
    3367 days ago
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