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Post Operative knee replacement, ongoing pain, please help

My husband who is 70 had a total knee replacement 6 weeks ago and the pain seems to be intensifying rather than diminishing.  He had a childhood injury to this knee, then another operation 13 years ago but is crying with the pain most of the time and has gone from ordinary pain killers to needing morphine.   He has physiotherapy 3 times per week, also hydrotherapy and acupuncture, they all say he is making some progress but very slowly and keep telling him exercising will relieve the pain.
He can walk around the house for short periods without either crutches or a stick so has some function but the pain seems unrelenting and is affecting his life quite seriously (and mine).
He says the pain now is worse than prior to the operation and I am wondering if this is normal.   It is so painful he cannot do the exercises as he should and the knee is very swollen and tight.  

He has seen the general practitioner who is managing the pain but I am wondering if this is how it should be or if something is going off track and we should be seeing the surgeon for a follow-up.  Thank you if anybody can help me.
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Avatar universal
wow this is scary results of knee replacement.  SO ALL OF YOU THAT HAVE PAIN AFTER, WOULD you do over again, would you have just lived with the knee as it was originally??? just curious  
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I had both knees replaced 6 yrs ago. Have had continuous pain since. Going to have another surgery due to MRI pics of something wrong. If I had to do it over again and know what I know now, A BIG NO. Never would I do it.
Avatar universal
I am experiencing exactly the same.  As you say it doesn't matter if you are moving or staying still. The stabbing pain is excruciating. What on earth is going on in the knee.   They should prepare people for this as it seems a lot of people experience the same. I don't have any answers but it helps to know it is normal.  Well we hope it is.
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Avatar universal
I am a 68 year old male with a total knee replacement completed eight weeks ago. Everything has gone quite normal with my pain level and range of motion and straightness are exceptional. The problem I have is on the lower outside corner of my knee where I sometimes get a stabbing pain which causes me to scream no matter where I am. This pain may come with very slight movement or no movement at all in my leg. Despite all the progress I've made this stabbing pain seems to come at any time unprovoked. If it happens to me once it will probably happen to me three or four times that day. I am hopeful that in the long term this will gradually fade away but I'm not very optimistic. How about yourself?
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Avatar universal
I am just 4 weeks out with TKR. Was not prepared for the continuous pain, doing PT and home exercises, torturous as it is I do see improvement. But the Pain is so bad.  Does one need a script from the surgeon for the Flexinator machine? this sounds hopeful.  Looking forward to swimming when I get cleared by Doc
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Avatar universal
Taking it (and now Percocet, same only stronger) for 8 yrs., never problem sleeping except when I'm stressed.  My Dr. wanted me 2 get sleep, so advised taking what I already take at bedtime (Valium as a muscle relaxer), and (Ativan which shuts down my thought processes that keep me awake).  But this wasn't working due to so many stressors, so she said if after 1 hour in bed, if still asleep to take Benadryl.  Works like a charm.  Once I knew I'd be awake no matter what & took 2 (which Dr. said was fine) and hit me like a rock.  Best night ever, I don't think I ever move.  But have all these meds plus high dose of Gabapentin due 2 my revision TKR, multiple fusions of the spine & bone grafts, ankle surgery & bone grafts, then finally 2 internal Neurostimulators 2 combat sciatic pain cause by the surgeries.  You might ask your Dr. about Benadryl.
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Avatar universal
hello I had a tkr in November 2014.  I am havng this severe shin  pain also. I''m on heavy meds to help pain until revision.  I am allergic to the nickel in this implant.  I understand the knee hurting and swelling but this awful shin pain.  Have you or your doctor friend got answers to your extreme shin pain?  any roads you can point me down is appreciated.  My implant is Conformis itotal g2.  he shin pain is excruciating.  Please share anything you've found.
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Avatar universal
You are the first person who described the same pain I had.  I had a TKR in June and was in pt until end of October.  My Leg was crooked before and is straight now, but the pains that shot through my leg were bad!  I attributed a lot of that pain to my hones readjusting to being straight.  Now the dr says he has to go in and put a thicker pad in because I am still swelling 2 yrs post op.  Had complications from NSAIDs and my knee is getting stiffer as it swells.  I had surgery to end my knee pain, but it looks like this is a never ending story.  I am very hesitant to go back for more surgery!
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Avatar universal
I had my left knee replaced 20 months ago and also still have pain and stiffness. Yoga has helped but I still have pain and stiffness when sitting, or standing or after light gardening, like pulling weeds. All the Drs and xrays show nothing wrong.I'm going back to may earlier sports Dr. that does dextrose prolotherapy. It helped before I had the surgery. He also uses a hi dose vit D cream and a new dextrose cream for followup treatment.  There is a lot of research out there about this treatment. Its especially  helpful for nerve damage after surgery which is what most surgeons and other Dr's don't address.  Check it out. Here are a couple of good sites
http://www.jointandspine.com/prolotherapy/neural-prolotherapy/
http://www.drreeves.com/Introduction
Search for prolotherapy in you area
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Avatar universal
Makoplasty PKR 12 weeks ago.  Did very well for 6 weeks - much worse since then.  ROM 135/3 but gets very stiff with any use. Walking great at week 6 but difficult now due to stiffness.  No infection. Was doing PT each day but now have stopped PT and trying to give it plenty of rest.  Ice 4X/day at least. Help!  
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Avatar universal
I am now going on 20 months this week, I have very very bad burning  from my knee cap down the front of leg and to and  angle, my leg is stiff with swelling by night time, can not sleep, I am in my house all the time ,because I have trouble walking ,so I just stay in, went  to 3 th DR,last week to check my leg, he said no problem,,,now, I think pain, swelling, is not just no problem, anyone out there having problems like this ????   Dee
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Avatar universal
Hi,I am 6 weeks post op tkr,my question is there supposed to be swelling under knee that hurts,mostly at night with painful swelling ?Doc has me on fantanyi 50 mcg/hr with oxycodone 10 /325 ,still not able to extend to 0 degrees,but flex is improving .Ive read alot about infection being possible ,what blood test do i need to requst from my primary doc to rule infection ? Still feel pain  with pain meds?Never been so depressed in my life ,doing all stretches and ice,elavation, does this get better.
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Avatar universal
I had TKR on 11-27-13 and 18 months later, I still have some pain and swelling plus a lot of tenderness on the shin just below the knee. I cannot kneel at all nor can I get up from a low seat or squat, although I can get down into a squatting position. My leg muscle never recovered enough to lift my body back up, however, and I've noticed that the more active I am, the more swelling I have in my leg. The swelling in my left knee makes it almost 2" bigger around than my right knee and my entire left leg is swollen to the point it is between 1" and 2" bigger at most points of measurement, in spite of taking diuretics to keep edema down.

I have noticed that if I go into higher elevation [>5,000 ft] or if I stand for a long time, or if I walk 'too far' in a day, my leg will hurt but I started wearing my TED hose again and that seems to help a lot. The pain seems to be related to swelling and the TED hose help manage that, although I'm not thrilled about wearing them. I told my doctor about the pain and he was not very sympathetic as I'm quite active and in his opinion, I am more active than most people my age [69] so he thinks I'm doing fine - his response was that most people my age are happy to get to the grocery store! But I want to enjoy hiking and other activities so that's not a very satisfactory answer as far as I'm concerned!

I do take Diclofenac Sodium twice a day [strong anti-inflammatory] and that helps with the pain but I worry about side effects as it can damage liver and stomach - I take Vicodin when the pain is too much for the Diclofenac to manage - and it hurts less when I am sedentary but that has its own bad side effects so it seems like there are no good options!! The doctor first told me things would probably get better by one year - then at one year, he said 18 months - now that we're at 18 months, he just says "It's a long, hard recovery for some people."

The good news is that I do have great range of motion and I can walk around much more than I could before the TKR, which had me nearly bedridden before surgery. The pain is somewhat less each month than the month before so maybe if I live long enough, I'll see the day when it's gone. I have other friends who have told me it took 2-3 years before they were really able to resume hiking and their FULL active life and have a few friends who had to 'retire' from some of their more strenuous activities and learn to enjoy a quieter life.
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Avatar universal
I had TKR on 9/30/14 and I suggest rigorous physical therapy. If you let up it will only get worse. I'm now into my 7th month and I still have some pain and stiffness mainly if I don't do my exercises. If I stay on my feet all day I hurt for two days. I am still very mobile even though I still have to deal with the pain after a long day. I wish I knew the answer to overcoming this, but I have only one suggestion "physical therapy". Good luck.
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Avatar universal
I had left knee TKR on 11/11/14.  Everything went extremely well and pain level never went about a 5 at most.  By week 2 post surgery I was bending knee at 127 degrees and completely walking without a cane or other assistance.  Now all of a sudden I'm getting a feeling of numbness like my entire leg has fallen asleep from the knee down to the foot.  It keeps me awake at night.  Does anyone else experience this same feeling?  It's almost like you've been sitting on the commode for a long time and your leg starts falling asleep.  Thanks for any help
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Avatar universal
I have exactly the same situation as you.  Please keep us informed about your progress.  I haven't found my answers yet, but am investigating getting stem cell and/or dextrose knee injections.  I also started to always ice my knees after exercising.  I had neglected this for awhile, but have done it every single time for the past week and the pain is less, already.

I, too, am 18 months out.  Had double knee replacements at the same time in August 2013.

Good luck to both of us!
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Avatar universal
One last comment.  I re-read your post.  You said you wonder what is causing your depression.  That is hard to say.  There can be physical causes if it lasts for a long time and is severe.  I would suggest that you check with a psychiatrist, as sometimes medication can help.  Talk therapy helped me, too.  Maybe get a second and even third opinion until you find someone you trust.

Good luck.
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Avatar universal
Depression can be an insidious condition.  I had serious depression and anxiety before my TKAs Aug 2013 (done at the same time.)  After surgery, I was still anxious about the same things as I was before but had the added layer of depression about losing my job in Aug 2013 when I told them about the surgery and gave three weeks' notice.

I still have 8/10 knee pain all the time and am going to look into stem cell injections, which I have heard work.  They are expensive, but health is the priority.

Until then, I try to take my mind to "another place" and view the pain as being a good thing, because it means I can still develop more bending in my knee.  If I were to "freeze" like most other patients do 6 months postop, my level of function might not be as good, but I'd be stuck with it for good.

Maybe the following true story would help your perspective.  About five years ago, there was a young medical doctor in America who was rock-climbing and whose arm became trapped in a thin, deep crevase.  No matter how he struggled, he couldn't get it free.  He remained trapped for several days.  He realized that he was in a remote area where it was unlikely he would be found and that he would probably die if he remained there.  So, he made a drastic decision.  He decided to perform "major surgery" on his arm in order to free it and climb back down to safety -- he would AMPUTATE it.

He had a pocket knife and proceeded to cut his arm free from the crevase.  This involved cutting all the way thru his arm and bone.  In other words, he cut off his own hand and lower arm!

How did he tolerate the horror and pain?  He said he took his mind to "another place."  (I don't know where -- a winning million $ lottery stage, a beautiful meadow?)  

Due to the shock of the procedure, he felt less pain than he expected.  He climbed down to a trail and then ran down until he found two hikers who ran ahead for emergency help.

He is now fine and has an artificial hand.

What he did was probably a type of deep meditation and maybe even self-hypnosis.  I don't know what he told himself during the procedure, but you might try researching Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques, since they involve taking negative thoughts and using logic to come up with a more positive thought.  This works wonders for many people who suffer with depression.  I studied it for three years and it changed my life.  Neurofeedback ("biofeedback for the brain") also worked wonders for me; I did it for 2 years on a 2x/week basis.  Afterwards, I used a software at home on my computer to practice the same skills.  The boss asked if I was "doing anything" during my next yearly review.  She said they had all noticed big change in me that lasted.

Whatever method or combination of methods you choose to deal with your depression, rest assured that you are not alone and that the more you do these things (with the help of a profesional) the better you will probably feel.

Good luck.  I'll be thinking of you.
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Avatar universal
Like you, I too have still had pain one year and 3 months after double TKAs.  They burn and hurt 8/10 most of the time, especially the right knee, and yet, I've done my PT and knee bending exercises faithfully every day (with only a few days left out).

I have thick keloid scars, which the doc thought accounted for some of my pain and feelings of tightness.  I am considering doing dextrose injections (or even stem cell injections, which uses my own blood) because I've heard that they work!  Very expensive, tho.

The pain is getting worse!  It's always been 7 or 8/10 but now it burns and feels like the inside of my R knee has sustained a painful twisting "sprain."  Yet, I have almost full range of motion.

I can do the knee bending exercises (e.g., stair lunges), my entire routine, which is 20 minutes, ONE time a day.  I'd like to do it morning and night, but it hurts too much.    If I ride a stationary bike for 15 minutes, it hurts so much afterward (even tho I ice it for 20 minutes) that I can't do aerobic exercise for 4-5 days afterwards.

ONE POSSIBLE PAIN CAUSE:  I GAINED 30 POUNDS DURING THE PAST 4 MONTHS. DOES ANYONE KNOW ABOUT WEIGHT GAIN AS A CAUSE OF PAIN INCREASE IN TKR's?   I had gastric bypass surgery for weight loss 11 years ago and have kept 130 lb off and even lost 40 more!  Now I have gained 30 within 4 months!  It's probably due to the fact that I a food addict and have the stress of starting a new job this July as a Caregiver to an 89-year-old man who is in very poor health and will probably die soon.  I need the money because my husband retired 2 years ago and refuses to work even part-time.  My job is not physical; it is as a companion.  So, I know that I am not overusing my knees.  I take walks outside for up to about 40 minutes at a fairly fast pace.  My client and I eat out twice a week and it's hard not to overeat.

HOW SIGNIFICANT COULD WEIGHT GAIN AFTER DOUBLE TKAs BE AS A FACTOR IN INCREASING THE PAIN?  I NEED TO LOSE ABOUT 50 MORE LB AND FEEL LIKE I CAN'T DO IT.  TRIED EVERYTHING BEFORE WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY AND IT DIDN'T WORK.  THAT'S WHY I DID THE SURGERY.  PLEASE GIVE ME YOUR THOUGHTS.  GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR SITUATION, TOO.  LOOK INTO STEM CELL/DEXTROSE KNEE INJECTIONS AND GET SEVERAL OPINIONS.
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Avatar universal
Had TKR was bad from the first day after surgery. When  After I sit or stand , for just a few minutes it looks like someone placed a tourniquet around the top of my knee. The knee and leg down to the foot will turn red and then purple if I remain on it. The pain is always bad no matter what I do. I stay in the recliner most of the time with leg up and this helps keep the reddish purple color from happening. I had two Doppler's done blood flow seems to be fine.
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Avatar universal
iT's a poor show ,their is not alot



of advice is given post op ,they can't wait to get you out of your bed and ready for the next patient.
If I was you I'd be back and get it sorted out its,not good enough ,in the private sector it's a licence to print money get you done And  pick up the cash who cares what happens to you when you go home I've had both done four months post op got 120 degrees movement but that's it stopped so I'm thinking scar tissue read up about it ,it stops your new knees from working I'm going for slot of hard sports massage to see if I can break down scar tissue other than that I'm out on the bike three times a day hammering the joints to move alas no joy ,but I will keep it going  got to before the scat tissue heals up altogether watch this space hope you inprove
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Avatar universal
I had a total left knee replacement 17 months ago.  I kept telling the doctor that the knee and the side of my calf was burning.  He didn't know what that was.  I told him the leg was shorter than the other, he said everyone says that.  Well 6 months of therapy, no help.  6 months ago new doctor right knee replacement.  better than left. measured the left knee and sure enough shorter.  He suggested I go to a plastic surgeon for the left knee for an excision of neuroma.  Had that two weeks ago, don't bother nothing if not worse.  I cannot walk barefooted because the leg is shorter, it burns constantly, sleep with a pillow between my legs, very restless sleep.  Pain pills do not help, just makes me ga ga.  Ruined my life.  I am very depressed.
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Avatar universal
My first knee replacement was done in 2003. I never recovered from the operation. I was 58 years old them. My life was ruined. I underwent a "repair" in 2006 which was a replacing the first one. It was surpassingly a solution. It was not'. The right knee joint was almost gone and once again I was told that this new joint would be custom made for my right knee. It too has failed. My life now is nonexistent. I have pain and swelling every single day, 24 hours a day.  Up until 3 months ago I would get steroid shots which were my only source of relief but Medicare will no longer pay for them and they are now deemed dangerous for people with prosthetic joints. I am doomed to a life of pain and suffering. I can’t walk or do any type of exercise. I have gained more than 30 pounds. I am in danger of getting diabetes, high blood pressure and look forward to being addicted to Oxycontin for the rest of my life. Now I am told that doctors believe I have arthritis in my muscles and ligaments that are attached to or surrounding my titanium knee replacements. Are they crazy? Arthritis by definition a joint disease, not a metal disease. I know what you are going through. I pray that God gives a doctor the healing gift to help people like us, some relief in the future. If not for me, then I pray that it happens to you.
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Avatar universal
I was reading the comments on this site just to find the same answers. I have two replacements. First one in 07 and the other in 09, All of a sudden the latter one is starting to hurt me. It gets stiff and in lots of pain when I sit for a while or even if I stand in on place. when I wake up I can hardly walk on it. I too have developed back and hip pain, so I understand what you are saying about always in pain. If you find a relation to all of this please let me know.
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Avatar universal
I am glad I found this, sometimes you think you are the only one feeling like this. I had my left knee replaced Nov.1 and my right replaced Dec 15 of 2013 so I am 5 and 6 months post op. I still have stiffness in both but only have pain in the left.  I have pain that makes me limp about half of the time and I hate that I had my knees replaced because I did not want to limp. I have only take ibuprofen ( even in the hospital) my Dr told me recovery takes a year I just didn't believe it. I am 59 and in great shape (well I was) any suggestions from anyone on the limp?
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