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  1. #1
    Junior Member Rollinonroubaix's Avatar
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    TKR Initiation - Another story

    Hi Everyone,
    I am a new bike forum member and I introduced myself a couple of days ago. For a good bit of time, I have been a consistent guest that would read some of the threads. One topic of conversation that always impacted me or motivated me were conversations about Total Knee Replacement. This is the very beginning of my story.

    On Tuesday, March 8, 2011 at 9:00 am, I underwent a Total Knee Replacement.

    My Story:
    I am a 47 year old man that has been dealing with osteoarthritis in my right knee for many years. When I was 19, I had my ACL reconstructed. I sincerely believe that they cut me open with flint and sewed me together with sinew. Thankfully, times have changed. I have always worked around kids and athletes and stayed pretty active. On my 33rd birthday, I set up an appointment with a orthopaedic surgeon to check on my knee. It was sticking on me. He didn't seem to be too concerned, until he got the x-rays. His words were: "Man, you have really bad arthritis in your knee". I already knew that. He went on to say that my knee was so damaged that there was very little he could do for me. I needed a Total Knee Replacement, but I was too young. He asked me if I liked to jog, play tennis, hike, etc. I said yes. He said "stop". That is not something that you want to hear. So, at 33 years of age, I set a mental time frame of waiting 20 years to have surgery.
    Like many of you, I have continually altered and adjusted my life. Not by what I wanted to do, but by what I physically could do. Over the years, my physical condition continued to deteriorate. It was slower at first, but during the last two years, I have noticed a significant change in the quality of my life. I was cheating myself out of time and activity with my incredible wife and children. Something had to be done. During this time, like many of you I would try my hardest to begin doing some type of exercise to improve my condition. Everything that I did just made me hurt more. About three years ago, my son and I revived my old Schwinn Super Le Tour that I had in the late 70's. When you get one bike rolling, you have to get another. He bought a used Trek and we started riding all over the place. Best of all, I didn't have much trouble at all with my knee. My wife was lonesome and we bought her a bike. We were all hooked. I might add, all of us have upgraded our bikes substantially. My son has a Cervelo S1. Punk
    We have ridden a good bit and are very blessed to live in a region that is a great place to ride both road bikes and mountain bikes. The bottom line though was when our family visited Disney World last summer and I couldn't hang with everybody and had to go back to the motel. It really made me sad. There was no way that I could wait an additional 7 years to have a knee replacement. If I did, what would be left? After reading a few threads on this forum and getting to know a little about a local surgeon, I bit the bullet and made an appointment. There were no surprises. He told me that I had a really bad knee. He encouraged me to have the surgery within a 2 year period.
    As we all know, I did have the surgery and everything seems to be going great. I am living in my CPM machine and walking as much as I can. For proof, I will try to attach pics. I don't have this whole image size thing down. One pic is of my incision when we were changing the bandages yesterday. The second pic is me standing by my Specialized Roubaix outside of my garage this afternoon. It won't be long.

  2. #2
    Junior Member Rollinonroubaix's Avatar
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    Progress: today was a fairly successful as far as I was concerned. In the CPM, I had a ROM of -3 degrees to 80 degrees. That was without too much pain. Since surgery, my day has consisted of walking with the walker + 2 hours of CPM + basic PT exercises in the mornings and afternoons. I have changed everything all up now. I am doing the same stuff, but I am just trying to not be stationary without walking for much more than 45 - 60 minutes at a time. The result is that I have not had stiffness or swelling today as compared to the others. Tonight - sleep a little / walk to bathroom an put in extra few steps / CPM for an hour / walk / rest... It seems to be helping me.

  3. #3
    I am the Snail~! Peter_C's Avatar
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    Wow, wish I had a 'CPM machine' when mine was done...

    Slow and steady wins the race - rehab decides how wel it will work for you, and remember, exercising the 'quads' protects the knee
    Peter_C
    http://s1103.photobucket.com/albums/g475/Peter_CC/ <-- My Photos

  4. #4
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    I'm glad all is going so well. As mentioned elsewhere, don't overdo things. Some things are better left to time and healing. The CPM machines are indeed a boon to recovery. For those that don't know what CPM machines are, Constant Passive Motion Machines are strapped to the leg and move the knee through a set range of motion. All you have to do is sit there and let the machine move you. You can control the amount of ROM you want, and the speed of each cycle.

    Your pics didn't make it, you might try a free site like Photobucket for image hosting.

  5. #5
    Junior Member Rollinonroubaix's Avatar
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    I will try the photobucket. I even went outside and posed with my bike. I will get my son to coach me through it when he gets home from school. Today has been a good day and I am feeling a good bit stronger.

  6. #6
    Junior Member Rollinonroubaix's Avatar
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    Pictures

    Pics as promised.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  7. #7
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    Good scar brotherman!

  8. #8
    Junior Member Rollinonroubaix's Avatar
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    Thank you very much! Most of it is a re-entry through my 1983 scar. I thought he added some cool detail.

    I must also mention that this swelling is driving me nuts. In reading you postings, it is nice to know that I am not the only one.

  9. #9
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    Just got back from the gym. Swelling isn't any worse than normal. My doc was adamant that the swelling will be with me for a year or so. Doesn't please me, but can't do a thing about it. Complained to my therapist and my therapist friend. They agree with the doc. (nuts) Ice it brotherman.

    Detail.. I like that.

  10. #10
    Junior Member Rollinonroubaix's Avatar
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    Week 2: Ouch! I am making good progress and getting pretty handy with my walker. The reality of this as a long term process is setting in. I went to the surgeon today due to a blister developing near the incision. There is no infection and that makes me very happy. He feels that the blister may be a result of the blood thinners. Other than the blister, he was pleased with the progress. Tomorrow afternoon I go to my first pt appointment. Time, Patience, and Progress!

  11. #11
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    Good luck! First PT visit for me was no fun... But I had great progress. Hope you do too. I miss measurements!!!

  12. #12
    Junior Member Rollinonroubaix's Avatar
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    Motto: Time, Patience, and Progress

    Today I went to physical therapy for the first time. Yahoo! It was nice to hear my therapist say: "I can tell this is going to be easy for you, as straight as you have the leg right now". That made me feel good... then he worked my butt off and I felt a lot of different pain in my knee. Today's milestones are: leg raises for the first time and I have cashed in my walker for a cane.

    My surgery was nine days ago. It is amazing how a little progress really helps with the healing process. Now, I think I need some percocet.

  13. #13
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    GREAT! Therapists are like that. Compliment you and then beat the snot out of you... Make sure you do all exercises they give you to do at home. Cool beans about the cane. Walker got in my way the first couple days, so I snagged my cane (still have no idea why I had a cane at home in the first place!)... You will stay on top of your pain meds, take before the therapist beats on you. Getting behind REALLY sucks and takes a while to pull back from...

    I dropped in and visited my therapist. Told him I'm playing racquetball. Thinks I'm a lunatic!!!

  14. #14
    Junior Member Rollinonroubaix's Avatar
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    Thank zjrog! You playing racquetball has been a motivation to me the last few days. That will be really nice when I get to pull that one off.

  15. #15
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    PT = Pain and Torture people you love to hate. They work you to death and produce great results, but all the while thinking of evil ways of to punish your body to get better results evil people I tell you! Gotta Love them. My son want to become one!

  16. #16
    Junior Member Rollinonroubaix's Avatar
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    You have that right Rltot. PT does equal pain and torture.

    Good luck to your son on becoming a physical therapist. I think that would be a very challenging and rewarding career. There are not many jobs where you get paid to inflict pain on people, yet watch them get better and get back into life.

  17. #17
    Junior Member Rollinonroubaix's Avatar
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    Yesterday I went to therapy for the first time. Today, I feel like I was recovering from football practice all over again. The soreness feels pretty good. It is funny how simple things make you so sore.

  18. #18
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    The pain goes away, to be replaced with the next round of therapy. What is odd, to me, was that I really missed therapy that first week after I was done.

    I *KNOW* I had a good run coming out of the surgery and through therapy. In therapy I hit 141 degrees ROM... Again, fantastic numbers. And a lot more unusual than you would think. And I don't take any of that for granted. I looked at the replacement as a chance to undo what I've done to myself weight wise. And get back to being active. I have had to fight the urges to do more than I'm doing because I don't need an injury to slow me down or set me back. Yes, I tried jogging, and will do more. As soon as I find some shoes I like. I did buy some compression shorts to wear, as I really dislike my thighs chafing!!! Spent a wile looking at shoes at a running store today and walked out more confused than when I walked in...

  19. #19
    Junior Member Rollinonroubaix's Avatar
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    2 week update

    Today is exactly two weeks since my surgery date. I am feeling a little bit better everyday. These 14 days have moved along fairly quickly and I am expecting to go back to work at least part time next week.

    Keys of the first two weeks for me:
    1. The pain involved was not a huge issue. With the pain medication, everything was very tolerable. With that said, I don't want to go through these first two weeks again.
    2. My mobility and strength get better everyday.
    3. You must have a positive attitude and strong personal resolve. It is not easy and once you have the surgery, you can't change your mind.
    4. A lazy-boy recliner is my best friend during the uncomfortable night.
    5. The advice from those that have experienced this surgery is helpful.

    On Thursday of this week I return to the surgeon and get my 23 staples plucked out of my leg.

    Time, Patience, and Progress!

  20. #20
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    Awesome!!! Cool beans brotherman...

    1. My pain too was mostly tolerable... But a couple times I got behind and it was murder.
    2. No argument... And it only gets better.
    3. I have nothing more to add...
    4. After the first week, the recliner didn't cut it. So I was on the couch. I had a box next to where my feet were and a pile of blankets. Last thing I wanted, was for my knee to flop out over the side unsupported.
    5. You're very welcome, I appreciated the advice I received as well...

    You are still very much in the phase my lady therapist friend would remind me, "Elevate and Ice it!!" Staples weren't that much being yanked. But I was so happy to get them out as that meant I was healing!

  21. #21
    Junior Member Rollinonroubaix's Avatar
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    21 Day Update:
    Things are going good. I am sore in my glutes, quads, calf, ... Everywhere. PT is working. My measurements at therapy today were 1 degree to 90 degrees. I am making progress. So far, my biggest problem has been the plantar fasciatis flare up in my left foot. I forgot about my knee and had to go back to using the walker. Not for my knee, but my left foot. This is a direct by product of being fat and out of shape. Oh well, that will change. Additionally, I have ventured back to work. I have done two half days so far this week and plan to finish the week out all day if possible.

    Time, Patience, and Progress!

  22. #22
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    Sorry to hear about the foot... I too am having a recurrence of a foot issue directly related to lack of stretching (one I've had for a couple years)... But not debilitating. I guarantee the muscles will recover. Take care of that foot though. Just don't let the therapist see you sweat!!! They smell fear and pain!

    Good to hear you back to work. I was off for 5 weeks, but that was also because my wife was in the hospital or I'd have been back during that third week as well. Or at least, I'd like to think I would have been. Be careful and don't overdo things just yet...

    Work on getting to zero extension. VERY important. Especially if you intend to be active in walking or hiking or even running. Even sitting in the recliner, pull the knee cap up with the quads. Might not get all the way to 0, but it will help. And give you something to do sitting in the chair!

    DO NOT get ahead of yourself. Yes its a lot of work. But keep up the good work brotherman...

  23. #23
    I am the Snail~! Peter_C's Avatar
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    Getting to ZERO is job one.
    Getting to at *least* 110 degrees is job two.
    Working on single leg balance is job three.

    Do not be in a rush to get off the pain meds - better to need more pain meds and make more progress...

    Do not rush the PT either, as simple healing does take time.

    Listen to your PT DR and Ortho...

    And lastly (most important too), always guard against falling - right now, a fall *could* tear everything apart.

    You will get there~! Time is your secret weapon~!

    The stronger your 'quads' are, the better the knee will be, the stronger the 'quads' get, the better the knee will stay - and the lower your pain will be.

    Learn to tighten your quads throughout your day. Make it a life habit. When bored, tighten the quads, when watching TV, tighten the quads. At a movie? Tighten the quads. Number 1 most effective thing you can ever do for your knees - ask your Docs - no such thing as 'too tight'.
    Peter_C
    http://s1103.photobucket.com/albums/g475/Peter_CC/ <-- My Photos

  24. #24
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    ^^^^^this!^^^^^

  25. #25
    Junior Member Rollinonroubaix's Avatar
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    zjrog, Peter_C, I really appreciate the comments and encouragement. These last few weeks have been very interesting. I have experienced many highs and lows in the days before and after the surgery. This week I have made a great deal of progress. Today, I made it through a full day of work. My mobility has drastically improved and I am beginning to feel the improved functioning ability of my high performance after-market part. I can actually sense the smoothness of the joint, in contrast to what I had before. Tonight, on my exercise bike, I actually made a full revolution. It was backwards and I had very poor form, but it is evidence of progress. Even more important, I am finished with my CPM machine! Thanks for the input. I can't wait to get back on my roadbike.

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