2 months after knee replacement surgery - scar-pain-exercise

2 Months After TKR Surgery (Scars, Pain, and Progress)

Well, it’s hard to believe that it has been eight weeks since my TKR surgery. Time goes by slowly immediately after the surgery and starts to speed up once you’re mobile.

The first two weeks after surgery is a time when you are dependent on a caregiver. I had limited mobility and spent most of the time in the house sitting in my recliner.

I tried to stay busy with reading, crossword puzzles and doing my physical therapy but time crept by slowly. At the beginning of the 3rd week, my mobility increased dramatically.

You might be wondering: “What can I expect to do 2 months after knee replacement surgery?”

Maybe you’re doubting your progress and want to compare your scar, range of motion, and activity level with other people at 2 months post-op.

Everyone heals at different rates but it’s also comforting to know if you’re on the right track.  My progress has been slow and steady but I feel – and I’ve been told – that I’m ahead of schedule.

I’m now able to do things for myself and get outside more. Each week that goes by, my knee feels better and better.  It is now 8 weeks post surgery and I’ll share with you what I’m up to.

My Scar 2 Months Post Knee Replacement

Knee Replacement Scar 7 days after surgery          Knee replacement scar 2 months (8 weeks)

What a difference!  I began with a swollen knee and staples holding my leg together.  2 weeks later my staples were removed and 8 weeks later a very fine line marks the area I was cut open.

The body has an amazing way of healing itself.  Not only did my wound heal nicely, but the decrease in swelling is also evident.

During the healing process, I used my “Carmex” hydrating lotion on my scar 8 to 10 times a day, especially after swimming and after icing.  The Carmex lotion was recommended to me by my physical therapists.

I recommend asking your doctor and therapist a lot of questions about scar management.

I believed the extra care helped reduce the appearance of the scar.  Make sure you don’t forget to keep the scar moisturized otherwise it might crack or leave a larger scar.

I expected there to be a more visible scar but I’m also surprised at how well it looks.  Much better than I expected and I don’t feel any scar tissue under the scar.

Pain Level 2 Months After Knee Replacement

I continue to deal with tenderness in the knee after workouts.  The muscles and ligaments around the joint are sometimes tight.

I’m still taking a 325 mg aspirin each morning. My doctor asked me to take it for the first 42 days but since I am going to be in an airplane on week ten, I have decided to continue to take the aspirin until I return from my trip on week eleven.

Every now and then I will take a Tylenol (acetaminophen) if I am sore and feel like I may have overdone it during a workout. I no longer take one at night before going to bed.

Massaging my knee has definitely helped with soreness and tightness. I continue to use the “Free Up” massage cream once or twice a day massaging all around the knee.

You can massage your knee with your hands or an electric massager.  It really helps loosens things up.

The icing routine has paid dividends and I continue to ice several times a day, after workouts, walks and after swimming.

Range Of Motion 2 Months After TKR

After 8 weeks I can bend my knee well past 90 degrees to 121 degrees on my own. It’s further than what I could do before surgery and without the pain.

I can completely extend my leg too.

During the 8-week period, my progress with my range of motion was slow but steady. Looking back I have made enormous progress over the 8-week period.

I continue to do the range of motion exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles and ligaments.

I Continue With Physical Therapy

I started offsite therapy three days a week on the third-week post surgery. The first week I was introduced to new exercises including the stationary bike and the Total Gym.

It was easy going at first.  I started out on the stationary bike as a warm-up for 5 minutes before moving to the Total Gym for 5 minutes of leg presses.

After those exercises, I would get a short massage and work on my range of motion exercises.

At 2 months, I am warming up with 10 minutes on a stationary bike (read about the best stationary bike after TKR). The load has increased on the Total Gym with more leg presses.

I am doing wall squats, stretches using bands, and an exercise ball for ankle slides. At least once a week the therapist measures my range of motion.

All of my offsite therapy sessions end in 10 minutes of icing. I continue to ice my knee at home after any activity.

Individualized Workouts at the Fitness Center

When I am not going to the therapist, I go to my Fitness Center on alternate days. It has been easy to take what I have learned from therapy sessions to the gym.

I now ride the stationary bike for up to 30 minutes. I use the leg press machine for leg extensions. I use other machines to push and pull with my leg.

I use the Captains Chair for knee lifts and extended leg lifts (this exercise isn’t essential for knee replacement but one that I like).  I’m sure you have your favorite exercises too.

I use exercise balls for squats and ankle slides and I use the bands for leg extension exercises.

I am also using the machines for upper body workouts while I am at the fitness center. My wife drops me off at the center and then I walk the mile home after my workout and then immediately ice my knee.

Walking 2 Months After Knee Replacement

Walks have been an important part of my recovery and they will help with yours too.  Walk through the tightness and walk when you’re feeling lazy – it helps by stretching and strengthening the leg.

After weeks 8 post surgery I am walking at least 3 miles a day.

It’s important to concentrate on walking correctly, heel first, toe pointed straight ahead and then pushing off with the toe.  Everyone experiences a learning curve when learning how to walk after knee replacement.

It took me extra long because I walked incorrectly for decades.

I have discarded my old tennis shoes as I think they were formed while I was walking incorrectly. I only use new tennis shoes on all of my walks (check out the best shoes and slip ons for knee replacement recovery).

Some people may be able to wear flip-flops but remember they have limited padding.

Swimming 2 Months After TKR

My doctor gave me the okay to swim on the 3rd-week post surgery.

I started swimming and have consistently been swimming 3 to 4 times a week. The first day before swimming I walked in 4-feet of water, marching and flexing my leg before trying to swim.

I started off slow, only swimming 24 total laps. I would swim one breaststroke lap and 3 freestyle laps, rest and then do 5 more cycles (my swim workout in preparation for TKR surgery)

In the beginning, I was afraid to kick hard. When swimming you are looking forward and it is difficult to see what your leg is doing.

I had my wife come in and take a short video with her phone so that I could see what my leg was actually doing. Today, 8 weeks post surgery I’m swimming a half mile, every other day, using the same routine described above with no resting.

After swimming I move to the hot tub and spend 5 to 10 minutes relaxing and bending my knee in the warm water. Afterward, I shower on site and usually walk a mile home where I immediately apply ice. 

Sleeping

After week 4-post surgery I began to sleep better and for longer stretches of time. I am now sleeping very comfortably. I can sleep on my back, either side and also on my stomach (my article on sleeping after knee replacement surgery).

I no longer elevate my knee while sleeping. If I need to get up at night I keep a small flashlight on my nightstand to make sure I don’t trip on anything to and from the bathroom.

Eating

During the first two weeks, I was dependent on my family for meals however now I have a little more independence to prepare my own meals.

Seating while eating was initially very uncomfortable. When my leg was down for extended periods of time it hurt.

During the first few weeks, I propped my knee up on another chair.

Now I can sit easily for a half hour meal without elevating my knee. When I go out to dinner I usually get up and take a short walk while waiting for my meal to be served.

Social Life

During the 4th-week post surgery, my social life returned. I went out to dinner and breakfast for the first times and got a haircut.

If your surgery went well like mine you can plan on getting out and about by the 3-4th week.

I went to a neighbor’s Fourth of July Party week 5 and stayed for about 3 hours. It was challenging to talk and stand in one place for more than 5 minutes. Even now it is better to be moving or sit down.

On week six I spent an afternoon wine tasting with friends. I still wasn’t back to my old self but felt better moving around as well as more comfortable sitting.

Bathing

If you read my prior article you know that bathing after TKR is a challenge. Once my staples were removed I was given the okay to shower.

I was very cautious during my first showers alternately standing and sitting down on a built-in bench. After week 5, I have been standing and it’s much easier to get in and out of the shower.

At the fitness center I wear shower shoes and try to use the one shower that has a flip down bench and handrails, but I have no problem using the other traditional showers. It is nice to be clean on a regular basis.

Conclusion

8 weeks of tough recovery doesn’t exactly fly by. The first few weeks were laborious.

As you can see from reading my other articles and this article that a good deal of progress takes place in the first 8 weeks. This was my first TKR and I was not sure what to expect.

I have been pleasantly surprised and I am satisfied with the progress I have made. The only discomfort or pain that I now feel is only during workouts, swimming or long walks.

The pain is nothing like before when I had bone on bone, Now, I feel achiness and soreness as I work at getting my muscles and supporting tendons and ligaments back in shape.

I have come a long way. I have only 3 more sessions of therapy and I am beginning to enjoy some activities that I have described in this article.

Patience is a virtue.

Be patient, work hard at your therapy and if you are like me you will feel much better after 8 weeks post surgery.

Comments

  1. This article is amazing and I’m so grateful I came across it. I’m on day 8 after my TKR and have experienced everything from day 1 as you have described it. I am tired tonight and going to read more tomorrow but just wanted to say thank you.

    My main battle and task which I find is getting me down is my range of motion. I can’t move my operated knee out of the bed without the aid of a strap (or back in again) I feel like I will never be able to do this again without an aid at the moment.Can you help with this?

    Thanks again,

    Kindest regards, Caroline.

    1. Author

      Hi and thanks for reading. I hope you can use my articles as a resource during your recovery. I only have my experience to pull from but I always welcome input from others, like you, who are going through knee replacement recovery. At day 8 your range of motion will still be limited due to swelling (I believe). Don’t let it deter you from your exercises and don’t forget to ice! I hope you have a speedy and successful recovery just as I have.

      1. Greetings from Australia. I am week 8 into my TKR and am progressing well. Not dissimilar to your experience. One thing no one warned me about is lower back pain. I am a relatively active person, swimming and Pilates right up to the day before the surgery. Then no exercise other than the post op rehab until week 4 post op when I’m cleared to get back to the pool. I am now back to swimming, post op rehab, Physio and massage. Slowly improving. Apparently for every week of inactivity it will take 1 month of exercise to get back on even keel. Must manage this better when I do my other knee.

        1. Author

          Great to hear from an Aussie – my son in law is from Perth! I also experienced some soreness in various places of my body after surgery. I think it was due to my body being realigned (no more limp or leaning). I believe stretching needs to accompany the strengthening – all those muscles in the thighs up to the lower back are interconnected and will tighten up when we’re inactive. At 8 weeks I was starting to have a more positive outlook on my recovery and I was becoming more active. It sounds like you’re in the same situation and I bet your active lifestyle has helped. Wish you several more productive months in your recovery and into the next surgery!

          1. After 2 years, I get tingling and needle pain occasionally. My problem was the morphine and codeine made me sick and dizzy. I had only tylenol for pain. I had a longer recovery. Took me at least 3 months before I could think about rehab. and/or exercise.

        2. Hi there, from The Netherlands. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I am in my 4th week, I have lesser pain on my wound & knee but I do have problem with numbness on my left foot, especially the heel. I am also taking painkillers to keep the pain down but only before going to bed. I hope the numbness will subside. I just only time will tell.

    2. Does anyone out there suffers from lower back pain post TKR surgery ? I had my surgery 7 weeks ago and about 4 weeks post surgery my lower back pain came back. I think because of the lack of stretching exercises and swimming both of which I did almost daily pre surgery and was not able to do until 4 weeks post surgery. I’ve since gone back to swimming and very slowly my lower back is improving.

      1. Author

        Hi Mag, it would be interesting to hear from others if they are experiencing the same thing. I haven’t had back pain but some muscle tightness and I’ve found the swimming/stretching routine does help me. I’m going through with a month of yoga, which I’ll be writing about and sharing (stay tuned). It makes sense that your back pain will improve as you become more active. I wish you the best, keep us posted on your progress.

      2. Yes , I have been having lower back pain for about 3 days and it has been on each side of my lower spine, I think it is from the exercised PT gave me to do, also I have been really constipated and think that my be a part of the pain also. 8 Weeks out .

  2. Great article … The back of my knee really hurts when I get out of bed in the morning, feels like it’s going to burst. I have been doing my exercises religiously, and wonder why this still hurts so much. Any ideas you could share with me? Feels like there’s a lot of fluId back there, as opposed to the swelling. Thoughts? Thank you! Do you think this is normal?

    1. Author

      Thanks for the comment Bob. Like you, I experienced a lot of soreness in the first two months and it took a while to get loose in the morning. Some of hte soreness was the back of the knee. Your specific question is one for your doctor or physical therapist (sorry, but I can only share my experience). I will say that elevating my leg and icing it were done 4-5 times per day through the first 8 weeks. I was encouraged to push through the pain and continue exercising, but I also understand that everyone’s situation is different. If you think you’re sore from your exercising, I found the pool was a good low-impact activity that really reduced the amount of pressure on the joint. It’s too bad to hear about your pain, but I think your doctor/PT can provide advice for your situation. Best wishes.

  3. Thank you so much for your articles! I’m 18 days out and my limited range of motion is my biggest “depressor”. Straightening out my knee has been a challenge and I have one week left with my home health physical therapist, and that scares me! But your articles are helpful, especially is knowing that this will pass!

    Thank you again!!

    1. Author

      18 days is still a challenging time. Keeping working hard – it will be worth it in another month or two.

  4. Hi all I am another Aussie from Melbourne. This has been a great read and I am now 7 months post TKR l have a great range of movement and a really straight leg. I do lots of stationary bike but not as much walking as I should, I have a hip problem and shall be having a Hip replacement later in the year. My only problem is the odd buckling sensation, so I am currently really pushing my quads to stop this. Does anyone have any suggestions to help with this issue.

  5. Ken, I keep coming back to your site because I get more from it. It is great to read what others write and to get a sense of my progression. I have questions regarding swelling and tightness after exercise. I passed my 5 week mark yesterday and finally feel there is light at the end. I had a setback with a horrible Sciatica issue and am on my 2nd long term dose of Prednisone. It has calmed down considerably but certain ROM set it off so being very cautious. Anyway as far as exercise I am using a recumbent bike 3 times a day for 15 min. each time. Once warmed up my knee seems to handle it well but its after that is troublesome. My knee get so very stiff, swollen and aches like crazy. I ice immediately and am still resorting to a Tramadol. Anyone else seem worse after exercise? Thanks

  6. Thank you for all your information! I am just on week 3 of TKR. Staples are out, swelling is going down. I am walking around mostly with a cane during the day; keeping my walker nearby at night so I don’t trip.
    My in home PT finishes this week, then off to out- patient PT.
    My husband has been a big help- I always make sure to thank him for anything he does. A thank you makes a big difference at the end of the day!
    That being said, THANK you for your input!

  7. I have read a lot of articles that people have put out there for us knee replacement on lookers. This is the best one I have read. You have been so helpful to me and answered a lot of my concerns and questions. I had total left knee replacement August 26 and in a couple days my staples come out. (Is this very painful? I have never had staples) Everything I am feeling and going through you have told in your article so thank you. Hope you keep this Alabama girl updated with what is a head of me! Thank you so much!

    1. Author

      Removing the staples doesn’t look pretty, but it didn’t hurt much. They use a special instrument so they don’t have to pull or twist the staples. You’ll get to relax your leg while they do it.

  8. I am 6 months out from TKR. My hip started hurting after my knee replacement. I can’t make it dissipate with therapy. My ortho took xrays and it looks ok but is still very painful. It basically hurts all the time. My hip never hurt prior to this TKR. I healed quickly from my surgery, and like others in this thread, have pain when I am hiking or overusing my knee. I read an article that said give the pain 6 – 12 months to completely subside. I am hoping that will be true.

    1. Author

      I’ve heard that many people don’t feel better until 1 year after surgery. Everyone gets TKR for different reasons so be patient. Your hip might need time and strength to adjust to your new knee. I still swim a lot because it doesn’t put much pressure on my joints. Wish you the best!

Leave a Comment