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

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

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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.