3 Months After Knee Replacement Surgery (Pain and Progress)

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I know there are other people just like me who are curious about their progress 3 months after knee replacement surgery.  I’ve wondered if I am on track and I’ve done my best to search for information regarding “3 months post surgery”.

Human nature makes us want to compare ourselves to others, but each person has knee replacement for a different reason. Feel free to use my progress report for information but understand that our health, strength, and mobility before and after surgery will all be at different levels. Like my doctor told me, the healing process takes over a year.

Eleven weeks ago I was spending the majority of my time in a recliner.  I was doing physical therapy even though it was painful.  Time dragged by slowly.

The 3rd month has gone by quickly and I’ve returned to activities that I used to take for granted. I’m back to doing routine chores around the house, I’m driving, and once again active in recreational and social activities.

Physical therapy remains a big part of my life. The more I work at my therapy the stronger my knee and leg become. I’ve made enormous strides by sticking to a regular schedule of exercise and I’ve realized that movement, however painful, is extremely important for the knee joint.

In this article, I’ll share what’s working and what I’ve been able to accomplish this month. Time is a good healer itself, but hard work and quality physical therapy have made a huge difference in my recovery.

Physical Therapy 3 months After TKR Surgery

If you haven’t read my article on physical therapy post-surgery, I suggest you read that article first.

After my “home therapy” for two weeks and off-site therapy for the next 6 weeks, my off-site therapist gave me a written plan for all the exercises that she had assigned to me. If one isn’t given to you I suggest you ask your therapist!

All of the exercises using machines, bands, balls, and other equipment were available to me in my local fitness center. She suggested that I do a hard workout every other day and a light workout on alternating days.

I’ve been doing these on my own in the 3rd month.

  • On hard workout days, I always warm up on the stationary bike for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • I use the leg press and do 5 minutes of leg presses. At first, I used no weight, now I am using 40 pounds.
  • I use the captain’s chair for leg lifts and calf raises
  • I use the ball for ankle slides and squats.
  • I use leg machines for extension and flexion and then stretch both calves for 30 seconds 3 times each.

Strengthening my hips has helped to relieve pressure from my knees (more muscle). I use a band to walk forward, backward and sideways and also do bridges to strengthen my hips.

Related: Things You Need After Knee Replacement Surgery

Afterward, I go in the hot tub for 5 to 10 minutes and work on my range of motion before taking a shower and walking a mile home.

  • On alternating days I swim a half-mile, ride a bicycle 6 miles or take a 3-mile walk.

Although I was in pain and limping before surgery, I was always active.  I realize that some people may not be as active, or have other priorities with employment.  I encourage you to remain active because exercising has helped with my leg strength and flexibility.

3 months after knee replacement surgery
My x-ray 3 months after knee replacement surgery

Activities and Recreation 3 Months After Knee Replacement


During the first part of my recovery, I was dependent on others to drive for me. You will be as well, especially if it is your right knee.

If your left knee is the surgically repaired knee then you might be driving before I did (mine was the right).

The last few weeks of offsite therapy I was able to drive myself. After feeling comfortable driving around my town I tried a 90-mile round trip drive with stops along the way. The frequent stops allowed me to get out and stretch and walk around.

If you’re planning on driving a long distance I’d advise you to stop every hour, get out of the car, stretch and take a short walk.

Cruise control is your friend.

It allowed me to do frequent ankle pumps that helped with circulation Things might be tough if you’re stopping and starting with traffic.  Consider driving through large cities on a Sunday morning to avoid stop and go traffic.

Hiking and Walking

If you’re like me, the 3-month mark will allow you to walk around quite a bit.

Early on, I walked around my neighborhood. At 3 months I could walk a mile routinely and I could stretch it for 4 miles in the neighborhood (I’d require a day of rest if I walked that far).

Most of my walking is on asphalt and concrete sidewalks. Before surgery, this would have been a difficult task with a lot of pain – but I always push through. hiking poles were essential when I began taking long walks.

I experienced soreness after walking but no sharp bone-on-bone pain that I had before surgery. After long walks, I still ice my knee (read about my ice pack after knee replacement).  Even if you feel good I’d recommend icing your knee as a preventative measure to reduce inflammation.

In the 3rd month, I began walking on the beach, twice a week. I walk 2 miles each time barefoot. Walking barefoot in the heavy sand to the shore was a bit awkward at first but once I reached the firm sand by the water it was much easier.

During the 3rd month, I also took a vacation and went on short hikes that included a 500 feet elevation gain, then descending the same 500 feet.  Lesson learned: Going up is much easier than going down.

I took my time going downhill, going slow and making sure I avoided roots and other obstacles.


I began riding the stationary bike on the 3rd week of physical therapy. This was mostly for exercise, stretching, and strengthening but didn’t do much for my balance.

When it was time to transition from a stationary bicycle to a regular road bicycle, I started with short rides. I rode around my street at first and was surprised how comfortable I felt.

I decided to push it a little further.

I then rode two miles around the neighborhood avoiding traffic areas. After a week of neighborhood riding, I began 6-mile rides out in the country (there’s very little traffic near my house). Most of the ride was flat with some minor elevation gain.

When starting the ride, I could really feel the range of motion being stretched and after the first mile or so I no longer noticed. I am somewhat sore after the long bicycle rides but I ice my knee as soon as I return home.

Besides wearing a helmet you might feel more comfortable with elbow and knee padding.


A year before my surgery my wife booked a cruise. When I made the decision to have TKR I was concerned if I would have enough recovery time before flying and cruising.

In order to travel, I had to endure a 2 hour and 45-minute flight.  I was told by my doctor to get up every 45 minutes to walk in the aisle (read my article about flying after knee replacement).

Once I was on the cruise ship, they had everything I needed to continue my exercises, including a first-class fitness center. I walked a lot of stairs intentionally (elevators were available) and took excursions with no problems. I could have been more conservative in my activities if I had needed to be.


If you’re still in pain at the 3-month mark, take some pressure off your joint and start swimming more often (as always, ask your doctor first).  Swimming is a low resistance exercise, yet total body workout that will help you:

  1. Get in cardiovascular shape
  2. Develop muscle
  3. Lose weight (if needed)
  4. Help with flexibility and range of motion

I began swimming a month ago and started off by swimming 12 laps in a 30-meter pool. It wasn’t easy when I started.

I would stop after 4 laps, rest and do some flexion exercises before completing my 12 laps. After 2 weeks I was able to swim 32 laps without stopping at all.

After swimming I would sit in the hot tub for 5 to 10 minutes flexing my knee in the warm water (read my article on using the hot tub after knee replacement). I try to swim every other day or at least 3 times a week.

Activities You Should Expect To Do 3 Months After TKR

  • Household chores, cleaning, dusting, vacuuming, mowing the lawn, gardening and washing the car.
  • Be careful when standing on a small step-ladder. My balance was a little shaky at first but now it is fine.
  • You can expect to go to church and other places where you’ll sit. Be careful to sit in a place/pew where you can stretch your leg.
  • Movies should be okay. I sat in the handicap seats in the rear where I could stretch my leg and stand up during the movie.
  • 9 holes of golf? I walked the course with a pull-cart. I was sore afterward but iced my knee and felt fine the rest of the day.
  • Some people might be able to play pickleball in the 3rd month. I did, but only played 3 games at a time, then rode my bicycle and iced my knee. There was some soreness afterward including upper body muscles because I wasn’t used to the motion.
  • Wine tasting? Sure.
  • Casino? If you can push and roll, then you can visit a casino.
  • July 4th parties

As it turns out, I can do everything I could do before surgery with less pain (in only 3 months).

I do get tired after activity. I feel some soreness and aching at times but no sharp pain (bone-on-bone) like I did pre-surgery. I still take extra precautions to elevate and ice after activity – you should too.

Doctor’s Visit 3 Months Post-Surgery

I had my 3-month check up yesterday. The doctor examined my knee and took X-Rays. He displayed the X-Rays and explained what had taken place since the surgery.

He then displayed the pre-surgery X-Rays next to the post-surgery X-rays and highlighted the separation in my joint, no more bone-on-bone.  Wow!  I couldn’t believe how good it looked.

He explained the entire procedure again using the X-Rays to point out how they had straightened my leg and prepared the bones for the implant.

He told me about my implant and suggested that I go to hospital records and there they would give me all the specifications on my particular implant as well as a serial number.

He measured my extension and flexion.

I was able to extend my leg completely and my flexion was at 122 degrees. He said they hope for 115 at this time (read my article on flexion and range of motion after knee replacement). He also answered all of my questions that I had prepared.

He told me my knee would be somewhat swollen for the first six months and that the surgical knee would feel warmer (5 degrees) for the first year. He surprised me by saying he would see me again in a year (one year?!).


What a difference a month makes.

It has been nice to help my wife (caregiver) out with the chores after she did so much for me the first few weeks after surgery. It is also nice to get outside and work in the yard and garden.

It is hard to believe I have resumed my former activities, driven 500 miles, flew on an airplane, and went on a cruise all within the last 4 weeks.

Hard work has paid off for me plus the healing process has been remarkable. I have been surprised that a 67-year-old guy can still heal so quickly. My friends have been surprised by my recovery and have made many encouraging comments. My leg is straight now, no more bow. I still have work to do but I have been encouraged by my progress and it motivates me to continue to work hard at my therapy and exercise.

The results have been amazing and I would encourage you to do your best to work through the pain and complete your formal therapy. No matter your size or athletic ability, continue to exercise on your own.

My knee feels so much better now. There is no longer any pain, just soreness, and some aching after exercise and activity.

45 thoughts on “3 Months After Knee Replacement Surgery (Pain and Progress)”

  1. Thank you for so much detail. I’m at 3 months with my left knee. It was more painful than my right, 6 months ago, and I haven’t done my pt quite as religiously as I could; the pain was pretty severe the second time.
    Your description of how you feel after exercise helps me understand that im not as far behind as I thought I was, I’m just having a different experience from the first time around. TIME TO MOVE MORE!

    • Hi Kate, at least this time you have your prior experience to learn from. The body is fickle, isn’t it? You might recover quickly from one TKR surgery and you might experience a few setbacks with the second. I try to ice even when I don’t think I need it and I try not to over-do it with too much exercise. Little by little I’m improving and getting stronger. As long as your doctor approves it, keep walking, swimming, stretching, and strengthening! I hope recovery with your second knee continues to improve, even if it’s a slower process than the first.

      • Hi Ken,

        I am scheduled for 1st TKR in June and the 2nd in Oct. Due to my young age 67 I was told it wasn’t wise to get both done at the same time. From all you detailed and great info it looks like I will be down for a while. Would you advice waiting longer in between surgeries to gain more strength.



        • Thanks again for your comments. I know a number of people who had 2 knees done at the same time. I’m not sure the pros and cons of doing 1 knee at a time versus 2, but maybe I’ll do some research and write an article about it (thanks for the idea). If you’re going into your surgeries in-shape I’d guess you should be okay with that amount of time in between. Of course, there can always be complications but you’ll know if you will be ready after 8 weeks (2 months). I was frustrated and not as positive after 1 month, but after 2 I felt much better. I’d keep the date for October and mark a date on the calendar for 8 weeks after the first surgery…then you can reassess and communicate with your surgeon.

          • hi, I had a TKR in early December; your comments on the 3 month post surgical experience are helpful. As for doing two knees at once, my surgeon told me that he won’t do that anymore because it was much too difficult for people.

    • Thank you all for your comments on post TKR. I feel more normal now! I’m 68 and now at 13 weeks post feeling a bit frustrated. My knee bends at least to 125* in home PT, but with that “band” feeling I think it only bends maybe 70-80* on my own. I was pretty physically fit before surgery doing senior exercises six days a week and walking up to eight miles. I do a lot around the house, my home PT and walking – all with swelling and pain. I keep saying No pain – no gain. Yesterday I walked 2.5 miles and thought I’d have to call my wife to come and get me! But I made it. My doctor is no help. He only says the knee looks great and is gone! Thanks again to you all and keep plugging away.

  2. Nice to come upon your article. I had both of mine replaced Dec 19th. I exercise daily (well, almost lol), but the stiffness remains, and mostly only pain with extreme flexion. That’s what I was mainly researching, was if the stiffness was normal, and how long before the pain would finally to away……. guess I’ll just keep plugging away at it.

    • Glad to hear you’re making a good recovery. Many people who undergo TKR will need one year to reach their maximum benefit. I’m feeling good, but I think the knee will continue to improve when I reach 12 months or more. Don’t get discouraged, it’s still early for you. I also feel the stiffness if I’ve sat for too long or rode in a car for a few hours – I think we’re all in the same boat with that. Routine stretching/yoga might be helpful too. I’ll write about my experience with yoga in a few months!

  3. This information has been useful and encourages me to keep going. I’m 3 months from my op now. I’m comfortable at night now and can get up and down stairs normally if I can help myself by holding on to a handrail. I have walked into town and back…..about 2 miles. I shall ice and elevate more having read your article, as I still get swelling and the knee is stiff with that steel band effect most of the time. I practice Taoist tai Chi and am back training 3 times a week and have been doing the full 108 move set for the last couple of weeks. I’ve finding this really useful in strengthening and loading the joint and I can balance on the bad leg no problem. I’ve bought a static bike and am using it daily but am finding the initial stretch when I start very tough….it gets easier after a few minutes cycling ……I will increase the time on the bike as a result of reading your article. …I’m only doing about 4 minutes at a time at the moment. I was interested in your comment on the heat in the knee ….mine feels warm to the touch, more after exercise, and it’s still quite tingly on the right side of the scar. I’m doing quite a lot of static stretching too….so if I’m sitting watching tv , I’ll pull the knee In till it’s bent just past what’s comfortable and then hold it for as long as I can bear it …..hopefully it will keep the knee bend increasing. Perseverance through the pain and discomfort seems to be the key. A calm non-resisting attitude developed through my tai chi will help me get through.

    • Glad it helps and it’s good to hear that your recovery has been successful. I hope you’re feeling much better than before your surgery. I’m approaching a year and if I over-do it with exercise my knee will still swell a little bit. Icing after activity is never a bad idea in my opinion. Tai Chi sounds like it would be a great recovery workout for the body and mind – great idea. My first few pedals on the bike are slow and I also feel the stretch. My ligaments around the knee were really tight for several weeks after the surgery (going from bone-on-bone to a space in the joint). You mentioned the heat…mine still feels warm to the touch after a busy day but my doctor said it’s normal (always double check with your doctor). Like you, I quickly realized that having adequate bend my knee was key to a good recovery and it was important not to let scar tissue build up in the joint. I think my range of motion is better after surgery – certainly less painful. Thanks for the comment and for sharing about your experience and Tai Chi!

      • Hi..thanks for the info…I prob should ice more then I do. I’m at week 5 and just reached my 130° knee bend…hurts like hell..but achieved it! I have a lot of swelling stiffness and pain after PT. But one thing that bothers,me most is my scar hurts..to touch and not to touch…sometimes feels like it wants to rip open…but feels bumpy. PT says it looks good but it bothers me. Sometimes I want to put heat but I know your not supposed to. I even tried rolling it with a plastic roller. Any suggestions for scar pain? Will the overall stiffness ever go away?? Thank you

  4. Hi I just came across your article, I am at 9 weeks. While I am happy for all who are recovering well, I am not so happy about myself. I had a tumor behind my leg removed that my doctor thinks may be inhibiting blood flow, which may be contributing to the swelling and stiffness I experience. I am having a lot of tightness on the anterior of the new knee, also swelling above the knee which makes the whole knee very tight and hard to walk. I am going to physical therapy two times per week. I have pain below the knee and it shoots down the shin . The physical therapist told me not to worry much about that. I am at 120-123 fairly easily without much pain. My problem is walking. I mean it literally hurts like heck to walk. I can ride the bike for 10 to 15 minutes before discomfort sets in. Once I get off I’m okay, and can do my strengthening exercises. I just found an article regarding anterior stiffness and it sounds like it’s got to do with a balance of strengths and weaknesses between the quadriceps and hamstrings. Have you read anything about that? One last thing I think I’m going to have to increase my workouts. I think I’m a little behind those who are on the thread here. I have to say though, my PT wasn’t forcing any home exercises on me, but I have been doing them anyway. I was going to physical therapy three times a week but knocked it down to two because of insurance. I went into this fairly strong as I am a gym rat, even though I wasn’t able to do a lot of the same exercises prior to surgery I was going to the gym and using the machines regularly plus Pilates to make sure that I went into this with a lot of strength and flexibility. It has paid off, but now I’m really worried

    • Sounds like you’re still working hard even though you’ve been hit with some setbacks. 9 weeks is still early in the process and I hope you can get good advice from your surgeon and physical therapist. Insurance problems are tough to deal with in a situation like this. I haven’t heard about the quad/hamstring balance, but it makes sense because more strength on one side of the joint/leg could put pressure on the weaker side. I’ll look into it. Best wishes and thanks for sharing.

  5. My bilateral TKA was on 3/12/19.
    I am 52 years old and my surgeon said it was my age and physical condition that won the approval to have both knees replaced simultaneously.
    I’m two months in now and still attending physical therapy 3 days a week. I have over 120 degrees bend in both knees and 0 degrees straightened. I am lucky in that regard, but I also attribute that to hard work. I’ve been back to work, I own my own business so I had no choice, since week 3. That requires standing much of the time. At first it was two hours, but now it’s up to 6 hours, with some breaks of course. The swelling and stiffness are really terrible most days and like you, I push through, or the bills won’t get paid.
    I’ve basically resumed all activities in my life as before my surgery due to necessity, and there are obligations outside of work which stretch some days 12 – 14 hours without much of a break. It’s very uncomfortable but mostly bearable by just a small margin. Insomnia due to waking up with pulses of weird pain is aggravating and honestly the worst part for me, and what I am experiencing this moment hence leaving this comment.
    It’s really “mind over matter” and if there’s one thing I took from the army it’s that mantra.
    I’m not superhuman, and I’d be lying if I said my wife doesn’t have to hear my whining when I’m hurting, or that I don’t get depressed when I just want to feel normal. But there’s been progress, though some days it goes in reverse, and that’s what we have to look for to find the will to drive on. It’s a tough road for sure, but I’m looking forward to what’s just around the bend. I love your article and I’m pulling out my bicycle tomorrow!

    • Thanks for sharing. I like your attitude – it resonates a lot with how I feel and what I think about the procedure. Cheers for doing both at the same time. I can’t imagine how challenging it was to do while working, but I think you’re young enough (and probably healthy enough) to handle it. Stay focused on the long term!

  6. Ken,

    I am sure everyone is greatly appreciative for your blog and the time you take to answer comments. I know I am.



  7. I had knee replacement 2/13 and everything went well. But now four months after I am beginning to have pain when I put weight on the leg. Can anyone tell me why.

  8. I had TKR on Mar. 4, and my surgeon said everything went perfectly. My home PT came for 2 weeks, and my ROM blew him away. At my 6 week appt with my surgeon, I could straighten to 2 degrees, and bend to 120+. I have very little pain anymore unless I try to bend the knee beyond its comfort level, but have some swelling in the evening after a day of routine activities. I am not doing regular exercises, but periodically during the day I do stretching, some lunges, knee bends behind me, walking in the neighborhood. There seems to be varying opinions regarding exercising at this point. My doctor said keep exercising “if it feels like it’s helping.” I am able to walk without any limp, and have not used a walker or cane since I was released from the hospital. I guess my question now is…….my knee feels VERY “weird” at times, and I can definitely feel there is a foreign object in there. Sometimes it feels like its “loose” but only occasionally. I can’t hear or feel any “clicking”……..just unusual feeling. I haven’t read any comments where anyone else was feeling this, so am wondering if this is “normal?”

    • Sounds like you’re off to a great start. Congrats on all the success – although I know therapy and exercise requires a lot of effort. I’m also working on the stretching and flexibility as the ligaments play a big role in joint health. I’ve experienced the “heat” and “clicking” after exercising but it hasn’t felt loose. Maybe muscle strengthening around the knee (quads, hamstrings) would help tighten up the joint/ligaments? Seems like everyone who has TKR has a slightly different healing experience. Would be interesting to hear what your doc thinks.

      • Ken, thanks for your quick response. I failed to mention that I am 72 years old, and in better than good health otherwise. However, I will confess that I have always hated exercising (my whole life). I do lead an active lifestyle, and will definitely continue the muscle strengthening exercises. I did ask my surgeon about the weird feeling in my operated knee. He said it may never feel like the knee that God gave me, but after several months I should not notice the unusual feeling nearly as much. I hope my brain can adjust! 🙂 Thanks for your blog. It is helpful to read about the experiences of others who have undergone TKR.

  9. I am 11 weeks post op and still having extreme swelling and stiffness. My range of motion is 105 with the PT pushing. I own my own business and went back to work at 5 weeks . I have a sit down job but it is hard to ice and prop at work. I received a cortisone shot from my doctor at 10 weeks to try to help with the swelling it has helped a little but still have extreme swelling most of the time. I do ice 4-6 times a day. I am very frustrated I go to PT 3 times a week and do exercises at home normally 2 times a day. I still can not doing grocery shopping for the week without using the cart because the knee swells so bad. Doctor says I might have to have manual manipulation when I go by in 4 more weeks if not better. Any suggestions?

  10. I had tkr 3 months ago. I am 79. I had appendectomy 3 weeks after tkr. I am still using ice, but if I walk anywhere knee swells and pain. I take ibuprofen every 4 hours and Tylenol every other 4 hours. I ride stationary bike, walk treadmill for 5 minutes and do stretching exercises. I feel like I’m stuck. I use ice 5 times a day for 30 minutes. Any suggestions about how to feel less pain and swelling?

    • I know it’s tough but hang in there. The healing process takes many months and some people are pain-free after a few months while others after 1 year. When in doubt, bring it up with your doc or physical therapist. Wish you the best!

  11. Thanks for your info. I’m at 1 yr for my right knee and in oct 1 yr on my left knee. Right knee is great! Left knee….10 weeks post op I took a very bad fall and landed on my left side knee first, took me right back to using the cane . I had lots of swelling as well two hematomas behind my left knee made it very difficult just as I was feeling things were going so well. I was out of physical therapy but continued my at home exercises and also walked as much as possible. Today I still have a minute amount of uncomfortable feeling in the left knee but I’m so incredibly glad I had the surgery. I’m sure my left knee will be fine eventually,it just had a bit of a set back. I am walking further and further everyday and getting back to doing everything I used to do. I still have a very healthy fear of falling however. 😉 ken you are right the swelling does go down,have faith, and keep moving!! That’s the best thing you can do.

    • Like you’ve stated, there will be setbacks, but keep moving and keep working. I was told the healing process takes over a year, even though some people might be feeling good at 4-5 months. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Your article provided a good baseline to compare where I am at, although we all heal differently. We are both the same age. I am right at 3 months for a left TKR. The surgery went well but the first six weeks were not fun as my back and sciatica flared up really bad. Because of that, I am really glad I did not have both knees done together. The knee has been improving constantly and I am back to most of my usual activities. I am riding my road bike about 15 miles or hiking rough terrain for 2-3 miles several times a week. I still have therapy once a week and I have been able to duplicate all of the therapy exercises each day at home. I do ice after most activity. The knee still has soreness and will stiffen overnight or after sitting. I find the biking really helps to loosen it up. My extension is 0 and flexion is 127. My only issue is some remaining scar tissue or an irritated IT band that causes a popping at the outside of the knee when I walk. I was surprised at how sensitive the knee surface has been – I have been living in shorts for the last 3 months – I’m glad we are having a warm summer here in Alaska.

    • Congrats on your quick recovery. Seems like you’re ahead of the game. The more I hear other people’s experiences, the more I believe that being active and moving is key to a successful recovery. Keep us posted!

    • Hi Joe,

      I too had a horrible bout with Sciatica. It was so bad that I forgot the knee pain and spend my time trying to get some relief. Dr. put me on a one week intense Prednisone treatment which started me on the road to recovery. Most of the ROM exercises cause the Sciatica to flare so trying to adapt others to keep me on the right track. Now I am on a 30 day Prednisone treatment and hopefully that will clear this up or next treatment will be Cortisone shot in hip. Schedules for 2nd TKR in Oct. oh no!

  13. I had TKR on 3/18/19 on my right knee. I am progressing well, per my surgeon. Outpatient PT also said I was progressing well when I was discharged a few weeks ago. I continue exercising at home, including the recumbent Exercycle we purchased specifically for my rehab. I’d hoped when this journey began that by now I would not have pain or discomfort at all. Reality check, right? LOL. Ice is my friend! My surgeon keeps telling me it could take a year. Reading your blog and others experiences has encouraged me that “It takes time,” and “Everybody is different.” I am waiting for the day I can say, “I’m really glad I had this done!”
    Thanks for sharing your experiences and inviting others to share theirs for helping folks who are also on the TKR journey.

  14. I had my R- TKR the end of June and it has been harder then I thought. One week I after developed a severe Sciatica problem and that was very hard to deal with. As bad as week ones pain with knee was and there definitely was pain this new ailment took front and center. It somewhat took my attention away from my knee but with both situations I was miserable. I am in my 9th week now and doing better but still have issues with both areas. Was on 30 days prednisone for Sciatica and just received a cortisone shot a few days ago. ROM is 124 with full extension but knee is always very stiff. Aches and sometimes sharp pains but it seems to be the process. Was schedule for 2nd TKR late Oct. but will not be doing it at this time. Figure to wait the full year and do it next summer as I want time to feel like myself again. Still having insomnia which is becoming exhausting but luckily can relax during the day. Try not to nap as do not want to add to the insomnia problem. I love to walk/hike but not the athlete Ken is so my routine is two sessions on recumbent bike, leg pushes on Total Gym and short daily walk. I also spend time walking thru Lowes and HD as we are remodeling so that is exercise too, right? All in all I have done knee 1 so no turning back but I am wimpier then I thought. Scar is prominent/sensitive but thats ok as it is my battle wound. Good luck to all.

  15. I had TKR on 6/28/19. I am 49 (yikes!!!), but my 30 years of tennis caught up with me. I was shocked at how pain free the surgery and initial recovery were. I’m at 14 weeks now and they only real trouble I have is descending stairs. I feel a sharp pain behind my knee cap. I’ve been told that will get better with time. I own my own business so I went back to work on day 10 and used a walker and took it as slow as I could. I did home therapy via Force Therapeutics and was very happy with the results. I still can’t play tennis (doubles only), but I can do almost everything else. I still have swelling and I get stiff after a long day and a little in the am. If I can just get this kneecap pain while going downstairs I’ll have it made. The bottom line is not having that debilitating bone on bone pain with every step is so worth it. Great to find you and this forum.


    • Thanks for the comment Jim. Glad to hear your recovery is going well. I didn’t have the pain behind the knee cap, but at 14 weeks I’d bet you have a lot of improvement to realize (and seems like you already feel great). I agree about the bone on bone pain…I should have had TKR a few years earlier rather than cope with the pain. Hope you enjoy the future years back on the tennis court!

  16. I’m at the 3 and 1/2 mo. mark after surgery. While walking 1 and 1/4 mile, my knee feels stiff and achy, so instead of being enjoyable, it is just something to get through. Also, when walking up stairs, I get a pain on top of my knee. I’m not sure if I should just push through the pain or listen to it. It’s the uncertainty of what to do that is the hardest. I get 120 degree bend and almost 0 straightening. My doctor says 120 is fine and pushing for 130 can actually damage the implant! Thanks for all the info.

    • Sounds like your range of motion is excellent. At 3.5 months I still had swelling. Everyone heals at different rates and I was told it will be a year until I feel back to normal. Wish you the best in your recovery.

  17. This article has given me things to look forward to. I feel like my progress is taking longer than it should. The TKR was surgery #6 on the same knee At the age of 36. I’m 3 mo post surgery and we have just started strengthening. I’m at 95 degrees on my own and 98 forced without mechanical assistance. The quadricep tendon has not broken free and is still very swollen I believe that’s what’s slowing the process. After walking about 10-15 feet after getting up the pain level lowers to a minimal level until the muscles tighten if I’m walking too much. Most household activities are manageable. I thought it would be easier recovery being younger but I was clearly wrong.

  18. I’m at 12 weeks and feel grateful about so much that I am able to do. My worry is the uncertainty of how I’m progressing. I’m a very active 52 year old, I am diligent about doing my exercises and continue to go to PT. My flexion and extension are pretty good when passive but not so great when active. It is quite an effort to walk upstairs using both feet but I continue to do so (unless I am holding something heavy). Going down the steps using both feet is very painful and I need to go very slowly and hang on tightly to the railing (as my hamstring muscles are very weak). Sleeping is still a challenge…I can’t seem to get comfortable…although gratefully, pain is dull (which is good!). I’m wondering, is this typical, am I behind? When can most people walk down the steps using both feet with ease? Any tips? Thanks.

    • I found that swelling caused some of my dull pain and impacted my flexion. Swelling, even minor and not noticeable, occurred up to 12 months after my surgery. That might be one thing to focus on (elevate and ice, keep active). Thanks for reading and the comment!

  19. Good site for us patients I’m 65, in shape and at day 14 post surgery. I have 120 degree flexion and have been off walking assistance since day 9. I had staples removed and clearance for work yesterday, on day 13. I completely agree with the “no pain, no gain” sentiments. Rest and ice are critical – but you don’t rest your way back to full movement and function. I will be cleared from home PT today, but will religiously follow up with outpatient PT. Many folks who fail to get results attribute it to a lack of follow up on PT. My one nightmare (literally) has been sleep I haven’t averaged 4 hours a night in two weeks. I feel comfortable with manageable pain during the day and have been very active. After I fall asleep for 1-2 hours, I have searing pain in my thigh, not my knee. The narcotic pain meds haven’t helped much, so I’m up in the middle of the night, stretching, walking and icing – painfully- while I fantasize about sleep. Beyond that, I’m optimistic about the long term results. Being a 5 day a week gym rat (and having a high pain threshold) has helped me get through this. Good luck and best wishes to everyone who’s in this situation.

  20. I am 12 weeks out from my TKA. I had a traumatic injury 4.5 years ago & the TKA was surgery #5 (I’m 49). For the most part the pain in the knee is gone, but I’m having a lot of pain behind my knee/calf and in my hamstring. What has worked for others in relieving this pain? It’s worse at night and laying down. When I try and bend my knee while lying on my back, I get a sharp pain in my hamstring and my calf. Going up hill/stairs is great, going downhill/stairs I have a lot of pain on the lateral side of my knee. Still having lots of swelling. I am riding my bike 20 min a day and walking about 2 miles most days, along w/stretching daily & strength exercises every other day, icing afterwards.

    • Your recovery exercise routine sounds perfect. Bummer you’ve gone through 5 surgeries but our bodies are resilient. The swelling bothered me with stiffness up to a year after surgery. It gradually improves but don’t forget to elevate and ice. Best wishes!

  21. Hi Ken, hope you are still blogging! I had TKR on 12/10…surgery was successful but I had/have major swelling in my leg and knee….which I am working through with good PT……my biggest problem is not being able to sleep at night…..1st the tingling, throbbing, ache….do you have any suggestions for relief.

  22. I am a 65 year old female & had my left knee replaced at the end of January 2020, which puts me nearly 4 months post-op. I too had to stop formal PT due to Covid-19, but strive daily to continue at home. Finally have been able to sleep in bed after making nightly use of a recliner! I did that because I was able to sleep for 5-7 hours without disruption, which I gather from reading here, is one of the most difficult things post surgery. I still have quite a bit of residual numbness on the outer aspect of my left knee down thru the side of my calf, which my doctor assures me is normal & will dissipate with time. The area of numbness is shrinking but not fast enough! I keep saying that when I walk it “doesn’t feel like my leg”, which is probably part mental. I have difficulty trying not to limp or “stiff leg” walk if I am not using a cane, especially at the end of the day when I’ve been active. Going up the steps is not easy but going down is almost impossible. I still have episodes of my knee “buckling “ despite doing strengthening exercises nearly every day. I might add that I was a bit of a couch potato before surgery so it seems to be taking me a little longer than most to recover but I’ll keep plugging away! My advice to someone contemplating total knee replacement is to exercise & strengthen not only your legs, as your non-surgical leg will be doing extra work for a while, but also your core. I wish I had done these things. Thanks for the blog! It helps to know that other people are experiencing many of the same issues and accomplishments!

  23. Since March 2019, I have been through a partial replacement, a washout surgery from an infection and a revision total replacement that I had in January. I was doing great with my range of motion last year before I ended up getting an infection 10 days after the surgery. Then everything went wrong, my flexion would not go past 95 and my extension was stuck at 40 and never went down past 20.

    I searched and found an excellent surgeon who did a revision total replacement and got me where I needed to be during the surgery.
    After 3 months of PT, I was back at square one and my extension has been stuck at around 15.

    He did a manipulation last month and got me back but I am still having problems with both.

    I am also getting that stretching pain back behind my knee that my doctor got rid of.

    My therapists can push my extension down to a negative 1 but it won’t stay there no matter how much work I do and my physical therapists are killing me. Yesterday, I walked out of physical therapy in tears because of the pain and the fact that my therapist told me my extension was back at 15.

    Do you have any suggestions? It would really be nice to walk into therapy with my knee straight one of these days. I am walking and doing my stretches and everything that I can. I would love to go swim but now with covid19 who knows when I will be able to.

    Thank you,

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