9 Months After Knee Replacement

9 Months After Total Knee Replacement

Wondering what your knee replacement might feel like after 9 months? I’ll share how I’m feeling.

Overall, my knee feels great.

I can remember feeling pain with every step I took 10 months ago prior to TKR. Now I am beginning to walk and exercise normally again without thinking about pain in my right knee each time I take a step.

I don’ t think about landing on my right foot before taking a step, especially downhill. I can walk alternating steps without favoring or limping on my right leg.

I can participate in activities without favoring my right knee. It is amazing. TKR has allowed me to enjoy my everyday activities without pain.

My knee doesn’t swell up after activity. Whether I am walking around the house, hiking, bicycling, swimming or playing pickle-ball I am pain-free.

9 Months After Knee Replacement (Month 1 Compared to Month 9)

One month into my TKR recovery I was still spending the majority of my day in my recliner, reading, doing crossword puzzles. I was diligently doing my offsite physical therapy as well as my home exercise routine 3 times a day.

The area around the wound was still very tender and I was working hard on increasing my range of motion. My knee was still swollen and I was treating my knee with ice 3 to 5 times a day.

I was constantly hydrating the wound with Carmex Lotion and applying scar gel to the scar. I was taking Tylenol 2 to 3 times a day, especially before physical therapy sessions.

Now, I seldom take a Tylenol pill.

9 months after TKR my exercise and fitness center routine has become a bit different. At the fitness center, I seldom use the stationary bike because I ride my bike the 1 mile there.

The ride gets me warmed up and once I arrive I’m ready to exercise, use the leg machines, the stability ball, and other equipment right away. I have increased the amount of weight I use on the leg machines.

Initially, I only worked my surgical knee on the leg machines.

Now, after one series of repetitions on the surgical knee, I use both legs on all the leg machines. When using both legs I am pressing and lifting one-third of my body weight 20 to 30 times.

I continue to do many of the same exercises I learned from my physical therapist, stressing strength development and range of motion. My right leg has been smaller and weaker than my left (good) knee for the last 40 plus years.

As I have mentioned in earlier articles my goal is to eventually have two matching legs (in regards to muscle). I feel like I’m making progress.

Challenges (and Tips) Of Staying Active In Rainy Weather

I am still taking my own exercise “ physical therapy “ very serious. I continue to exercise 3 to 4 times a week.

Weather permitting (we are having an unusually wet winter in California) I am riding my bike 6 to 10 miles every other day. I try to swim 3 times a week and I play 4 to 5 games of pickle-ball 3 or 4 times a week.

I have started a 30-day introductory yoga course. I am doing this at home rain or shine using a free Yoga course on my computer.

As I mentioned above, we are having a wet winter. When wet weather impacts outdoor activities, I go to the fitness center, use the stationary bike and then do my usual exercise routine.

If you have a treadmill, stationary bike, or Eliptical at home, it would be perfect for wet winter/spring days and it would save you a drive to workout.

I am still able to swim as we have a covered pool. I enjoy my time in the hot tub after workouts and swimming so I can stretch a little and use the jets to sooth the area around my surgical knee.

Things I Still Can’t Do

  • I still can’t bend (range of motion) my surgical knee the same as my good knee.
  • I still have soreness and minor swelling after big workout days or long hikes.
  • The Yoga has been an eye-opener. I am not very flexible and I am not able to do a lot of the movements and poses on the beginner’s video yet. The instructor is very patient and says that with time I will become more flexible. It has been pretty frustrating at times but I am hanging in there and will keep you posted.
  • I can’t run, although I could probably jog for a short distance if needed.
  • As far as activities that I participate in, I am able to do all of the activities that I enjoyed prior to my TKR only now they are pain-free and much more enjoyable.

How Many Doctors Appointments Since Surgery

I have only had two doctor’s appointment since my TKR. One was a regularly scheduled post operation visit and the other visit was the time I had my scar checked when a pimple appeared and oozed a little fluid.

Conclusion

I feel like a new person nine months after my TKR. I am finally walking and doing activities without constantly thinking about favoring my knee.

I developed some bad habits over the years that eventually caused my knee to bow and for me to limp with every step. I don’t think about every step I take with my right leg like I used to.

When walking down steps or hills I still have the automatic reflex to favor the knee and I have to remind myself that it is okay. I still am taking my recovery very seriously and will continue to do so in the future.

My therapy was a big help but now I am on my own to exercise, strengthen and work on my range of motion. I could easily quit the exercise routine and lead a normal pain-free life. But, my goal of having two matching legs will keep me working hard for some time.

I hope this article encourages you to keep working hard on your recovery even after 9 months. As long as there is room for improvement the hard work is worth the effort.

Comments

  1. Ken , I was just curious if when you first tried each of these new activities you noticed some twinges of pain that subsided after a little while ?
    I will give the example of swimming .
    I am experiencing no pain doing all my current exercises , but this past weekend I tried swimming for the first time and of course began my leg movement very slowly gradually increasing the force .
    At about the time I was just shy of kicking with full force I got a sudden pain in the front of my knee .
    Decreased the force and was just fine but a little concerned .
    Got out of the pool for about 15 min. jumped back in and tried it again . As I increased towards using more force in my kicking there was still a twinge of pain but less this time .
    I repeated the process about 3 or 4 times until I was using close to full force with no pain at all.
    Suffered no follow up pain after the swim .
    It is just me thinking but it seems that each time I engage a new movement with this ” new knee ” all of the realigned & still healing tissues & nerves require a break in period almost , were there are some feelings of pain or uncomfortableness that subside in a fairly short period of time .
    Have you experienced anything similar /

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