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It has been four years since I had total knee replacement. I am pleased to report that I continue to have a well-functioning, pain-free knee. All in all, the past four years have been wonderful.
Despite all of the COVID-19 restrictions, including getting the virus, I have been able to stay active.
I continue to exercise and stretch, as well as play pickleball, golf, swim, and hike. I ride my bike several times a week. I’ve had no setbacks or swelling and am pleased with how my knee looks, feels, and reacts to activity.
Dealing With Knee Replacement and COVID-19
Oddly enough, I had COVID-19 twice in the past few years. I didn’t get terribly sick but I did get a chest cold each time I had it. The cold lingered 3-4 months and impacted my ability to exercise.
Along with the COVID-19 restrictions that were in place, having the virus certainly impacted and limited my opportunities to exercise and my physical ability to maintain my maintenance exercise program.
For several months our community fitness center and swimming pool were closed. I could not use the facilities weight machines, stationary bike or pool. I was able to continue playing pickleball and golf once a week.
Once I recovered from COVID-19, I did much more walking around the neighborhood and area hiking trails.
Impact Of COVID-19 On My Health
The two times that I had COVID-19, I had a deep chest cold. Each time I quarantined at home for 2 weeks, which limited my activity severely.
Besides coughing a great deal, I had no aches, pain or fever, so I could do limited exercise. I was still able to stretch and after 4 or 5 days I was able to take short walks.
I became winded easily and coughed frequently. I definitely lost my stamina and endurance that I had built up since my knee operation. After both bouts of COVID-19 (18 months apart) I waited 4 or 5 months before I was able to get back in the swimming pool.
I was unable to do the same workout I was accustomed to. I had been swimming 40 laps 3 to 4 times a week. For the first few weeks, I was exhausted after 20 laps. It took me 2 months to get back to my 40 laps routine.
During and after my time with COVID-19, I did not have the use of a stationary bike and I didn’t have the energy to ride my bike very far. I was still coughing a lot.
It took me well over 6 months to ride my bike 3 miles out in the country. Prior to Covid, I was riding much further 3 times a week.
I gradually increased the distance I walked. I preferred the beach walks with no mask restriction.
Increased Age and it’s Affects
I am now 71. I don’t feel old but I know that my body doesn’t respond to activity the same as when I was 20, 30 or even 60. This is another reason why I am glad I had TKR at age 66 (read about age and knee replacement).
It was only a few years ago but my ability to recover was better. I am still careful to stretch before and after activity.
I am swimming every other day. I was playing pickle ball 3 to 4 times a week when I first moved to my new community 5 years ago but now, I am content to play once a week.
I don’t bike as often as I did post TKR but I do visit the fitness center and use their exercise machines on a regular basis. I continue to walk 9 holes of golf once a week and take long walks and hikes.
Pain 4 Years After Knee Replacement
You might be surprised to learn that I have not experienced any pain in my knee in the past few years. Yes, I had a success TKR surgery and I’m still committed to my post-surgery physical therapy exercises.
I take a precautionary Ibuprofen before pickle ball and before taking hikes 5 miles or longer. My knee gets a stiff feeling if I stand for more than 45 minutes so I take frequent breaks when I am fishing or talking to friends.
I still get out of my seat and walk often when I fly and I still sit in the back of movie theaters so I can stand up during a 2-hour movie.
Swelling, a symptom that so many people face after TKR, caused a lot of the initial pain in my knee after knee replacement. Gradually the swelling subsided (read about my pain and swelling after surgery). My knee no longer swells and I only ice after long games of pickleball and long hikes.
Snap Crackle Pop
On occasion, I’ve experienced tightness in my knee when I have been sitting or standing for long periods of time.
I have also had a few “odd” feelings and some snap, crackle and pop sensations. Neither has caused any pain and both go away when I stretch or walk.
It’s not a good sensation to feel but knowing I have an artificial joint, it seems like it could be a normal thing to experience.
I have had a pain-free knee for the past 4 years. I feel like the surgery was a “miracle” for me. Prior to TKR, I experienced pain with every step I took.
COVID-19 and the restrictions definitely impacted my ability to maintain my exercise and activity routine but I continued doing stretching and strengthening exercises at home.
I am back on a regular exercise routine. Now that I am 71, I feel like I have a little less energy and I have to remain disciplined to exercise and stretch daily.
All in all, it has been an amazing 4 years. I walk without pain and without a limp. I look forward to many more years of a pain free knee.