fitness · injury

Sam is checking in three weeks after knee replacement, CW: contains photo of operated on knee after staples removed

Knee replacement isn’t easy. It’s been 21 days now. I checked in after one week and again after two weeks and I’m checking in again now.

Even though I’m making progress, it’s still a slog. The big issues are physio–so much physio!–and also pain management. It feels like alternating between physio and icing and elevation is still pretty much a full-time job.

The hardest and most important exercises are focused on range of motion, making sure my knee can bend and straighten. But I’m also doing some balance work, standing one legged with the operated leg doing the work. The other focus is strength, lots of sit to stands, and leg raises.

I’m excited to say that I’m making progress. This isn’t a particularly flattering photo but it does demonstrate that I’m getting better at bending my knee. A lot of physio went into getting there!

Sam with crutches getting into the car

Also othe bright side I’m off the serious pain medication.

I feel more like myself

I can read again. Phew.

After four weeks, I can drive again. It’ll feel better not needing Sarah or my mum to take me to physio.

I’m getting around pretty well on crutches and in the house, within a room, I don’t really need them. I’m still struggling with carrying stuff. I need a coffee and book carrying robot to follow me around the house. I can do basic household chores like dealing with the dishwasher and cooking and sorting clothes but I can’t do things that require carrying stuff, like setting the table.

I also had the surgical staples removed and check in with the surgeon in London

No more staples

I think it looks pretty good. I’m impressed with their needlework/stapler skills. What I can’t do, until that heals completely, is immerse myself in water. I can shower, yes, but no swimming pools, hot tubs, or baths just yet.

I can now look forward to short outings.

This past weekend we had breakfast with a friend.

Sarah and I made also it to the farm. For me there’s no swimming, no hot tubbing, no bike riding. There’s still lots of physio and icing but with different scenery. It’s lovely.

Hoping to go out to the movies next week.

I’m also looking forward to getting back to work. Medical leave for knee replacement is 6-12 weeks and I’m hoping for the short end of that range.

Have you had a surgery with a long recovery period like this? Any advice you have to offer?

4 thoughts on “Sam is checking in three weeks after knee replacement, CW: contains photo of operated on knee after staples removed

  1. I think the fact that you’re feeling well enough to be impatient is a great sign! My aunt-in-law had a knee replacement & said she was pretty much back to normal in 6-8 weeks. Like you, she has always been quite active – a retired gym teacher. Also like you, she tends to see things in a positive way, and to take her physical work seriously. She is in her 80s, so I think your chance at the shorter recovery is excellent.

  2. Yes (re: surgery and recovery). Before hernia surgery, my doctor said to stay off the bike for five days. I couldn’t lift more than 10 pounds so I set a bike up on the trainer pre-op. The bike mocked me for weeks. It was five weeks (not days) before I felt ready to swing a leg over the top tube. Clipping out of the pedals was too painful – I left the shoes mounted. Three minutes were hard. Ten were an ordeal. Within days that improved. I recovered enough to ride 4000 miles (>6000 km) this summer (six days/week for 9 weeks). So hang in there. Everyone recovers at their own rate. Your physiotherapist know more than the surgeon in that regard. And you know more about your body than either of them. Rehab isn’t always fun but is worth it. You’ve got this! (By the way, the incision looks great, and absolutely don’t immerse it for a while yet.)

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