Help. My knee won't bend



Need some feedback and advice. I am 4 weeks post TKR Right knee. Had a problem as femoral block given after surgery didn't wear off properly still have some numbness along inside of leg possible cause was hitting nerve ends when block was given. I can only get 65 degrees without extreme pain, after PT pushes me I can get about 80 but last week he said it should be more.

I try to do lunges on my doorstep and other exercises but they just hurt so much I bend until it starts hurting then I stop. I asked PT about a CPM machine he just said it's better to get bend naturally.

1. How long has it taken other people to get bend?
2. Any ideas in getting knee to bend?

Many Thanks Julie in Sydney

Hi Julie and welcome to the TKR forum.  I had a TKR 18 months ago.  (You can read about it in this thread: 

 if you've nothing better to do).  I too was one of the slow ones in the knee bending department.  I left hospital with only 68 degrees and at seven weeks it was a painful 80 when the physio pushed it; you are four weeks with the physio pushing and you have 80.  My recovery was s l o w and painful but now 18 months  on I am one of the success stories (bend is about 130 and I have no pain and can walk reasonably long distances.)  So at four weeks you are better than I was at four weeks!  So hang in there girl, there is hope.  Don't give up, none of us are the same in the TKR recovery so don't compare yourself to the speedy among us.  I read on one of your other posts that you are having trouble sleeping.  I did too at that stage and I think the thing to do is to accept that your sleeping patterns are interrupted.  I would get up in the night when I couldn't sleep and read or do my physio exercises on a regular basis.  Then I would make up the lost sleep during the day.   This is something that some of us just have to accept...........things will get back to normal in a few months.  Believe me.  There is something that is not fully understood about the sleep disruption following TKR.  Stay ahead of the pain though.  Don't be tempted to think you can tough it out, you probably can't but you will in time and don't be worried about becoming addicted to those pain killers.  It's unlikely you'll be taking the maximum safe doses.

About getting the leg to bend more:  an exercise bike is good.  Start off with only five minutes and just rocking with the seat on a high setting.  Then after a few weeks you will be able to do a full revolution, this is a major breakthrough and cause for celebration! Then gradually lower the seat so the bend is greater.   Keep doing those leg lifts as the quad muscles just above and to the inside of the knee are essential for bending.  Remember they cut right through those and they have to re grow.  Also swimming is great.  I found that with the support of the water I could do much more and what I could do in the pool one week, a few weeks later I could do on land.

Good luck.  I think you are doing well for four weeks.

Hi Redwing

Thanks for responding it is good to know I'm not alone trouble is at 46 most if my friends are 20 years away from this and dont understand the enormity of the surgery.

I have asked my sons school to advertise in newsletter to see if anyone can lend me an exercise bike, and the changing patterns if my day is a great idea.

My PT wrote to my surgeon yesterday surgeon wants to see me today he is concerned about scar tissue not sure what he can do about it but I guess he is concerned as he wants to see me so quickly. I'll let you know what he says.

It's nice to know I'm not in this alone some days it gets very dark and I lose sight of the light at the end if the tunnel. These boards are certainly helping me get thru.



Nice to see your new thread on the board, sorry I answered your comment on my thread before looking at the board.  Redwing was a huge comfort for me, her thread is very informative so read up.  Also Debbio, and skinnycatz have great threads to read. 

Hang in there, my ROM is still only about 107 flex, after warming it up.  It is annoying but I am getting used to the fact that I may not get any further.  I had this surgery for PAIN reduction, not that I don't want the flex, but I am glad to get rid of that grinding bone on bone sharp pain. I like Redwing, struggled with ROM early on and throughout my rehab, hopefully I will end up with Redwings results ;D

Hopefully your doc has some help for ya, Monica

I am new to this forum, but Redwing's story is very comforting to me. After TKA, I was about 75 degrees a week post op, gaining about 5 degrees a week for six weeks - reaching 110 degrees at 7 weeks.  now at 11 weeks, I am still at 110 deg - and barely that - when sore and 'cold' - it might be a bit over 90 - 110 is after a workout on the total gym. and about -5 on straight, but I can warm it and get it to zero with some work.  I can wait 12-18 months - if that is what it takes, but I surely expect at least 130, since I had almost 140 pre-op, and the other leg is 140.   I guess it just takes time.  I have time, just don't have patience.   I spend 20-30 min a day on stationary bike, and do hours of leg swinging at the desk, stairs, total gym - I do plenty for sure.


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