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Author Topic: leg stiffness after knee replacement and can't use stairs  (Read 2608 times)

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Offline horselady

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leg stiffness after knee replacement and can't use stairs
« on: December 04, 2006, 05:42:03 PM »
I had knee replacement in mid-July.  I have had a remarkable rcovery according to PT and doctor.  No painor swelling.  I can straightening leg to 3 degrees and can bend it back to 125 degrees.  I am still doing all the exercises faithfully every day--riding bike 3-4 miles, stretching hamstrings, etc.  The problem is the leg . mainly the back of the knee and  calf mucle gets stiff if I sit 20 or more minutes.  I also can not go downstairs.  I can go upstairs.  When I awaken in the A.M., my leg is very, very stiff from being bend during the night and I have to work it in the bed to straighten it out.  What exercises that I am not doing could assist in this problem? I don't understand why I can stretch the hamstrings, but they can tighten up so quickly.  I would really appreciate any suggestions, or if this has happened to you after surgery and what the outcome was.  Thanks, 

Offline lilly_kc

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Re: leg stiffness after knee replacement and can't use stairs
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2006, 08:20:46 PM »
My TKR was about 5 weeks ago, and all the same stuff is true for me (very stiff in morning, need to move around pretty often, back of leg hurts, going downstairs i still put both feet on each step). I am still in PT twice a week and also do exercises twice/daily.

A couple folks on here have said that an exer-bike is helpful and I plan to get one soon. I am also getting a massage tomorrow - something I have always done, and she has worked wonders before surgery. Will let you know how / if it helps. I also see a chiropractor about once a week which seems to help alot with tight muscles, etc.

Keep me posted on how you are doing. It sounds like alot of our "stuff" is normal. How is your pain level? (I am off the really strong stuff but find I need something by mid-afternoon. Maybe better to head it offf......

Kathi
TKR Left  10.26.06   WOW awesome - I can jazzercise again!
Right rescheduled for 04.12.07

For everything there is a season.... (this year has been my "knee" season)

Offline UK Girl !

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Re: leg stiffness after knee replacement and can't use stairs
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2006, 08:26:05 PM »
Hi There

Had my tkr 10th july - drives me bonkers how it gets so stiff when I am not using it yet is so good when I keep on the move - reckon it must just be one of those stages in recovery - was talking to a friend who had both knees done a year ago and he doesn't get the stiffness anymore.
1978 - ruptured acl and all cartalidge removed.
several debridements over years
TKR 10TH JULY 2006 http://www.kneeguru.co.uk/KNEEtalk/index.php?topic=28257.0  Aug 07 patellar maltracking - more physio! Still pain - but so much better !
BIOMET AGC  TKR  (with 10 yr warranty !)

Offline lilly_kc

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Re: leg stiffness after knee replacement and can't use stairs
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2006, 08:28:30 PM »
Anja - that is great to hear!!!!!
TKR Left  10.26.06   WOW awesome - I can jazzercise again!
Right rescheduled for 04.12.07

For everything there is a season.... (this year has been my "knee" season)

Offline horselady

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Re: leg stiffness after knee replacement and can't use stairs
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2006, 09:55:34 PM »
Anza,  Thanks for your reply.  Do you have problems going down stairs?  I am wondering if I'm doing the correct exercises that will enable me to go down.  Thanks,  horselady

Offline luckygrandma

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Re: leg stiffness after knee replacement and can't use stairs
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2006, 12:00:08 AM »
I had knee replacement in mid-July.  I have had a remarkable rcovery according to PT and doctor.  No painor swelling.  I can straightening leg to 3 degrees and can bend it back to 125 degrees.  I am still doing all the exercises faithfully every day--riding bike 3-4 miles, stretching hamstrings, etc.  The problem is the leg . mainly the back of the knee and  calf mucle gets stiff if I sit 20 or more minutes.  I also can not go downstairs.  I can go upstairs.  When I awaken in the A.M., my leg is very, very stiff from being bend during the night and I have to work it in the bed to straighten it out.  What exercises that I am not doing could assist in this problem? I don't understand why I can stretch the hamstrings, but they can tighten up so quickly.  I would really appreciate any suggestions, or if this has happened to you after surgery and what the outcome was.  Thanks, 
My RTKR was 11 months ago and I still have stiffness and my hamstring muscles tighten. I still cannot go down stairs.  I'm back in therapy (hot water therapy) it feels so good and is helping but I still get stiff when I sit very long etc. I've heard the stiffness is the last to go, but I sure wish it would hurry then.  [/color]  :-\

Offline horselady

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Re: leg stiffness after knee replacement and can't use stairs
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2006, 04:44:12 AM »
Thanks so much for the reply.  At least I know now that what I am experiencing with stiffness and the inability to go down the stairs is not all that uncommon.  It has been so frustrating for me because the first 3 months was a piece of cake.  I had very little pain--rarely took pain medication, and I was in PT only 3 weeks before they kicked me out since I was way ahead of schedule.  Rotation has never been a problem.   When I went back for my 6 week check-up, I was at 125 degrees on the bend and could straighten the leg to 3 degress.  The surgeon told me I was his poster child of the year.  Then at about 3 months the stiffness set in, and I have been very discouraged.  I am extremely active, and I have been very, very faithful in doing the exercises twice or more a day and ride my bike 2-4 miles a day.  He thought maybe I was overdoing it.  So I cut back, and the stiffness became worse so I am doing my exercises just as strenuously as I had been. The more inactive I am, the stiffer it gets.  I teach school so I am on my feet a lot.  I guess I'll just keep working the leg.  Thanks again and good luck.   

Offline UK Girl !

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Re: leg stiffness after knee replacement and can't use stairs
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2006, 11:27:39 AM »
Hi Horselady

yep looks like we have to put up with this for a bit!

Going downstairs is only a bit of a problem in that once I have done about six steps it loosens enough to be okay!
I actually get more trouble with my hip - but this is apparently from where my leg was bowed outwards for so many years and needs time to 'bed' back into its proper position.
1978 - ruptured acl and all cartalidge removed.
several debridements over years
TKR 10TH JULY 2006 http://www.kneeguru.co.uk/KNEEtalk/index.php?topic=28257.0  Aug 07 patellar maltracking - more physio! Still pain - but so much better !
BIOMET AGC  TKR  (with 10 yr warranty !)