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Knee Replacement Recovery - Week 3
By Dr. Renae Norton

recovery-from-knee-replacement-week-3 I am 3 weeks out in my recovery from knee replacement surgery! The first week seemed really easy, the second week was pretty tough and the third week is showing great promise In terms of strength, flexibility and stamina.

I think the first week was so easy because I was still on all of the pain medications.  So I really wasn’t feeling much pain and I was sleeping well.   I began to wean off of all the pain medication at the end of the first week. That made the second week much more difficult, but I was determined to get off the pain medications as quickly as I could. 

In general, I’m not a fan of medication. And some of these medications have very significant side effects. If I had it to do over again I would do exactly the same thing. It was one week of being uncomfortable but I was basically off of all of the medication except for the Cymbalta by the end of the second week. I will be done with the Cymbalta by the end of the third week, as I am taking them currently every three days.  

Initially I thought I was going to do Aleve  after I weaned myself off of the gabapentin and the meloxicam. I tried it, and it didn’t work for me. What is working is Tylenol eight hour extended relief arthritis pain medication. I take it at 4 AM, 12 PM, and 8 PM. It seems to do the trick although as I get close to the time when I am going to take it again I’m aware of a fair amount of discomfort. But recently, as soon as I take it I’m very comfortable again.  I’m going to continue taking it for another 2 weeks and then begin to wean myself off of it as well. That will put me five weeks out from the surgery and hopefully, free from drugs.

I began doing exercises with the physical therapists who came to my house two or three times a week for the first two weeks. The exercises were pretty easy to do the first week and significantly more difficult to do the second week. But I did them…
This week  I started going to Beacon for physical therapy and that was very helpful in that there were a lot of stretching exercises and of course lots of equipment. 

My physical therapist at Beacon was excited about my range of motion and how well I am walking. You may recall that I never used the walker and haven’t needed a cane. At this point I’m able to go up and down steps without getting completely exhausted. That is huge because that will allow me to move out of the basement soon.  Moli the dog and I will be so happy!

A very good friend of mine dropped off a stationary bike a couple of days ago. And that has been a wonderful addition to my work out. It’s a great way to warm up and although I have to put the seat up as high as it can go in order to be able to pedal, it really seems to be helping by gently building strength and also giving me a good safe way to warm up. It is wonderful to have such good friends.

The only thing still giving me problems is that when I do the workouts they gave me to do at Beacon  I notice that there is about a 12 hour delay in terms of the pain from doing the exercises. I typically do the exercises in the morning or the early afternoon such that the pain sets in around eight or 9 o’clock and then I can’t sleep. I’m going to try doing the exercises in the evening and hope that the delayed  pain kicks in the next morning, allowing me to get in the much needed zzzzzz’s.

There are two things going on when it comes to discomfort, one is actual pain and the other is stiffness. I am at the point now where I have significantly less pain and most of what I experience is stiffness. The stiffness is at its worse when I get up in the morning. There are times when I can barely walk because the knee is so stiff. After a few minutes of walking around it’s fine. 

I keep thinking that if I got up and walked every couple of hours during the night I wouldn’t be so stiff when I wake up in the morning. Of course that defeats the whole purpose of going to bed, LOL. I don’t know whether this strategy of working out later and not being in pain at night will work and I haven’t really come up with anything that remedies the stiffness issue, other than to just keep moving, but I’ll keep you posted.

The other exciting thing that is happening is that I am using a salve made up of Manuka honey and grass fed ghee.  It is really doing a great job getting rid of my scar, which has flattened significantly.  Most of the swelling has been gone for well over a week and the bruising has been gone for the past two weeks . The last 2 inches of the scar is barely visible at this point.

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