My 6 Week Visit with Dr. Thorpe
“6 Weeks” is the party line for recovery after a total knee replacement. The reality? There is still a long way to go…
Before I met with Dr. Thorpe yesterday for my 6 week review, I had xrays taken. Then we met and he checked my range of motion… “cold” I was 0 – 115 degrees (I can get to 120 when I’m warmed up). He was pretty happy with that -“cold” at 115 degrees is 2 degrees more than where I started pre-op.
Then we looked at the x-rays…and we compared my “after and before” pictures
“After” with ConforMIS knee implant and “Before” check out the bone on bone. My right knee also shows some arthritic changes.
“After” medial side view of my new ConforMIS knee…no more arthritis! “Before” bone on bone…the diseased arthritic parts of the bones in the joint were all cut away…so technically I no longer have arthritis in my left knee. How about that!
Some new exercises from PT this week!
6 Weeks Post Op – healed yet?
Here is the reality – and what you can expect if you go into a knee replacement STRONG and well prepared. At 6 weeks prior to my surgery date, I started training for the surgery like it was an athletic event with weight training and cycling. It has paid off because my doctor and PTs say I am ahead of the curve of typical recovery. STILL, here is how it looks –
- Total Knee Replacement hurts. You are down for a good 2 weeks or more. Don’t plan on doing anything of consequence, find a good mini-series to keep you entertained. In 4 weeks I watched the entire 6 seasons of Downton Abbey – and on the final episode celebrated my last day of recovery on the couch with frozen peas packed around my leg. In week 3 I went back to work 1/2 time; in week 4 bumped up to 3/4 time. I was exhausted at the end of the days and looked forward to my time with Downton Abbey as I iced my knee.
- You are not fully recovered at 6 weeks. They say that tissues take that long to adapt to the trauma of the surgery. As far as I can tell, I’m still adapting because my leg is still painful. My activities are still very limited (see the blogpost about the PT smackdown).
- The process of regaining range of motion will take work – the bigger the range, the longer it will take. One patient told me that with the ConforMIS custom knee that he reached 138 degrees and it took 2 years. It is good to know you just have to stay committed and you might get there.
- Regular activity at 12 Weeks? My doctor said that at 3 months post op (in 6 more weeks) I should expect to return to a regular level activity – biking as much as I want, walking as much as I want. From where I sit at 6 weeks (halfway), I still have a lot of progress to make.
- One of my PTs says that I MIGHT be ready for my big bike trip this summer – Leg #2 of the Corner to Corner Bellingham to Key West adventure. This year we start in Jackson Wyoming and end on the border of Iowa. MIGHT is a mighty big word here – I will have to make steady progress to be able to heft a fully loaded touring bike that weighs 75 lbs.
- Don’t forget to ice: At 6 weeks I am still icing my knee and will continue to do so until it no longer hurts or is swollen. I usually ice for 20 minutes after cycling or my PT activities.