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I’m finally getting back around to my blog after a bit of a hiatus. Thank you, Covid-19, for giving me the time again. ( If I can find a bright side in all the madness) I thumbed through the old journal and pulled out the useful info from around the time of my 6 months post knee replacement mark. Learn what was hard, really hard, easy, and really an overall update on my life at this point in the knee replacement journey. Some things may surprise you.
The Hard Stuff 6 months post knee replacement
Shall we start with what I found surprising? The “how in the heck is this still so difficult” stuff? Why not? As long as you promise to keep reading the maybe more obvious things later, Hehe. A number of these fall into the hard category while others are downright, very hard, to impossible.
- Stairs- I thought at this point, I would be gracefully walking up and downstairs with ease. Nope, I try very hard to use a reciprocal gait pattern (stepping through and not stopping at each step), but I still have to hang on to a railing for dear life, and there is always a pause when I’m putting all my weight on my surgery leg. This video does a great job explaining stairs after knee replacement!
- Still stiff- When I wake up in the morning, sat in one position for too long, didn’t do my knee exercises that day, all things that are going to make my knee feel as stiff as the early knee rehab days. From talking to other knee replacement warriors, this does somewhat stick around but becomes less and less as the months go by.
- Bending my leg straight while sitting in a chair (Exercise name: Long Arc Quad) – I really can’t figure out why this movement and exercise is darn near impossible for me. The doctor says its all because of my muscle weakness, but dang! I can do so many other things and not this! I guess I keep working that quad muscle and hope it comes around.
- Any form of a lunge- I’ve been doing water aerobics since I was cleared back around Week 14 and just started on land exercising in early January. One of the hardest exercises for me, even in the pool, has been the lunge. I’ve tried modified and mini. So, for now, I find other ways to work that quad muscle.
- Criss Cross Apple Sauce Sitting (sitting with legs crossed)- Okay, so I technically can sit this way, but it still causes some pain and discomfort, so I do not do it, yet. I thought this would be easy to perform by now.
- Kneeling- According to my doctor, around 30% of patients can kneel without pain after partial knee replacement. My bullheaded self keeps trying, and it still feels bizarre and uncomfortable and slightly painful.
- Getting up off the floor- This one makes me laugh every time I read it because I imagine how I must look trying to get up off the floor. Let’s just say it is not pretty. With that leg feeling slightly unstable, kneeling still being an issue, along with strength, I have found a unique way to get up. But, I thought this would be far far easier at this point in recovery.
- Walking briskly- This one isn’t so much hard as it is painful. Every time my heel hits the pavement, I feel a weird little sensation in my knee. The feeling changes depending on the day, the speed that I’m walking, and even the weather. Keep reading to find out what I learned about why this might be happening. Note, it’s so important to have a good pair of shoes and shoe inserts to help your new knee and other joints! Check out my list of other items I feel are must-haves post knee replacement HERE.
So Easy 6 Months Post Knee Replacement You’ll Wonder Why You Waited So Long
This next section involves all the little things that help me through the pain that still occurs at 6 months. The pure frustration I feel when the things I listed above get me down. This section is all about the things that came easy at 6 months post-op knee replacement. Some I could do before, but it would be a struggle. Others I could have never done, and now I don’t even have to think about it! Oh, that’s the best feeling in the world!
- Running – That’s right, its actually more comfortable and causes zero pain to run than it does to walk fast at this point. The doctor and PT have figured out its the way I walk vs. run. I have better body mechanics while I run than when I walk. Walking with better body mechanics is something I’m working on with the help of a PT. Back to the running. I only run for very short distances, but my overall goal is to do a half marathon! (Please be advised, not all knee replacement patients can run post-op. BUT, if this is a goal you should talk to your doctor about it!!)
- Bend and Squat- I have a journal entry where I literally wrote one thing, the moment I bent down to help “my daughter” and didn’t think about my knee until after was one of the greatest feelings since surgery. That was the whole entry. It was a fantastic feeling. I still get that feeling sometimes. Ill squat to lift something, or bend down and get a hug and not even think about my knee or feel my knee. Such a drastic difference from pre knee replacement.
- Clean the house- I’m one of the weird few who love to jam out and clean my whole house in one day. It’s been a long time since this has been able to be accomplished because of my knee. Now let’s be realistic here, I know with 5 people and a dog, I’m always “cleaning” something, but the heavy cleaning I’d rather get done all at once instead of breaking it into each day having a specific task. Right around the 6-month mark is where I could start doing this again. It took longer as I moved slower and more cautiously, but I would get all my heavy cleaning done in one day without pain. Don’t forget your knee pads. Even if you can’t kneel on your surgery knee you still want to protect the other one!
- Shop- That’s right! This lady can shop till she drops once again. Hehe, well within reason.
- Enjoy a concert- I tested this one out full force by seeing Garth Brooks at Ford Feild. Whew! What a night! Amazing! Danced, stood, and sing the whole night without pain. Well, scratch that, my throat hurt a bit by the end of the night!
- Ride a bike- My Townie bike is perfect for sore joints, and I bought it long before my surgery. It was actually one of the main reasons I decided it was time to have knee surgery when I couldn’t ride it anymore. Now riding a bike is easy as can be. I feel like I can ride forever, and it helps loosen my knee up when it is stiff. My doctor recommends riding a bike for 20 minutes every day, if possible.
- Get up from a chair- Pre knee replacement; this was a task. I would dread the thought of getting up, knowing it was going to cause a lot of pain, and honestly embarrassment. I, in my 30 somethings, hated having so much trouble getting out of a chair. Now it has become second nature. I get up, and a bonus, I don’t need an armrest to do it!
- Sleep- I talk about rest a lot in my articles. Sleep is so essential to healing. It was also one of the topics I talk about in my 5 Truths About Knee Replacement Surgery From The Patients Perspective article. Sleep was near impossible pre-surgery. As I talked about in the post above, it was near impossible during the early stages of recovery as well. So when sleep finally became comfortable, boy did I enjoy it. I think the first couple of days, I finally could relax; I slept 12 hours a night!
How Far I’ve Come And The Journey Ahead
It’s pretty crazy to look at this list and think back to Weeks 1 through 4 or even those years pre knee replacement surgery. I really have come a long way! I am excited to see what the future holds for me and my bionic knee. I have some big plans for this knee of mine, including running some races, leading ultimately to a Disney Princess Half Marathon sometime in 2021 or 2022, depending on when they open everything back up!
Did you find out anything surprising? Are you at the 6-month mark and experiencing some of the same, or maybe some completely different easy activities or difficulties? Let me know by leaving a comment below or contacting me HERE.
Until the next part of this knee journey, take care!
Want to read to journey from the beginning? Click HERE
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician.
SAVE THIS POST FOR LATER?
I had a total knee replacement the beginning of March. (so a bit over 6 months ago) Still experiencing discomfort, stiffness etc…. After reading this, I feel so much better. I’m not alone and light at the end of that proverbial tunnel! Thank you!
You are so welcome! Keep working at it, it does get better. Happy healing 🙂