Skip to main content

Unique and Troublesome Surgery: Problems After a Total Knee Replacement Gone Bad

For all those who are considering knee replacement - this is a worst case scenario. This is not a normal experience for patients who undergo joint replacement.

This was, however, my mother's experience with knee replacement. I am posting this Hub partly to educate people, and partly to call for suggestions from anyone who has any expertise or similar experiences.

Childhood to Early Adulthood

Mom was clearly born with some sort of deformity in her knee, though how severe it was, we'll never know now. She had her first knee surgery at age 14, called a Meniscectomy. This is the surgical removal of cartilage. The surgery took place in 1969, when knowledge and technology was far inferior to now. Mom thinks that this surgery was completely unnecessary and the reason she has absolutely zero cartilage in her knee.

1976, however, was the year that destroyed her knee. She was told she needed surgery again, and she had the Hauser surgery, which doctors now know is a barbaric surgery that is never done anymore. This is the simplest explanation I could find anywhere online. The surgeon removes the kneecap and disconnects it, then reattaches it.


From childhood to adulthood, Mom has had "a bad leg", which essentially means constant pain, deformity, a pronounced limp, not to mention disfiguring scars. Then, as if there weren't enough problems, when I was about 2 years old, I jumped on her leg and, as they found out later, tore a ligament in her knee. She had arthroscopic surgery in 1990, in which the surgeon found the torn ligament but chose not to repair it, for what reason I do not know.

Pre-Knee Replacement

Fall of 2006: Mom is a substitute teacher at an elementary school, and an obnoxious, misbehaving, nutso child moves the process along again. She reached out a hand to guide him back into line, and he twists around, knocking her to the floor, giving her a herniated disk in her lower back, and of course she lands on her bad knee. The pain worsens throughout her entire body, and she goes to an orthopedic surgeon, who recommends arthroplasty, or total knee replacement.

Mom has severe doubts. After every surgery she's ever had, her knee has not gotten better, but worse. But this seems like the solution of a lifetime of knee problems. Everyone advises her to have the surgery (when it comes to making complicated medical decisions, suddenly everyone seems to have a medical degree). The one person who DOES have a medical degree, however, also advised her to have the surgery. Mom warned him, over and over, about the unique situation of her knee, her deformity, the lack of cartilage, the torn ligament, as well as her varicose veins and herniated disk. He assured her, in what I considered a dismissive and arrogant way, that he could fix whatever he found in there.

Surgery and the Months Following

I'm sure it is needless to say that he didn't quite accomplish what he promised. After the surgery, in late June, 2007, she stayed in the hospital for about a week in the CPM, or Continuous Passive Motion machine, which bends and straightens the knee continuously. After that, she went home, and a home physical therapist came three times a week. She barely pushed Mom at all, which actually ended up being harmful in the long run, but we didn't know that at the time. She never attempted to manually bend or straighten Mom's knee. Her knee began to freeze in a half-bent, half-straight position.

At her 1-month post-op exam, the knee surgeon showed considerable alarm at her inability to straighten her knee. He informed her that she had to have a manipulation to straighten her knee or she would never walk again. This decision was not left up to her. She asked if she could try (real) physical therapy first, and he said that was not an option. Despite the fact that this appeared to be an emergency, the surgery was postponed by the doctor's scheduler. She had the surgery in mid-August.

Frustration abounds (image source:

Frustration abounds (image source:

Manipulations... Parts 1 and 2

When Mom came out from under anaesthesia, she found her knee in a fiberglass cast that stretched from just below her hips to just above her ankle. Again, no physical therapy was possible since, well, the fiberglass cast prevented all movement. She was in the cast for 2 weeks.

They would have taken off the cast later than two weeks, but there was a strange smell coming from inside the cast. Turns out she had what was called a tunnel infection, which is named for its appearance of a tunnel from the outside of the skin toward the inside. It was treated with two rounds of antibiotics (since the first round didn't work) and pronounced cured.

Finally, 2 months post-surgery, she began physical therapy. The physical therapists worked on bending and straightening her knee for over 3 months, and they were unsuccessful. Mom's knee was stuck in a half-bent, half-straight position. Back to the doctor she went. He said, rather nonchalantly, that she should probably have another manipulation if she ever wanted to bend her knee again.

So, in December 2007, Mom returned to the hospital for the doctor to try to manipulate her knee into bending. When she awoke, she discovered that the doctor had failed to get her knee to bend any more than the physical therapists had. He was "afraid to break something." Later, he said that what he was afraid to break was a thigh bone or the prosthesis. Much pain and many hospital bills later, she was in the same place as before the manipulation.

Mom's knee after her total knee replacement

Mom's knee after her total knee replacement

Frozen Knee

After the second manipulation, she continued to go to physical therapy for months, but made no progress. She asked her doctor several times if she should still go to physical therapy, and he shrugged his shoulders and said it couldn't hurt. His "best guess" was that there is scar tissue that has grown and is preventing her from bending.

As she continually asked him, at appointment after appointment, what was wrong, why she was in so much dreadful pain, why she was so immobile, what she could do to fix things, he continually gave no answers. In fact, his favorite response to her questions about her knee is "It is what it is."

Her final visit to physical therapy was in April of 2008, as the physical therapists confessed that she was making no progress and that they could not justify further PT visits to the insurance company. The doctor, at Mom's last appointment in August 2008, informed her finally that there was nothing else he could do.

Is that acceptable? Is that possible? There's really nothing else? I refuse to accept that. Is modern medicine really so primitive that they cannot figure out WHY she can't move her leg? Has anything like this ever happened to anyone else? We are desperate for answers that no one seems to have.

Scroll to Continue
Update (image source:

Update (image source:

Update: Johns Hopkins Visit and Beyond

Mom got an appointment with the head orthopedic surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital. It wasn't exactly good news.

The doctor's favorite option is to fuse her knee: basically connect the bones so that her leg is completely straight. She would never be able to drive again and would walk with a wide gait, but the doctor believes it would take away most of her pain. Believes is the operative word: fusion is irreversible, and there is no guarantee that it really would remove the pain.

He believes that physical therapy would injure her more by putting strain on the knee and continuing to increase the swelling.

The final option is to redo the surgery: a total revision of the knee replacement. Of course, there is no guarantee that this would make her better; she could stay the same or even get worse. Because of the swelling and the fact that her knee is often hot to the touch, he has ordered a test to see if there is an infection within the knee.

Lo and behold, it turns out that she has a very large infection in her knee, which likely has been there since either the original surgery or the first manipulation. No one thought to order a test for infection until now, despite the intense pain, the swelling, the heat, and the fact that she had a tunnel infection on the outside of her knee early on in this process.

Since the infection is within the knee, she has to have a series of surgeries to correct the problem. Why? Why not just take strong antibiotics? Because blood does not flow through a titanium knee. The antibiotics could not get to the infection through the bloodstream. So, she must have a total revision anyway, which is a multi-step process. The FIRST surgery is to go in, remove the prosthetic knee, and pour antibiotic directly into the site, then close up the skin WITHOUT putting the knee back in. Then she will have an IV for about 6 weeks with antibiotics going through the bloodstream. During this time, the prosthesis will be cleaned and the infectious material removed from it. After the 6 weeks, she will have another surgery to have the knee put back in.

Hopefully that will be it, and she will begin physical therapy. However, there is a chance that all the infection will not have been removed, and they will have to do it all again.

And, after all this, there is the possibility that the infection will not prove removeable. Then the only option is to amputate the leg from the thigh downward.

Thank you for all your support, and I will continue to update you all on the progression of this ordeal.

Final Update: The Revision

Thank you, everyone, for your stories and kind words. Mom had her removal surgery in December of 2008 and the total knee revision surgery in March of 2009. In terms of the infection, things went well.

The Good News: The infection was removed, and she began intensive, 3-times-a-week physical therapy. The pain was severely lessened once the infection was gone. And she was approved for disability benefits from Social Security.

The Bad News: However, there was so much scar tissue from the original surgery and 2 manipulations that the revision doctor couldn't remove it all without endangering the life of the knee. The scar tissue proved quite problematic. Despite the constant physical therapy, she cannot and will never be able to fully bend or straighten her knee. She has a bit more range of motion than after the first manipulation, but nowhere near what she had before the first knee replacement. She will use a cane for the rest of her life, and the constant twisting of her body to walk abnormally has caused other problems in her back and hips.

Now, I don't want to end on a bad note. The pain is better, and she has more hope of a semi-normal life now that the infection is gone. It's true that she wishes she had never had the original knee replacement, but we have to work with what we have now, and she has even gone back to work part-time. Again, thank you to everyone for your support, and I wish everyone who has gone through similar experiences the best of luck.


Dorothy Arnott on January 22, 2018:

I had TKR 2 years ago 2016with an MUA six months after op because I could not bend knee without excruciating pain. MUA did not help, surgeon could only get a 90 degree bend. Even after aggressive physiotherapy my knee kept reverting backwards. I was told that I had Arthofibrosis. Got second opinion and had been waiting 12weeks for a revision of my TKR to be told today 22nd January 2018 that my Consultant’s waiting list is 26 weeks. My life is on hold @nd wonder if I should bother having it done on being told that there are no guarantees that it will work. I can not sit without my leg being elevated which is not ideal travelling by bus, train or plane. I live in Scotland and If Incould afford it Inwould go private.

ofelia arcecaicedo on July 23, 2017:

With this topics and resolutions, I feel that I am learning much about important issues.


Mrs smith on August 13, 2015:

Wow.. i was trying to research similar problems my husband is having and ran into this story. Im so very sorry for what your mom has had to go through. My husband had bilateral knee replacement almost 2 years ago. He has constant numbness, tingling, and swelling that has gone from his toes all the way up to his thighs. No doctor has an answer other than he has neuropathy. One doctor just wants to put him on high doses of gabapentin. It is just insane and crazy how there is no solution. Ive read on other sites very similar stories in which dictirs wont admit to the fact the tkr caused the nerve damage. I feel so helpless because he suffers on a daily basis. My prayers go out to your mom and all those who are suffering from what is suppose to improve ones life

Hilary on May 13, 2015:

I had a successful knee replacement just over a year ago and it's given me a new lease of life. I was cr@p at my pre op exercises so the nurse warned me if I didn't do the post op exercises I'd have to come back into the hospital and have an adjustment under an unaesthetic. That was enough to motivate me. The surgical team had done their job successfully, now it was up to me to get the best movement on my knee as possible. I followed the exercise routinely religiously for 6 weeks, I believe this is vitally important and had the bend on the bike in about two months post op. I love cycling so this was super important and I'm lucky that I love other non weight bearing activities such as swimming and water aerobics. I also can walk miles if I decide to do so. I am not allowed run or jump though I do the latter in the pool because the water absorbs the shock I'm told. I was lucky I got one of the best orthopedic surgeons in Ireland, I wasn't operated on in a posh hospital but I was operated on in a damn good one. Reading some of the horror stories here I realise how lucky I was, I'm sorry for these peoples suffering and that the operation/s didn't go well for them.

kingricardo on December 11, 2014:

8wks post tkr. Felt great til 4 days ago. Blood pooling under upper end of incision which is healed totally. Excruciating pain. Went to surgeon and dr. Drew 3 cc of blood .used crutches and laid low til today. Swelling down a little so walked to bathroom w/o crutches. Within 1/2 hr. My knee was totally full and painfull again!!!! Wudup!!! Anybody???

annakaylama on July 04, 2014:

Your doctor may prescribe or recommend the use of anti-inflammatory medications (like aspirin or ibuprofen) and cold packs, which may help to reduce inflammation as well as the pain associated with arthritis. Sometimes a local injection of cortisone helps to further reduce inflammation.

LAFMKK on May 19, 2014:

I'm trying to locate tochehale2....I read the description of your knee issue and it seems quite similar to mine....I had a horrid lst TKR, in INTENSE pain, with no relief..for 6 months...then I had a revision, (that dr told me that my kneecap was not "glued on properly), then an unsuccessful manipulation under anesthesia, (the dr. told me that I am the lst patient he has ever seen that was unable to be manipualted. I then had 2 unsuccessful arthroscopic scar tissue removals.....except for the manipulation that the dr was unable to budge my knee, all seemed to go well in surgery under anesthesia ....each doctor got my knee to bend....came out of surgery ok...amazed the drs that I was able to get around so well....go to therapy....all ok....until a few weeks pass, then eventhough I was absolutely diligent with my PT, everyday exercises, etc. my scar tissue builds up so much that I can no longer progress w/ any PT .....3 years since my lst pain/discomfort daily.....(but not anywhere near the pain that the lst surgery caused me), knee is very swollen, and I am unable to walk too far, cannot bend my knee, etc....I am now disabled....NO ONE, NOT ONE DR. KNOWS WHAT HAPPENED....(besides that the lst surgeon messed up somehow) None of the doctors had any suggestions.

I DO NOT WANT TO LIVE THE REST OF MY LIFE IN PAIN/DISCOMFORT....ANY SUGGESTIONS FROM ANYONE W/B APPRECIATED! I obviously would love to be able to bend my knee also, but I assume if the sweelling has not subsided in 3 years, that something needs to be done to help that issue to be resolved, otherwise the pain will not subside.

Desparate....and open to suggestions. Thanks.

I have been to the "TOP" TKR in the are that I live inNJ, and have also had surgery at Hospital For Special Surgery.....yet still 3 years later....I am worse than when went in for ELECTIVE TKR surgery. So disappointed, and angry!

Karoline, on March 14, 2014:

These are scary stories! I had a TKR 4 1/2 months ago. The original surgery took place Oct.29th. I went straight to in hospital rehab after3 days on the ortho floor. I had a modicum amount of pain which was manageable with meds. After going home and beginning out patient PT, bending, using stairs, I experienced what I believed to be the fluaround week 4 post surgery. Twenty four hours later the knee was seeping like a river. My ortho group sent me to the hospital for emergency surgery with their revision specialist (original surgeon was out of town) who told me I may wake up with an antibiotic spacer or they may be able to do the antibiotic wash, depending on what they found. Praise God, they washed and replaced the plastic disk and I was in an immobilizer for 2 weeks with no bending. The 2 weeks grew to almost 6 weeks due to continued seeping even with IV and oral antibiotics. During this time the revision specialist saw two times a week. My specialist warned of a third spacer surgery if the seeping didn't stop. But after much prayer the seeping did stop (although the antibiotics had cleaned out my white cells) and I was allowed to begin aggressive bending 6 weeks after the second surgery. My ortho group has a PT office that I used and I have a bend of 110 degrees which I am pleased with, I have little pain, but pray daily that the infection is gone. Oh, my infectious disease dr. has me on doxycycline twice a day. I believe the answer is good docs, both ortho and infectious disease, as well as great PT. Mine did something called ASTYM which breaks down the scar tissue to help with range of motion. I'm still using a cane, but am beginning to wean myself off. After my revision surgery I researched my doctor and found his medical degree was from Columbia Med School and among other places he did a fellowship at the Mayo Clinic. It was a long haul, but I went back to work 3 months after the original surgery and am doing well. I still do my therapy exercises at home and ride my stationary bike daily. I'm hoping and praying you all find success and normalcy with your TKR.

ProfoundPuns (author) from Maryland, USA on March 10, 2014:

To Aghast - Thank you for blaming my family on what is already a terrible situation that will affect us for the rest of our lives. Thank you for calling us idiotic to trust doctors who have medical degrees that we do not have. Thank you for telling me, her daughter, that it is MY fault for not making decisions about my capable adult mother's personal health. Thank you for being a genius, knowing everything about our decision-making process, and calling us names when I have chosen to share our story to prevent others from making the same mistakes. Thank you for assuming that all of these ideas occurred to me in the moment, and not in hindsight, and thank you for contributing what is possibly the least helpful comment I've ever seen. Please go take your negativity somewhere else.

Joann on December 21, 2013:

Just had TKR in August. Told nurse my knee was infected she said no, you don't have a fever. When I got to reHab they finally put me on antibiotics but was still in extreme pain. At home therapy was not aggressive enough. By October I Was put back in Hospital for surgical manipulation. It was just like starting over. foot. This whole time my leg is swollen twice the size of my other leg and hot to touch around incision. Dr. Could not explain. Outpatient therapist was too aggressive, he fractured my kneecap and sprained my So I hopped on crutches to get to bathroom. This caused me to fall, spraining my other foot, bruised my ribs and my jaw. I could not stand at all went to ER 3 times before they finally admitted me because I could not get to a bathroom or feed myself. I had blood test to see if I had infection, asked if I was allergic to replacement joint all answers were no. Blood work showed inflammation but arthritis will give you same results. I had a cat scan that was OK, just showed erision from surgery and normal degeneration. So I made appointment for therapy again. Thru this whole thing, my surgeon never gave me a straight answer. My leg is also two times the size of my other leg, filled with fluid. I was recently exposed to bacterial Menengitis and given a very high dose of antibiotic to prevent me from catching the Menengitis. Oddly enough my swelling in the leg went way down and the knee is no longer red, inflamed and hot to touch. So I'm thinking the Menengitis exposure and the antibiotics they gave me saved me from another painful surgery .if your instincts tell you something is wrong, you are probably very right!

Aghast on November 13, 2013:

Sorry to hear about your mother's congenital knee defect. However, the situation she is in now is by your and her own doing. There are so many obvious mistakes you both made in your story that I'm amazed she is even still alive. I can't possibly point them all out, but lets start with the obvious ones: 1. When she starts to look into doing a TKR why do you even entertain the opinion of non-medical personnel? Who cares! 2. When your personal alarm goes off because the doctor is "dismissive" in your opinion, how idiotic for you to entertain his opinion and hire him as her surgeon. Find someone you respect. 3. When the scheduler can't "fit her into the schedule promptly", find someone else who can-- how idiotic of you to tolerate this. I feel like I can go on and on! All you and she have done is mangle her knee with your bad choices, and refuse to take any responsibility for your own actions. Lastly, your poor mom having an obnoxious, misbehaving nutso 2 year old who further damaged her knee-- oh wait, that was some other random child, not you. Sorry she is in such a terrible situation, and even more sorry about the specific choices you made to put her there.

TKR53yrFem on September 24, 2013:

Sorry for all your mother endured. The warm knee feelings to the touch are normal tissue response to surgery. There is plenty of discussion on this all over the net. The "bent knee" issue, was something I was warned about 8wks ago when I had my TKR surgery. They told me not to put any pillows under my knee for that very reason. Even though it was relief of pain after surgery. They said the doctor would be forced to BREAK the knee in order to get it to ever bend again. I've heard that this and revisions are quite painful. But I got scared straight. I did all the exercises that physical therapy told me to do. I just received even more exercises that are tougher and more strenuous. I got my surgery from a Sports Medicine doctor who is a Joint Specialist. He got good grades online. So I feel pretty good about him. I have my next round of physical therapy coming up next week. Tell your mother NEVER GIVE UP!

Victor Moore on July 04, 2013:

I had total knee joint replacement in 2011 from day one I new something was wrong I did all that was ask of me by the hospital I exercised from the first day I had physiotherapy for months I had 72% of movement I went back into hospital where they bent my Knee on a machine that constantly worked for 10 hours a day for 3 days now 2 years later I have 20% movement and it is getting worse the surgeon has told me they can do no more it is still very sore and I have to use a crutch to help me walk now the other knee is heading the same way has anybody had the same problem

Post TKR on June 25, 2013:

I am reading this 5 weeks post TKR surgery. I was quite moved by your story for several reasons. I, too, had the meniscus in my right knee removed when I was 14 years old, in 1969! I wish I never had that surgery as it led to arthritis early on and a significant valgus deformity (knock-kneed) in that leg. that, in turn, lowered the hip resulting in an abnormal gait and scoliosis. Pregnancy made it worse, every fall, every "wrong move". I was able to "put off" surgery with good physical therapists and yoga teachers (later in life). I have not had the repeated surgeries and infections your mom has experienced. However, I have had a series of orthopedic surgeons who really don't want to listen to "how you're feeling" or where the pain is. They look at your x-ray and if you qualify for surgery that all they need to know. I had more foot, calf, hip and back pain than I had knee pain. I am still not sure I have made the right decision in this surgery because now I have more knee pain tha I ever had. the hip and back pain have subsided but I'm afraid its because I am not up to regular activity yet. Time will tell. I wish you and your mom all the best, and hopefully time will yield an even better outcome.

Scubacoz on October 30, 2012:

I had my first total knee replacement in June 2001 , 3 weeks later was told that it was recalled due to mineral oil being left on the surface and I would have to have it redone. Yikes! I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Well I went home and thought about this for a few months like almost a year. I decided that I would have a bilateral replacement done since I didn't want to go through it 3 times. The doctor said that I would have to go to rehab and since I had a horrible rehab experience the first time I told him I wanted him to send PT out to the house so he agreed. Anyway I had it done and did quite well . This was in 2002 and I have done quite well except the swelling in my rt knee which is the redo knee. I broke my femur in march this year, it was a spiral break and broke in several hubby and I were both concerned that it may have effected my TKR but the doc said no it looked ok. I have had pain in that knee most of the time but mostly when standing from a sitting position which we attributed that to scar tissue. Now that my surgery is healed I started walking on it a lot more and it has been hurting me a lot. Went to the doc and he ordered a CT scan. I will get the results on Thursday this week. I am hoping for PT but deep down inside I feel like I will need another TKR and really don't want to go through with this again. But I am on a walker because of the ry TKR is doing great but there is o scar tissue in there. I am a scuba diver but am concerned that my diving is over. By the way I am 62 years old. Debbie if you read this where in tx are you? I am also in Tx just outside of San Antonio. Kathy

Debby on May 31, 2012:

I want to say to many of you..I am an RN. I had a ski accident in 1997. 13 screws, two plates later plus a blood clot...I was on No weight for over a year. Yes, A year! I put myself into the pool for recovery after the site healed. After a year, we knew I would need a replacement because I had nothing to put a replacement on after the Tib/Fib Crush Injury after the accident. So, in 1998, my knee replacement. I did well for having a really horrid leg...but having had 4 surgeries during the first year to pull out metal, etc...A knee replacement was wonderful. Not near the amount of pain as the accident. I had been sent to Houston for the best doctor with the best supplies on ha d (we lived in Durango and a doctor had just arrived from Houston and did the surgeries after the accident..) MY Durango doctor sent me to Houston since that is where he trained and knew the supplies there were of better choice..The team at Methodist were awesome. I went back to Durango and after my leg incision healed, I hired a Physical Therapist that would work in the pool rather than on land!! It cost me the same...and my love of water and able to walk without Land pressures(gravity), I was soon walking on land very easily. I would suggest to all of you that like water, to go to your area pool and get in and start working your leg!! Get a therapist to go with you the first hour and give you exercises to do in the water!! You will feel amazing and will work up your legs, back, core...If you do have tissues to break down in your leg, go ahead and have the surgery to flex and break these tissues and then work it till you can get in a pool. This was a place of miracles for me. Attitude is also a big component. It is WORK. And it does HURT... Infections you cannot help! That is the hospital and doctors that will have to handle that..but a lack of movement because it hurts is our problem most times. I took pain pills at the beginning and an hour before Physical therapy to help me move. But a Good Physical therapist is worth her/his weight in gold. Good luck to you all! At age 60 now, I am swimming an hour 3-4 days a week. If I do not get in the water and move..I get stiff after a week of not working it. I don't mean harsh movement, just walking laps in a pool at waste deep level or sitting on a step in the water and doing bicycle movements for 30 min in the beginning will help! Good luck to all of you! I am on my second knee as of 5 years ago with a different doctor here in Texas. God bless you all!!

Linda on May 28, 2012:

I have had muscle spasms in the bottom of my thigh. I think I also have tendonitis. Lortab and predicate don't help. Any suggestions for pain relief? One year before surgery my doctor had me on pain patches so I could exercise and I have lost 60 pounds.

nanatina on May 07, 2012:

i had hip replacement 28/10/11 then it discolated 2 weeks later and went back into hospital to get it reset, then 5 weeks later it discolated again so had to have a new hip replacement again on 17/3/12 and its 7 weeks now and i am worried as i thought the pain wouldn't still as bad as it is , has anyone else felt this way, i am a 55 year old female, good luck to you all on your recoveries,

jersey~girl on May 02, 2012:

i was in a car accident 23 years ago due to being hit by a drunk driver. i have had 23+ surgeries due to this accident. after many knee operations, at the age of 46 i had a total knee replacement. this one surgery turned into 3...1 for breaking up scar tissue and the second to treat/ clean up an infection in the knee. now it has been two years later, I'm having hip pain, low back pain caused by many ruptured discs. I have back spasms to the point that I haven't drove more than 10 minutes in 2 years. I often wonder if all these things are related to the knee??? I'm SO SORRY your mom has had these knee issues her whole life and may not have had treatment which helped her knee condition early on. I wish her health, peace and happiness!


Positive-positive on May 01, 2012:

Sorry for the ????'s in my post, they were supposed to be various emoticons.

Positive-positive on May 01, 2012:

I am sorry that your mom's ongoing tragic outcome from tkr, etc. triggered this discussion. I am appreciative of everyone's feedback and also saddened to hear of everyone's horrible experiences. I didn't find this until two weeks after my own tkr surgery or I may have backed out!

I was born with my left knee knock-kneed and after 53 years, miniscus was ripped and ACL was mostly gone, I was walking with what my husband described as a 20 degree angle from my knee to my foot. I never thought it was that bad, but I knew it was oddly angled. I experienced very mild pain from time to time, but after sitting in a vehicle for about 90 minutes, when I got out, I could hardly move until I had stood up for about a minute and gradually started moving to make my way to the restroom. It would lock up; other times, I felt a sensation in my knee that i describe as 'loose tooth'. At those times, my lower leg felt like it was dangling and detached at the knee.

Neighbor across the street was a telephone line man for 25 years and had both knees replaced at the same time and even though he is still overweight, his new knees are pretty functional. Also, one of my former bosses had both of his knees replaced several years ago. Said it was the best decision he ever made. Both of these men said 'stick to the therapy regimens'. I went with the same surgeon the neighbor used and the hospital was UT Southwestern St. Paul in Dallas. Texas. Surgeon only needed xrays. Since I thought another opinion was prudent, I got a referral from my chiropractor for an MRI. From the MRI, I was relieved to finally understand the malformation of my left knee. My femor was closer to a 60/40 split above my kneecap instead of 50/50, with the outer side being the smaller side of the femoral split.

Realizing surgery was really my only option and my healing ability was getting worse with each passing year was my motivation to move forward. Surgery was on Monday morning, 4/16/2012. I was told to expect to stand up that afternoon and walk with a walker the next day. Surgery went well, but a shortage of hospital beds meant I was stuck in the recovery room area for 3 hours instead of the usual one hour. That delay meant that I missed the PT making rounds on Monday afternoon. Tuesday morning I was told my hemoglobin had dropped to a rating of 7. They prefer it to be at least 10. I ended up having to be given two pints of blood on Tuesday. Because that process requires constant monitoring by the nurse and I was not allowed to move from the bed, I was not able to do anything but a few bed exercises for physical therapy on Tuesday. Considering most knee replacement patients stand up the same afternoon following surgery in the morning and they start walking with a walker the next day, I was starting to feel like I was 36 hours behind where I should be. ????

The other issue we discovered around noon on Tuesday was that the ice machine provided to me in the recovery room was not pumping ice water into the knee brace around my knee. My knee was really swollen and hard to move even when the therapist was moving it with her hands holding both ankle and calf ofu leg. I was switched to ice pack bags while I received the transfusions.  ????

The occupational therapist suggested I might benefit from 7 days in a rehab facility since I felt so behind.

I knew I had to make a lot of progress Wednesday if I was going to go home Thursday. Wednesday morning was a challenge because I had to use a bedpan since I had not learned how to get out of bed and use the walker to get to the commode yet since i lost Tuesday to infusions. Cheap plastic bedpan and the sheets had to be changed! Oh such fun! ????

I did two rounds down the hall on the walker and two sets of the first seven exercises on Wednesday. Around 2:30 Wednesday afternoon an Iceman electronic ice chest with a pump and a tubular bladder that wraps around the knee was delivered to my hospital room and I was told it was mine to take home. A coworker had graciously loaned me a similar one of these units, but now I had one of my own.

When the surgeon stopped by my room Thirsday morning a little past 7, he said he had to kick me out of the hospital. I told him I thought I was going to rehab, but I hadn't heard for sure yet. Later, the nurse came in and said she had orders from the surgeon to release me to go home. Oh my goodness, my husband had figured he had some more time to be ready for my return home! ????

Since Occupational Therapy hadn't been able to work with me on bathing, etc on Tuesday or Wednesday, I made demands of the occupational therapist to help me get showered and dressed in street clothes with fresh anti-embolism stockings to go home. She happily cooperated with my requests. ????

The final challenge before leaving the hospital involved getting a prescription for pain that didn't include acetaminophen.  My husband and I do not use any NSAIDs and we had told the surgeon this in the pre-surgery appointment. It was as I was about to leave the hospital that I discovered I had been receiving hydrocodone mixed with acetaminophen while I was there. This news brought out the hulk side of my husband's personality!  ????

We finally got a prescription that met with our approval and I went home. My first outpatient therapy appointment was Friday is afternoon at 3 pm. ????

I am making progress with the therapy, bend is at 87 degrees lying down with foot flat on table. I am able to straighten it as much as I could straighten my natural deformed knee, but the calf and hamstrings do become quite painful after 5 minutes in the stretching device.

The swelling is finally at about 125% of my right knee. I am thinking positively and praying for a positive long term outcome so for now I am 'Positive-positive'. Pretty ironic since my blood type is O negative and yes, I examined both units of blood to be sure no mistakes had been made with the transfusions!

Sending Positive-positive thoughts and prayers to all who have posted here with problems. I'll post again in a few weeks.

tochehale2 on April 26, 2012:

It has been 10 months since my TKR. I still have much pain and it still want bend. I am at 90 percent movement. I am so tired of hearing everyone say "your doctor must have screwed you up. Have had three people who are in their 70's come by and show me how well they are doing since their surgery, 3 months ago. I don't know what to tell them, I don't think my Dr. intentionally set out to mess me up, and even when he broke my bone during manipulation I still thought he had intentions of making me better. Now I am still messed up, and when I go see him he says x-ray looks good, and says come back in 3 months. I think he is brushing me off. Now the other knee is hurting so bad, he puts a shot in it each visit. Now not only is both my knees hurting, had to have a shot put in my shoulder, Dr."an arthuritis specialist" says I have cane walker shoulder. Putting all my weight on the cane and right knee has messed up both. Had never heard of cane walker shoulder, but now I have. Apparently my whole body is being affected my TKR. But I am not giving up, I go back in June, and I am going to have a serious talk with Dr.

justschocked on April 25, 2012:

I had 7 surgeries on my right knee since 2004. I had my first tkr Dec 2010 which left me unable to straighten my knee or walk without pain. I had one of those doctors that didn't really listen. After a year I found out by having a bone scan the parts were loose. I knew something was wrong the first day of pt, and tried telling the doctor my leg felt stuck. Dec 2011 was back having a revision surgery, knee was taken out and spacers put in and then back for implant Jan 10 2012. Now my leg will not bend and have terrible burning like my leg is on fire and lots of pain and like a lot of you after both tkr knee always felt warm to really hot but doctor said it was normal, and I can only walk for maybe an hour or two so I stay home. Had to quit my job. I can't sit without strapping an icepack to my leg because leg doesn't bend and it's to painfull. I sucks having to carry an insulated lunch box around with ice packs in it just so you can go out to dinner with your husband. I am going to see a new doctor to find out what is wrong with my leg now, and after reading your posts am afraid to have another surgery. It is to much to much pain to go through again. I have not been pain free since before my first surgery in 2004 but am still scared about another surgery. I guess maybe I will just go back to a wheel chair, I don't think I will get any better but will keep getting worse. Good luck to the rest of you. I am looking in to sueing my doctor and sure hope I can.

Paulette on April 25, 2012:

Thank you all so much for posting. I am 39 and have had patella tracking issues since age 14. Now the knee is unstable, but I can still walk (with a slight limp) have almost full range of motion, bike, row, etc... I was considering a TKR as an option in the future, but will really reconsider how much pain I can take before I make such a drastic move.

Katy on April 10, 2012:

Two years post TKR (and manual manipulation), I'm still a mess. If I use it, I have an "angry" knee. I'm 48, a cancer survivor, but clearly not a TKR survivor. Chemo and radiatin don't hold a candle to post TKR surgery gone bad. The pain, the swelling, the sleepless nights simply don't end. I am told that during surgery my femoral nerve was severed, my quad ruptured, and now they realize the implant is loosened (and probably always was loose). I am looking for a Knee Revision Specialist. Of all things, my husband of 26 years (who is a saint of a guy) is an attorney who defends doctors and hospitals. I know all my rights. I also believe that my surgeon, who was hand picked and thoroughly researched, did the best he could. Granted, his best was not good enough for me. I want to find a Revision Specialist at John Hopkins or any reputable place. I know that JH is the birthplace of knee replacement surgery and have confidence that this is their specialty. I am blessed with good insurance. If anyone has suggestions on whom to see (or who to stay clear of), I would greatly appreciate it. I too used to be a very active (jogger, snow and water skiier, biker, walker, gardner), fun mother of boys, wife of a triathlete. However, post TKR, I am a sedentary, close to depressed, 48 year old who is eternally planted on a couch with my leg propped up by 3pm daily. I can get around with lots of Advil but the more I'm up on my leg, the more I pay for it with pain and loads of stiffness. A trip to Sam's can take me 2 days to get over. I am sorry to hear of all the other TKR challenges. God says He uses "all things for His good". Yes, I do hold Him to His promises! He gives me Hope. Thank you for any doctor suggestions!

Magee on April 03, 2012:

I'm 56 yrs old (female) and had my left knee replaced 10 years ago,and I'm still in pain. My knee is always swollen,always sore,and the side of my knee down to the middle of my leg is numb (pins and needles) its was the worse sort of surgery I ever had..I would rather suffer I believe then have them touch it again...I feel for your mom :(

Martie on April 02, 2012:

I've never heard such horror stories in my life. I definitely believe the new half-moon incision is asking for trouble. The straight line incision should go well above the knee and well below it to prevent swelling. I'm in agreement with taking knee out, using antibiotics and putting a new knee in and I believe it works for hip replacement gone bad also. One of my older colleagues walks five miles a day and couldn't walk down a hall without limping and almost falling over after first hip replacement. I am going to check into doing the same with my knee but with a different surgeon. I feel so bad for all of you.

I exercise my leg every day: knee bends, heel-toe stretches, pull leg up as far as I can to my head, still have swelling, pain but will never stop exercising; it's been three years since surgery.

tochehale2 on March 26, 2012:

I had total knee replacement on June 14th,2011. Went to therapy and got it to move 105 degrees. After that it would do no more. Went back to dr. and he said needed manipulation. Broke my femur during the manipulation. Now it only moves 90degrees and hurts so bad I scream if I try to go further. I am 57 yrs old, work outside doing mowing and cleaning, now I can do nothing, because of the pain and swelling. When people see me they say I have a quack for a dr. I don't think he intentionally was out to hurt me, but now it seems as though he just brushes me off, and I don't know what to do. Stopped my therapy, said it was only making it worse, and can't use an anti imflamatory because I am on Plavix for 6 years because of stroke. I am at the end of my rope, am depressed and can't get anyone to understand. Dr. says I have scar tissue, but doesn't say what I can do. Says see you in three months each time I go. My family is so tired of seeing me in pain, my knee swells and is hot to the touch. I see so many people have this surgery and are walking and do things after 6 weeeks. My mom had tkr, and in 6 weeks was taking care of me and she is 81 years old. I just feel that sitting around doing nothing is not helping me. the sad thing is that my right knee is worse than the left, and I cannot even think about ever having this done again. This all started from a fall, I broke my bone and tore my maniscus. Two surgeries later, I am in worse shape than ever. I thought I was the only one having these problems, till I got online and read others stories. I honestly think I got a bad knee, but dr. looks at x-ray and tells me how beautiful it is,and I tell him, beautiful doesn't mean much when it won't move. He says it may take a yr. or two to get it moving, but I can't see it, I try and try to move it but losing the battle.

phil on March 23, 2012:


helen on March 19, 2012:

my partner had TKR in july 2007. Nightmare began within days. Due to popliteal thrombosis and anaemia. Was in hospital for 3 weeks. Knee was red,hot and painful with limited bend when he left hospital. Physio not successful. Consultant not concerned. Knee manipulated under GA following february with no improvement. To cut long story short succession of locum Dr's did nothing. Asked for referal to different team. Saw Consultant july 2008. Chronic infection. £ weeks IV antibiotics could not help. Joint removed Oct 2008 and external Metal splint ( like mechano) from thigh to mid calf for further 11 months till sept 2009. Currently has fused right leg which is grossly swollen and painful left knee which needs replaced!! Oh joy. What should he do!!

Barbara on March 02, 2012:

First sorry to hear of all the trouble your mother has been going through.

As for my expierence, I had a tkr in Feb 2010 and was told I'd be good to go in about 3 month. I have been a baseball umpire for 30+ years in 2008 was the first female football offical in the state I also owned a horse farm and took care of all the chores associated with that..just sayin this so u know how active I have been, I am now a 64 years old & badly damaged. 1 month afrer the tkr I had a manipulation and continued PT..did not fix the problem let me state my leg was NEVER straight since day one! Three months after sugery had a second manipulation which time the doctor broke my femur (thigh) and schedule surgery (had to wait 5 weeks) for him to repair with rod and screws and which time he tore my patella tendon. Had another tkr in july of 2011 with a different doctor who could not gaurantee the results (he needed to get inside first)hopefully he coulld correct my leg.

Well it helped a "little" with the daily pain, but I too have a frozen leg, it is in a bent postion and cannot be straightened. I walk with an elevated right shoe and with a crutch and I too am starting to have hip and back problems because of the "unnatural"gate.

I know I'm stuck with these results and must learn to live with them but I'll tell you I went from 61 (time of knee replacement)to 91 in one night..God bless your mother and know that there are other people in her shoes that feel frustration and pain

Dianne Nichols on November 22, 2011:

I had a TKR in June of 02, then back in the hospital in July with it being infected along with them doing a manipluation. I'm still not able to straighten my knee, nor squat or do any of the things I use to do. On antibotics on and off since the operation due to an abcess that comes and goes for the past 9 years. The pain is unbearable some days, It seems I drag my leg, the mornings are the worst. I'm 45 years old now, and due to this surgery, I have hip and back problems now. If I only knew what I do now back then, I would of never had this done.

veronica wanderlich on September 17, 2011:

I had arthroscopic surgery on my right knee in 2008. lasted 4 months with pain, Dr. said I ned full knee replaceent. i monthin therapy 1 month of home therapy. was not allowed to put foot down only the toe. Dr, wanted another surgery. no way I have a device using my own kneecap devise is loosing. pain and swelling cannot sleep get out of car. the surgery was because I fell on the knee , now I still have the kneecap which had a hairline crackin my knee. no success with Dr. or lawyers,,should have checked further before surgery. I exercise walk drive but with pain. good luck to your mother.

Dee on August 21, 2011:

June 2009 had TKA surgery. Pain never went away and have nerve damage. Leg is still numb. Went to second doctor and one thing was I was allergic to implant. Had a second TKA surgery January 2011. Original pain still there. The first doctor did something wrong and now I am in constant pain, numb leg, and on pain Meds. The second doctor is great and still trying to figure out the problem. Still have problems with warmth and inflammation in knee. The left knee will eventually have to also be done and I dread that time. I feel so sorry for all who have problems with this surgery. It should make things better, not worse. I suggest to others if there is any chance of allergies to get more than a patch test. There is a blood test that is outstanding.

Matt Stark from Albany, CA on August 09, 2011:

Best of luck to everyone. A TKA is a very serious surgery with a very long rehab process. There are many variations out there and technology is constantly changing. Doctors sure don't know everything, so it's best to ask as many questions as possible prior to surgery. As a PT, I can definitely attest to the fact that everyone has a different experience and needs different things. In my experience, exercise and movement are crucial early on, but only to each unique persons tolerance. 1 day might be all they need initially and 3-5 days per week may be too much. But the person who can tolerate it, I say keep it moving. I'm happy to answer any rehab questions. Good luck to everyone.

Howard Lofton on August 07, 2011:

I hope your Mom gets better . I have had 2 knee surgeries . The 1st was tkr Sept. 2010 I had pain and my leg would just short out and lose feeling falling a few times. My Dr. said I must have a low tolerance for pain ?? What a laugh for someone with leg /back pain for at least 25 years of my 57 years . Forward on to 2011 the Dr. said that I should have a revision . But when he went in he decided to replace everything ? So far so good pain and some small problems but I can stand and walk . But my other knee will not ever see the knife . To much of a chance to repeat the problems again. Thank You and to anyone wanting or needing TKR do your homework please .

Not Every Dr. Cares and they only look at the profit and the amount of cases/ people waiting

At least in my case .

bridgette moore on July 11, 2011:

In 2003 I began to limp for no apparent reason. Just yesterday I was jogging and working 12hr shifts as a nurse. In Dec 2003 I had orthoscopic knee surgery that I initially complained about. After extensive P.T. and H2O therapy I still c/o and Dr. Mesghali told me "wel, you just live with it which is what I did. After six months I went back to work and four years later, one day, four years later Feb.16,2006 without any warning I developed swelling, pain and wartmthness I consulted two new ortho docs and x-rays and bone scan the prosthesis was loose and the only choice I was given was to have a revision. So, Sept 13, 2010 I had my second knee surgery on my left knee. I have never been satistied unable to fully extend my knee. I did extensive therapy, I had CMP machine and Extentionator without susuccess. Ten months later I have and x-ray that showed suspicion for looseness of the device not to mention I feel like I that something is terribly wron. My ambulating has been and seems to be getting worse with time, disabled, looks and feels like my knee is on backwards. I'm so discouraged. Mind you, I was not over weight and I am also very active but this is really trying to get the best of me. But I know a God who does not make mistakes and knowing this is what gets me through day by day and especially the days that my trust in doctors no longer exist. Let me remind you that I am a nurse.

Stupidknee on May 25, 2011:

I had a replacement 4 years ago at the age of 50. I was very active before, teaching spin class, rock climbing, running ect. After, the knee froze at an odd angle even with PT. Went in for manipulation and PT again. It has refroze. General Doctor sent me to PT who said they can't get it to move at all. I can no longer ride a bike or do any of the thing I love to do. Coming down stairs means turning sideways, getting out of the car is really interesting since I have to pull it out behind me and sort of hop to clear the door. I go back to the ortho doctor next month to see what they can do. I have ongoing pain that they want me to take IB for. I can't sleep at night because of pain and too much IB gives a bladder infection. Hope they can fix this darn thing so I have control again instead of it.

DePuy Pinnacle lawsuit on April 25, 2011:

Thank you for sharing your mother's experience. I'm sure the pain, infection, and other side effects that she went through are similar to the symptoms that thousands of patients with DePuy Pinnacle hip replacements are experiencing due to their defective implants. Thanks again for the info!

Zimmer Knee Recall on April 01, 2011:

Very nice hub' My mother will be interested reading on this one. I am excited with her because she will be having a full knee surgery. She was scheduled this May. She is 64 and the doctor recommend for a full surgery. Hope the operation will be going fine.

george007 on March 26, 2011:

My dad is having second knee replacement, right now the bone is infected and they removed the metal joint temporary placed a stem with saturated antibiotic and waiting for the infection to disappear. He so mad at first doctor that he wants to sue him for mal practice has anyone gone through this process and what is expected.. please help thank you great site...

larose501 on March 02, 2011:

I'm sorry for your Mom and all the people who have been duped into this surgery. I had the tkr on my right knee in 2002 and it was a horror story from the start, broke the cartilege in both knees in car accident. Really just too much to write now maybe later. Today I bend enough to get in and out of the car but I have to help the knee by grabbing my pant and guiding my leg in and out of the car. I have not had a day without pain, swelling or my knee being warm to hot. Yes I had antibiotics and that is a horror story on it's own.

I've been limping around 8 years now oh yeah lost my job because of this. My insurance probably built that doc a summer home, don't have ins anymore. Really sad but reading all these post has made me feel better. I'v been kicking me for a long time and at least now I know I'm not the only person taken by the Ortho racket.

Lorna Apted-Wright on March 02, 2011:

All I can say is that I have had EXACTLY the same problem. I am44and hadmy first new replacement at the age of 40. I contracted Acid Fast Bacilli which is a form of TB of the bone. This ate away at some of the shin & thigh bone. I also had to have an IV line in my arm for 3 months and my husband was trained as my nurse to administer the drugs. I had no knee for 6 months and had antibiotics poured into the joint and a 'spacer' inserted into the knee and a brace on for the full 6 months. I then had a 2nd total knee replacement which has now left me with a permanent bent leg and therefore this is having a serious effect on my other knee which is arthritic;my hips & spine. I am still on crutches and use a wheelchair outside the house to get around due to the very severe pain I expereice. What a nightmare the past few years has been!!

faith66100 on February 26, 2011:

I am going same thing had surgery 3 months ago and I can't straighten my knee and the pain what causes I had two manipulations and now the doctor is giving up my therapist put heat on the back of knee and massage it the heat strecthes out the muscle for the time being but it bends right night I put on a brace for 2 hours to help

gwy_native10@yahoo on February 16, 2011:

i had a total knee replacement i was in the hospital for six days.may second day after the surgery a nurses aid hung my leg 120 degee back and couldn't get my leg out of leg rocker it bends my leg so that was very pain full. then day 5 i couldn't get nobody to help me back in bed after the nurse aide helped me in a chair so i tired to take about 4 steps to my bed the aides 2 of them come running in my room to help me yeah what help they told me to grab the bed rail so i did the bed rail was not locked so i fell with the rail i beged them to call my dr.because there was blood coming from my leg nobody showed up and i layed in a bloody bed bed for at least 2 hours my kids told the nurse and the aids to bring them the sheets and they would change my bed and to get my doctor up there but he was out of town.hears the bad thing yes it gets worse a fiddle back spider had been eating on my leg for 6 days my leg is still black from the spider bite im still in a wheel chair or i have to use a cane.i went back to the hospital one month later because i had red streaks running around the bite so my doctors p.a. did his own test and came back 2 days later and told it was a spider bite but my leg is so messed up and the pain never goes away.get this the same doctor wants to do another knee replacment on my left knee.but i will never let him touch me ever again.i have pics but they would gross you out its that bad.sometimes i think maybe if i just had it cut off i would feel better.i feel sorry for anyone whos ever had a bad knee surgery.feeling bad in oklahoma....

Diane on February 11, 2011:

I had tkr on both knees 6 weeks ago. My left knee is bending at105. My right on a good day 90. They are tAlking about manipulation but I'm scAred to death. I don't want to have to sartre all over. My main complaint is not sleeping at night. Any suggestions ?

Ray Crosato on January 30, 2011:

I had a total knee replacement TKR.

I was in the hospital for 22 days because I had a diarrhea. I was put on ignore for 16 of those days without physio. now I am home and on aggressive therapy for a week and a half and I am feeling more pain and I can barely move.

Lisa lEE on November 28, 2010:

I feel for your mom and everything she had to go through to correct the problem. I had a total knee replacement surgery in jan 2010 and manuplication in april 2010 and me knee is warm to the touch and it will not straighten out,some of your mom;s symtoms sound like what I am going through and I am getting the same answers.

I am happy that she is doing so much better.

Lisa Lee

catglass on October 27, 2010:

I read some of these comments before I had surgery on July 20, 2010 and wish I had taken them even more seriously than I did. I know 7 people who have had a TKR within the last year. (Which is sort of amazing in itself since I don't know all that many people). Of those, only 2 are happy with the results. And one of them won't be if he ever sees a video of himself walking. Problems the others have had include stroke, no improvement, "re-surgery" and in my case an ongoing infection possibly caused by a reaction to the dissolving stitches coupled with MRSA. Although they don't really know.

I supposedly went to one of the best orthopedic surgeons at one of the best hospitals on the west coast. From beginning to end, the whole experience was one of the worst and most frustrating of my life.

In my opinion, a TKR is just the latest designer surgery being promoted by the AMA, hospitals, and upscale orthopedic groups. The surgery is quite expensive, requires numerous visits and ongoing therapy, and just enough people seem to have good luck with them to make them justifiable as well as fabulously profitable.

If you MUST have a knee replacement please do so only if there are absolutely no other options. Make sure that you really trust your doctor and check out the hospital. AND make sure that your surgeon is competent with post-surgery issues. (Mine handed me an alcohol swab to treat a MRSA infection). If you are still getting around fairly well, PLEASE consider losing weight if necessary and doing some simple knee exercises daily. I honestly think that I would be much better off if I had just lost 20 pounds and gone swimming three times a week!

So don't let your family, your doctor, or anyone else talk you into having a TKR if you are not absolutely sure that it's your only option. Chances are you'll be okay if you go ahead with the surgery. But there's always that chance that something might go terribly wrong as it has with mine. While you're deciding, go look up osteomyelitis. Just another little problem you might have after surgery that they tend to gloss over...

Tina on August 31, 2010:

I am 41 yrs old, I had a tkr in April 2010 i was 40 at the time. Things did not go well. I had 2 blood transfusions and wound up in icu almost in a coma. Anyway, I did pt in the hospital 3 times a day tues,wed and was discharged to my house thurs morning. my insurance would not pay for an impatient rehab. My dr set up for home health care to come to my house 3 times a week plus i had a cpm machine that i used several times a day. she never once touched my knee. she had me sitting in a chair doing leg lifts and standing on my toes holding my couter top. Needless to say I wound up with a lot of scar tissue build up. I was going to outpatient pt in a hospital 3 times a week for 3hrs a day. my pt could not get my knee over 70 degrees flexion. i was put in 2 dynasplints. one for the day and one to sleep with. by july 2010 my dr scheduled me for a knee manipulation aug 2, 2010. my dr was able to manipulate my knee 125 under anistesia. of course i had complications with that to. my blood pressure wound up 220 over 135 and i was screaming when i came through. my anistesiologist forgot to put the nerve blocker in me and my dr told him make sure it was put in. anyway, i returned to pt the very next day and on my own i was able to get my knee to 80 degrees. also found out i am allergic to latex now. severe blisters on my knee from surgical tape. It is now Aug 31,2010 and I am only up to 100 on a good day. My swelling has gotten worse. the pain on the front of the knee is very painful and my pt said its my component and could hurt for months. I am really starting to think i have a infection or something isn't lined up right. i can walk up stairs but not down them. i cannot drive so i am out of work for 5 months now. my job is not to thrilled with me at this point. i go back to my dr on sept 7, 2010. not sure what i should ask him or expect. i can't live in this pain anymore. i'm 4 ft 10 in and very under weight (started at 98lbs in april and i am down to 77lbs as of aug) ~ i was told my dr used a stryker knee in me. whatever that means, i no its a brand but it looks a lot bigger then my other knee but that can be all the swelling still. there are times my knee is so hot it freaks me out. i ice my knee and elevate it constantly. i am still in pt as of right now but my insurance will only pay for about 10 more visits. i need help and advice. i am about to loose my mind. my family is about to run for the hills, they have seen me suffer way to long. my dr who did my tkr did 3 other surgeries on the same knee for me. he spealizes in tkr. i did my research and took classes to prepare myself. obviously it hasn't gone as planned. oh and what the hell is sleep????????? i've tried it all from over the counter to prescription sleep aids. pain pills my dr changes so that i dont build up a tolerence but nothing takes the pain away and never did. i no i am all over with this but i am scared. i am to young to be loosing this much time of my life. anyone with any helpful info i would greatly appreciate. thanks

ProfoundPuns (author) from Maryland, USA on August 12, 2010:

Yes, my mother's knee was very swollen, red, and hot to the touch. It doesn't always mean an infection, but those were the signs that my mom had.

Shelly M. on August 10, 2010:

I had a knee replcment 9 weeks ago, my knee is very swollen, red and hot. i still have a lot of pain and i am still walking with a walker.

my surgen is saying "everything is fine", but i feel that something is wrong. did you had the same?

Very sorry about the spelling mistakes.

Please advise, thanks

Jodiann on May 08, 2010:

Hi, I am so glad you have this website up for it really has turned out to be a great forum for sharing experiences. Thank you.

Dear Janmaret, don't give up. Keep up with exercises. I can only encourage you and tell you from experience that it is possible to get more range of motion/ flexibility, keep in mind that you have to get your muscles strong, One exercise that has helped me was putting a phone book on the floor next to a counter, then step up on it with leg you had surgery on, this will one help stretch your muscles in back of leg and two strengthen muscles, make sure you have a balance and use the counter to balance you as you lift your other leg off floor, at first this will be hard to do, but trust me stick with it and before long you will have strengthen the muscle in leg. Also if you can get a hold of a stretching band (get a long piece)start with yellow, then upgrade to green, usually can get them from a theraphy or rehab clinic. What you need to do once you have this is tie it around a sturdy table leg, one that will not move on you, your are going to have it wrapped around leg (like making a loop), so that you can slide the band up behind the joint of your knee, you may want to wrap either a little hand towel around the band before placing behind knee joint, just for comfort effect, then stand straight with legs slightly apart, making sure you have balance, slowly bend your knee forward and pull your knee back, you do not need to go down to floor with this exercise, you will get better strength in biulding muscles by just going a little and concentrate using the thigh muscle in leg to retract back. Also another suggestion may be that you may need an manipulation by an ortho surgeon due to scarring that biulds up and your muscle may have atrophied (this is when the muscle shrinks and tightens up, literly losing muscle), just fom what you have shared, I am not sure if they put you on a CPM right after surgery or not, but evenutally you should be able to bend past 90 degrees. I am not a doctor or therapist, I am CNA that tore all cartilage in leg back in 2007 lifting a patient.

I then had one surgery which thought would fix everything, but however didn't, then had to have a total knee replaced in 2009 then I had the manipluation surgically ontop of it. It took me over one month to lift leg off bed, I have had theraphy for over two years. Last November I was diagnosed in same leg with cancer, I have had two more surgeries since 12/31/09 and now am fixing to see another surgeon because of my total knee replacement has not taken.

If I can share anything with you and it helps great, I can tell you that each day you sit and do not do anything you lose muscle about 5%, so please do your self a favor and exercise even if it is sitting in chair, every bit helps and you will feel better in the long run. For resting I found believe it or not that QVC sells this Tony Little Pillow and it has been my lifesaver, it cradles my knee and leg in all the right spots,it really has helped relieve some of the pain, I unlike most people can not handle pain pills as they do not stay down, and since cancer surgery have been real sick and I fight daily from not passing out. I also use ice on knee 20 min at a time. I do a lot of praying and I know that God does not give use more than we can handle and we are stronger than we really know. We just have to trust that each day we will get better and thank him for the little things in life that comes our way. Like the birds singing in the morning, I have a pair of doves that return every year to my front porch, may be funny but, I look at it that this way that God saying I have not forgotten you and I know your situation for if I can provide for the birds, I can provide and I care for you. Having cancer has changed a lot on how I have looked at life all of a sudden things that where so major have become minor and the the little things in life have been the most rewarding things to live for to see, like the rain falling outside hitting against my back door, watching what happens after and my tulips and lillies blooming next to shed. I have a lot of challenges maybe a little more than the average because of higher medical bill now and not being able to work at the moment, and I have good day and bad days, but I always know that God or a higher power however you believe is always their, all I have to do is look out my window and it is a constant reminder. I guess what I am saying is be encouraged, be thankful in the little things and you can accomplish great steps by starting out taken a little step forward each day. You are in my prayers and if you want to talk anytime my email is

janmaret on April 29, 2010:

I had a complete knee replacement July 8th 2009, got to 110 degree bend but my knee stayed swollen red and warm to the touch. I knew something wasn't right and kept saying something to the surgeon who did it, he assured me it was normal. We finally convinced him to send me to get IV antibiotics at an infectious disease clinic, as soon as the doctor saw me he said you have an infection and need to see a specialist, the specialist in turn immediately stated I had an infection and sent me to a doctor who treated knee replacement and bone infections. Dec. 4th 2009 I had my replacement removed and a antibotic spacer was placed in my knee and I was on IV antibiotics every 8 hours. After nine weeks in an immobilizer and antibiotic treatment I was given a revision surgery, Jan 20th 2010 and placed in a immobilizer for another two weeks. I have been going to physical therapy for quite some time, using a dynasplint and still only have a 60 degree bend on a really good day. Does anyone know what I can expect for a bend, how far I may be able to get I am only 47 years old and I can't sit in a chair without discomfort due to my leg not being able to bend at a 90 degree angle, will I ever get 90 degree's??

DJB on April 18, 2010:

These are all unfortunate stories but in reality many many people have this surgery and it is success rate is very high.Best advise is to use a surgeon that does a lot of knees and hips. I am having it done and my dr. is one of the best but I researched for him and the knee joint I am getting.

I expect to have a great outcome.. These stories should not deter someone from having this surgery... but you should wait until its last option.

steve on April 12, 2010:

hi i had total knee (lt) last year 2009 in june and haven't been able to bend now sense the operation .honestly ive done everything i was told by doctor and all the workouts and after care i had to have on time and as much as i could bear . now one year later im still in trouble and im have to be put alseep so the doctor can bend my knee and try to grind the scar tissue from my knee .im conserned but i doono what else to do but let him and i pray it works because its hell living like this maybe at best 80degrees without pain and thats it . if you know of anyone that had had this done please let me know and i will listen to see how they are doing . thank you for your time and good health to all .

carol on September 26, 2009:

my husband has had 3 total knees replacement. he got mrsa staph after the first one 8 years ago and now the infection is into his leg bones. (osteomyelitis). his leg drains in 3 different places. he has tried many antibiotics including vancomycin, daptomycin, rifampin, zyvox, and backtrim. he is allergic to all of them. he has been on doxycycline for 8 years, and that is the one he is still on but it isn't controlling the infection. his last knee replacement was 2 months ago and it is already loosening due to the infection. if anyone has any ideas please let me know. my email is we are open to all or any ideas. our doctors are awesome but have run out of ideas other than amputation. thanks for yourhelp

Roberta K. McCabe on July 24, 2009:

Hello: Your poor Mother. I have gone through some of what she has gone through, including 5 knee operations. Two on the left knee and three on the right. My right knee keeps getting worse and worse and, still the orthopedist who did the surgery will admit he did nothing wrong. Yesterday, my knee went out on me when I got out of bed and now I find myself barely able to walk.

There has to be a hell out there for these doctors who think they are bigger than life itself. I hope your Mom comes along well this time.

61994 on July 15, 2009:

My husband had total knee replacement surgery on April 9, 2009 and I'm concerned and I am angry.

Back in the late 70's he had injured his knee and had a series of surgeries to repair/remove cartillage. The last surgery was approximately 1980 and at that time he was told he would eventually need a total knee replacement but they wanted to wait as long as possible. He had knee pain and stiffness over the years but nothing unmanageable.

In the past year or so, almost 30 years after the original knee injury, he started working out at the gym and suddenly he's having a lot of pain and swelling in that knee. He goes to see the OS (someone who hadn't seen him in years) and they took an xray. The doctor walks in, looks at the xray and without even examining him or looking at the actual knee said "you need a total knee replacement". Mind you he had not had any physical therapy, injections, or any treatment whatsoever for this knee and the doctor said he didn't want to try any treatments if he was just going to end up having the knee replacement anyway. They scheduled the surgery for two weeks later.

We tried to read as much as possible but unfortunately we read only the technical articles that indicated a specific course of recovery and didn't say much about the things that could go wrong. We should have read more sites like this one. My husband has had many back surgeries including a 7 level fusion and osteotomy and was already taking narcotics for pain at the time of the knee surgery, so you can imagine how it went when the OS expected him to get by on less pain medication after surgery than he was taking before surgery. He also has post polio syndrome and COPD and was on oxygen at night for sleep.

After surgery he developed both pneumonia and a blood clot while in the hospital and was hospitalized for 9 days. I realize it has only been three months since surgery but he is still in considerable pain and his knee is twice the size of the other knee. His breathing issues became much worse after surgery and he now needs oxygen during the day and gets winded very easily and feels like he is a prisoner in his own home since he has been unable to go out or do anything. I remember before the surgery he asked the doctor when he would be able to return to the gym and the doctor said "two or three weeks". That seems almost laughable now.

At this point we feel he is far worse off than he was before surgery. We feel he was rushed into this and not at all prepared for what was to come and was led to believe the recovery was going to be quick and easy and he'd be back to normal in no time. The OS likes to blame any complications or anything that isn't going according to plan on something the patient has done wrong and even told me my husband must have "low pain tolerance". Does he know how painful a 7 level fusion is? He had an appointment three weeks ago with the surgeon who said that if he aspirated the fluid from his knee he would feel a lot better and the swelling would improve. He stuck that needle in his knee over and over and couldn't get anything out.

Any activity at all causes him to become short of breath, and that wasn't happening before this surgery. His lung doctor is involved now, but was not consulted before the surgery. He has lost nearly 25 pounds and was a bit underweight to begin with, so is now pretty much skin and bones. He went from being an active 61 year old man who was working out at the gym every day to a frail depressed man lugging around an oxygen tank who is almost in constant pain.

At this point we would never recommend this surgery to anyone unless the outcome was a DEFINITE improvement over living with the knee prior to surgery. We don't know what's going to happen at this point but he's feeling like life as we know it is over.

I am concerned but at the same time I'm angry that we weren't given more information about this surgery. We were led to believe that he would be able to DRIVE in two weeks, return to the gym in 2 or 3 weeks, and was going to have a totally new and pain free knee in no time. I realize that it's our own fault for not doing our homework, but aren't doctors supposed to advise of all the possible complications?

Darrell Walker on June 21, 2009:

I have also had a bad experience with these so called Great knee replacements. They did a partial 3 years ago when I was 40, and told me it would make a world of difference. No pain, full strength, even the chance that I would be able to run. Well, after the doctor put the wrong size piece in, and then after it popped loose, and apparently he could not go look and see the mistake he made, they just cancelled my insurance. Easy way out for them. The total knee came a year laeter, and the doc who did that had to cut and stretch the patellar tendon. About 3 months later when I was complaining of the pain, he said "oh, looks like someone did some work on your patellar tendon" when I said he did, he said he didn't know why my knee was hurting. When I asked if it could be a nerve problem he said we are beyond any nerve issue, they are all dead. Then I asked why could I still feel my feet? Sometimes I wonder why these guys cannot admit to mistakes they made, and the prosthetics companies owning up to their faults. We are not talking about atomobiles here, this is peoples lives. And when they ruin your life because they didn't pay attention, they get mad if you want to sue them. Give me a freakin' break

How's your Mom?

Lloyd on April 16, 2009:

I just had bone scans today for the same reasons and it appears that the same multi-stage operation is being looked at. The pain is awful but this upcoming surgery will be no piece of cake. Already had 3 replacements in 4 years.

John G. on April 06, 2009:

I had a full knee replacement on November 10th. December 10th, I was getting ready for outpatient physical therapy, when I woke up at 5am, I couldn't walk, went to the hospital, I had a staph infection which my knee had to be reopened, and I then had a pick line put in for iv antibiotics for 60 days straight. I asked the doctor why when I left the hospital after the initial surgery why I wasn't given antiobiotics when I left the hospital it was because with mersa and other staph infections that they are more resiliant to the current antibiotics. I would have rather been given the option for antibiotics. December 18th, I was back in the hospital with a blood clot the length of my leg. December 29th I wound up being hospitalized because of all the pain meds in my system I couldn't go to the bathroom, and the thinking was a GI bleed. February 14th, after 30 physical therapy sessions I wasn't making any progress I had my knee manipulated at the time I had an 18 degree bend when the knee was straight, and could only bend it up to 65 degrees. I can now bend it 90-95 degrees. I am scheduled to have surgery at the end of June beginning part of July to have arthroscopy to remove the scar tissue, with a manipulation. I have to wait that long due to the blood clot to fully dissolve. BTW I am a 42 year old male, who shouldn't have to be going through all this. This was supposed 6 weeks of down time, not 6-9 months.

Sharon on March 27, 2009:

I am so sorry about your mom knee trouble. I had total knee replacement on my left knee January 28, 2009. I had to have a transfusion after surgery because I lost so much blood while I was in the CPM and the staff didn't notice. I had surgery on a Wednesday and went home the Saturday after. I had 2 days of the physical thephy getting me up on my feet and walking with a walker. After going home I had no Physical Therapy for 4 days and then just twice a week for about 25 minutes. By the second week home I got worried because my knee would not bend of straight completely and I had the doctor to send to a physical therapy clincic. It has helped but by that time the doctor put me back in the hospital to maniplate the knee and more CPM. As of today I have to put 10 to 15 pound of weights on my knee for about 20 to 30 minute 6 to 7 times a day. Hang ankle weights on my ankle while I lay on my stomach 3 to 4 times a day. Wear a brace at nite to force it straight. I think the leg will get straight it just may take another month or two. In closing if I had to do it again I don't think I would. I had it because if bone against bone in my knee now I think just amputation would have been easier and cheaper. I think I would be back at work. I wish your you and your mother best wishes and good luck she's in my prayers.

sabrina on February 13, 2009:

i had a total knee replacement 3 times on the same knee about 6years ago and i am having ploblems with my knee to this day there is times that i can,t sleep because of the pain. what do you do when the doctor makes the mistake? MY doctor put my knee in the wrong way and then told me it would take time to heal.when it did not heal the right he said i needed another knee replacement so i let him do it again.this time he put the prosthesis up to high and i could not bend my knee. i told my husband i didn,t want to go through this again. after all the pain i had to go through i finally went to pitts hospital and received 3rd knee replacement. and needless to say i,m still in lawer will take my case because they say i had another doctor correct the problem which the problem is not corrected

a.w on January 19, 2009:

I had a Total Knee Replacement in 2006 now i found out i have a blood pool in my leg. I al so told my doctor i had vericous veins he said that was ok.A few months after the surgery it looked like my veins were moved around and now my leg is always swollen. I"ve had a Nuclear Bone Scan, Ultra Sound and before all that Xray.Now they want to stick a needle in my leg { the joint area} to get joint fluit to test for infection. Your mom is worse of then me. It's hard to get answers and help. I hope that all goes well.

ProfoundPuns (author) from Maryland, USA on November 27, 2008:

Thank you all for your thoughtful comments. My mom has now gone to her fourth doctor and it turns out that she has a very large infection in her knee, which likely has been there since either the original surgery or the first manipulation. No one thought to order a test for infection until now, despite the intense pain, the swelling, the heat, and the fact that she had a tunnel infection on the outside of her knee early on in this process.

jim on November 26, 2008:

My wife had total knee replacement and completed therapy. A few months after completing therapy her knee became hot and it wasn't as limber as her other knee. (she had total knee replacement surgery on the other knee the previous year). She returned to the surgeon and he said there was scar tissue and ordered more therapy. The therapist was only able to achieve a slight increase in range of motion. Finally, the therapist suggested a splint made by Dnasplit Systems, Inc. After three months wearing the splint her range of motion increased to about 118. Dynasplint has representatives that work with specific rehab centers. In our case the representative covered Connecticut.

DCW on November 19, 2008:

Hi Profound - I too am a victim of a total knee replacement gone bad. My doctor tells me I may be in pain and totally disabled for the rest of my life. I have tried many things, some useful, some not. At least I may be able to validate some of your mother's experience. I also know someone who has had a fused knee. Please post a comment if you'd like to communicate further.

Patty Inglish MS from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on October 17, 2008:

Rochelle - sorry to hear about your mom!

ProfoundPuns - my prayers go up for you all as well.

Rochelle Frank from California Gold Country on October 17, 2008:

What a terrible ordeal for your mom . . . and the rest of the family. I hope somethig can be done to help her. Doctors usually seem to present things as being routine, but there can always be complications.

My mom had "succesful " total knee replacement 11 years ago and died of a heart attack two days later. I now believe it was because of improper follow up to prevent clotting.

Please get as much advice and as many opinions as possible.

ProfoundPuns (author) from Maryland, USA on October 17, 2008:

I really appreciate your taking the time to read and respond. I will definitely look into your suggestions. We are willing to listen to any advice at this point.

Patty Inglish MS from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on October 17, 2008:

GREAT WRITING! Here are my thoughts:

I've worked on knees and ankles many people for a long time in movement therapy --

Scar tissue can be removed. One friend of mine had that done and was able to walk better on her artificial knees. Plus, there is a preparation that can be poured into the surgical site during the operation to prevent such scarring. Why do not more professionals use it?!

Second, there are male and female knee replacements. Did they use a MALE replacement on your mother? This has kept a friend of mine from walking much for 10 years -- she's short AND has male knee replacements and her legs just won't work, mechanically.

Third, we've used PIG CARTILAGE IN KNEES since around 1986. Also, football players have had strips of MUSCLE taken from the thigh and sewn into the region of the destroyed tendon and ligament with great success since that time as well. But perhaps only sports stars are able to receive this treatment? Unfair!

Fourth, in my work, I find that movement therapy must be done at least 3-5 [3 is minimum] times a week, every week for several months and exercise must be kept up for the entire lifespan, or joints stiffen.

Fifth, find a doctor that is a more recent graduate in the Orthopeodic speciality, because he will have more and more up-to-date know-how and be more willing to work with you. With the old doc, it's more about insurance limits and not wanting to get into it any more and risk malpractice, and the limit of his kowledge. All docs don't know the same things! OR, find a specialist in accupunture or accupressure that would look at the knee on a sliding fee scale if not covered by insurance.

I worked with a young man who could not bend his knees at all and had to walk on his toes becuase of it. Within less than 2 years, he was completely straightened out and did not have to have surgery at all (saved $60K at that time). His advantage was that the long bones were still growing and I halped stretch him gradually as he contined to grow. Still, this shows hope.

Related Articles