Total Knee Replacement - Experience

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What is a total knee replacement?

A total knee replacement is a surgical procedure whereby the diseased knee joint is replaced with artificial material. The knee is a hinge joint which provides motion at the point where the thigh meets the lower leg. The thighbone (or femur) abuts the large bone of the lower leg (tibia) at the knee joint. During a total knee replacement, the end of the femur bone is removed and replaced with a metal shell. The end of the lower leg bone (tibia) is also removed and replaced with a channeled plastic piece with a metal stem. Depending on the condition of the kneecap portion of the knee joint, a plastic "button" may also be added under the kneecap surface. The artificial components of a total knee replacement are referred to as the prosthesis.

The posterior cruciate ligament is a tissue that normally stabilizes each side of the knee joint so that the lower leg cannot slide backward in relation to the thighbone. In total knee replacement surgery, this ligament is either retained, sacrificed, or substituted by a polyethylene post. Each of these various designs of total knee replacement has its benefits and risks.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: lynn, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: June 10

I had a total knee replacement on 4/6/16, it has been a little over two months, and it is still painful. Some days are better than others. I am going to physiotherapy, it is stiff at times and I have numbness in my foot. I also ice it a couple times a day. I have cut down on pain medications where some days I only take a half of pill and later in the day take Advil. Other days I will end up taking half of pill in the morning and another half in the evening. I really didn't think that it would take this long for a pain free recovery and I am very concerned because I am still using pain medications. My physiotherapist says it takes time.

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Comment from: Hopeful, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 13

I am seven weeks past my total knee replacement and this is my first week back to work. Although physiotherapy was trying to prepare me to go back to work, all the walking and standing has been killing me. I don't sleep well at night because my knee and sides of my legs ache. The scar is super sensitive and the skin over my kneecap burns when you touch it, even with bed sheets. My knee remains feeling heavy, stiff and achy. And it doesn't feel like I'll ever be anywhere close to normal any time soon. The original pain is gone, but I didn't have any idea I would be trading it for something equally bothersome. I am still propped up by pain pills and muscle relaxers. I have been an obedient patient and have done all I've been asked, but it still seems like a long haul.

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