Knee replacement

My TKR is on 20 October, I have osteoarthritis in both knees I'm having the left one done first, I'm really frightened but the pain is pretty bad now and I will end up in a wheelchair if I don't go ahead with the op.

I've not stayed in hospital before and not sure what to take with me, do you dress during the day or stay in dressing gown, any tips really appreciated, someone said to take a small fan as they got hot, many thanks

27 Replies

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  • Try to keep it minimal - there isn't much room. Toiletries, night things, your medicines, something to read, a little money if you want a newspaper. You'll need a decent pair of supportive, flat shoes & day clothes that are easy to get into - your physio will involve practising standing, walking & getting dressed. As for the fan - most hospital wards are quite hot but I have to say, that when I was nursing, nothing made the job harder than a whole load of clutter at the bedside. (Nurse Ratchet has spoken!)

    Try not to take any valuables with you. Jewellery is best left at home too & you should remove nail varnish (if you wear it) as it interferes with oxygen monitoring during surgery.

    Hope the surgery goes well & you get relief from the pain.

  • Try not to worry you be fine l've had both knees done too and have full movement range in both Good luck but I don't think you'll need it x x Dawn

  • The easiest thing to wear home after the op would be track bottoms. You will need a lightweight dressing gown, at least two nighties and washing things, flat easy to get on and off slippers. Some small change is useful if you want to buy a newspaper and you might find earplugs and an eye mask useful if you want to be able to sleep. But you won't be in for long...

  • That fear is awful but normal, Woodyblue. I was TERRIFIED before my hip replacement last year. You just have to get through it somehow - not long now - and soon it will be gone... And so will that awful grinding pain! :)

    As for hospital tips...

    Something to stave off boredom! It's VERY boring in there, but your brain may be a bit fuzzy, and there are lots of interruptions, so reading can be hard.

    I found Crocs the best footwear for hospital: easy to get on and off, and more supportive than slippers, and non-slip. If you notice, many hospital staff wear them too!

    You might find shorts or a dress (I'm not sure whether you're a man or a woman!) easier to wear than trousers.

    Face wipes/baby wipes are good gor freshening up, especially for that first day or so when you can't get out of bed without assistance.

    If you have a good diet with plenty of fruit and veg, you may be a bit shocked by hospital food! I got people to bring me fruit, berries, salad, etc because I felt like I was just being given stodge!

    Good luck! :)

  • Hi, I had both my knees replaced both within 4 months of each other. I know everybody is different but I had very little pain. The one time I did after the second they gave me morphine. When I went home 4 days later I had no pain. I hope everything goes well and I think you will be impressed afterwards. X

  • It is scary but the end result is worth it. I took crocs rather than slippers and knee length pyjamas and shorts. You will have whole leg stockings. For the first night I would put the clothes together you want (and extra pair of underwear) so they are easy for someone else to grab. They did expect you to have day and night clothes where I was. Lip salve, wipes, tissues and moisturiser - skin gets very dry under the stockings. Either travel size toiletries or decant into travel bottles and preferably in a bag with a handle so you can carry it easier with either frame or crutches. Everybody deals with pain differently but do not be afraid to ask for pain relief (there are a lot of different ones) and ice. If you wear glasses I find it useful to take the case for night then if they do get knock they should be safe. Farm

  • I am having my right knee replacement op on Monday, 12 October as I know I can't continue as I am.

    The pre-op assessment was very good and the staff were very informative and told me to ring if I had any queries, whether it was to do with medication, what to take in with me , physio, aftercare etc. I was there for 3 hours.

    Do you feel that you could do this to put your mind at rest?

    Hope all goes well for you.

  • Hi moallen, thanks for your reply. I've a pre op appt. on the 9 October, I will ask all the questions, are all the pre op appts for 3 hours or did you have a lot of questions ! Thank you.

  • I'm expecting my first replacement on 5 November but have had various obstacles so it's delayed. The preop will answer most of your questions. Do you have someone to visit you and be there at home when you leave? They go through aids you might find handy at home so you're prepared and want to know about stairs, shower etc.

    My husband had hip replacement at end of July and I got him a wee iPod nano with a lot of music and podcasts on it. He found that good when he couldn't sleep, so something like that, and iBooks would be good. But I wouldn't take anything valuable, I have an old iPad I'm getting ready.

    All being well they only expect to have you in for 3-4 days. I've been told tat preparing by exercise will make recovery quicker. That's not easy but will help, I'm sure.

    Good luck and let us know how you get on.

    C

  • Hi Cathie, thank you for your reply, I will take my iPad in with me, I've got the Kindle app on there so I can read if I feel like it and catch up with the chat on my Groups. I'm very deaf so unfortunately can't listen to music (which I miss terribly) I can only remember the songs from the 70s before I lost my hearing, I'll drive them all mad with Abba songs ..

    Good luck to you for your knee op, I'll let you know how I get on, positive thoughts.

  • Thank you so much to all of you who have taken the time to reply. I have a pre op appt. on the 9 October, so I will write all my questions down that I need to ask,

    I thought the pre op just dealt with the medical tests. I've bought some slip on slippers and will keep my summer shorts handy. I've been avoiding reading anything negative about the op, so it was great to read all your positive comments, I wish I wasn't so frightened, my husband said I am going to make myself ill worrying and won't be able to have it done then, hopefully I will feel better after the pre op appointment. I will keep a diary and post on here .. only the positive of course .. 😄

  • That's good about the positive postings! I try to do that too.

    My pre op consisted of ecg scan, urine, blood tests and a swab in my mouth for DNA for something I'm not sure what. I had a long meeting with a nurse who gave me a booklet which was all about exercises pre-op and post-, how to lie in bed to help the knee heal, to take a small bag initially and then get someone to bring in more after the op etc. My husband didnt need anything apart from a book and the ipod nano and his phone for texting.

    I've got (another) pre-op on the 16th and I'm planning to make a list of things to ask them. Will ask about re-charging my ipad, I've seen others doing it but want to be sure!

    I have to admit that I'm dreading it and looking forward to it in about equal measure. But seeing how my husband got on was reassuring. I think recovery depends on how you were before, but the day after he came out I got my daughter to walk with him to the nearest shop (with sticks) and he was fine. It was hard to hold him back after that. I think knees require a bit more effort but those exercises are crucial, so I'm told. If only I could stop our cat climbing on top of me when I'm doing them on the bed!

  • I think it is important to keep exercising/moving it. If you have trouble doing them the way your physio wants see if they can suggest another way to get the same effect. For me lying on my front on the bed and bringing leg up behind suited better than finding something the right height to sit on to swing (also under my thigh was very bruised and hurt to sit). The bottom end of the bed was a better place to sit to slide the foot than the side of the bed (less dip). It is a matter of adapting and keep trying different ways. Hips do seem to involve walking to improve but not for knees - you need to rebuild muscles first and let the joint settle as you cannot progress the bend if there is too much swelling. Farm

  • Haha I know what you mean, our Labrador tries to join in with my exercises, he thinks it's helpful sitting on my head while I'm trying to do leg lifts, or he gets his teddy bear and shoves it in my face.

    I've been lucky to borrow an exercise bike while a neighbour is on holiday, I think maybe I am doing too much as my knees really hurt at the moment.

  • I bought a floor pedaling thing, and manage about 100 every day from struggling to do 20. Its a good thing to use and physio tells me it should improve my breathing ready for the op.

    I have pretty good bending on knees now, but I know I'll have to work on them after the op. My physio told me that weight bearing exercise was important (in moderation obviously).

  • Hi Woodyblue

    I've no idea how long the appts are usually but I saw three different people. I had blood tests, an ECG, weighed and measured including for white socks after surgery.

    They explained what was going to happen and how long the surgery normally took and the pain killers I would be given.

    I told them that I was scared and they said to tell the anaesthetist when I went down to theatre and that they would give me something to sedate me.

    I then saw a physio and she explained about equipment I would probably need plus about excercises before and after the surgery so they were very thorough and nothing was too much trouble.

    This is the NHS and I can't fault them so far.

    Good luck with your procedure.

  • Hi moallen, I'm going with NHS as well, the surgeon/consultant was recommended to me by a neighbour apparently he has given new knees to half his golf club and my neighbour. I will mention that I'm really worried about having it done, I could do with something to sedate me now as well to be honest, if you asked me what I am worried about I couldn't really give an answer.

    You'll be all done and home by the time I go in.

    Good luck, and speedy recovery.

  • I WAS SCARED WHEN I WENT IN FOR MY FIRST OP, THEY DO LIKE TO GET YOU UP AND ABOUT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE . I FOUND A SKIRT WORKED BEST, MOST HOSPITALS DON`T ALLOW ELECTRICAL GOODS ON WARD AS THEY HAVE TO BE CHECKED BY ELECTRICIAN.

    I HAVE NOT LOOKED BACK SINCE HAVING MY OP,

    GOOD LUCK.

  • Hi I had my right knee done one year ago and it is now wonderful, snag is I now need my other one done hopefully in the next few months. When I had my first knee done there is a certain degree of pain and discomfort but the medication they give you works a treat. My biggest moan was being frog marched by the physio to try to climb a few steps to check your progress, all in all nothing to worry about and the improvement the new knee makes is incredible. I had my job done at North Tyneside Hospital excellent care and the bacon sandwich for breakfast was lovely.

  • Hi, can I ask do you think I will be able to go upstairs to bed when I come home after my knee op, husband and son talking about putting the single bed downstairs for me, I think that coming downstairs would've more of a problem .. like it is now, I come down the stairs backwards, going upstairs is not such a problem. Thank you.

  • Oh yes you will manage stairs. One of the main activities before they release you is to go up/down stairs. You will be surprised how your knee behaves after the op. I admit I did buy a folding commode (around £25) as our toilet is a fair distance down stairs and trying to cope with needing to go and crutches is not easy (from previous experience) and although my partner works at home he was not always going to be in the house.

    Of course if depends whether you have someone to hand to help the first week as that is probably the worst time and when you may want to go back to bed for a rest during the day. Farm

  • Hi Farm, I'm really lucky we've got a downstairs loo and basin, I know what you mean about giving enough time to get to the loo

    I got myself in a tangle with my walking stick coming in from the garden, must allow myself more time.

    I have my husband at home and my son so I should be ok, but must try and do things for myself, I understand it's very important to keep mobile but rest as well. Woodyblue

  • Please don't worry too much about TKR have had both knees done and can do most things eg gardening and decorating have been high up ladder and no pain !! You will feel soooo much better - promise :) Wish you loads of luck and regarding hospital wear whatever your comfortable with Anny

  • Hi 14penny, I'll need both knees replaced, consultant told me that right knee damage is not far behind knee being replaced so need to get the first one sorted asap, he said he likes to have a year gap between doing the second one, just hope I can hold out that long, maybe I'll ask for an injection into knee because can't keep having these painkillers, I won't have any stomach lining left.

  • Hi Woodyblue, it took me about two months to really get used to working again and I drove after about 6 weeks - lots of exercise is good and you can say goodbye to the pain hope this helps, good luck

  • I recently got my left knee replaced and can say honestly it was the best thing that I have ever done. I now have full range of movent. I will be asking for my right knee next.

  • Thank you for writing a really positive reply because I am having massive worries about having my knee op as the time draws closer, I've been in tears most days and I'm not sleeping more than a few hours a night through sheer worry, completely stressed out and to be honest I'm making myself ill and exhausted.

    I will have to have my right knee done as well, consultant said it will be next October, not sure I'll be able to wait that long the pain is awful now.

    Thanks again Irenemck, feeling a bit better now.

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