Knee replacement surgery: Hello everyone, I am due to... - NRAS


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Knee replacement surgery

JGBH profile image

Hello everyone,

I am due to undergo my first knee replacement surgery (the other knee needs to be done too) and am fairly anxious. So it would be helpful to hear from people who have had this operation, being honest about the discomfort and associated pain and their recovery journey. So these are my questions:

How long did the pain last for? Did you find the skin over the scar was tight and painful and what did you use to ease the feeling of tighness? How many times did you do the recommended exercises... and was it painful to start with (at which point did the pain begin to ease)?

Straight after discharge from hospital could you walk upstairs without any problems? When were you able to shower and could you stand up in the shower or did you need to sit down? At what stage were you able to sit doown in the bath, and was it easy to get into the bath in the first place? How easy is it to get up and get out of bath?

Were you able to cook yourself a healthy meal (no micowave meals) if like me you live alone?

Were you able to get some sleep without too much pain and at what point did the pain lessened (3. 4, 6, 8 weeks?).

Were you able to put on and remove the pressure stockings easily?

Did the strong pain killers (analgesics) affect you at all, ie: lighheaded or dizzy or nausea, or?

Were you able to drive again without any problem after 6 weeks?

What improvement in your walking ability/knee function have you noticed and after how long post operation did you notice this?

Any other information, advice, idea would be most welcome!

Sorry about ALL the questions.... am really apprehensive and would like to know as much as possible before the operation because I live alone and am wondering whether I should go into a care home for the firsst 2 weeks after discharge from hospital in order to give myself a better and safer start.

So many thanks if you feel able to help, and best wishes to all of you for a complete recovery.

11 Replies

O k....yes it does hurt, but I was amazed at how much less pain I felt compared with before. It's really important to take as much pain medication as you need....and that means asking for it BEFORE the pain gets bad...because the other important thing is to do your exercises religiously, as often as you are told. Equally important, however, is adequate rest. Half and half suited me, and try to keep your leg elevated as much as possible.

I had my op in the afternoon, so was up standing with a Zimmer the next morning....morning op up the same day. You have to be able to go up and down steps before you can be discharged.

No, you will not be able to manage your pressure stockings, if used, yourself, I had to have carers every day for 6 weeks to change them. Some hospitals don't use them, there is a sharp divide between those that do and those that don't.

You have to get up and exercise regularly, but preparing a meal can be tiring, I had a perching stool in my kitchen, provided by occupational therapy, and couldn't have managed without it.

Sleep was difficult for more than 6 weeks, I used multiple pillows to prop/cushion leg and whole body!! I was already taking strong pain meds, so tolerated them will need to find what suits you , everyone is different.

Similarly, driving is when you are least 6 weeks, and only after wound has healed. I have an automatic, so did not have to use that leg. It was about 8 weeks after surgery that I drove. Again, it all depends on the individual.

If you have a choice, I would recommend a spinal , much less recovery time than a general anaesthetic, and the sedation means that you don't know anything about it!

Anything else, just ask. I have never regretted the op, I have good movement in my knee, even if it creaks sometimes!!

Good luck, hope it all goes well M xx

moallen profile image
moallen in reply to hatshepsut

One of the most important things is to try and build up your muscles before the operation because you will need them to do the physio exercises afterwards. I had very little pain after my knee replacement it was quite uncomfortable but that's different from pain.

My problem was using the sticks because it brought on a flare of the rheumatoid arthritis in my wrists and shoulders. I had the surgery 2 years ago last Thursday and Rock and Roll as well as do quite a lot of walks of approx 4 miles regularly.

So don't worry let the Professionals do their job and it's up to you to do your bit after the surgery and do all the physio exercises that they suggest. Good luck and good recovery

I have had both knees replaced nearly 7 years ago Now.

Yes it is painful but you must take regular analgesia for the first few weeks whether it hurts or not. If you don’t the pain will become difficult to get back under control.

Before your op you will see an OT who can lend you aids to assist you at home. Ie a perching stool to help in the kitchen. You will be able to cook healthy meals but prepare it staged so you aren’t stuck in the kitchen for long periods. They make you do stairs before you go home anyway.

Rest as much as possible as sleep will be uncomfortable at the start so cat naps are good.

Drive when you are ready too. Your body will let you know this. As for the stockings well even a fit healthy person will struggle with these lol. They are doable but again take your time.

I still have difficulty getting in a bath as I can’t kneel on my knees as it is too painful so tend to shower only having a bath once in a blue moon as it takes so much effort to get out. I have tight skin over the scar and a numbness on the outer side of knee which surgeon says happens to some people.

Having said all that would I have them done again well in a heartbeat. They need replacing approximately every 10 years so I have about 3 left on mine. I’m 54 so will need it a few times and would never hesitate.

Yes it is difficult the first few weeks but worth it in the long run. Sorry for long post but hope it answers some of your queries. Good luck and hope all goes well for you x


I had a tkr in April this year and it's the best thing I have ever done in terms of pain relief.

I had a spinal anaesthetic and wasn't aware of anything until I came round in recovery.

I was on a morphine pump initially but actually asked staff to take me off it as it made me so sick. I then only had tablets for pain but I actually found ice packs to be the best pain relief for me. Get a big bag of frozen peas in your freezer for when you come home 👍

The skin felt tight until clips were removed then i found it much easier. I also gently massaged bio oil into the scar after it had fully healed and it is only a very faint scar now.

A nurse in the hospital showed me an easier way to get the pressure socks on by putting a small plastic bag over toes first and then pulling sock over. Once on you can then pull bag back through the opening at toes. I found that much easier.

Stairs were fine. Go up one at a time leading with the unoperated leg and come down one at a time with the operated leg first.

I had showers as I found it easier but I also have a bath seat that lowers you in and out of the bath which the hospital should be able to get for you.

I was lucky that I had people to help make meals etc. Do you have a friend who could perhaps help you for the first week or so?

Also stock up your fridge/freezer with easy meals. I also got groceries delivered from local supermarket and the drivers were terrific bringing it into the house and unpacking for me.

I got back driving at 8 weeks but just short journeys at first.

I got hydrotherapy at the physio department which was great and helped my other aching joints.

Do your exercises you are given and take regular rests. I felt exhausted the first couple of weeks but the medical staff tell you it's normal to feel like that after major surgery.

I now have no pain in my knee at all and wouldn't hesitate to have my other knee done if it ever got as bad as my operated knee.

Wishing you all the best with the op. You will be fine and take up any offers of help you get.


I had tkr exactly a year ago this week, and so glad that I did. Walked the same day of the op (only to the bathroom), there was some discomfort at first but the nurses sort that out. You are restless sleeping at first and find it difficult to get comfortable, but that goes away after a few weeks. Scar healed nicely. Never had any help putting on compression socks, managed them myself. Drove after 6 weeks, no problem at all with that. Stairs was no problem, the physio makes sure you can manage them before they send you home (day 4). I stocked up on the best ready meals I could, and just did carrots and broccoli with everything. I rubbed comfrey salve into the scar for a while, there is a numbness for quite a long time when you touch the outside of your knee, but I realise that this has gone now.

Only shower these days, not had a bath for so long, like you I live alone now.

Glad I had it done, got great movement with that leg again, got my annual check up on Monday.

Good luck, you will be glad you had it done, when I was in my 90 year old neighbour was in the same ward, and she had her second knee done, took longer than me to recover but made her life much better.

It was very painful for first few weeks packs helped ...I had staples for stitches which I found exerbated the pain ...however the pain did ease slowly an I now have no pain at all in my new knee . It took about 3 months to recover fully ...go ahead it's worth it .....

Bear in mind that each person has a different pain threshold and experiences vary greatly between hospitals as well. The first few weeks are not easy but the long term outcome is so worth it. I could walk with crutches and shower the next morning. Unfortunately for me my one bone gained a hairline fracture whilst fitting the joint which meant I was non weight bearing for 6 weeks. Exercises were changed but I found just moving the joint little and often helped. Rather than lift the leg up sitting on a chair I would lie on my front on the bed and bring my leg up behind. For the first weeks putting on stocking on your own will be very difficult (near impossible). The stockings do dry your legs so have some moisturiser - I used a spray one so that if could dry (my teenagers did not want to rub cream in). Keep your options open regarding pain killers - I really hated the thought of morphine but that was the one that really worked for me (I tried a few) and I could vary the dose as time went on. My hospital gave me an ice pack, a leg lifter and crutches.

Hi, I too am waiting for a TKR in the next few months and am barely able to think about it. You have just voiced all of my fears and concerns. I have RA, had 2 ankle joints replaced and 1 hip and next are both knees. Oh the joys!!!!!!!!! All the best to you.

I had a tkr in March under spinal sedation.

The knee was very painful at times, it felt very stiff for weeks, I found it difficult to get in and out of my car for the first month.

I have fibromyalgia as well, I still have severe pain and struggling to walk far.

Having to have a manipulation done in two weeks time, hoping that will resolve my ongoing issues.

I drove after two weeks, as I have an automatic, my physio approved this for me.

Use your ice packs regularly, take your meds’ on time and do those exercises.

I think you would need somebody to help you at home in the first two weeks, hope it goes well for you. Take care.

I had my first TKR Dec 12th last year and was up walking the next morning. Pain was minimal, but I took every painkiller they offered me Oxycodone, Oramorph and Paracetamol. Stairs were not a problem. I slept really well, which was amazing as I have Chronic Restless Leg Syndrome and can't stay still for long and walk around the house all night sometimes (I found out during my stay in hospital that the Oxycodone helped by RLS, hence sleeping through the night!)

I would highly recommend the epidural anaesthetic - brilliant - I was out of it through most of the op and was sitting up in bed having tea and toast 3 hours later. No problem with showering. My husband changed my pressure socks, as I couldn't do it. No problem doing the stomach injections for DVT.

The BIG MUST is doing the exercises, some are harder than others, but they must be done. Unfortunately for me, my leg was quite swollen so I had trouble doing them properly, which has left me with my knee being a bit stiff and the bend isn't brilliant. But in saying that, the pain is gone, so I can put up with the slight stiffness. My other knee is due to be done on Dec 13th this year (it has been cancelled twice!) and I can't wait to get it done as I am in a lot of pain especially at night while in bed. This time, I will be doing those exercises a lot better than I did before. Also, make sure you rest every afternoon and ice your knee throughout the day - a big bag of peas will do the job and elevate it regularly. I found the numbness you get after your op to one side of the knee a bit of a strange feeling.

A friend of mine had her knee replaced about 4 months ago and has started playing tennis again about 3 weeks ago - amazing.

Everyone has a different experience and one replacement can be different to the next, so it's wait and see for me now.

Wishing you all the best. x

TUTOR1 profile image
TUTOR1 in reply to Smiler53

Just had a new knee and all is fine in basic surgery terms BUT the torque applied during the operation around the thigh has been extremely painful and bears no relationship to the untouched leg on the left side. It is Wirth labouring this point with the surgeon concerned because whilst this tourniquet may be necessary it may be possible to reduce its use to an absolute minimum at the time. Now have 10lbs of water in my leg and body which arrived yesterday. A small heart condition has spiked this of it appears so back to "cannuler alley


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