Advice after knee replacement

Hi all, I'm writing in here on behalf of my mum who had a knee replacement on Saturday. She had an epidural and sat night & all day Sunday she was fine but Sunday was terrible- she had terrible spasms in her legs and hardly had any sleep. She is home from hospital now but is very tearful and so over tired. She's suffered restless legs for years and can manage on little sleep but obv the spasms now hurt her more. I feel totally helpless and the hospital weren't much use. I really just want to know if this normal? Has the op just flared it up badly and it will settle? It's horrible not being able to do much to help. Thanks.

9 Replies

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  • There are many instances where am operation causes a sudden exacerbation of rls symptoms.

    It sounds like she really needs some treatment for the rls. Has she been on medication for her rls previously Or has she just coped with it in the past? It is difficult to imagine her making a good recovery if she is getting no sleep. I would not settle for that. There are treatments available for rls. It may be a hard job as her health care providers seem dismissive (a not uncommon phenomenon), but you will have to step in and insist they prescribe something. It will depend on what, if any, medications she has already tried.

  • Thanks. She's had some treatments before but not much has worked - plus she's not keen on side effects. However, I will speak to her GP if she doesn't get some sleep over the next few days.

  • Is she on any form of pain relief for the op? Opiates such as tramadol and oxycodone are very good for treating rls. If she hasn't tried a dopamine agonist (pramipexole, ropinerole or rotigotine patch) before that might be a good route in the circumstances here - they can act immediately and it feels almost like magic, instant relief from all symptoms - but she will need to be sure not to exceed the recommended upper limit.

  • Several years ago I had a hysterectomy and let them know about my RLS. I had no problem in recovery as was on pain meds later they put some kind of stockings on me which were cloth but they squeezed and warmed my lower legs. It worked pretty well. I could feel the RLS wanting to start but it never did. Has anyone else had this experience? Another operation and another hospital and they had no idea what I was talking about. I'm wondering if the pad for restless legs works in a similar manner? Pam

  • Hi sorry to hear about your Mum I had a THR In October and had a bad knee for years. Since my hip operation my knee is in need of replacing. I go to see the Surgeon a week of Friday. I want epidural as I have copd how did your Mum go on with it? As I am worried about it. Hope she feels better soon. Rosd

  • Hi, I had my TKR in Dec and was really worried about RLS and calf spasms in case I had trouble before op or after, but scarily this didn't happen! I took all my normal meds and the extra ones they gave me and didn't turn anything down.

    When home, still no RLS and still taking the meds they gave. Slept right through the night for a whole month which was amazing, as I normally only get 1-3 hrs a night or none at all sometimes for 3 nights at a time. So I thought this was amazing they have gone for good. Only when I had finished the extra, a week later BAM! they were back but didn't connect the two.

    It was only when reading a reply post on this site some 2 months later that I connected the two. I thought it may have been the epidural that gave me what I thought was a miracle cure, but it was the Oxycodone Hydrochloride. So off to the docs on Fri to talk about it. I hope your mum and dr can find something to suit your mum. X

  • Thanks - can I ask what normal meds you take for your RLS?

  • No probs.

    For Rheumatoid Arthritis:

    Methotrexate 20mg x 1 wk

    Hydroxychloroquine 200mg x 2 daily

    Sulfasalazine 500mg x 1 am and 2 pm

    Folic acid 5mg x 3 a week

    Omeprazole (for stomache to take the above) 20mg x 1 daily

    Gabapentin 1200 mg x 3 daily (yes def 1200mg people always ask)

    Naproxen 1 x 500 mg x 2 daily (if I need them)

    Paracetamol if required

    So I'm hoping to swop some of my Gabapentin for Oxycodone. I'm going to discuss this with my doctor on Friday. I also take info off the forum for my doctor to read, because most doctors don't have a clue about RLS. Glad to say mine does listen and acts accordingly.

    I do take other meds:

    Amitriptyline 100mg x 1 daily (muscle relaxation in my case)

    Imigrain Injesction (migraine) when needed

    Plus some water retention tablets

    Hope this helps. Good luck x

  • This happened to me some years ago with knee surgery. Any trauma to the body, especially to the legs can result in an increase in the intensity and frequency of RLS symptoms. The good news is that it will abate shortly. This lasted about a week and a half for me. But everyone is different where RLS is concerned. I had read about this when I was first diagnosed but forgot about it. Took me a few days to figure out what was going on. By the time of this incident in was already on opiods for the RLS. Fortunately I had a merciful doctor who prescribe a bit extra during this period. Even so, I struggled through it.

    Some years later I had a tooth pulled, thinking nothing of it, and again I was more symptomatic. Not as badly as with the surgery. A member of my support group says this can happen to her if she, say, stubs her toe badly.

    I wish you and your mom the best while riding this one out.

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