TKR Dead Weight: Is This You?

Nov 18, 2019

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Guest Post: Marie Buckner of Booktoots’ Healing

Hi everyone! I have received quite a few comments lately about the worries of having a very stiff and “nonfunctional” tkr (total knee replacement) leg for a time after the surgery. Here’s some personal insight about dealing with tkr dead weight: is this you?

Unexpected happening. My entire leg was a complete dead weight after surgery. I was not prepared for this aspect. No one told me about it, either. Nor did I read it in any tkr literature. None of my leg muscles seemed to be working (except my ankle and hamstrings).

Front stretching needed. My tkr knee needed gentle stretching exercises to increase the bend along the front part of my new knee. My tkr leg was similar to that of being in a cast for a prolonged period of time. It just wouldn’t bend.

Manually lift. Plus, I needed to manually lift my leg up onto sitting/laying surfaces. I used a towel or my hands to do this. That was one bizarre experience!

How did I handle this situation? At first, I would place a towel underneath my knee area. Then, I’d grab ahold of each end of the towel. The towel would become a sling, if you can picture that. I would gently lift “swing” my leg over onto the sitting/laying surface.

Once I was in position, I would remove the towel.

When I needed to get up and leave the surface, I would repeat the process. This meant placing my “good” leg into the floor. Then, gently turning my body sideways while sliding my tkr dead weight leg until my lower leg was over the side of the seating/laying surface.

Only then could I begin to lift my body from the seated/laying position (while holding onto a crutch or other firm surface) and place body weight onto my leg enough to stand.

In hindsight, since our quadriceps are cut into during the total knee replacement, it goes without saying that a tkr dead weight situation would result. It just would have been nice to be informed of that so we could be properly prepared. It was a shocker to me!

Bent knee. I also needed to work on stretching out my hamstrings, along the backside of my knee, to straighten my leg. My leg would not lay flat on any surface. There was a slight bend in it.

No body weight support. Even though I was up and walking on a walker the day after my tkr, my muscles were still not developed enough to support my body weight. This is when walking aides are indispensable.

No foot slides. I remember sitting in a chair and not being able to slide my foot at all. I am certain everyone goes through this. That is another strange predicament I was completely unprepared for. Never since have I taken the “simple” task of sliding my foot for granted! This is when those assisted physical therapy exercises come into play.

Hope my tkr blog post about tkr dead weight helps others going through the same thing. Remember, you are not alone in this endeavor. Take a look around my site for more tkr insight from myself and readers.

Find this post about tkr dead weight interesting? Kindly share with others…Thanks!

AUTHOR NOTE: Booktoots’ Healing helps total knee replacement patients find support throughout recuperation and beyond. Its mission is for patients to understand they are not alone in their ordeal with either a tkr or other physicality concerns.

This award-winning site is owned and operated by Marie Buckner, a published author, tkr blogger, and tkr patient who has been living with various physicalities for over 40+ years. She enjoys sharing her experiences to help others going through the same thing.

Marie is also a proud WEGO Health Patient Leader.

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