Knee replacement - Janet's story 

'My knees are 100% better and I haven't looked back' 

Knee op: Janet's story

Janet Collins, 63, had both her knees replaced after suffering from severe arthritis, and says they're 100% better than they were before

Media last reviewed: 02/10/2013

Next review due: 02/10/2015

Janet Collins has had both her knees replaced and can walk much better than before.

“I have severe arthritis and had been in a lot of pain with my knees for some time. They were very swollen too. I went to the hospital and had an X-ray and the doctor suggested a knee replacement.

"I had my left knee done in 2002 and my right in 2004. I was quite nervous before the first operation, but the consultant came down to greet me and held my hand. The operation went well and the next day the physiotherapist helped me to lift my leg up and bend it slightly. After that, I got up and had a walking frame. I was out of hospital within a week. The operation affected my sciatic nerve, which was very painful at first, but it gradually got better.

“When I had my right knee done, I was in hospital for three weeks because doctors thought I had a blood clot. Thankfully I didn’t. Since then I haven’t looked back. I'm disabled and use a wheelchair or scooter, but I am much more able to go about with just my sticks, whereas before I would have used a frame.

“I can’t kneel on the bed or the floor because it feels strange. They do click, but you get used to that. I exercise for five minutes every morning and evening. I would say my knees are 100% better than they were before. I would recommend the operation to anyone.”

Page last reviewed: 16/06/2014

Next review due: 16/06/2016

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The 22 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

grumpygrandad said on 16 September 2014

Oxford knee (half replacement ) 3years ago. Other knee replaced with half knee 12 weeks ago. Mobility good but remains painful at times especially at night. Now sleeping for 3 hours at a time, was one hour only in the first few weeks. Seems the first knee replacement comes out in sympathy with the second and is quite sore. The new knee is not just painful at area of operation but sometimes under the knee cap?
Like most people the knees make plenty of noise and you can feel the new parts rubbing together - ALL quite normal says my Orthopaedic Surgeon. The bottom line is PERSEVERE. Good luck.

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AK123 said on 04 July 2014

My 92 year old mother has been told that she needs TKR and that it is a major undertaking for someone of her age. Does anyone have any experiences or comments to share about the pros and cons of TKR at this advanced age?

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Angela1959 said on 16 June 2014

I am 55 year old female. Just had my second total knee replacement. First knee was done a year ago. I has no problems apart from the expected pain but it probably took a whole year to recover.

My second knee was replaced 4weeks ago at Margate hospital. The pain is unbelievable but this is to be expected. I had 3 nights in hospital and was out of bed walking with crutches the day after the operation. Operation was carried out with spinal block and sedation. I had 31 metal clips and did not feel them being removed. I have had my first physio today (bit of unexplained delay) and can bend my knee to 115 degrees. Can only straighten 80%. I can't fault the treatment I have received and had every confidence in my surgeon.

You must however do the exercises and do as you are told. I have been signed off work for 10 weeks and this is because you need to give the knee a chance to settle. It is a case of getting a happy medium of ensuring exercise but not overdoing it.

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Ellkay said on 08 April 2014

In July 2013 I had a complete knee replacement at Fairfield Hospital in Bury, Lancs despite the fact that my chosen hospital was near home - North Manchester General Hospital. I was told that I had been registered there to spread the load in the Pennine Trust and the administrator at Fairfield was exceptionally rude and aggressive telling me I had no choice in the matter. The day after surgery I was sent home without any back-up care whatsoever and it took several days for my GP to organise the nursing service to change the dressings. I was in a mess and a neighbour had to take me to the local walk-in clinic to have the dressings changed. The surgeon had an arrogant attitude and my knee has not been right since. I am currently waiting to see a surgeon at another hospital as I am in constant pain and the knee clicks when I walk, and my spine clicks at the same time! A few years ago I had a hip replacement op at North Manchester and it was marvellous - never a minute's problem at all - a huge success and a wonderful surgeon and nursing staff.

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GLAMNAN said on 04 April 2014

My husband had a partial knee replacement in 2011 & in February 2014 had a full replacement on the other knee. The pain post op is really bad ( I know I'm not the one enduring it but I can see it clearly on my husband's face) I hope my comments as his "nurse" will help. Firstly keep taking the painkillers otherwise you won't be able to excercise. Ice up as often as you need. Take tablets & ice up before you excercise. Ice up after excercise.Don't be too brave & stop painkillers if your pain is "ok". Keep a "background" of painkillers ie paracetamol every 4 hours & use any others prescribed to back these up if they do not control your pain. I printed off a table showing what tablets he was taking, with the time on the left so he could just tick off what he had and when. This was really useful through the night for him to keep track of what he was taking. Don't beat yourself up if you can't manage the excercises every day. Persistance is the key. Massaging the knee with cream loosens things up to aid excercise too. It's a long painful road but keep going !

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Vrg1942 said on 30 March 2014

Had TKR 28January 2014, experienced bad sickness for a week which resulted in going to my GP for anti sickness pills which worked fine. Also leg went completely black top to toe and became very swollen, the pain was horrendous. Took codeine and paracetamol constantly, persevered with exercises every day walked with crutches for first 3 weeks, then onto sticks, sleeping a nightmare, then at 4 weeks developed infection and am still on antibiotics at nearly 9 weeks since op. Only this last few days do I feel more comfortable and am managing without pain killers, it has taken far more getting over than I was led to believe, I am 71 years old and up to this op was very active and able to do most things although in pain with both my knees, I had put off having TKR after having two arthroscopies 14 years ago, but finally succumbed this year. I hope I will be able to get back to "normal" soon as my other knee needs replacing too. Has anyone else experienced the same problems as me?

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dyan1 said on 02 January 2014

Hello
Can anyone help I am a fifty year old woman and I have been advised to have a TKR. However my consultant has said that it will be advisable to have KeyHole surgery first and then if the arthritis is serious they will continue to either a total or half a knee replacement. So basically I won't know when I go in what will happen.If it going to be a big or small operation !
I have to say that compared with other peoples experience I am although in some pain,it's not so painful that I can't walk or manage stairs. I am just aware if I walk a long distance my knee/knees begin to hurt and feel hot. Going down a hill or stairs is painful but not impossible. I don't want to have an operation if I don't need it or take it away from someone who does.
Can anyone help and advise me on the amount of pain that they were in and what was possible to so. Or not do.
I know that my scan showed up there was no cartilage at all and therefore it was bone rubbing on bone and I have quite bad arthritis in both knees.
Would really appreciate help as my operation is very soon. Thank you.

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Bren22 said on 26 December 2013

I have only recently been told I need a TKR but am very scared that while recovering I will not be able to deal with the excruciating pain of the cramps I suffer from at night. I have to scramble out of bed and walk up and down for half an hour or so several times a night. I have tried all the supplements and medication but nothing works. If I am a bit immobile it will be agony The foot cramps are bad enough but when it hits my thigh muscles it is dreadful. I am more worried about this than any other aspect of the op. I live alone and have no relatives near enough to help.

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TessP said on 16 December 2013

Hello All - I am finding this sight very helpful. I have been advised I need to have a TKR and have been to see a consultant. I am sure he is a competent surgeon but I did not feel he was particularly informative and was keen to get me booked in for surgery early in January. I do need the surgery but looking round the different sites the message is ensure you get the right surgeon. That is what I am finding difficult as I do not know anyone who has had this surgery and have nothing to guage my surgeon on. Did others just go with who their GP suggested. I was a bit dismayed to hear that my GP knows my surgeon socially. Am I being over cautious - has anyone out there got any advice to offer. Very aware of the seriousness of this surgery on my future ability to lead an active life.

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Joodlepip said on 04 December 2013

Hello all. 72 year old. TKR on 27th November 2013. I'm sorry to hear so many tales of woe below. I'm only a week on, but I have to report feeling positive. My pain is still pretty bad, especially at night, but once the night is over I do feel I'm making progress. I'm doing all the exercises I'm able to do and making a concerted effort on those I'm not, yet, able to do. The pain is, if not controlled, at least eased, by paracetamol and ibuprofen - and ice packs and heat packs! So, hang on in there all those who are having problems. I think it takes time and everyone is different. I've heard some very irritating tales of people who had no pain and were 'up and running' the week following their op! Well I suppose there have to be Supermen and Women! I'm not one, but I'm slowly getting there and hope to encourage others - it gets better!

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June1954 said on 29 November 2013

Just wanted to say that it is now six months since my TKR and I honestly feel that I'm going backwards and not progressing at all! I cannot seem to get the balance of exercise/rest right at all! Did some pool exercises last Saturday and it took me until Thursday to walk properly!! Sorry to sound negative but I read all the positive results on here and I'm left thinking: really?? It just doesn't resonate with my results at all. I mean I am really pleased and wish everyone the best with their successful TKRs but I'm starting to wish I hadn't had mine done now. I had a PKR Oct 2012 and I've got a 130 bend with it now which is fantastic but the TKR?? Oi vay I've had it manipulated under a general and been on a CPM machine which was great - for about a week - now I'm back to around 75 degree bend and my physio is now resorting to acupuncture .... wish me luck! I've just iced it and five minutes later it is stiff, hot and swollen, it feels as heavy as a blacksmith's block and its like there is a steel band round it ..... oh and I'm at the Doctor's today and need to ask for strong painkillers - yet again! Has anyone else here had this? Or any of these symptons? My X-Rays are great - apparently - and my surgeons says its the most stubborn knee he has ever come across. Am ever so slightly starting to lose a bit of faith here .... sorry to ramble - Good Luck to all of you guys on here with your knee replacements June

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Bobbh said on 14 November 2013

I underwent TkR on 4th July 2012 under the Choose and book scheme. Everything went smoothly. In 2 days I was up and fairly mobile. Day 4 and I'm on my way home. Having tackled stairs etc. I never used any pain drugs just the normal pills that I was given to fight infection. The worst part is going to the toilet. I was fortunate I was given an elevated seat which is used by hip replacement patients.
Sleeping was a big problem getting comfortable I slept on my own in a double bed and after a few weeks was quite adept at getting in and out of bed and showering etc. I needed help with the anti embolism stockings which I wore religiously for the prescribed time. My scar is abominable I just get keloid scars for any operations and I have seven inch-long, half inch wide mauve welt across my right knee. 4 months down the line and the other knee is now really hurting is this as a result of protecting the injured knee? I really did not want to undergo a similar operation but it now looks inevitable.
Not looking forward to having to go back to my GP and plead for another op on the other knee.
Very depressing.
I wish I had put it off for longer, not a happy bunny now. The thought if all that discomfort and sleepless nights is not good.

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rayban said on 08 October 2013

Had knee replacement about 4 years ago.Total success.good range of movement and pain free.About 3 months ago I did some decorating and spent a lot of time stepping up onto a raised platform in order to reach a ceiling.I also did a lot of kneeling and standing from the kneeling position which put a load on my knee.I am now having pain in the knee and I fear I may have loosening of the prosthetic .Am currently having tests to see if I have damaged the knee.After my operation I was only told to avoid impact sports.I was never warned not to kneel or avoid sqat type movement.I am not an expert on knees but I would advise anybody having this operation to avoid any movement that puts strain or loading on the operated knee.

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vwill said on 16 September 2013

II had a tkr on 9th September 2013 and returned home on day 3 on an enhanced recovery programme. my problem so far is related to pain control. After surgery with a nerve block and light anaesthesia my pain started within an hour of returning to the ward. I was given thecsame meds I was on pre op which fid nothing to help. after an extremely painful night and morning most of which was in tears or retching either pain, my meds were reviewed and I was put on Tramadol, Paracetamol, Ibuprofen and Oromoroh as needed. hallelujah, I was able to walk with sticks to the toilet and back and do the exercises a little better. At home I only use the oromorph during the night if absulutely necessary. my progress at 58 is poor compared to the 82 year old who had no pain at all. can almost straighten my leg but bending is really difficult. I am sure it can only get better.

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Jenka said on 28 July 2013

I have had two Arthoroscopy's on both knees but my left knee needs replacing. The only reservations my surgeon has is my age (56). I notice that others on this site have had TKR and they are much younger. Does this age rule only apply certain areas of the UK, as in "postcode lottery"? Can any one comment on this as I would be most grateful to understand the full picture

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June1954 said on 22 June 2013

I've had a total knee replacement op on 5th June (had a pkr 9th October 2012) and all seems to be going well. No staples, yay, just terry strips which my surgeon said can just naturally fall off and I went to physio today and I have a 75 degree bend. I'm working hard on my exercises but this tkr is very different to the pkr and I think I will have to work hard to get the full 120 bend, but I'll get there. Still in quite a lot of pain at different times, i.e. now in the middle of the night! I can distract myself during the day but would really like nothing more than a good night's sleep .... ! But I consider myself very lucky because, touch wood, no infection and I'm walking really well. So that is my two ops done and dusted ... thank goodness!! Big thanks to the consultant at the Runnymede Hosp, Chertsey xxx

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Tarkus said on 27 May 2013

I had PKR three weeks ago and am still experiencing considerable pain and discomfort.
Please can somebody tell me if this is normal or should I be concerned.

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June1954 said on 30 March 2013

I had a PKR last October and am due to have TKR in July 2013 which is quite quick after the first one. I was only in Hospital for two days with the PKR and I realise now I was on Enhanced Recovery programme! I only used a crutch for three weeks and have achieved a 120 degree bend in my knee. I am though quite worried about the next operation; I am so ill after the op with constant vomitting and blood pressure like a yo yo. I know I need the knee op but I don't want it, if that makes sense!!! I am ever so grateful to everyone at the Runnymede Hospital in Surrey for all their skill and support and I guess I will have to make myself brave - again - for the next op. I know its worth it in the end but am very scared I will get an infection etc etc any kind words of encouragement will be greatly appreciated! Many thanks for reading, June

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Rocketman43 said on 04 December 2012

I had a total knee replacement in March 2011, biggest mistake of my life. The knee replacement was carried out on my left knee, never worked correctly afterward, left me with two massive haematomas and a fused straight leg with chronic pain syndrome. As a result I was referred from one specialist orthopaedic hospital to the QE hospital Birmingham where I had my leg amputated above the knee on the 16/01/2012. I was left in a worse condition than before having the knee replacement. I would look into a knee replacement a lot more closely and ask a lot more questions than just taking it at face value. I was on 15 lots of medications including morphine to manage my pain. I am now four weeks clean off morphine which has been hell. I now have my new artificial leg and rehab is going well but will take about 18 months to complete, shock for you all was I had my knee replacement carried out when I was only 38, yes, 38 years old. I wish so much I had not had the total knee replacement carried out, I was not warned about any of the risks of failure. Very bad and negative experience, would not wish it on my worst enemy, as the saying goes, I have warned you all.

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BeBe1000 said on 06 September 2012

Hi, I am due a total knee replacement one month from today and wonder what I can do to help my recovery. I am on holiday and swimming every day but wonder if by walking too much I am in fact doing more harm than good. Advice please.

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David_E_B said on 08 June 2012

You will be walking within days if your operation is successful

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Fox1 said on 09 April 2012

I am having a simultaneous bilateral knee replacement at the end of May. Can anyone tell me how soon I will be able to walk after the operation.

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