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Stiffness, pain, swelling in operated knee. Had knee replacement surgery for osteoarthritis. Is it normal?

Feb 2014
User rating for this question
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Answered by

Orthopaedic Surgeon, Joint Replacement
Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 5930 Questions
Four months ago I had a full left knee replacement. I am a healthy 58 yr female who weighs 62kg. The knee needed replacement purely because of general osteoarthritic symptoms. The knee had not sustained any injury otherwise. The operation all went well and xrays two months after the operation indicated all was well and that the implants were securely attached to fibia an tibia. i attended pysio sessions until the leg was able to properly extend and bend backwards to the required levesl. However, it is now four months since the surgery and I still have general pain, and swelling of this knee. From the minute I get out of bed in the morning and place my weight on this knee I cand feel stiffness, pain and swelling. If I walk say for 5-10 minutes the swelling and stiffness becomes so severe that I vitually
start to "drag' the left leg around and cannot walk any further. There is of course still a lot of "heat" emanating from this knee. It also makes very noticeable squelching sounds when I move it up and down whilst even in a seated position. Is this normal behaviour for "four months" post knee opration or is there something not right with the knee replacement eg have the implants become "loosened" and the operation needs to be re-done to properly re-glue the implants.
Posted Mon, 22 Apr 2013 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Saurabh Gupta 3 hours later
Thanks for writing to us.

You are in post acute phase of knee replacement.It is not uncommon for having pain, swelling and stiffness.
There will always be some differences among patients when it comes to set time frames with pain and recovery.
It is also common to experience swelling below the knee, into the calf. Most times this is a result of gravity (standing on your feet and walking). This type of swelling should go away in the morning if you elevate your leg at night. Wearing a compression stocking that goes above the knee can also help.
As the healing progresses and your knee gets stronger, your swelling will diminish. I advise using ice packs regularly during your recovery.At this point you can use single point cane to better handle your pain and swelling.

Hope this will helps you.Please do write back if you have any additional concerns.
Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.

Wishing you speedy recovery...

Dr Saurabh Gupta.
Orthopaedic Surgeon.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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