October 4th, 2023, marks the two-year anniversary of my full knee replacement. I figured I’d talk about what I’ve done, and where I’m at with it.
Has my knee healed one hundred percent at this point?
I’m close to one hundred percent. Say, ninety-five percent. The incision continues to hurt when I touch it. The good news is that the pain level has finally dropped from feeling like needles being inserted into my flesh to just feeling significantly bruised. If you ever meet me in person, you’ll often see me scratching my knee, trying to desensitize the nerves. It’s slow going. Maybe by next year, it will only feel lightly bruised. Then maybe the year after that, the pain will be gone.
The pain makes it difficult for me to kneel. Putting weight on my knee in that fashion hurts. Anyone who’s had a full knee replacement will tell you that it feels really weird to kneel. For me, it feels as though my center of balance has shifted, and I can no longer put my knee down in such a way that it’s taking up my weight correctly.
I can do pretty much everything else with my knee. I’ve worked hard at regaining my flexibility.
I still need to increase the strength of my knee. I can feel that it’s weaker anytime I walk up a set of stairs. To that end, I moved a stepstool into TH2. I frequently step up onto the stool, then step down, trying to rebuild strength.
I don’t have any issues walking. Before September I was managing 12.5K steps per day. September wasn’t the best of times, and I’ve fallen off in my step count. My goal is to get back to 12.5K steps per day, every day, by the end of October. (Fell and strained my ankle on October 1st, so will need to go easy until that recovers.)
Do I regret getting my knee replaced?
What I regret is needing to have it done in the first place. I wish that it hadn’t become necessary. When I feel any sort of strain in the other knee, I immediately stop whatever it is that I’m doing and I baby it for a few days. Or a week. I never, ever want to have another joint replaced. To that end, I’m also now doing exercises specifically for my hips, so that they won’t need to be replaced either.
But I am glad that I got the work done. My knee was never going to recover at that point. It was only going to get worse and worse. And there was also the chance that due to the bone bruises, the bones would start to rot. (That’s one of the main reasons why I had the knee replacement done because I had bone bruises that wouldn’t heal.)
Earlier this summer, I strained the muscles around the back of my knee, the one that got the replacement. My knee swelled up and I could barely bend it.
The feeling was very familiar. It was how my knee used to be all the time. It really brought home for me how glad I was that I had had it replaced.
As I said, I still wish I hadn’t had to do it. I’m not sure what I could have done to prevent the wear and tear on my body—I would have to have been someone other than who I am. And as I like myself, well, I can’t regret it too much.
Still—if you have issues with your knees, take care of them. Sure, the operation can make it better.
But my knee is never going to feel the same as it once did. My body is never going to feel the same. And while mostly I’m okay with that, I still wish it hadn’t happened.
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