JRA.... Journal of a Radical Arthritis Chick

Here I give advice, speak of my experiences and give information to those who want to better understand Rheumatoid Arthritis. I am NOT a medical professional, and you should always seek advice from a doctor.

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Location: MA, United States

Hello everyone! I am 28 years old and was diagnosed with JRA (Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis) when I was just 3 years old. I've had my battles with this disease over the years, and have decided to create a blog. I want to share my stories and adivce with other RA chicks, or anyone interested, to raise awareness and get insight from others. Feel free to comment/question me about anything. Thanks, and I hope you enjoy!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Total knee replacement - do they cause swollen ankles?

Thank you again Kristen for this one! :)  This blog is about total knee replacement and what are some of the aftermaths/ side effects of  this. 

First, what is total knee replacement? I always try to explain everything I am writing about first, in case anyone reading this doesn't know what I'm talking about.  Sometimes, like in this case, I don't know first-hand anything about it, so it's good to start off with the definition.

Total knee replacement surgery is the most extreme type of surgery of the knee. It is usually the last resort and performed only when there’s progressive damage or serious distress. This type of surgery is found to be highly effective and can significantly relieve pain and improve joint function.  After a total knee replacement surgery, it’s normal to experience some degree of swelling in the lower legs which can last up to about 2 to 6 months.

Swelling after knee replacement surgery is considered normal and can be easily avoided or treated. The objective of knee replacement surgery is to elevate the pain in the knee caused by over use, arthritis, infection, or normal wear and tear. Knee replacement surgery is the replacement of the joints in the knee with artificial joints. This surgery is common but it does require the patience to follow the doctor's instructions to ensure that the knee will heal properly.

Normal swelling after knee replacement surgery is reduced the next morning. The swelling will continue to gradually go down as you become more active. Activities that will leave your feet in still position or on the floor for a long period of time such as walking or sitting in a chair may cause further swelling. Swelling can persist for three to four months after surgery and your replaced knee will always be slightly larger than your other knee.
Swelling after knee replacement surgery can happen in your knees, legs, ankles and toes. Blood clots in your leg vein after joint replacement surgery is the primary cause of swelling. If they block blood from flowing from the leg to the heart or if they move to the lungs they can be dangerous. People who are overweight, elderly, suffered from previous blood clots or those who have cancer are at an increased risk to have swelling after knee replacement surgery due to blood clots.

To help prevent swelling after knee surgery it is important to follow the doctor's rehabilitation instructions. There are a few exercises to reduce swelling such as placing ice in a cloth, elevating your leg above your heart and icing your knee for up to 20 minutes. Ankle pumps are a great exercise to improve circulation, reduce swelling and prevent blood clots. Ankle pumps are the flexing of the ankle so that the foot moves back and forth, repeat this routine 10 to 30 times per hour.

It is helpful to move the foot and ankle after surgery while in bed to increase blood flow to the muscles in your leg. Some patients may receive blood thinners such as Coumadin (warfarin), heparin or Lovenox to ensure proper blood flow. Support hose and compression boots may also be required to protect against blood clots and swelling of the knee after surgery. During your stay in the hospital you may be encouraged to use a continuous passive motion machine that is used to move the knee slowly while you are in bed.

I hope this blog post helped those who have had, or are going to have knee replacement surgery.  I consider myself lucky for not having to go through this yet. 




Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have had both knees replaced. My last surgery was September 21, 2011. For over a month now my ankle and leg have swollen, this is after I have been doing more. But I have been taking fluid pills with no relief. What do I do?

February 5, 2012 at 4:01 PM  
Anonymous Private Knee Replacement said...

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July 26, 2012 at 2:56 AM  
Anonymous Swelling after knee replacement said...

Thanks for informing people about swelling issue post knee replacement.
It happens with any major surgery and should not be considered a major complication or a major reason to avoid knee replacement surgery.
Early pot operative exercise with ice application can definitely help in reducing the swelling.

December 29, 2012 at 1:16 AM  
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I developed knee swelling in my left knee after walking for 45 minutes. I had TKR done one in my left knee and half years ago. I bike regularly for 20-30 minutes everyday. Is this swelling to be worry about?

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Blogger Dave Thompson said...

Good to know after a knee replacement you can have swelling on your leg as well as ankle. I'll have to remember that for after I get my knee replaced next month. I'm going to do everything I can to make sure I don't get a blood clot in my leg while I'm recovering. Thanks for the great knee replacement advice. http://noyeskneeinstitute.com/makoplasty

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Swelling of the knee itself is also common over the first few months after surgery. Applying ice can be very helpful for a swollen joint, but make sure you protect your skin from direct contact with the ice pack. Ice can be applied for up to 20 minutes at a time.
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