Is it normal to still suffer knee pain months after a total knee replacement surgery?

Immediate post-surgical pain is expected, but we’re talking months here.

Knee replacement patients are given powerful narcotics to numb the post-surgical pain.

However, for how long after knee replacement surgery is it still normal to feel pain?

My father had knee replacement surgery in March of 2009, and afterward, the pain in the surgical joint never disappeared.

Of course, the pre-surgical pain of osteoarthritis went away. But now, he was left with a newpain, and the joint didn’t “feel right.”

The pain wasn’t just in the knee; it was in the area above it, and was most pronounced every time he stood up from a chair or climbed stairs. Many times, he’d say, “It just doesn’t feel right. I know something is wrong.”

A few times he speculated that it was infected. Signs of infection would include swelling, redness and fever, of which my father had none.

He even wondered if the surgeon had made a mistake with the knee replacement procedure, even though the same surgeon performed the procedure on my father’s other knee about a year prior to the second operation.

My father adhered to all the prescribed post-knee replacement surgery exercises, which included physical therapy and stretching.

He regularly went to the gym to do leg presses, leg extensions and seated leg curls. He had been doing these leg exercises long before even the first surgery.

His first knee recovered great; no lingering pain, but at some point after the second surgery, not long after he was fully up and about, the walker long behind him, he began feeling the new kind of pain in the first knee that was operated on, as well as a continuation of the new pain in the most recently operated joint.

We couldn’t figure out why this was. Finally, my father had his six-month follow-up with the surgeon, and told the doctor what kind of exercises he’d been doing.

The surgeon told him he was absolutely NOT to do any leg extensions.

My father immediately omitted leg extensions from his regimen, and continued doing the permitted exercises of leg press and seated hamstring curl.

He had also been doing body-weight squats, and the surgeon encouraged him to continue with the squatting as well. But to stay away from leg extensions.

Within a few days, my father noticed a lot of improvement, and since that time, both knees have felt great and pain-free.

So if you’ve been experiencing a new kind of pain that won’t go away, months after knee replacement surgery, and you’ve been doing leg extensions, STOP the leg extensions, and then see if the pain suddenly starts disappearing.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained clients of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 
Top image: Shutterstock/Syda Productions