Jump to content

Help! Return to work after joint replacement.

Purple L Purple L (New) New

I am a critical care 24 hr/wk RN 8 wks post total knee replacement. I am active and meeting all milestones - wt. bearing, walking, flexion, etc. In PT 3x per wk. I still have significant pain, occ bruising and tendinitis as muscles are stretched and rearranged after yrs of valgus deformity and favoring this knee. My MD originally put me off for 12 wks (and will put me off more if necessary), but I have been feeling pressure to return sooner. There is no light duty offered for a floor nursing position, but a full time perm office position was tentatively offered w/lt duty if I could be released at 6 wks; my MD did not release me.

I want to know others' experiences in returning to floor nursing after TKA. I hear comments from people at work (who have never had TKA) - wow, your recovery is going really slowly! I think I'm doing great but I still am not sleeping well at night, have significant pain and swelling anytime I am on my feet for more than 30 min., req frequent ice and elevation, and still experience occ buckling. I can't imagine going back in this condition! Are my expectations off? Does recovery take so long your are BOUND to return with pain, swelling and misery? How can I perform effectively as a nurse and not injure my back/hips etc as a result of limping?!? HELP!!

Edited by Purple L

roser13 specializes in Med/Surg, Ortho, ASC.

I am 6 months post bilateral TKA. I went back to a desk job at 8 weeks, first 2 weeks @ 4 hours daily. Even that was a mistake in retrospect. Just talked to a friend who is 11 weeks s/p bilat TKA. Going back to 8 hr shifts at 12 weeks, then working slowly back to her 12's.

The main thing I have learned is that everyone's recovery is unique. I continue to have trouble with one leg for various reasons which we don't always understand (we being the surgeon and myself). Overwhelmingly, my problems are NOT related to the implant but rather to the various pre-op issues, some of which you mentioned: favoring of one leg, pes anserine bursitis, lack of conditioning, etc. I also think that I may have slowed down my recovery by returning to work too soon. As soon as I went back to work, I slacked off on the home PT - just going to work took all the energy I had.

i am considered to be doing really well, but I still have a long way to go. My gait is still off. Some days, I'm back on a cane (and try very hard not to be embarrassed at backsliding). I still need to ice twice daily. I cannot wait until the day that I can stand up from a chair or get out of bed without thinking about it - just get up & walk.

The moral of my story is to do what's best for YOU, according to your surgeon and according to you. Listen to your body. Don't give in to pressure to cut your leave short.

Edited by roser13

I am 6 months post bilateral TKA. I went back to a desk job at 8 weeks, first 2 weeks @ 4 hours daily. Even that was a mistake in retrospect. Just talked to a friend who is 11 weeks s/p bilat TKA. Going back to 8 hr shifts at 12 weeks, then working slowly back to her 12's.

The main thing I have learned is that everyone's recovery is unique. I continue to have trouble with one leg for various reasons which we don't always understand (we being the surgeon and myself). Overwhelmingly, my problems are NOT related to the implant but rather to the various pre-op issues, some of which you mentioned: favoring of one leg, pes anserine bursitis, lack of conditioning, etc. I also think that I may have slowed down my recovery by returning to work too soon. As soon as I went back to work, I slacked off on the home PT - just going to work took all the energy I had.

i am considered to be doing really well, but I still have a long way to go. My gait is still off. Some days, I'm back on a cane (and try very hard not to be embarrassed at backsliding). I still need to ice twice daily. I cannot wait until the day that I can stand up from a chair or get out of bed without thinking about it - just walking.

The moral of my story is to do what's best for YOU, according to your surgeon and according to you. Listen to your body. Don't give in to pressure to cut your leave short.

Thank you for your comment. My greatest concern is exactly what you have experienced - returning too soon and ranking my recovery. I too am struggling with pes anserine bursitis and other nerve and tendon inflammation issues. Returning to a partial shift is not am option for me which is very scary to me. I appreciate hearing your thoughts and experience!

nrsang97 specializes in Neuro ICU and Med Surg.

I think you should stay off as long as needed. I have never had knee surgery. Everyone's recovery is unique. Good luck in your recovery. I think having a bilateral TKA is brave.

poppycat specializes in pediatrics; PICU; NICU.

I had one knee replaced 9 months ago & the other 6 months ago. My recovery course was not typical as I had very little post-op pain (off all pain meds in 6 days), was walking without any devices before the end of my second week, & was back at work on post-op day 18 both times (I do private duty Peds). I consider myself very lucky that this was my experience.

That said, everyone heals & progresses at a different rate. I'm not sure I would have been able to return to work that fast if I did floor nursing because I still had that feeling of "buckling" from time to time if I walked very long. Don't let work pressure you into going back sooner than you're ready. If you go back too soon & end up injuring yourself, they will probably be more than happy to "throw you under the bus".

Good luck with your recovery! It does get much better (although I'm still not used to some of the noises my new knees make!).

×

This site uses cookies. By using this site, you consent to the placement of these cookies. Read our Privacy, Cookies, and Terms of Service Policies to learn more.