I'm now six days out from my surgery on October 7th, and while my new knee is swollen, it's a heck of a lot straighter than my old, degenerated knee.
Just take a look at the pic my wife snapped of the knee this morning. For comparison, shown right is a snapshot of the preoperative knee. The big "valgus" deformation is indeed largely gone. The joint is pretty swollen from the trauma of the cutting, but not as bad as I would have expected, given my most recent experience with knee surgery.
Back in early 2007, I had an arthroscopic surgery to remove loose bodies that were causing my bad knee to lock up on occasion, making it very painful and nearly impossible to walk. That scope procedure was successful in its limited intent, and afterward, my knee swelled up almost as much as it did with last week's total knee replacement. The swelling is roughly 30 percent more with my TKR, but I was expecting the level of swelling to be twice as bad as with that scope procedure, or maybe three times as much, given that TKR involves more trauma.
I'm doing the exercises the physical therapist at the hospital instructed me to do 2-3 times per day, and tomorrow, I begin outpatient physical therapy. Range of motion (ROM) is getting slightly better, but it's going slow, and the knee feels stiff. I'm maybe up to a 90 degree bend today, but it's hard to say for sure, because I don't have a protracter thing that therapists use to measure ROM.
I know I need to hit the exercises hard to regain the ROM I had before--about 122 degrees on the bend. That should be enough to ride a road bike comfortably. If I can achieve more ROM, I'm certainly going to try, but I'm somewhat limited because I have a reconstructed anterior cruciate ligament from an operation in 1977, and never had normal motion after than first surgery. I'm not looking to be a yoga master or gymnast though. I want to be strong on the bike again, and perhaps be able to kayak. I'd like to be able to pedal a normal road bike setup. I'm just a hair over 6 feet tall and have fairly long legs--so I use a 175mm crank arm setup. When I get back on the bike indoors on my trainer, I'm going to be using my wife's hybrid bike with a comfy seat, flat pedals, and short crank arms. Long term though, I want to have enough ROM to get back to 175mm cranks.
Here's one more picture of the new knee. The longer bandage covers the incision, which is closed with staples. The smaller bandage off to the side covers the drain hole for the drain bag I had attached to me in the hospital to draw excess fluid from the knee. The drain hole bled out quite a bit when they removed the drain bag and tube. The physician's assistant finally had to put a couple of stapes on the drain site to stop the bleeding. It turns out my platelet count was low, which probably was the reason why the drain hole bled out so much. I tend to bleed and inflame pretty easily--so I'm very glad the swelling-- overall--is not that bad. I had feared my joint would resemble a basketball instead of a knee--so I'm thankful it's going so good. Now to keep working on that all-important ROM!