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Sciatic Nerve Pain After a Partial Knee Replacement (Page 1)

Has anyone out there experienced sciatic nerve pain shortly after a knee replacement? I had a right partial knee replacement 4 weeks ago and have been having sciatic pain down my right side. Has anyone else had this experience? How did you deal with it?
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First Helper Contessa
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replied November 12th, 2004
Re: Sciatic Nerve Pain After a Partial Knee Replacement
contessa wrote:
has anyone out there experienced sciatic nerve pain shortly after a knee replacement? I had a right partial knee replacement 4 weeks ago and have been having sciatic pain down my right side. Has anyone else had this experience? How did you deal with it?


hi contessa, I had a total knee done august 03,i started receiving sciatic nerve pain about 8 months ago. I am had pain killing injections, about 6 weeks ago, but pain is now back as before. I believe my posture has changed due to the problems I am having with the knee and will remain until knee is repaired. Knee pain is very bad, looks like an infection, which I hope will soon be fixed.
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replied June 19th, 2009
sciatca after total knee replacement
I had a left total knee replacement in feb.2009 have had leg pain/discomfort ever since. went to Dr. He said it was sciatica and I think it was caused by a therapy I had which was , I was put on a leg press machine , 2 days after I could hardly walk, and have been going to therapy ever since. I was told I need to go to a spine Dr..which is where I', at now.
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replied August 3rd, 2009
i had a tkr in 2/09. my back pain after surgery was sometimes worse then my knee. the knee moving machine was a waste of time. i could not use it. it totally pulled and pinched my sciatic nerve. i have suffered from sciatica in the past but after this surgery it took it to a whole other level. i had it treated in theraphy along with my knee and after almost 6 months it only flares up every once in awhile. sometime when i get out of bed it feels like my leg got shorter over night all the way down to my foot. my doctor has been great at knowing about the connection but sometimes others don't get what you are talking about and don't understand that complaint on top of the knee. i have learned to tell people they just have to have a tkr to fully understand the scope of the recovery.
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replied October 11th, 2009
HI momlils,
If it feels like your leg got shorter overnight then one possibility is that your hip muscles might be tight on one side and thus they are rotating the pelvis forward on that same side, making the leg feel shorter. In other words, your pelvis might be out of balance.

You might benefit from Feldenkrais 'Awareness through Movement' lessons, which aren't anything like traditional exercises. Feldenkrais movements teach you awareness of your body and promote healthy movement, thus relieving or reducing pain caused by imbalances in in the muscles. You can look on youtube.com for examples of Feldenkrais lessons, although it would help if you did some research on the topic so that you'll understand the science behind Feldenkrais' approach.

Good luck!
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replied January 6th, 2010
Hi All, I had a total knee replacement 02/09 after a few weeks it felt like cold water running down my leg, in fact the first time I was in the garden and looked to see if the hose was running. It gradually got worse and today is really bad as I have done a lot of cleaning ( if I sit all day I don't have a problem). I try not to take a lot of pain relief if I can cope without it. I have my own gym I do Pilates and also use the bike and vibration platform, the latter seems to help if I sit on it and lean forward to stretch out the back and leg muscles. I am waiting to have my other knee done in the next few weeks with very mixed feelings. When people say they are great and are running and dancing after only a few months it makes me feel like a wimp but I do have quite a high pain threshold and it really hurts. I hope you all find some help. Good Luck.
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replied May 23rd, 2010
15 months ago I got a partial right knee replacement and my ache is worst...sometimes I can't even walk, go up the stairs or go down in my knee. 10 months ago the doctor said I got a cist in the back part of my knee...they drained and Finally I did not feel any ache., But it was for 6 weeks. The cist keeps filling with the sinovial liquid and I'm suffering aches. Every time o should go to the doctor to drain the cist and get the shoot, but I have to pay US$500 ..SO I decided not go and just hold the ache. It looks like after the surgery my liquid is filling a cist. Have any body have an explanation for this problem???
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replied May 23rd, 2010
Community Volunteer
Hi Mariameru and welcome to ehealth...I believe you have what is called a Baker's Cyst...You may want to ask your doctor about having this removed....I have heard that they can be pretty sore...Good luck and take care...

Caroline
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Users who thank CarolineEF for this post: Mariameru 

replied May 24th, 2010
Sciatica after Knee Replacement
Yes indeed. Total knee replacement in March 09; I had sciatic nerve tingling right from the start, which my doctor and physiotherapist dismissed, saying it was "my body adjusting to the new knee." It always started when I walked, then eventually stopped. One day in December 09, it started and didn't stop -- just got worse and worse until my whole left leg seized up and I was limping painfully. (I was out at the time, and had to keep walking -- there was nowhere to stop or sit down.) I thought it was only a temporary blip... it was around Christmastime... so I didn't do anything about it. It never went away, and now (May 2010), despite months of physiotherapy, a steroid injection into my spine, and a cartload of painkillers, it is worse than ever, and has made me effectively disabled -- I cannot stand up or walk for more than a minute or two before the pain starts and rapidly becomes unbearable. (And I have a pretty high pain threshold, too, like one of the previous posters.) I have had an MRI and have been told that I have a LARGE disc prolapse, L5/S1, and will need surgery. I am now waiting to see the surgical assessment team in a few weeks. In the meantime, I can't walk - and haven't been able to for months. My knee surgeon claims there is no connection to my knee -- but I am sure that, while I may have had a slightly bulging disc before the knee op, having the new knee threw my body out of alignment and caused me to move in such a way that the disc bulged even more and eventually ruptured. I'm not saying I regret having the knee replacement -- but I do think doctors need to acknowledge that things like this can be a possible consequence. I never would have thought having a new knee would lead to additional surgery... but it seems it has.
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replied May 24th, 2010
Sciatica after Knee Replacement
Yes indeed. Total knee replacement in March 09; I had sciatic nerve tingling right from the start, which my doctor and physiotherapist dismissed, saying it was "my body adjusting to the new knee." It always started when I walked, then eventually stopped. One day in December 09, it started and didn't stop -- just got worse and worse until my whole left leg seized up and I was limping painfully. (I was out at the time, and had to keep walking -- there was nowhere to stop or sit down.) I thought it was only a temporary blip... it was around Christmastime... so I didn't do anything about it. It never went away, and now (May 2010), despite months of physiotherapy, a steroid injection into my spine, and a cartload of painkillers, it is worse than ever, and has made me effectively disabled -- I cannot stand up or walk for more than a minute or two before the pain starts and rapidly becomes unbearable. (And I have a pretty high pain threshold, too, like one of the previous posters.) I have had an MRI and have been told that I have a LARGE disc prolapse, L5/S1, and will need surgery. I am now waiting to see the surgical assessment team in a few weeks. In the meantime, I can't walk - and haven't been able to for months. My knee surgeon claims there is no connection to my knee -- but I am sure that, while I may have had a slightly bulging disc before the knee op, having the new knee threw my body out of alignment and caused me to move in such a way that the disc bulged even more and eventually ruptured. I'm not saying I regret having the knee replacement -- but I do think doctors need to acknowledge that things like this can be a possible consequence. I never would have thought having a new knee would lead to additional surgery... but it seems it has.
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replied May 28th, 2010
about TKR's and sciatica.
Hi lilacgal,
There's an excellent book out now entitled "The New Rules of Posture" by Mary Bond (1997). The book is not what you'd call an 'easy read,' but even if you don't understand everything she's saying you will most likely benefit from doing her 'practice exercises,' such as the 'X' Sacroiliac Rocking Practice shown on page 47 of her soft-cover book (you'll need to read pages 43-49 to understand the exercise fully--and you really need to at least skim through the whole book first to get an overall idea of Bond's approach because the whole body is involved).

But you have to actually DO the practice sessions, not just READ about them! You'd be surprised how many people just READ about an exercise and conclude in advance that 'It doesn't sound like it would do much' without ever even TRYING the exercise!

But the practice exercises can't do you any harm--they are extremely gentle--in fact, the practice exercises are as much BRAIN work as they are BODY movement. Their extraordinary value is that they increase your AWARENESS of your body's alignment (or misalignment) and movement. You will think, "Yeah, I can FEEL how my back muscles are tighter on the right side then on the left when I do that'--and lo and behold, when you stand up and start walking again, you will think, "HEY! My left leg feels stronger now and my back feels better!"

I think it's worth trying this book before you pursue further surgeries unless your physician feels your situation is urgent. Do consult with your physician.

BTW. TKRs do tend to cause leg length discrepancies which can cause an imbalance in the pelvis. Sit in front of a mirror with your legs parallel to each other. Does your TKR knee sit higher up than the other knee? If so, then your TKR leg is now longer than it used to be.

Good luck!
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replied May 28th, 2010
Thanks, magicbird - that looks like a useful book, and I will most definitely check it out. Someone else has recommended "Healing Back Pain Naturally" by Arthur Brownstein, which I've ordered.
I have an appointment at the spinal clinic in a couple of weeks to review my MRI and discuss my options. I think the feeling is (certainly after talking to my GP and physiotherapist) that the conservative approaches tried are not likely to work, and the only chance I have now of getting rid of the disabling pain is through surgery. I didn't want to do it, but I am desperate to be able to walk again without the crippling pain I have been having. I can't even get around a supermarket now -- this is no way to live! But I will definitely check out the book you recommend -- I think all of these things (as well as the yoga I've been doing) will definitely help post-operatively and beyond. Thanks again.
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replied May 28th, 2010
Thanks, magicbird - that looks like a useful book, and I will most definitely check it out. Someone else has recommended "Healing Back Pain Naturally" by Arthur Brownstein, which I've ordered.
I have an appointment at the spinal clinic in a couple of weeks to review my MRI and discuss my options. I think the feeling is (certainly after talking to my GP and physiotherapist) that the conservative approaches tried are not likely to work, and the only chance I have now of getting rid of the disabling pain is through surgery. I didn't want to do it, but I am desperate to be able to walk again without the crippling pain I have been having. I can't even get around a supermarket now -- this is no way to live! But I will definitely check out the book you recommend -- I think all of these things (as well as the yoga I've been doing) will definitely help post-operatively and beyond. Thanks again.
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replied May 30th, 2010
Hi lilacgal,
Another thing I've been reading more and more about is the importance of a proper alkalizing diet. Most Americans eat a highly acidifying diet. We are apparently supposed to consume 4 parts alkalizing to one part acidifying in order to prevent an acid environment from leaching calcium, etc., from our muscles, bones and organs. What's confusing is that foods like orange juice--which is acid in nature--is actually alkalizing to the human body, while dairy products like milk--which is alkaline in nature--actually acidifies human blood and fluids.

What I'm saying here is that if your saliva or urine test low on a pH test, then it's the body's acidity that may be the primary cause of your pain.

You can buy pH testing strips of paper to test how alkaline or acid your saliva is. I"ve found swansonvitamins.com to be a good source for nutritional supplements and items like pH testing paper.

NEVER rush into surgery. I've made that mistake myself.

Good luck.
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replied May 31st, 2010
Thanks again, magicbird -- I will definitely look into the dietary connection. I love cheese and yogurt, and eat both every day -- so you may well be right about the dairy connection. I don'tg relish having to give up my favourite comfort foods... but if it helps with pain relief it will be worth it.

I don't feel that I'm "rushing" into surgery - I have had this herniated disk -- and the associated pain -- for many months, and am so disabled by it that I can't walk, even with a walking stick. I cannot envision living like this for another year or so while I continue to wait and see whether other approaches will work. I need to get my life back. I do appreciate the intention behind your advice, but I really feel that it is the only option left to me.
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replied May 31st, 2010
Hi lilacgirl,

Just to clarify something important: pasteurized milk is considered acidifying to the body, but RAW milk and PLAIN YOGURT (ie., without any added sugar) are considered alkalizing. So you don't have to give up yogurt, lilacgirl (I'm a dairy-lover myself, couldn't live without the stuff). Actually, you don't have to give up anything you like, lilacgirl, as long as you keep the proportions four parts alkalizing and one part acidifying.

Regarding your surgery: I respect your decision, lilacgirl, and I understand your desire to get on with life. I've been there myself--I'm still there and I'm still looking for answers regarding my bad knee surgery results of 1995. Surgery in 2000 regained my leg length (I lost 1 1/2") but I still have severe pain, deformity and stiffness in my right knee.

But be sure to ASK your surgeon about the STATISTICAL SUCCESS RATE of the kind of surgery he proposes for your herniated disc. The truth is that back surgeries in general over the past 30 years have not had a very high success rate. If your surgeon is proposing a fairly new procedure, then the success rate will eventually be determined years down the road when someone does a statistical analysis of the outcomes of this particular surgery. Just as the system often pulls drugs like Vioxx off the market because the side effects proved over time to do more harm than good, so it goes for surgery. In other words, patients are guinea pigs.

Tell your surgeon what I said above, lilacgirl In fact, print out a copy of my posted comment here and take it with you on your next visit. Ask him to comment on it. Don't leave his office until he gives you a real answer. He will, of course, say 'There's always a risk,' and that's fair enough. But ask him how MUCH of a risk there is statistically speaking. Don't leave until you get some kind of solid information regarding the success rate. Find out, too, what his sources are regarding the success rate regarding this particular surgery.

Whatever you decide to do, lilacgirl, I wish you the best and I wish you a pain-free life. Good luck!

Magicbird
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replied May 31st, 2010
RE: diet and surgery.
Hi lilacgirl,

Just to clarify something important: pasteurized milk is considered acidifying to the body, but RAW milk and PLAIN YOGURT (ie., without any added sugar) are considered alkalizing. So you don't have to give up yogurt, lilacgirl (I'm a dairy-lover myself, couldn't live without the stuff). Actually, you don't have to give up anything you like, lilacgirl, as long as you keep the proportions four parts alkalizing and one part acidifying.

Regarding your surgery: I respect your decision, lilacgirl, and I understand your desire to get on with life. I've been there myself--I'm still there and I'm still looking for answers regarding my bad knee surgery results of 1995. Surgery in 2000 regained my leg length (I lost 1 1/2") but I still have severe pain, deformity and stiffness in my right knee.

But be sure to ASK your surgeon about the STATISTICAL SUCCESS RATE of the kind of surgery he proposes for your herniated disc. The truth is that back surgeries in general over the past 30 years have not had a very high success rate. If your surgeon is proposing a fairly new procedure, then the success rate will eventually be determined years down the road when someone does a statistical analysis of the outcomes of this particular surgery. Just as the system often pulls drugs like Vioxx off the market because the side effects proved over time to do more harm than good, so it goes for surgery. In other words, patients are guinea pigs.

Tell your surgeon what I said above, lilacgirl In fact, print out a copy of my posted comment here and take it with you on your next visit. Ask him to comment on it. Don't leave his office until he gives you a real answer. He will, of course, say 'There's always a risk,' and that's fair enough. But ask him how MUCH of a risk there is statistically speaking. Don't leave until you get some kind of solid information regarding the success rate. Find out, too, what his sources are regarding the success rate regarding this particular surgery.

Whatever you decide to do, lilacgirl, I wish you the best and I wish you a pain-free life. Good luck!

Magicbird
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replied May 31st, 2010
Thanks so much, magicbird -- and I wish you a pain-free life as well. So sorry to hear you've been suffering after your knee operation. I am grateful for your advice and concern -- and yes, I will make sure I get answers from my surgeon.
Thanks again -- and good luck!
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replied June 20th, 2010
Feb. of 2008 I had my left knew replaced. From the start I had a tingling in the arch of my foot, as if my foot was asleep. At that point, no pain just a tingling. As the months went on the tingling turned to a slight pain. Three years later my left foot is always hurting, it is very painful. The doctor indicated that there was some damage to my sciatic nerve behind the knee. Naturally it was not the operation, it was just that I overdid it in therapy. What do you think.
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replied June 21st, 2010
What anyone except your surgeon thinks is probably irrelevant -- but: you had your knee replaced, so there was surgical interference with the joint; your symptoms began right after the surgery; they're now saying there's damage to the nerve behind the knee. You do the math, as they say. I'm not a professional -- but it sure looks like it was a result of the surgery. If you wanted to take action, though, you'd need to get another doctor to back up your claim. It might be worth pursuing...
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