Thursday, October 23, 2014

Tuesday, March 10, 2009 taylorbuss, Community Member, asks

Q: I experienced pain down my leg, tibia and calf after knee replacment

At first, i thought it was because I was finally walking correctly.  That replacement failed, and in 2006, I had a revision surgery, total knee.  Since then, I still experience the pain down my shin and calf, much worse than before and more negative impact on walking, exercise, etc.  My orthos says the implant is not failing, and not sure why I continue to have that pain...have you heard about this?  Any suggestions? 

I'm 57, partial knee replacement completed in Jan 2004; revision surgery completed in Dec 2006.  Did PT as supposed to.  pain worsens with walking/use, lessons when at rest, but can occur there as well-usually started when walking and may not dissipate completely with rest.  Worse with weather changes, esp. wet and cold.


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Answers (3)
3/10/09 2:22pm

Without knowing more details, I cannot say exactly why you are still in pain. There are three common types of pain that can affect the lower leg: referred pain, nerve pain, and vascular claudication.


Pain in the lower leg could be referred pain from the arthritic knee or from as far away as the lower back. Referred pain is a pain that is felt in a location that is not the origin; like when someone's arm hurts during a heart attack.


Another type of pain which could be felt in the lower leg is nerve pain. During knee replacement surgery, the Peroneal nerve (which travels down the leg past the knee) could have been damaged. This is a rare but known complication following knee replacement surgery. The typical pain from nerve pain is burning with numbness, itchiness, or tingling. The nerves in the low back could also be affected like in spinal stenosis (sometimes called neurogenic claudication). The leg pain from spinal stenosis is always worse with walking.


The last type of pain that commonly affects the lower leg is vascular claudication. A lack of blood supply can cause leg pain while walking-- called vascular claudication. 


Your primary doctor (not the ortho surgeons) should be able to help sort out which type of pain is affecting your leg. A good history and exam is essential for the correct diagnosis.


Dr. Christina Lasich, MD

dehudson, Community Member
3/ 2/14 7:13am

Thank you so much for your response. I need bilateral knee replacements and have referred pain as a result. I have been so afraid of the surgery and that I would still have this referred pain which is every bit as bad as the knee pain. My doctor told me I will definately have pain with recovery but it will likely be a different pain and will improve with time and therapy unlike this pain which had gotten worse add time progressed. 

taylorbuss, Community Member
3/10/09 8:18pm

Thank-you!  I also have lumbar and cervical spinal stenosis and the referred pain, neural pain makes sense: burning, tingling...mostly burning.  I see my family doc next week, and the spine doc. 

Carol Rau, Community Member
5/30/09 10:37am

I HAVE FIBROMYLAGIA AND THE Dr. has blamed my calf pain on the F.M. I  had 2 total knee replacements ove 2 years ago  and am in extream pain in my knee and calf.  Sometimes I cannot walk with out help because of the pain.  I have tried many topical pain med. and I am on Tramadol for the pain but still have real bad days.  Please give me your advice.

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By taylorbuss, Community Member— Last Modified: 03/08/14, First Published: 03/10/09