‹ Return to all Blog Posts

Why Is My Knee Numb?




510359360_cdca3708e8_o_rodrigo basaure_commercial_solo la muerte puede salvarte_cWhy Is My Knee Numb?

Learn why you might experience numbness after knee surgery.

Kathy Weber, M.D., M.S.
Director of Primary Care Sports Medicine
Rush University Medical Center

Question:

It has been more than two years since my right knee replacement surgery and I am still numb a total of about one to two inches from center of knee up & down.  Should the right side of my knee still be numb?


Answer:

It is not uncommon for individuals after a knee replacement or other surgeries to have permanent residual numbness around the incision area.

WHY AM I NUMB?
The nerves near your skin are minute and, therefore, it is impossible to perform a surgical procedure without cutting them.

WILL IT GO AWAY?
While the nerves in the Central Nervous System (those in the brain and spine) cannot repair themselves, the nerves in the Peripheral Nervous System (such as those around the incision in your knee) can.  Therefore, many patients’ nerves will repair themselves and the patient will regain feeling around the incision area.  As the nerves slowly heal and sensation comes back, patients might experience temporary itching, tingling, and even slight pain in the area.

However, nerve regrowth and repair is neither guaranteed nor perfect.  Some patients only regain partial feeling while others won’t regain any feeling at all.  When nerves don’t heal perfectly, patients may experience odd sensations such as tingling or “pins and needles” in the vicinity of the incision area or persistent numbness.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE
In general, nerve tissue is the slowest tissue to heal in the human body.  It may take anywhere from a couple of weeks to twenty-gour months for these nerves to heal and sensation to return to the affected area.  The duration of time depends on a number of factors, among which are severity of the nerve damage, age of the patient, and potentially other medical conditions.

Since it has been over two years, your numbness may be permanent, which is not uncommon.  However, if you are still concerned about your knee, you may want to speak with your surgeon or another physician who can examine the area.



COMMENTS (1)


  1. Gary Harvey says:
    April 23, 2014

    I had arthroscopic surgery about 6 years ago on my left knee. My knee went to sleep around it and up the side of the leg. When I had this knee replaced it woke up and any thing that touches it is painful. Your last statement was to tell your doctor. I DID!! and not one but every one of the last 5 doctors I have seen and until I found this article I did not find out what the problem is. I can lay on this side for more than a few seconds.Thank you for this article.

Leave a Reply