How to Poop After Knee Surgery: A Practical Guide to Post-Surgical Bowel Movement

One thing that’s interesting about writing a blog is that I can check my blog’s “stats.”  One of the stats that is recorded is a list of search terms that people have used to find my site. That means every time somebody types something into Google and then visits my site after it pops up in their search results, my blog’s stats keep a record of what search term was used to find it. These search terms range from mundane (“acl surgery”) to mildly amusing (“billy ripken fuck face”) to hilarious (“pictures of men on the toilet”). I don’t know exactly why somebody was looking for pictures of men on the toilet, and I don’t really want to know, but I got some site traffic and a hearty laugh out of it, so whatever. I hope that goofy pervert found something to his liking.

I have this picture to thank for that search result

I thought that nothing would ever top “pictures of men on the toilet” as my favorite search term, but I was proved wrong today when I logged on and discovered that somebody found my site by searching for “how to poop after knee surgery.” After I stopped laughing and cleaned up the chocolate milk that I shot out my nose, I got to thinking about the poor bastard who actually resorted to using a Google search to figure out how to deal with the problem of pooping after knee surgery. Having had similar problems after my ACL/PCL surgery, I can relate to this person’s struggles. And as a seasoned veteran of the action in question, I feel it is my duty to teach the rookies how to make their post-surgical bathroom experiences as tolerable as possible. So I’m now going to sit down and write the single most unprofessional thing I will ever write. I hope it shows up every time a potential employer Googles my name in the future. Without further ado, I give you the S.A.C.K.S. Postoperative Pooping System:

1. Set the stage

Like many things in life, pooping after knee surgery requires some level of preparation. For one thing, you’re going to need to do a little visual recon of the bathroom to determine if it is suitable for your needs. You’ll need a bathroom that’s big enough to accommodate your new unorthodox stance, so make sure there’s roughly two to three feet of open space in front of the bowl, because you’ll be going to the bathroom like a total moron with one leg sticking straight out in front of you thanks to your immobilizer brace.

knee brace

This is going to make things a little difficult

You’ll also want to make note of any towel bars or sinks that you can grab on to after you’re finished to help you stand up. (Note: be sure to check the sturdiness of any towel bars before you use them to try to pull yourself up. If you’re not careful, you could yank it straight out of the wall and wind up on your ass.)

This can be your best friend, or a treacherous enemy 

You also may want to incorporate a footstool or edge of a bathtub to prop your foot up while doing your business. This approach doesn’t work for me, personally, but I guess it’s possible that some people might enjoy pooping in a reclined position. It’s all about finding your comfort zone.

2. Approach the bowl

This one’s pretty self-explanatory, and it’s also the hardest step to mess up. All you have to do is shuffle your crippled ass up to the toilet, turn around, and slowly lower yourself onto the porcelain. This is a good time to use that towel bar so you don’t have to put your hands all over the toilet seat, because God knows how many people have pissed all over that thing. Really, the only way you can mess this up is if you forget to put the toilet seat down and end up slowly lowering yourself into the toilet bowl. But you should have already addressed the toilet seat situation as part of your visual recon in Step 1, so it should be a non-issue.

If it looks like this, don’t sit down. You’ll be going for a very unpleasant swim.

3. Crap as hard as you can

If you’re on pain meds, there’s a good chance that you’re going to be constipated. But you can’t just give up and throw up the white flag at the first sign of resistance. This is where champions are made, damn it! What you need to do is crap as hard as you possibly can and show your colon just who is running the show around here. It’s hard enough to take a constipated poop even when you’re at 100%, but now you’re going to have to do it in a completely unfamiliar, uncomfortable position, which makes it even tougher. It’s kind of like if the NBA passed a new rule that required all 3 point shots to be taken Granny style.

…which would be hilarious

Basically, you’re going to have to push like you’re birthing a baby that’s coming out sideways.

4. Keep it quiet

While you’re going through this process, you will inevitably experience times when you just want to scream obscenities at the top of your lungs. You are going to want to fight that urge. Nothing is more unnerving for family members, friends, etc. than to hear a loved one shrieking in the bathroom. Some concerned parties may even knock on the door to ask if you’re all right. Then you’ll be forced to answer “Yes, I was just so FRUSTRATED by the difficulty of this BOWEL MOVEMENT that I felt the need to SCREAM OBSCENITIES.” If you want to avoid weird exchanges like that, you’ll want to severely limit your verbal outbursts.

I just made somebody’s day by finding their site with a google search for “screaming on toilet”

5. Stand up and wipe

OK, I know what you’re thinking: standing up to wipe is absolutely retarded. Normally, I would agree 100%. But let me assure you, it is the only possible way that you are going to be able to effectively remove the dingleberries from your butt while one of your legs is fully extended. This is just another little-known fringe benefit of wearing an immobilizer brace. It ruins literally every single thing about your previous pooping mechanics. But the good thing about this step is that it is the last one. If you’ve made it through and followed these steps, then you are now victorious in your fight to poop after knee surgery. Congratulations.

Strangely enough, this came up during my search for “toilet scream”

Well there you have it. The S.A.C.K.S. Postoperative Pooping System. I hope the one guy on Earth that needs it finds his way back to my site. As for everybody else, keep my system in mind if you ever find yourself in a similar situation, and happy pooping!!

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About Andrew Sacks

I'm a 27-year-old former college baseball player, currently working as a strength and conditioning coach in Baltimore, MD.
This entry was posted in Knee injury, Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

49 Responses to How to Poop After Knee Surgery: A Practical Guide to Post-Surgical Bowel Movement

  1. nicole says:

    Are you serious?

  2. Dan says:

    My teammates are looking at me, wondering why I am laughing so hard at my iPod touch. I enjoyed the shit out of this, pun intended.

  3. Fred says:

    that was amazingly accurate brother

  4. Patty says:

    That was lovely, thank you. While I was much amused and it gave me just the laugh I was needing, I also found your article to be very informative. I shall bookmark this page just in case I ever find my self in a post-operative poop dilemma.

    p.s. you are a tard. you make me happy :)

  5. Sean says:

    Thanks for the much needed laughs. I had a fracture of my right patella repaired on Sept. 3rd. Sometimes it’s nice to know one isn’t alone in their struggles.

  6. Alex Protzman says:

    This is my new favorite anything. Holy shit. Literally. I had ACL and Meniscus repair exactly one week ago and am doing some recovery at my wife’s parents house. Crapping after surgery is difficult, but compound it with in-laws around…..
    Well done sir.

  7. Lauren says:

    I had my ACL reconstructed 4 1/2 weeks ago and man do I know this issue all too well. I laughed so hard reading this I was crying. Thanks for the good laugh. It’s nice to know I’m not alone with the trial and tribulations of recovering after knee surgery.

  8. lastautumn@gmail.com says:

    You could be stinking rich with – just spread the word.
    I had my ACL surgery earlier this morning (that pun above is all due to the meds), everything is pretty good with the patella graft. I am more or less getting around, not much pain or craziness – then a snag, after a quick initial bathroom trip; I have no clue how to do a #2 and its not covered in my medical booklet. Son of a ….

  9. christina says:

    This is so true and absolutely hysterical!!! Laughing is so very good for us! I’m 4 days post acl reconstruction with miniscus repair, I can totally relate and I can not stop laughing,

    • momoftwo says:

      Really, Christina, I also enjoyed this. And guys don’t even have to sit down for number 1 (for me, about 400 times a day). I just went in there for the first time today after getting a knee immobilizer for strained ligaments. I took it off and bent my knee–and felt lucky I could… LOL. I used the more ladylike search terms “knee immobilizer going to bathroom”.

  10. Lexy says:

    Beautiful, Andrew! Just as the others said…so nice to feel that I am not alone with this less than fabulous recovery period. I must add…wet wipes and upside down trash cans as a foot rests have been my friends.

    I need more articles like this! :)

  11. Daniel says:

    Brilliant, had me in stitches, having my op on Friday so will remember this

  12. Leo says:

    HAHAHA well and accuratelly said…just one question:
    What if you’re 6’2″, 310 lbs and have NO room for your leg while on the very low toilet seat?….think of snipers, free fall, etc. I’m on my 2nd week of PCL right leg surgery zombie type.

    Thanks for the sense of humor..

    Leo

  13. vojkan says:

    I am in my 8th week after Acl, Pcl and patella surgery.
    My man you are fukin hilarious and at the same time extremely accurate.
    Brilliant

  14. hb says:

    excellent post! thank you for the laugh…turns out I’d had some GREAT help from the post-op nurse who’d instructed my mom to make sure I took stool softener. :)

  15. Rob says:

    5 days post-op, this article took me to my first success! Well worth the time you took to post, if not for moral support on one of the most godaweful yet basic things in life – thank you!

  16. Jess says:

    This is too funny lol. I’ve just had knee surgery myself and this is so true! This has been bookmarked, never laughed so much.

  17. ContainsSoy says:

    Thank you ima try to go use the restroom just got back from my surgery and I feel the urge to take the browns to the Super Bowl with this piece of crap acl of mine :)

  18. Ken says:

    … on the third day post surgery with no result … this one will be seisemic … pray for me and innocent bystanders …

  19. Sarah says:

    I just laughed out loud at work to this blog for a good 15 minutes straight. But it’s funny because it’s true…

  20. Rich Howes says:

    Good stuff. Just had my 4th acl on 7/17/12. The battle In the potty is one for the ages. I feel like I use the toilet as a pommel horse…lol

  21. Shad says:

    Right on the spot. I’ve had my meniscus repaired 7 times and each time I run into the same problem.

  22. Mike says:

    Okay, i’m ready to launch this turd!

  23. daniel says:

    brilliant. there is nothing more humbling than having your mom set up your poop station only to struggle going to the restroom due to the pain meds.

  24. This is so accurate. Im 4 days post op from ACL and PCL recon, MCL repair and cartilage removal all in one 3 and a half hour operation. I had the worst nights sleep ever last night so had a coiple of pain killers in the middle of the night. at about 4am. Thank fuck I got some sleep in the end waking up at 10am! When I woke up I knew I was gonna have to lay the smack down on the toilet. I’ve got my seating position sorted, I take the trouser leg off my good leg completely and leave the trouser hanging on my immobilised leg. OMG, this morning, thankfully no-one was inthe house. i was pushing so hard bro. When I realised that there was a fair chunk to come out I knew I only wanted to go though this once and was making ronnie coleman style deadlifting grunts to ensure that it all came out in one sitting. It felt like things were turning inside out down there. I swear half the street must have thought foxes were having afternoon sex. I fell into foetal position immediately after sapped of all energy.

  25. Craptheshitout says:

    LOL NO SHIT i laughed so hard this is exactly the same as what i going through now. Had ACL and meniscus repair week ago, never knew that making way for those few hard pieces of HOLYSHIT to go through was so hard while you can’t spread your ass

  26. Maggie says:

    LMFAO. Alleluia – thanks for the laugh… tears down my face reading this…. Thanks, lolol…. Very very important piece of the post surgery experience. I’ll hold back on my story about the day 5 laxative experience.

  27. bilkovet says:

    LOL funny. 10 days post-op ACL and MCL and this is a critical piece of information that was left off my post-op discharge instructions.

  28. levi says:

    In fulfilling step 1 we ultimately had to remove the door from our bathroom. It makes the whole situation a family/public affair. Thanks for the amusing blog.

  29. “How to Poop After Knee Surgery: A Practical Guide to Post-Surgical Bowel Movement | Life After
    Knee Surgery” was indeed a very good article and I
    was quite joyful to discover it. Thanks a lot-Dorothea

  30. John C. says:

    I am currently taking a dump while reading this. I am also currently one day removed from a ACL reconstruction and in a full leg brace. A good laugh is exactly what I needed in this strenuous and frustrating situation. Thank you very much.

    John

  31. Thomas Tokarski says:

    Unfortunately. I am going on day 4 post op and have not pooped yet. This blog is great and uplifting for a 41 yo father of two who cannot climb stairs and the bathroom has to have to door open for my leg to stick out. “Mommy why is daddy pooping with his leg out the door”

  32. Emily Richer says:

    Truly hilarious and no doubt helpful….. OMG…. tears began running down my face by step 3

  33. Trina Dee says:

    I dont remember laughing so hard as I have for past 20 minutes reading this after experiencing such challenge when first obliterated both ligaments and unable to bend knee for few months and remember all to well the initial hit and hope landing on the seat and trying to get the hell off it when done!! and the almost like giraffe effect when drop dunny rolll and having to retrieve it off floor, My ACL, PCL surgery is happening 1st of May, which is going to be replacing both ligaments with synthetic material of sorts, and oblique meniscus tear, general clean up.. going to be interesting with a leg bracing.. thanks for the laugh relatively a shitty experience hopefully, Yay thanks for tip “softeners ” loll

  34. JGF says:

    You cannot know how much this made my day! If wearing this brace doesnt teach me patience, nothing ever will!

  35. God damnit, I can’t defecate still— I’m on day four post-op… I want to poop, I really do… I’ve been pissing in a garbage can because my toilet is so low to the ground… It’s like, my toilet is a freakin’ whole in the floor like middle eastern’s toilets. Why do I live in this shitty all inclusive apartment? Why? Either way I am so constipated… Lord have mercy.

  36. The constipated man says:

    Wow this is so hilarious , I had my tib/fib broken and repaired a few days ago but happend about 6 days ago… Still nothing . On stool softeners and all of it .. This made me laugh to hard and hurt my belly though :(

  37. Tim says:

    Haha this is great!! Just had my ACL reconstruction and was wondering how to tackle this dilemma. Thanks for the advice :)

  38. Payge says:

    I just had ACL and meniscus surgery on my left knee last week and pooping has been the toughest thing so this website..though hilarious…was actually really helpful! I googled “why is it hard to go to the bathroom after surgery”

  39. apreston808 says:

    Also, try some baby wipes too, makes the whole wiping while standing thing a tad bit more tolerable….awesome blog!

  40. Ana says:

    I had my ACL repair one week ago and honestly, I am so stinkin’ relieved I am not alone. I was so frustrated that no one had warned me about the perils of pooping after surgery, so as silly as it may feel, I am so glad someone out there is spreading the word! I consider this a worthy cause. Plus this was super hilarious and great, just thank you :)

  41. Mark says:

    Finally, someone who really understands survival techniques post knee surgery. I am six weeks out from microfracture surgery on both knees. Full braces on both legs for the since surgery. I will never take for granted the ability to just sit on the thrown and read a good magazine and am looking forward to being to be able to experience it again soon. Dude… I feel like I wrote this piece. You hit this one right on the “head”. Because you did such a superb job on this educational piece, I thing you should write about some of the other challenges like … getting into a car… stairs…socks….shoes…pants.
    Good job. Good laugh!

  42. magisark says:

    Reblogged this on magisark and commented:
    This is one of the funniest pieces I’ve read in a long long time. Made my day . I sent to my best friend who in fact is about to HAVE knee surgery soon- thought it would help her out-
    You know, a kind of pre-op tutorial.

  43. magisark says:

    LOL!! I just sent this to my friend who is about to have knee surgery- appreciate this as a pre-op tutorial-
    My concern is, hers, is the “wall leg” – I’ll be going up after to assist her in any way I can- if I can stop laughing long enough that is-

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