Knee Replacement Exercises Knee Surgery

Exercising both the knee and leg muscles after knee surgery is vital if you want to have a successful knee replacement. The main goal of these knee replacement exercises is to get the knee moving again to avoid ongoing stiffness and to rebuild your muscle strength to repair muscle loss during surgery. There are typically five standard exercises that are recommend for patients who have just undergone a knee replacement, these are:

Straight Leg Raises

This simple exercise can be performed while you are lying down on the bed. Just bend the healthy knee to protect your lower back and leave the foot on the ground and then take the leg that had a knee replacement and make sure it remains flat on the bed, keeping it locked out straight. Contract your thigh muscle in the recovering leg and slowly raise it up off the bed around until It is parallel with the other thigh (or as far as you can make it). Try and hold the position briefly and slowly lower it back down, making sure that you relax the muscles in between each lift. Repeat this exercise ten to twenty times initially but aim to reach 200 leg lifts per day (about 70 lifts 3 times per day) by the 2 month mark after surgery.

Heel Slides

Like the straight leg raising exercise, heel slides can be performed while lying down in a bed. Instead of bending one leg, this time you need to leave both legs flat on the bed, with your arms at your side. Now, take the leg that had a knee replacement and try your best to bend your knee so your foot is resting flat on the bed. Do not let your bum lift up off the bed. Slowly slide your heel back towards your body until you either feel a stretch or it hurts too much. Repeat this exercise ten to twenty times at least 3 times per day.

Quadriceps Settings

Unlike the previous two exercises, the quadriceps setting involves using both legs. This is one of the most important exercises you can do if you have just undergone a knee replacement. Start this exercise in the same way you started doing heel slides, with your back on the bed, both legs straight and arms tucked firmly at your side. Now, push the backs of both knees downwards into the bed as much as you can without causing major discomfort. When you feel the stretch kick in try and hold it for three to five seconds. Repeat this exercise ten to twenty times.

Pillow Squeezes

This knee replacement exercise involves the use of a pillow. Grab a good pillow and place it between your knees, while you are lying flat on the bed. Now, slowly push both knees together and when you start to feel a stretch in the hip or groin area, try holding it for ten seconds. Relax then repeat this exercise ten to twenty times.

Terminal Knee Extensions

This challenging knee replacement exercise is one of the most difficult to perform, but also one of the most rewarding as it promotes muscle activity and increases your knee extension ability.  Begin the exercise by lying down in bed and then grab a rolled up towel and place it under the knee that had the replacement, approximately 40 degrees from its full extension. Try and tighten all your leg muscles and lift the knee as high as it will go. Once the knee is at its peak, hold this position for five to ten seconds. Repeat this exercise as many times as you can without causing serious pain (do your best to reach at least twenty).


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