Total knee replacement recovery exercises play a major part in your recovery following knee surgery. Remember that your knee replacement procedure was a major operation and full recovery will take time.
It is imperative that a regular exercise regime is commenced as soon as possible to help restore the mobility and strength to your knee. This will help speed up your recovery so that you can return to your normal activities as quickly as possible.
Your orthopedic surgeon will recommend the knee exercises that you should do. These will generally start off fairly light and gradually increase in intensity. It is important to follow your surgeon’s instructions on this physical therapy.
As you gain more strength and confidence your knee therapy can consist of more advanced exercises. Here are some which can be useful. Before starting on these exercises please run them past your orthopedic surgeon or physical therapist. These advanced exercises should be started until at least 4 weeks after your knee surgery.
Standing Knee Bends
Stand up and using a walker or crutches to steady yourself, lift your thigh while bending your knee as much as you can. Hold this position for between 5 to 10 seconds and then straighten your knee making sure that your heel touches the floor first. Repeat this a few times but do not over do it.
Advanced Knee Bends
Lie on your back and bend your knee to about 45 degrees. Place a rolled up towel over your ankle and take hold of each end. Gently pull back on the towel to increase the angle of bend. Hold for around 5 – 10 seconds. Repeat this exercise several times.
Resistance Knee Exercises
Using light weights, repeat the above exercises with the weights wrapped around your ankle.
These resistance exercises should not be started until at least 4 – 6 weeks after your knee replacement surgery.
You will need some light weights that can be tied around your ankle. These can be obtained from most sports stores. Start with one or 2 pound weights and slowly increase the weight as you regain strength in the knee joint.
Using an exercise bike is great way to increase mobility in your knee and muscle strength.
Make sure you set the bike up properly. Adjust the height of the seat so that with your knee almost straight the bottom of your foot touched the pedal. Keep the tension of the exercise bike fairly low so it is easy to pedal.
First of all pedal backwards. When you achieve a pedalling motion that does not give you any discomfort then start pedalling forwards. Do this twice a day for about 15 minutes and slowly increase the time. When you feel comfortable in doing so, increase the tension.
It is not uncommon for you to feel knee pain or swelling after knee physical therapy like this. This can be relieved by applying ice to your knee and elevating your leg. If you feel the pain or swelling is extreme, cease the exercises and consult your health specialist.
These exercises should be an integral part of your total knee replacement recovery regimen
Written by Kerry N
“There’s no doubt in my mind that a lot of major knee injuries have been prevented because the joint was extra strong. The controlled up -and-down movement of the squat is the best rehab exercise.
… this is unusual with arthroscopic knee surgery. Usually, you will be able to walk without assistance. You will need to take care about bearing weight at first, but as time passes and you persist with your postoperative exercises
Here’s a great video which includes a detailed analysis of knee function anatomy, common injuries, potentially dangerous exercises and causes of pain, useful rehab exercises and protocols.
Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injury Rehabilitation Exercises.
What knee exercises do you do/have you done to help strengthen your muscles? Have you worn a brace while running? If so, do you have an brands/types you can recommend over others? Is running on specific terrain easier on your knee?
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