Knee replacement exercises to aid in recovery
Exercising will be important part of your recovery. That’s why we’ve outlined a few common exercises your doctor and physical therapist may ask you to perform.
The goal of this exercise is to increase blood flow throughout your leg and to help avoid blood clots. Lie down with both legs lying flat and straight, toes pointed up. Extend and flex (or “pump”) the foot of the affected knee by pointing your toes away from you and then back until they are pointing straight up. Be sure to flex and extend the ankle through your full range of motion. Hold in each direction for 5 seconds. Perform 20 reps, two times a day.
Stand with your feet hip length apart. For stability, hold onto the wall or a table. Bring the heel of the leg with the affected knee up towards the back of your head, bending the affected knee as much as possible. Slowly lower it down. Perform 20 reps, two times a day. You should try to bend and extend your knee through its full range of motion.
Lie on your back with both legs straight. Keeping the affected knee pointing towards the ceiling, slide the leg out to your side while maintaining contact with the ground and then back again. Do 20 reps, two times a day. Avoid pointing your toe straight up.
Lie down with both legs straight out in front of you. Slowly bend the affected knee while sliding your heel along the ground towards you. Hold this stretch. Then, straighten the leg again, sliding the heel along the whole time. Hold for 5 seconds. Do 10 reps, 2 times a day. In the first week after surgery, you should feel mild to moderate discomfort when performing this exercise. Adjust the intensity of this exercise on your own as long as you’re not feeling too much pain after the stretch.
Lie down with both legs straight out in front of you. Gently tense the muscle in back of your thigh of the leg with the affected knee, pushing the back of your knee down to touch the ground. Hold for 5 seconds and release. Do 10 reps, two times a day.
From a seated position with both knees bent, tighten the quad or thigh muscle on the leg of the affected knee. Raise the foot off the floor until your affected knee is straight. (A full extension may not be possible.) Hold for three to five seconds. Then return your foot to the floor. Relax the quad muscle. Perform 20 reps, two times a day.
Lie down with both legs lying flat and straight. Place a rolled up towel or small pillow at least 6 inches in diameter under the affected knee. Tighten your thigh muscle as you extend your lower leg by lifting your heel off the ground. Be sure not to lift your knee. Try to extend your knee as much as possible and to perform slow and controlled movements. (A full extension may not be possible.) Hold for five seconds and release. Perform 20 reps, two times a day.
Lie on your side with the leg of your good knee on the ground. Both legs should be straight. For stability, place the palm of the hand on the side of your body with the affected knee firmly on the ground in front of you. Slowly raise the leg of the affected knee eight to 10 inches from the ground without bending the knee. Lead upwards with the side of your foot. Hold for five seconds and slowly lower it until it rests on your other leg again.
Stand with your feet hip length apart. Rise on the balls of both feet. Hold for five seconds, and then lower slowly. Do 10 reps, two times a day.
Lie down with the leg of the affected knee lying flat and straight, and the other knee bent with the foot firmly on the ground. Tighten the quad, or thigh muscle, of the straight leg and lift it off the ground, keeping the affected knee straight. Do not lift your leg any higher than the bent knee on the other leg. Lower your leg back down to the ground. Do 20 reps, two times a day.
Tie one end of an exercise cord just above your injured knee (be sure not to tie the cord too tight), and secure the other end on something anchored to the floor. Standing with your injured knee slightly bent, gently pull the knee straight back, keeping the hips forward. Hold for 3 seconds and do 10 reps, two times a day.
Walking is one of the best exercises to do after surgery. Find a location where you can walk for an extended period of time without having to stop, such as a park, the track in a gym or a shopping mall. Walk for the prescribed distance maintaining a steady pace. If you are unable to tolerate walking, light bicycle riding— especially on a stationary bike— is a good option, if you can bend your knee 110– 120 degrees.
Lie down with your knees bent and your feet pressed against a wall. Slide your feet down until a stretch is felt in the knees. Hold this stretch. Then slide them back up again, maintaining contact with the wall throughout. Further resistance can be added by using 2lbs cuff weights, or add weight by wrapping a towel around your foot. Consult first with your physical therapist.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
The performance of knee replacements depends on age, weight, activity level and other factors. There are potential risks and recovery takes time. People with conditions limiting rehabilitation should not have this surgery. Only an orthopaedic surgeon can tell if knee replacement is right for you.