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Home exercise program: Advanced knee exercises after knee replacement surgery

A regular exercise program will strengthen your muscles as well as help your knee bend and straighten. Your success with rehabilitation largely depends on your commitment to follow the exercise program developed by your therapists.

Ideally, you should exercise two to three times a day, every day, after surgery. Follow specific directions given to you by your doctor, therapist or nurse.

Advanced knee exercises

Only do the advanced knee exercises below if you are instructed by a therapist or doctor to do so.

Towel stretch

Towel stretch

Lie on your back and bend your knee. Use a towel behind your knee and pull the towel with both hands to increase the stretch in your knee. Hold for _________ seconds. Return to the starting position and relax.

Prone knee flexion

Prone knee flexion

Lie on your stomach with a towel under your thigh. Bend your knee back as far as possible. Hold for _________ seconds. Return to the starting position and relax. Repeat _________ times.

Prone hip extension

Prone hip extension

Lie on your stomach with a pillow under your hips. Keep your involved leg straight and lift it toward the ceiling. Hold for 5 seconds. Slowly lower your leg down and relax.

Step stretch

Step stretch

Place the foot of your involved leg one to two steps above and lean into your involved knee, keeping your upper body straight by holding onto railings.

Knee step up

Knee step up

Step up with involved leg, then step back down. Repeat.

 

Advanced standing exercises

Do the following advanced standing exercises only if you are instructed by a therapist or doctor to do so.

Standing exercises for legs: Hold for ______ seconds.

1. Stand, holding on to a secure object. Lift one of your legs forward off the ground.

1. Stand, holding on to a secure object. Lift one of your legs forward off the ground.

2. Bring your knee up toward the ceiling, bending your knee.

2. Bring your knee up toward the ceiling, bending your knee.

3. Lift your leg out to the side.

3. Lift your leg out to the side.

4. Bend your knee, bringing your heel toward your buttocks.

4. Bend your knee, bringing your heel toward your buttocks.

5. Slowly lift your leg backward.

5. Slowly lift your leg backward.

6. Bend your knees slightly.

6. Bend your knees slightly.

7. Raise up onto the balls of your feet.

7. Raise up onto the balls of your feet.

8. Raise your forefeet off the floor.

8. Raise your forefeet off the floor.

Walking

Besides your exercise program, you must leave time for walking. Walking helps build your strength and endurance.

Walk around your home three to five times each day. Trips to the bathroom or kitchen are not enough. Progress to walking outside and in the community.

 


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Source: Allina Patient Education, Total Knee Replacement, third edition, ortho-ahc-90140

First published: 10/01/2000
Last updated: 12/01/2006

Reviewed by: Allina Patient Education experts