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Advanced knee exercises after knee replacement surgery

  • A regular exercise program will strengthen the weakened muscles. 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 surgeon, therapist or nurse.

    Advanced knee exercises

    Do the advanced knee exercises below only if you are instructed by a therapist or surgeon.

    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 surgical 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 surgical leg one to two steps above and lean into your surgical knee, keeping your upper body straight by holding onto railings. Hold for _________ seconds. Repeat _________ times.


    Knee step up

    Knee step up

    Step up with the surgical leg, then step back down. Repeat.


    Advanced standing exercises

    Do the following advanced standing exercises only if instructed by a therapist or surgeon.

    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 your leg 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.

    Focus on keeping your back straight, standing tall. Also, make sure your toes are pointing forward.


    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, keeping your knee straight.


    6. Bend your knees slightly.

    6. Bend your knees slightly. Hold briefly.


    7. Raise up onto the balls of your feet.

    7. Raise up onto the balls of your feet.

    Focus on keeping your back straight, standing tall. You should feel this in your calf muscles.


    8. Raise your forefeet off the floor.

    8. Raise your forefeet off the floor.

    Focus on keeping your back straight and bringing your toes up. You should feel this in the front of your lower leg (shin).