Exercises you can do at home after a knee replacementOsmondMarketing
Many people consider knee replacement surgery when they feel stiffness and pain in their knees while performing even the simplest of activities, such as sitting in a chair. Surgery can be the best option when other treatments are no longer working. Although surgery may take a short time to perform, recovery can last weeks or even months.
After a knee replacement, rehabilitation begins almost immediately after you wake up from surgery; you are typically standing and moving the joint that same day. At first, you may be able to walk with the help of parallel bars or walking devices like crutches, a walker, or a cane. It’s critical to get up and use your artificial knee as soon as possible to start the recovery process of strengthening and stretching your knee. This will help it get back to normal movements.
You Are in a Race Against Scar Tissue
The biggest thing to remember after knee surgery is you are in a race against scar tissue. You have to heal up your knee and the muscles around your new joint before scarring takes over and it’s too late to do so.
Doing knee exercises is the best way to win this race. Focusing on exercise is an important part of recovery, and outpatient therapy with a physical therapist may not be sufficient exercise to fully heal. Continuing exercises with an at-home workout can really get you ahead and speed up recovery so you’re back on your feet enjoying normal activities.
Please speak with your doctor before you begin a new exercise routine. If you experience any pain, discomfort, or a worsening of your symptoms, please stop the exercises immediately and contact your health care provider.
Key Benefits Exercises Provide
- Restores normal movement in your knee joint
- Strengthens your joint and the surrounding muscles
- Eases pain and swelling in your knee
- Helps with blood circulation to avoid blood-clot problems
These basic exercises are a starting point to add flexibility and mobility to your injured knee after surgery. You want to make sure you can both bend and straighten it as much as possible.
Your success with rehabilitation largely depends on your commitment to follow the exercise program developed by your therapists, as well as doing at-home knee exercises like these.
As with any new exercise routine, please talk to your doctor or another qualified healthcare professional before you begin. If you experience any pain or discomfort, or a worsening of your symptoms, please stop the exercises immediately.
On a smooth floor, put your foot on a folded towel and move it forward and backward on the towel to bend and extend your knee. This helps get blood moving to the target areas and loosens the joints up. Do this for at least 5 minutes, mixing in stretching your knee by pushing the heel of your other foot against the front of the foot you’re moving so it slides backward. This will help with bending your knee.
Sit in an upright chair and place another chair in front of it. Sit in the straight-backed chair, and place your recovering knee on the chair in front of you. After surgery, it will start out bent but, as time goes on, it will start to straighten as you sit there. This helps straighten out your knee. Do this for 5 minutes.
While lying down on the ground or in bed, slide your heel up toward your buttocks while keeping your heel on the bed. Slide your heel back down to the starting position. You may want to use a plastic bag under the heel to help it slide easier.
Intermediate Knee Exercises
Sit on the ground and wrap a towel around the crease of your foot, holding onto the two ends. Bend and extend your knee while pulling the towel tight for a better stretch in both directions. Repeat this at least 10 to 20 times.
Sit on a straight-backed chair and plant both feet (best with shoes on) on the ground. Grab both sides of the chair with your hands. Bring your body forward off of the chair and toward your knees. This creates a good knee stretch. Hold the stretch as long as you can, and then go back to normal sitting in the chair. Do this at least 10 to 20 times.
Advanced Knee Exercises
Stand against a wall with a small, inflated exercise ball behind where your knee and hamstring meet. Slowly bend your knee and shift your weight to the ball’s and knee’s side of your body, while keeping the ball on the wall. Use your weight to push against the ball and straighten your knee. Do this at least 10 to 20 times.
Grab the handrail of the staircase and move your recovering knee’s foot to the second stair. Start slightly before a 90-degree bend with your knee, and then lean forward as far as you can. This will stretch out your knee. Hold that stretch for about a second, and then move back to the starting position. Do this at least 10 to 20 times.
Your Road to Recovery
After about six weeks, most people are walking comfortably with minimal assistance. This is especially true if you have been focusing on enhancing your knee and joint strength with exercises like these. Once your knees regain their former strength and flexibility, you can get back to doing the activities you love.