When recovering for orthopedic surgery, there are many steps to take to improve and promote healing in your body. These 9 post knee replacement exercises can do just that.
Got a knee replacement surgery? You are probably in your recovery period now and aiming at healing at the fastest pace possible. Regular exercise is the best way to restore your strength. Your orthopedic surgeon will most probably advise you to exercise at least 20 to 30 minutes a day.
Not all exercises are suitable for the knee surgery recovery phase. In this article, we will share the best exercises to do post-surgery. Make sure to check in with your surgeon prior to doing any kind of workout.
Without further ado, let’s get started:
Early Postoperative Knee Replacement Exercises
First things first, you need to start with an easy and effective exercises that will prevent the formation of blood clots as well as strengthen your muscles. You can start these knee replacement exercises pretty early on in the recovery phase. You might be uncomfortable in the beginning but exercising will slowly become easy for you. Let’s get going:
1. Quadriceps Sets
Doing this exercise is very simple. Aim at straightening your knee and hold for a couple of seconds. Release and repeat for at least 10 times or more till your thighs begin to feel tired.
2. Leg Raises
First things first, tighten your leg muscles while sitting straight or laying on the bed and keep your legs fully straight. Lift your legs above the ground for a few seconds and then lower them slowly. Repeat for at least five to ten times.
3. Knee Straightening Exercises
Knee straightening exercises are very important to gain back your mobility. You will need someone’s assistance with this. Put a small towel underneath your lower leg to ensure your heel isn’t touching the bed. Fully straighten your knee so that the back of your knee touches the bed, or gets as close as comfortable. Hold this position for about 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat for 5 to 10 minutes.
4. Bed-Supported Knee Bends
While lying on your bed, bend your knee while making sure that the heel touches the bed and bring your feet closer to the buttocks. Hold this position for 10 seconds and repeat for 15 to 20 times or till your legs feel tired. You can do this exercise two to three times a day.
5. Sitting Supported Knee Bends
You can also try knee bends while sitting in a chair. Place your foot behind the operated knee and bend it as far as possible. Hold it in position for a couple of seconds. Repeat multiple times till your legs feel fatigued.
6. Sitting Unsupported Knee Bends
Once you get the hang of supported knee bends, you can do them without putting your foot behind the operated knee. While sitting on the chair, bend your knee till your foot comfortably rests on the floor. Slowly slide your upper body forward and hold the position for at least 10 seconds. Repeat as needed.
Early Activity – Walking and Climbing Stairs
The best early activity knee replacement exercises include walking. Your surgeon will advise you to do a little bit of activity immediately post-surgery. Early activity not only helps prevent blood clots but gives a kick start to your recovery. Walking is the best exercise to do immediately after surgery. However, there is a right and wrong way to do it.
Walking after Knee Recovery
Your surgeon will ask you to walk immediately post-surgery to help with the healing. Initially, it is advised to walk with the help of crutches or a walker and put only a little bit of weight on your leg. Prior to walking, make sure that you are standing comfortably and your weight is evenly balanced on your walker or crutches.
Firstly, move the walker/crutches and then reach forward with the operated legs. Make sure that there is someone to assist you for the first few times or till you get the hang of it. Remember to first touch your heel to the ground, flatten your foot and then proceed with lifting your toes off the floor. Walking will help you regain some of the knee movement.
Your goal should be to walk as smoothly as you possibly can. You can always adjust your step length and speed as per your comfort. Slowly and steadily, your endurance will improve and you will be able to put more weight on the operated leg. Eventually, you won’t need any aid for walking. Do not rush the process and be extremely patient with yourself.
Most patients are able to walk for 10 minutes without support in about three weeks’ time post the knee replacement surgery. It is important to understand that everyone is different and might heal at a different pace. Be patient with your body.
Walking Up and Down the Stairs
Climbing up and down the stairs requires a certain level of flexibility and strength on your part. First things first, you should attempt this once you are able to walk comfortably without support. Always use a handrail for support and aim at going one step up or down at a time.
Lead up the stairs with the non-operated knee and down the stairs with the operated knee. You can always ask someone to assist you till you feel comfortable climbing up/down the stairs on your own. Climbing the stairs will also help build up your strength and endurance. Avoid climbing higher than 7 inches and use the handrail to balance yourself.
Advanced Knee Replacement Exercises and Activities
Once you are comfortable with the exercises mentioned above, you can slowly start moving towards more advanced workouts. Prior to doing these workouts, make sure that the pain and swelling have gone down significantly. These knee replacement exercises should be done in the presence of a professional physiotherapist.
- Standing Knee Bends
- Assisted Knee Bends
- Stationary Cycling
These exercises are more advanced and should only be done with professional assistance. A little bit of care at the start is necessary for a smooth recovery.
Visiting a Post-Op Recovery Center
After surgery care is essential when healing from orthopedic surgery. A post-op recovery center can provide you with all the amenities and nursing care needed to not only heal effectively, but also comfortably. At Pearl Recovery Retreat & Wellness, our nurses have been assisting with surgery recovery for over ten years and will provide you with all the care you need during your recovery period; from healthy meals to private nursing and confidential transportation, we are here to help you.
If you have any more questions regarding recovery, feel free to reach out to us!
All the best for your recovery!