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Sep 11

Best Exercises To Prepare For A Knee Replacement

In the last article, I discussed hip replacement. Another very common surgery as the population gets older and more active at the same time is knee replacement. And as I have mentioned last time, there was a time when insurance companies were more “generous”. They covered pre-op physical therapy. But now as they cut down on benefits, such is not the case anymore. Studies have shown that if the muscles surrounding the joint are stronger and the joint is more flexible, the outcome of the surgery is better. In this edition, I am going to give you an idea of what are the best exercises to prepare for a knee replacement if you are to have one.


Knee replacements are indicated when the joint is severely damaged that conservative management or less invasive procedures are not enough to relieve the pain anymore. Usually these people have a lot of pain and limited mobility in the joint. The knee joint is a hinge joint. It is one of the largest and most complex joints on the body. It is made up of the thigh bone called the femur, the shin bone called the tibia, a smaller bone that runs alongside the tibia called the fibula and the kneecap, also called the patella. There are tendons that connect the leg muscles to the bones in order to move it and ligaments that give stability to the knee joint. There are also cartilages located in the inner and outer side of the knee called the meniscus which are the shock absorbers of the knee.

In knee replacements, most commonly surgeons replace both the thigh and lower leg ends of the bones including the ligaments and cartilages called a total knee replacement. They may or may not replace the knee cap also. This has become very common and very successful now. And from the aesthetic standpoint, the incisions are so much smaller now than before.

Do the following exercises one to two times a day every day before your surgery. Videos of these exercises can be found on our website under the Exercises tab. If any of the exercises cause sharp pain or increase the pain, stop and consult your doctor or physical therapist if needed.

1. Heel slide – Lying down, bend one knee and hip by sliding your heel towards your buttock while keeping your heel on the bed. Slide your heel back down to the starting position. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.

2. Ankle Pumps – Lying down, point your toes up towards you then point them down away from you. Repeat 20 times.

3. Quad set – Lying down, press the back part of your knee onto the bed to tighten the muscles on the front part of the thigh. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.

4. Hamstring set – Lying down, bend your knee slightly and press your heel onto the bed to tighten the muscle on the back part of the thigh. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.

5. Straight leg raise – Lying down, bend the uninvolved knee to stabilize your back. Keep the involved knee straight and lift your leg up 8-10 inches from the bed. If you can, hold it for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times.

6. Hip abduction in sidelying – Lying on the uninvolved side, bend that hip and knee a little to gain good balance. Make sure your hip on the involved side is pointing towards the ceiling. Straighten the involved leg, which in this case should be the leg on top, and lift the involved leg up to 30-45 degrees. If you can, hold it for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times.

7. Leg curl – In standing holding on a to chair or countertop, bend your knee by lifting your heel up to your buttock. Then lower it to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.

Treatment for Knee Replacement
Most patients will undergo physical therapy after the surgery. If this is you, Don’t Worry! We can design a specialized program that has shown great results at helping you recover from your surgery quickly. This program can consist of using different modalities, manual therapy techniques and exercises. Call Restore Plus TODAY for more information or to schedule an appointment! (800) 905-0513.

Restore Plus Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation
33-10 Queens Blvd. Suite 301
Long Island City, NY 11101
(800) 905-0513

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