Exercises for Post Knee Surgery

knee exercises

After your knee surgery, it’s important to exercise your knee to build up the muscles and increase your joint strength. Exercise helps speed up your recovery and lessen post-surgery knee pain.

How Long After Knee Surgery Should You Start Doing Exercises?

Talk with your doctor and physical therapist as to when you should start exercising. How quickly you should start knee and leg exercises will depend on the type of knee surgery you’ve had and your physical condition. The start of your exercise program could range from right away to waiting a week or more.

Precautions on Knee Exercises

Once you have the go-ahead from your doctor, if you do any exercises that cause significant discomfort, stop immediately and contact your doctor. After exercising, be sure to apply ice and elevate your leg to decrease any swelling.

What Kinds of Exercises Should You Do?

The following are several leg strengthening exercises you can do. Check with your doctor to see if any of these exercises are recommended for you:

  • Heel Slide: Lie on your back. Arch the knee as you slowly slide the heel of your foot to your backside. Slide your heel as far as you can, then hold for 5 seconds. Gently bring your heel to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.
  • Gluteal Sets: Lie on your back. Tighten your glute muscles and hold for 5 seconds, then relax. Repeat 10 to 15 times. You can do these several times each day to strengthen your hips which helps take the load off your knees.
  • Straight Leg Raise (SLR): Lie on your back. Slowly lift your leg straight up to about 12 inches from the floor. Hold for 10 seconds, then slowly lower your leg. Repeat 10 to 15 times. It's important to keep your knee joint straight through the entire exercise.
  • Short Arc Quad (SAQ): The SAQ is an easy way to get the quad muscles in shape after surgery. Lie on your back with a towel rolled underneath your knee. Slowly straighten your knee. Tighten the quad muscle that's on top of your thigh, hold for 3 seconds. Then relax. Repeat 10 to 15 times.
  • Quad Set: Lie on your back. Gently press the back of your knee flat against the floor. Hold for 10 seconds and release. Repeat 10 to 15 times. Quad sets help get your quad muscles in shape after surgery and help to control your kneecap’s position.
  • Hamstring Raise: Your hamstring muscles help you bend your knee and extend your hip backward. Strengthening yours after surgery helps you regain your ability to walk normally. Lie on your stomach. Raise your leg backward about 12 inches from the floor; hold for 5 seconds. Then slowly lower your leg. Repeat 10 to 15 times.

What Are the Benefits of Doing Exercises After Knee Surgery?

Your home exercise program will help to decrease swelling while helping to increase your knee range of motion and strength. The more you’re able to gently push your body and anticipate it will function as designed, the faster your recovery will happen. The benefits of strengthening your legs and keeping them in good shape will last you for years to come.

If you recently had knee surgery and are looking to start exercising again, make an appointment today with Specialty Orthopaedics in Harrison, NY. We’ll provide the most effective, forms of treatment to help relieve your pain and restore your range of motion.

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