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Exercises for your knee

Description

Please note: You should not start any of these exercises without first talking with your doctor or your physical therapist.

You can do any of these exercises at home to strengthen your knee. Doing these types of exercises for knee replacement can help speed your recovery after surgery.

Quad (quadriceps muscles) sets

  1. Lie on your back with your legs straight out.
  2. Tighten the muscles in your thigh, pressing the back of your knees into the bed.
  3. Hold for a count of 3 to 5, then relax the muscles.
  4. Repeat about 10 times on each side.

Terminal knee extension

  1. Lie down on your back. The operated knee should be straight. The other leg should be bent at the knee, so the foot is flat on the floor or bed.
  2. Place a firm pillow or towel roll under your ankle.
  3. Push down on your knee so that your knee is straight.
  4. Your knee and toes on this leg should be facing the ceiling. Hold for 3 to 5 seconds.
  5. Hold for a count of 3 to 5, then relax.

Ankle pumps

  1. Lie on your back with your legs straight out. (You can also exercise while sitting in a chair.)
  2. Slowly move your foot up and down, bending at the ankle.
  3. Do this exercise 10 to 15 times with each leg.

Hip and knee bending

  1. Lie down on your back. One of your legs should be straight. (The other leg should be bent at the knee, so the foot is flat on the floor or bed.)
  2. Using the leg that is straight, bend your knee by sliding your foot slowly towards your buttocks as far as you can. (If you had surgery, you will be told how far to do this.)
  3. Slowly straighten this knee to the starting position.
  4. Repeat 5 to 10 times.

Extension stretch

  1. Lie on your back with your legs straight out.
  2. Place a 6-inch blanket under your ankles.
  3. Push the back of your knee down towards the bed. Tighten the muscles on the front of your thigh, straightening your knee as far as is comfortable.
  4. Hold for a count of 5, then relax.
  5. Repeat 10 times for each leg.

Straight leg raises

  1. Lie down on your back. One of your legs should be straight. The other leg should be bent at the knee, so your foot is flat on the floor.
  2. Tense up the quadriceps muscle in the straight leg to lock your knee.
  3. Lift your leg up a couple of inches off the ground. Your knee and toes on this leg should be facing the ceiling.
  4. Try not to let the knee bend when you do that.
  5. Move slowly and try to keep the muscles in your back relaxed.
  6. Slowly lower your leg to the starting position.
  7. Repeat this exercise 5 to 10 times for each leg.

Gluteal sets

  1. Lie on your back with your legs straight out.
  2. Have your knees bent slightly (around 10° to 15° angle).
  3. Squeeze or tighten your buttock muscles, holding for around 5 seconds.
  4. Relax the muscles for a few seconds.
  5. Repeat around 10 times.
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Review Date: 8/9/2018

Reviewed By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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