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Rehabilitation at Home After Knee Replacement

knee replacement therapy

Knee replacements aren’t just for Baby Boomers any more. Athletes get joint replacements, too. Your old injuries can land you on an operating table.  If you are an athlete with repetitive knee injuries, a joint replacement surgery may be in your future. Should you return to physical activity after a replacement? Absolutely, and here’s why. Stronger muscles and bones reduce the chance of component failure. At-home exercises will help you recover and return to your active lifestyle.

Why Do Knee Replacements Fail?

Knee replacement components can last for a decade or more. Knee replacements don’t fail often, but when they do it can be the result of weakened muscles and bone. What is the best way to strengthen your bone? You guessed it: physical activity.

Rehabilitation with 7 At-Home Exercises

Knee replacement is a major surgery that requires physical therapy, regardless of your age when you receive it. So don’t start lifting weights and slapping on the skis just yet. You need a physical therapist, you need a plan, and you need the drive to return back to your active lifestyle.

Rehabilitation is key to a pain-free life and active lifestyle. Your rehabilitation plan must include at-home exercises. Exercise aids in restoring knee mobility and strength. As you get stronger, you start to return to regular activities. You should do the following exercises at least two to three times per day, or as directed by your physician or therapist.

  1. Ankle pumps

While lying on your back, pump your foot. Pull your toes up and then bend them back down. Incorporate ankles circles in the set. After pumping the foot, rotate your foot. Keep your toes pointed while you rotate clockwise and counterclockwise.

  1. Bed-supported knee bends / heel slides

While lying on your back, bend you knee as you slide your heel up and down on the bed or flat surface. Repeat the bend until you can bend you knee or until your leg gets tired. Move on to the next leg. Remember to keep you kneecap pointed up. Don’t allow it to drift either side.

  1. Leg slides

Lie on your back and place your hands at your sides. Slide your leg from side to side. Point your kneecap to the ceiling when you complete this exercise, and don’t rush it.

  1. Glute Squeeze

This exercise is important because it is one one of the only ones that directly addresses your backside. You need strong glutes to walk, exercise, to get up and down, and to perform daily activities.  To do the glute squeeze, lie on your back on the bed or a mat. Squeeze your glutes together as tightly as you can. (It is move you do when someone cuts you off at in intersection). Hold the squeeze for 10 seconds and release. Do this 20 more times. You can the glute squeeze throughout the day when you are sitting or lying down.

  1. Knee stretches

You can do many knee stretches sitting up or lying down. Position two chairs facing each other. Sit in one chair and place your leg on the chair in front of you. Extend the leg straight on the chair for 10 minutes.

Stay in the chair to complete a prolonged knee stretch. Bend you knee back as you lean forward in the chair. Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds. You must do this stretch many times during the day. Soon you should be able to hold the stretch for more than a minute.

  1. Sitting knee bend

To do a supported knee bend in the chair, put your able leg behind your operated knee. Cross at the ankles. Support the knee as you gently bend the knee as far as you can. Hold the stretch for up 5 to 10 seconds.

  1. Straight leg lifts

Lie on your back and straighten your knee out on the bed or mat. Tighten your thigh muscle while you lift your leg off the bed. Hold the position for 5 or 10 minutes. You should do this until your leg gets tired.

One final tip: keep moving. Exercise at least three times per week. Talk to the health experts COR to help you recover and keep moving. They will devise a plan to aid in your rehabilitation to get you back on your feet.