If you are undergoing total knee replacement surgery, you will be required to do at-home exercises afterwards to help with the healing and recovery process. These exercise programs can help reduce swelling and will increase your knee motion and strength, so it is important that you remain committed if you want to see results.
One of the most important things you need to do after surgery is work on your knee motion so that you can walk without a limp and can get up and down from chairs or your bed easily. You need to do exercises that focus on increasing your knee motion, including knee straightening and knee bending stretches. You can sit on a sturdy chair with your lower leg placed on another chair of equal height or a solid surface directly in front of you. Let your muscles relax so that your knee can straighten and you will feel a gentle stretch on the back of your knee. Thigh squeezes will increase your stretch, so try to do this if you can. This exercise should be done for about 5 to 10 minutes in order for it to be effective and your stretches should be slow and gentle so that you see progress. Try to keep your muscles relaxed throughout the exercises because doing it in a manner that is fast and forceful will not help in any way, so be mindful of this aspect.
Strengthening activities are equally as important because strength must be regained after your knee surgery so that you can go back to doing the things you love. Leg strengthening exercises are a must and your physical therapist will recommend ankle pumps and circles, thigh squeezes, heel slides, leg slides and lying kicks. These exercises must be done twice a day and you should do 10 repetitions of each exercise at first and gradually increase that number once you feel more comfortable. Completing these exercises while lying down is ideal, as that position will provide you with the most comfort. Straight leg raises and sitting kicks are also great strengthening exercises, so make sure you incorporate them into your program.
Walking is another activity you must do throughout the day because it will help build your strength and endurance. Walk around your home at first and once you feel more comfortable, increase the distance by going for walks outside and within your community. You can start by using a front-wheel walker, crutches or a cane because you may need an assistive walking device in the beginning and as you feel better, you can start letting go of them.
Core Physical Care in Toronto can help you get back to your regular movements after surgery. We offer a number of services, including aqua therapy and in-home personal training, so if you want your recovery to be fast and effective, give our physiotherapy clinic a call today!