Preparing for a total knee replacement could get pretty overwhelming. Whether your condition resulted from arthritis or an abnormality, your goals are clear– get yourself moving how you used to and be able to fully embrace the daily activities of life without any stress or worry pain will overcome you. But what if there’s something more you can do beyond the surgery? For a successful experience, establishing an exercise plan is in your favor and as long as you don’t over-do it, fear of causing further damage shouldn’t even be a thought. When you are physically fit before undergoing the procedure, you sign yourself up for a faster recovery as you’ll be stronger and more flexible. Here are some exercises to help you prep for your surgery.
- Side-lying Leg Raises.
- Clam Shells.
- Thigh Squeezes.
- Sitting Kicks.
- One-Leg Stands (With Support).
- Knee Straightening Stretches.
- Knee Bending.
- Leg Lifts.
- Hamstring Stretch.
- Lying Kicks.
Stability in walking and standing is essential, especially when taking stress off your knee, and that’s why it’s a great idea to put your outer hip muscles to work with this pelvic-strengthening activity. Relax on your side with your legs straight, then proceed by lifting the top leg about a foot or two away from the other.
Another beneficial exercise to strengthen your abductor muscles along with your external rotators are clam shells. Engage in this exercise by laying on your side with your bad knee facing the ceiling. With your heels staying in contact the entire time, open and close your legs just like a clam shell.
Strong muscles are always a plus-side, and strengthening your quads is the aim here as you prep for your knee replacement. Find a comfortable place to lie down on your back, legs outstretched. Push the back of your knee as close to the surface beneath you as possible, tightening your front thigh muscles. Hold for about five seconds and then relax.
Keep your range of motion intact with this muscle-working chair exercise. All you have to do is sit yourself in a posture-perfect position, stretch your leg straight out in front of you, and hold for five seconds.
One worry of going through this situation is the falling-risk. When your knees aren’t working to their best effort, keeping your balance feels like a struggle. With this exercise, you help eliminate that risk factor. Use the back of a chair or countertop to support yourself and stand on your damaged leg for around thirty seconds while keeping your good leg off the ground.Now even though working out is an essential part of surgery preparation, it’s also beneficial to continue a routine afterwards as it will prevent any complications and keep your knee in tip-top shape as you’ll be improving your strength and flexibility. Here are even more exercises to add into the mix!
This simple knee-extension exercise is an excellent way to start increasing your range-of-motion after surgery. Begin by sitting properly in your seat with an opposite facing chair in front of you where you’ll place the leg with the knee replacement in a straight, extended position for at least ten minutes.
Another brilliant way to enhance your range-of-motion is to engage in bending your knees. The exercise is as easy as the last as you start by sitting in a stable chair which enables you to bend your leg beneath it, and do so as far back as you can, holding for five seconds, and then bringing it back to a resting position.
Don’t let this gentle workout trick you; it is a powerful activity that will have you gaining more control over your new knee as it adds more strength to your thigh muscles as well as helps you gain more stability of your knee. Relax yourself on your bed , laying down and facing the ceiling. Next, fully extend the recovering leg while keeping the other bent to avoid any stress or tension on your back. Lift your healing leg about six inches from the ground, hold for ten seconds, and then relax.
One of the most beneficial exercises you can add to your routine is a passive hamstring stretch as it assists you in regaining full knee extension. Prep a stack of pillows or another comfortable source to help with elevation, then lie on your back, fully extend your legs, and place your foot on the elevated object. With this light stretch, your leg will hang freely for about ten minutes.
While laying down and relaxing on your back, doing some lying kicks will not only allow you to maximize your range of motion but help build some muscle! Simply roll up a blanket to place under your knee, straighten your lower leg for roughly five seconds, and then relax again all while making sure the blanket is in constant contact with the back of your knee.
With acknowledging the perfect exercises for before and after knee replacement surgery, there’s one other aspect to fill you in on. We mentioned earlier it’s important you don’t overdo it. Maintaining an exercise schedule of two to three times a day, starting with 10 repetitions and slowly increasing them by five each week after you’re comfortable is the best way to see results with such a routine. Of course, with any exercise program it’s essential to run it by your physical therapist and get any input on what is right for you.
But overall, you can gain confidence, control, and get your life back together with a little perseverance and determination! For more of the best advice regarding your physical therapy needs, be sure to check out our blog!
To your healthy knee,