The Top Post-Knee Replacement Exercises

What are the best exercises to do after a knee replacement surgery? If you’re recovering from knee replacement surgery, the answer to that question may seem obvious – the ones that help you recover and get you back on your feet as fast as possible. However, there are plenty of exercises that you can do to improve the mobility of your knee after surgery. In this article, we will cover some of the best post-knee replacement exercises to implement into your daily recovery routine.

Exercises for Recovery

I. Walking

Walking is a great exercise to build strength in your knees. After getting approval from your doctor, you can begin walking around three weeks after surgery. Generally, it is recommended that you use assistive devices when you start walking again. . It is important to start slowly and gradually increase the time spent walking every day until you can walk independently without assistance. 

It’s vital that you take your time with this process. Rushing recovery can cause muscle fatigue and lead to falls that could result in serious injury. Your doctor will likely recommend that you walk at least 20 to 30 minutes daily until they feel comfortable with your ability to go further without assistance.

II. Biking

Biking is another excellent way to stay active, build leg strength, and improve cardiovascular health. Per your doctor’s recommendation, this exercise can be done around two weeks after the operation. You can do bicycle riding either indoors or outdoors, depending on where you live and your level of comfort with riding in traffic. Many people find indoor cycling classes are easier on the knees than outdoor biking, while others like the freedom and range of motion that outdoor cycling provides.

III. Using an Elliptical

An elliptical trainer is a low-impact exercise machine that allows you to build strength and endurance in your legs. Many people find the elliptical a safe and manageable way to build up their leg muscles, especially if they have lost muscle mass due to intensive surgery or injury. Before using the elliptical trainer, ensure you use it properly to minimize stress on your knees.

IV. Aquatic Exercises

Aquatic-based workouts are a great way to build strength and muscle without putting too much stress on your joints. It allows you to do functional movements like lunging and squatting with ease. When you exercise in water, your body weight is supported by the water, so there’s little negative impact on your knees. Additionally, water exercises can reduce swelling and pain while increasing flexibility and range of motion. Further, aquatic-based exercises can positively impact your balance and coordination.

V. Laying Leg Lifts

Say that three times fast. This exercise involves contracting your quadriceps to improve their strength, which should be done within two to four weeks of healing. Start by lying on your back with your legs straight and together. Lift your legs to a 90-degree angle and hold for one to two seconds, then lower them slowly. Before taking a break, repeat ten times or as many times as possible. If you have difficulty performing this exercise, try putting pillows under the small of your back or placing ankle weights on each foot to increase resistance.

VI. Yoga

Yoga is a great way to strengthen the muscles around your knee and alleviate pain, but it is only appropriate once completely healed at the 10 to 12-week mark. This exercise involves stretching and strengthening exercises that can be done on a mat, in a chair, or standing up. However, avoid extreme positions as they could lead to dislocation.

There are many different types of yoga. Some focus solely on breathing and meditation, while others incorporate more strength-based movements, such as weight lifting and squats with band resistance. If you are new to yoga, find an instructor who will help guide you through the poses safely.

Stretches for Recovery

I. Calf Stretches

Calf stretches are a great way to improve your range of motion after knee replacement surgery. Stretching can help reduce stiffness and swelling, increase blood flow, and ease discomfort in your knee joint. You should aim to stretch daily. There are several ways to stretch your calves. It is pertinent that the stretches are done correctly to ensure the proper effect is occurring. Here’s how to get started:

  • When stretching, always keep the leg that isn’t being stretched behind you. This will keep it from accidentally kicking someone else or hitting something solid. 

  • Stop immediately if you feel pain while stretching or afterward. Try holding the position for a lesser time until it feels more comfortable before trying again but with less intensity.

  • Always breathe deeply while stretching. This helps relax muscles, so they’re better prepared for other movements.

II. Seated Hamstring Stretch

This stretch is best done while seated on the edge of a chair. Put one foot on the floor, bend your other leg and rest it on the chair. Place your hands on the back of the chair and lean forward from your hips, straightening the spine. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat with the other side.

III. Seated Knee Extension

Sit on the edge of a chair. Straighten one leg in front of you while keeping your other leg bent. Feel the muscles on your straightened leg and use that hand to feel the muscles to activate the quad gently. The process will feel uncomfortable, but after five to ten minutes, the muscles will be at ease.

IV. Banded Hamstring Stretch

This stretch can be performed with a rubber band, rope, or towel. You place the band or towel around your foot and pull it towards your knee. Hold for 30 seconds, relax and repeat three times.

V. Standing Quadriceps Stretch

Stand up straight with your feet about shoulder-width apart to do this stretch. Place one foot towards your buttocks and keep the other leg straight. Reach down and hold your toes with both hands. Bend your knee and pull your ankle gently towards you until you feel a slight stretch in your quadriceps muscle. Hold for 30 seconds each time you do this exercise at least three times daily.

Maximizing Your Recovery Efforts

After knee replacement surgery, exercises and stretches are essential to help you become stronger and more mobile. The best post-knee replacement exercises focus on increasing flexibility in your knee and surrounding muscles. You will need the right equipment or access to facilities for some exercises to make them the most effective.

If you will be performing somewhat strenuous or high-intensity activities, it is ideal to do so while using a knee brace. With our state-of-the-art and technologically advanced Ascender knee brace, you can effectively reduce knee pain and get back to the activities you love. Order your Ascender Knee Brace by Icarus Medical and get started today.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Get Started Today

Most braces are covered by insurance and the average cost is under $200!

Icarus knee brace blue
First Name(Required)
Last Name(Required)
I would like an Icarus rep to contact me with more information.
Veteran who goes to the VA