Post Knee Surgery Knee Exercises

Learn the knee exercises you can do after you've had knee surgery in this Howcast video about physical therapy for knees.

Transcript

There's a couple of exercises and a couple of things you'll want to consider if you just had surgery on your knee. First of all, most of the surgeries for the knee are going to be serious enough where the doctor is going to encourage you to do some physical therapy and get involved in a protocol-based care. We're talking about your meniscus repairs. We're talking about your knee replacements, obviously, your ACL reconstructions.

But there is some gray in regards to the simple arthroscopic surgery, which is where the doctor will go in and just sort of clean out the debris inside the knee, the cartilage that might have been fraying a little bit, just sort of clean it out and make it a little bit stronger for them. They'll come out of surgery doing pretty well, and sometimes the doctor recommends some physical therapy in a skilled place. Sometimes they recommend just going home and working on a few things. So it's that population that we're worried about.

The key with your post-operative patients compared to just your tendonitis, your overuse injuries is the importance of daily exercise and maybe even more than one time of day of exercises. Anytime you have surgery in a knee or a shoulder, there's this responsive scar tissue formation that's accelerated, and with each passing day it's starting to harden and harden. Think of glue or clay. But that takes months to harden rather than hours let's say. So you have to stay on top of things that first week with stretching and with exercises.

Specifically, you're going to want to do exercises that are designed to help pump the swelling out of your knee first. So we're talking about your isometrics. That is your quad sets and your hamstring sets. It's very simple to do. You can do it on the floor or on your bed even. Once you've done the isometrics for a few days, you might want to consider now doing some range of motion exercises, simple heel slides or just sitting and bending and straightening your knee work as well. That might be started the first week, week and a half after the injury.

The key is to not do too little in the beginning and then also not do too much too quick. So returning to the gym too early is a no-no. You might accelerate the strengthening, but you also might cause more harm than good with the options you might choose. Too much weight bearing on that unstable knee can really lead to more damage than good. You can disrupt the healing as well as create new problems. So you want to be a little careful getting back to the gym too quickly, and then you need to be fairly diligent and pretty progressive the first few days, especially that first week, staying on top of it, exercising more than one time a day with isometrics and some simple knee bending and straightening exercises.

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