Best Total Knee Replacement Exercise

by Jsantos, September 6, 2017

Best Total Knee Replacement Exercise

If you’ve recently had a total knee replacement (TKR) or have one scheduled, you know that physical therapy and rehabilitation are major components of recovery.

While you should definitely schedule time to visit your local physical therapist, it’s also important to know what works best when it comes to rehab for your new knee.

Understanding Your New Knee 

Part of the recovery process is making sure that your new knee and all of its components seal to your existing bones and structures. This means rest and relaxation for a little while, but then you’ll need to get to work making your knee and leg stronger.

The best total knee replacement exercise depends on the individual – there is no “one size fits all” exercise after surgery. That’s why we’re going to give you a few options for the best total knee replacement exercise in your particular case.

Best Total Knee Replacement Exercise for Pain and Inflammation

“The Heel Slide” 

Lying flat on your back on the floor, keep your legs flat. Then, “slide” your left heel up towards your bottom until your knee is bent at least 90 degrees (more if you feel comfortable). Then, “slide” your left heel and leg back down to lie flat on the floor. Repeat with your right leg.

Why does this work? 

Your range of motion – the ability to bend your knee – is compromised after a TKR. Keep your knee flexible without putting the entire weight of your body on it with this lying-down pose.

Best Total Knee Replacement Exercise for Strength

“Leg Raises” 

To strengthen the knee and your quadriceps, simply sit in a straight chair. Keep your legs at 90 degrees, then lift your right leg straight out, keeping your toes flexed to the sky. Hold for five seconds and then lower the leg slowly. Repeat on the left side. You can build to repetitions on each side once your leg starts to feel stronger.

Why does this work? 

Because your new knee is attached your femur (upper leg bone) and all of the muscles there, you need to make sure that your leg is strong enough to flex and move the new knee.

Best Total Knee Replacement Exercise for Stability

Stationary Bikes & Ellipticals 

Try to use a stationary bike for a few minutes at a time, pushing harder with the knee that was operated on. An elliptical can be much the same, although you will bear the full weight of your body. Most physical therapists recommend starting on a bike to improve range of motion and stability, then moving up to the elliptical.

Why does this work? 

Movement is good for healing, but low-impact movement is ideal post-TKR. This means using a stationary bike or an elliptical is a great way to acclimate your new knee to the full weight of your body, as well as stabilize the area around the implant.

Find the Best Total Knee Replacement Exercise for You

Recovering from a total knee replacement takes time, which is why you should always seek help from a professional rehabilitation facility or physical therapist. Together, you can create exercises that return your knee to post-surgery status …. or even make it better than before!

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