Top 5 Exercises after Knee Replacement

One of the most common performed surgeries in the UK are knee replacements. About 100,000 knee replacements are performed annually with the aim to improve functional ability and provide relief from chronic pain, most likely linked to osteoarthritis. Other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, haemophilia, gout, and disorders that cause unusual bone growth can prompt knee replacement surgery. During the surgery the damaged part of the knee is removed and replaced with an artificial joint called a prosthesis. The aim of knee replacement surgery is to provide long term relief of pain and restore function. At surrey Physio we encounter many patients that have had a knee replacement and successfully rehabbed them to good function.

There are several types of knee replacements, including total knee replacement (TKR), partial knee replacement, and kneecap replacement. The decision on which part to replace will depend on the severity to of the damaged surface of the knee. Recovery can be lengthy with most taking up to 1 – 2 years to make a full recovery, however a minority will continue to experience pain after this period. The typical age at which a patient would receive this surgery is between 60 – 80 and the prosthesis typically lasts for 25 years. Our experience is that patients who undergo regular physiotherapy early following knee replacement have extremely good outcomes, reduced recovery time, and we help patients get back to fitness quicker.

As knee replacement is a major surgery it is only recommended if other treatments don’t work as well, such as: physiotherapy or steroid injections. Poor outcomes of knee replacement surgery are mostly attributed to secondary stiffness. This can lead to further complications and longer rehab periods. Research highly supports the use of exercise and having a multidisciplinary approach. Physiotherapy can help restore your range of movement, strength around the knee and improve your function. At Surrey Physio we work with you, your consultant and GP to insure a well-rounded approach to your care. We have experienced physiotherapist and osteopaths who can provide a personalised approach to your rehab needs. Using exercises, cryotherapy, hands on therapy along with education and support we can be with you at every stage of your journey.

If you have recently had a knee replacement and are unsure of what to do next, please get into contact. We can help you achieve your goals using evidence-based research and modern technology such as our Game Ready ice machine. In the meantime, please have a look at the exercises below and give them a go!!

1. Knee Flexion Passive Sitting

Sit on a chair with upright posture. Use your good leg to bend your affected leg backwards, creating flexion to your knee. This is a passive mobilisation exercise for the knee.

Hold for 5-10 seconds, repeat 10 time 5 times daily

2. Knee extension passive in sitting.

Sit on a chair, and place your opposite leg on another chair. Gently push down to straighten your knee. This exercise assists regaining full extension to your knee, and can also be useful after knee surgery in cases of stiffness.

Hold for 5-10 seconds, repeat 10 time 5 times daily.

3. How to Strengthen Your Quadriceps with a Band Sitting

Sit down, bend your knee and put an exercise band around the sole of your foot. Straighten the leg against resistance. You will feel the front thigh (quadriceps) muscles working.

Try 12 – 20 reps with 3 sets 3 times daily.

4. Sitting knee flexion with a band

Sit on the side of a chair, and attach a band around your ankle and anchor the opposite end in front of you. Bend your knee and feel the resistance against the band. You will feel the hamstring muscle at the back of your thigh working.

Try 12 – 20 reps with 3 sets 3 times daily.

5. Half wall squat

Open your legs slightly wider than shoulder width, stand with your back resting against a wall, and bend your knees to the 1/2 squat position. You can either go up or down or hold the down position. Make sure you keep the middle of your kneecap in line with the middle toes of your foot.

Try 8 – 12 reps with 3 sets 3 times daily.

Rehabilitation after knee replacement surgery is a critical part of your recovery process. By working closely with Surrey Physio and following your rehab plan closely, you can improve your strength, flexibility, and overall function and return to your normal activities as quickly and safely as possible.

(Therapists reading this page, these videos are provided by Rehab My Patient – the best exercise prescription software for therapists to prescribe exercises If you are a patient needing advice, call Surrey Physio to book a telephone/video consultation with one of our expert physios or osteopaths, or book in face-to-face for an appointment. You can call us on 0208 685 6930 or book online by clicking the link at the top of the page).