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Pre-surgical exercises / Knee Conditioning Program

Beginning a knee exercise and conditioning program prior to surgery is one of the best ways to insure quick and complete recovery. It’s best to begin this program several weeks before surgery. Perform exercises two times a day. They should take about 15-20 minutes to complete. Don’t do any exercises that are too painful.

Getting Started:

Warm up before exercising by walking or riding an exercise bike for 10 – 15 minutes Do not ignore pain – if you’re sore from exercise that’s ok, but do not do any exercise that is painful. The goal after surgery will be to focus on stretching with knee flexion and extension exercises to regain range of motion within the first 6 weeks.

1. Ankle Pumps

Ankle Pumps

Slowly push your foot up and down. Do this several times, as often as every 5-10 minutes. This helps circulate blood flow and prevents blood clots. Repeat 20 times.

2. Quad Sets (knee push-downs)

Quad Sets

Lie on back, press surgical knee into mat, tightening muscles on front of thigh. Do NOT hold breath. Repeat 20 times

3. Heel Slides (slide heel up and down)

Heel Slides

Slide your heel toward your buttocks, bending your knee and keeping your heel on the bed. Do not let your knee roll inward. Repeat 50 times. Can do 3-4 times a day.

4. Straight Leg Raises

Straight Leg Raises

Lie on back, unaffected knee bent, and foot flat. Lift opposite leg up 12 inches. Keep knee straight and toes pointed up. Relax. Repeat 20 times.

5. Quadricep Sets

Quadricep Sets

Lie on back, press surgical knee into mat, tightening muscles on front of thigh. Do NOT hold breath. Repeat 20 times

6. Short Arc Quad

Short Arc Quad

Lie on back, place towel roll under thigh. Lift foot, straightening knee. Do not raise thigh off roll. Repeat 20 times.

7. Seated Knee Flexion

Seated Knee Flexion

Sitting on straight-back chair with affected leg outstretched, gently slide the affected leg underneath chair. Keep hips on chair. Try to stretch and bend knee as far back as possible. Plant foot and move bottom forward on chair. You can place you non-surgical leg onto of your operative side leg to increase knee flexion. Repeat 20 times.

8. Extension Stretch

Extension Stretch

Prop foot of operated leg up on chair. Place towel roll under ankle and ice pack over knee. Put 5-10 lbs. of weight on top of knee (a 5-10 l/images/extension-stretch.jpgb. bag of rice works well). Do for 20 minutes.

9. Biceps Curls

Biceps Curls

Sit up straight in a firm chair. Make sure to keep your elbow close to your body and your wrists straight. Bend your arm at the elbow with your hand moving towards your shoulder. Lower your hand in a slow controlled manner. Start with repeating five times with each are and work up if you are able.

10. Seated Press-Up (arm chair push up)

Seated Press-Up

Sit in a sturdy chair with arm rests. Place your palms flat on the arm rests of the chair and press down to lift your buttocks from the chair. Hold for three to five counts. Bend your elbows and slowly sit back onto the chair seat. Start with repeating five times and work up if you are able.

11. Gluteal Squeeze (bottom squeezes)

Gluteal Squeeze

Squeeze bottom together. Do NOT hold breath. Repeat 20 times.

12. Knee Abduction and Adduction (slide heels out and in)

Knee Abduction

Lie on back, slide legs out to side. Keep toes pointed up and knees straight. Bring legs back to starting point. Repeat 20 times.

13. Seated Hamstring Stretch

Seated Hamstring Stretch

Sit on couch or bed with leg extended. Lean forward and pull ankle up. Stretch until pull is felt. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Keep back straight. Relax. Repeat 5 times.

14. Ankle Dorsiflexion and Plantar Flexion

Ankle Dorsiflexion

Standing, hold onto firm surface. Raise up on toes. Go back on heels.

15. Hip Flexion

Hip Flexion

Standing, march in place.

*Exercise regularly and in moderation Don’t overdo it or injure yourself by being too aggressive

  • American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society
  • Sibley Memorial Hospital
  • Johns Hopkins University