Before Knee Surgery

Guidelines for Performing Knee Strengthening Exercises before surgery:

Exercises to do:
Research has shown that exercise can help decrease pain, improve leg strength and help keep your
heart in good condition before surgery. If you have not been regularly active,
remember to speak to your GP before starting to exercise.

Endurance activities are good for your heart, lungs, circulation and muscles.
Some suggestions for endurance exercises include walking, swimming or use of a stationary bike.
If you have not been involved in any regular exercise, it is important to start slowly.
Your goal is to be physically active every day. Begin with a few minutes and gradually progress until
you can exercise at least 3 times per week for 20 to 30 minutes at a time.

Repetitions– Each exercise should be repeated several times until you feel some tiredness
in your muscle. As you get stronger, you can add more repetitions or sets,
continuing to use muscle tiredness as your guideline.
Frequency– 1 – 2 times per day
Duration– Hold desired position for 5 seconds before releasing.

1. Knee Leg Press (beginner exercise)

  • Sheet around heel of involved leg
  • Bend knee using the sheet if needed
  • Straighten your leg against resistance of the sheet keeping your heel on the bed

2. Thigh Muscle Setting:

  • Lie on your back with your leg straight and toes pointed up to the ceiling.
  • Tighten your thigh muscles by pushing the back of your knee down into the bed.

3A. Standing Hamstring:

  • Hold on to a chair or place your hands on a wall
  • Bend knee so involved heel moves towards buttock on the same side

3B. Isometric Hamstring:

  • Bend involved knee against resistance from opposite foot
  • Just tighten muscles, do not move legs

4. Chair Push-Ups:

  • Sit with hands on arms of chair
  • Push down on hands to lift buttocks off chair

5. Toe Raises:

  • Rise up on your toes by lifting your heels as high as possible
  • You may want to use the back of a chair or counter-top for balance

Illustrations by Limor Shaked
Sunnybrook's Holland Orthopaedic & Arthritic Centre and Mount Sinai Hospital has developed part of this material and this has been edited by Dr. Michael Drexler. Permission to add this link to my website has been granted by Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre’s and Mount Sinai Hospital Guides for Patients Having Hip or Knee Replacement.

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