Exercises for Knee Rehabilitation

Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. Stop exercising if you feel short of breath, weak, dizzy, nauseous, or feel sharp or stabbing pain.

How fast and how well you regain knee motion is directly related to your motivation and perseverance. Strong determination and tolerance for temporary discomfort will hasten your return to normal activities.

Follow the exercise routine prescribed by your doctor. Gradually increase the frequency of the exercises as your knee becomes stronger. Initially, you may require assistance, but you should soon be able to perform these exercises and stretching maneuvers on your own. If you are having difficulty with these exercises many of them can be more effectively performed in a swimming pool with the aid of the water’s buoyancy.

Quadriceps Settings

  1. Sit on a flat surface with your legs straight out in front of you.
  2. While keeping your leg in position, tighten your knee so that the back of your knee is flat against the floor.
  3. Hold this position for 2 seconds and then relax.
  4. Slowly repeat this exercise at least 25 times every hour.

Straight Leg Raising

  1. This exercise is best performed on a bed.
  2. Lie on your back with your legs straight out and your knees unbent.
  3. Holding onto the bed frame, lift your heel slowly off the bed and raise it as high as possible. Slowly lower your leg to the bed, keeping the knee straight.
  4. Repeat 10 times; perform this exercise 3 times daily.
Straight Leg Raising Exercise

Progressive Resistance Exercise

  1. Sit on a high table or a bench with your legs dangling.
  2. Suspend weights from your ankle using a small bucket, purse, or pouch with a strap.*
  3. Lift the weight upward, fully extending the knee, and hold the load momentarily.
  4. Slowly lower your leg until the knee is again bent at 90 degrees.
  5. Start with 2-5 pounds, depending on your physical condition, and repeat 10-15 times.
  6. Progressively increase both the weight and number of repetitions.
Progressive Resistance Exercise

Knee Flexion Exercises – For Immediately After Surgery

Exercise A

  1. Raise the leg straight upwards.
  2. Support the lower thigh just above the knee by clasping your hands on the back of the leg.
  3. Relax the knee muscles and let the weight of the leg bend the knee.
  4. Then, with no additional aid, straighten the knee to its previous position.
  5. Repeat this exercise, each time allowing the leg to bend further at the knee.
Knee Flexion Exercise A

Exercise B

  1. Sit on the side of a bed with a pillow under your knees and your legs dangling.
  2. Straighten your injured leg; you may use the foot of your strong leg for support if necessary.
  3. Once you have straightened your leg, let it fall by gravity.
  4. Next, force it to bend by exerting pressure with your other foot on your ankle and slightly pushing your injured knee toward the ceiling.
  5. Bend your knee until pain limits you.
  6. Repeat.
Knee Flexion Exercise B

Knee Flexion Exercises – For Convalescent Period

Exercise A

  1. Sit on a high table and let your legs dangle with minimal to no support.
  2. Tighten your hamstring muscles.
  3. Use your opposite foot to gradually bend the injured leg by exerting pressure on top of your ankle.
Knee Flexion Exercise - Convalescent A

Exercise B

  1. Place both hands onto the edge of a table in front of you.
  2. Stoop, forcing both knees to bend.
  3. Try to bend deeper with each squat.
Knee Flexion Exercise - Convalescent B

Exercise C

  1. Perform bicycle-type exercises while lying on your back with your legs extended into the air.
  2. Optionally, use an exercise bike with the seat placed in the highest position.
  3. As your knee motion improves, lower the seat.
Knee Flexion Exercise - Convalescent C

Exercise D

  1. Lie on your stomach and bend your knee by lifting your foot from the floor.
  2. You may force the knee to bend by pulling on a strap looped over your foot.
Knee Flexion Exercise - Convalescent D