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How to Stay Active After a Knee Replacement

How to Stay Active After a Knee Replacement

Knee replacement surgeries can affect many aspects of your daily life during the first stages of recovery. It's very important to move your joints and stay active during this recovery period, though you will probably have limited mobility for a couple weeks following surgery.

Before you are discharged from the hospital, you will need show your doctor that you are comfortable performing several different tasks including: getting in and out of bed by yourself; being able to eat, drink and use the restroom; walking with a cane or walker; being able to perform exercises prescribed by doctor.

Prescribed Exercises

You will be prescribed several exercises to perform daily in order to speed up recovery. For the best and quickest results, doctors typically stress that joint-replacement patients should exercise 2-3 times each day post-surgery. A few of the most common and helpful prescribed exercises are:

Leg Raises

Start by lying flat on your back for this relaxing exercise.

  1. Straighten your right leg and bend your left leg so that the bottom of your foot is flat on the bed or mat.
  2. Raise your right leg about 11-12 inches. Make sure to keep your right leg straight while raising. During the first couple days, only hold the position for a second, as you will probably be sore and feel the most resistance during the first few days following surgery. Gradually progress to holding the position for 4-6 seconds as you feel more comfortable doing so.
  3. Now, we’re going to exercise the opposite leg. Straighten your left leg and bend your right leg so that the bottom of your foot is flat on the bed or mat.
  4. Raise your left leg about 11-12 inches. Keep your left leg straight while raising.

Ankle Pumps & Circles

Remain lying flat on your back.

  1. Make sure your heels are resting on the ground with your toes pointed toward the ceiling. We’ll begin with Ankle Pumps.
  2. Bend both ankles up so that you are pulling your toes toward you.
  3. Bend both ankles down so that your toes are pointing away from you.
  4. For the Ankle Circles portion of the exercise, make sure your toes remain pointed up at the ceiling.
  5. Rotate both your right and left ankle in a clockwise movement. After, rotate both your right and left ankle in a counter-clockwise motion.

Knee Dangle & Swing

Switch to a sitting position with your feet dangling off the bed without touching the floor. If your bed is not high enough off the ground so that your feet are not touching the floor, make sure to switch to a higher surface (like a padded counter) for this exercise. This exercise is for the replaced joint only.

  1. Make sure your knees are bent and your feet are dangling off the bed.
  2. Start by gently swinging your replaced knee forward and back.
  3. Do this for 2-4 minutes. Consult your doctor if this exercise causes you abnormal or consistent pain.

Daily exercise with your replaced knee will undoubtedly shorten your recovery time, so consider keeping an exercise schedule. Schedules are the best way to create and reinforce a healthy routine for recovery. Make sure to consult your doctor or physical therapist for more home exercises and information on post-knee replacement recovery. You should always consult your doctor before performing any new exercises.

Health Tip: You can make your new post-surgery workout routine much easier by installing Lock Laces® in your shoes. These no-tie, elastic shoelaces are great for post-knee replacement activity because they eliminate unnecessary bending and straining usually caused by tying and retying shoelaces throughout the day.

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