Knee Rehab Exercises Post Surgery

I recently saw an Instagram post by Dr. Wesley Wang, PT DPT that brought back memories of my own post-ACL replacement surgery treatment. Compared to my first inpatient ACL surgery way back in 1992, my second surgery was an outpatient procedure where I was able to use crutches (and a knee brace) to walk out of the hospital and head home on the same day after being discharged.

A few days later, I was using a continuous passive motion (CPM) machine that was delivered to my house. A CPM machine is a device that will gently flex and extend the knee joint while you are lying down. More recently, I have seen variations of stationary bicycles with shorter crank arms that are attempting to replace CPM machines in the recovery process.

Shortly after surgery, I was at the outpatient physical therapy clinic starting my exercises like the ones listed in Dr. Wang’s post that are listed below.

Reminder: Please consult your physician or health professional before engaging in any physical activity and stop if you experience pain or discomfort.

  • Seated Knee Flexion AAROM with Band: Sit on the floor with both legs straight in front of you and your back resting on a couch or wall for support. Wrap a band or towel around the forefoot of your affected leg and hold one end of the band in each hand. Slowly pull on the band to slide your foot back towards your body causing your knee to flex into the air. Pull as far back as comfortable or instructed by your therapist. Hold. Release tension on the band allowing your foot to slide forward until your leg is straight and flat on the floor. Repeat.

  • Quad Sets: Lie on your back with one knee bent and the other leg straight. Tighten your thigh muscle on the straight leg and push the back of your knee against the ground. Hold. Relax.

  • Straight Leg Raise: Lie on your back with one leg bent and the other leg straight. Tighten the front of your thigh of the straight leg. Keeping the leg straight, raise the leg off the floor or bed no higher than 45 degrees. Keep thigh muscle engaged on the way down too!

It did not take long for my physical therapist to add new exercises into my home exercise program. However, I have met some therapists that will only prescribe a few home exercises to their patients in the belief that having too many home exercises will discourage their patients from doing any of the prescribed exercises.

If you are recovering from a knee injury or surgery, listen to your physical therapist or doctor and I wish you a quick recovery.

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