Advanced Exercises After Knee Replacement Surgery 

Advanced exercises help strengthen and stretch the muscles around your knee. Unless told otherwise, repeat each exercise 10 times per session. Build up to 25 repetitions. Do 2 sessions each day. You may be told to take pain medicine 30 minutes before each session.

Make exercise part of your daily routine. Lack of exercise can cause joint stiffness and decreased range of motion.  But with continued exercise, you may even gain more strength and range of motion than you had before surgery. Keep meeting with your physical therapist as directed. He or she may add riding a stationary bike or other new exercises to your program.

1. Leg from knee down showing short-arc knee extensions. 2. Leg from knee down showing straight leg raise.

Short-arc knee extensions

  • Lie on your back. Place a rolled towel under your new knee and bend the other knee.

  • Keeping your new knee on the towel, lift your foot several inches to straighten the knee.

  • Hold for 3 seconds. Slowly lower the foot.

Straight leg raises

  • Lie down on your bed. Bend your good leg keeping your foot flat on the bed.

  • With your operated leg as straight as possible and lift it about 1 foot off the bed. (At first, you may only be able to lift the leg a few inches.)

  • Hold for 3 seconds. Slowly lower the leg.

1. Person from waist down showing standing knee bends. 2. Lower body of seated person showing long-arc knee extension.

Standing knee bends

  • Stand while hold on to a steady surface, such as a table.

  • Bend your operated knee as far as you can.

  • Hold for 3 seconds. Slowly lower the leg.

Long-arc knee extensions

  • Sit in a chair with both feet flat on the floor.

  • Straighten the operated knee as much as you can.

  • Hold for 3 seconds. Slowly lower the leg.


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