Advanced Exercises After Knee Replacement Surgery 

Advanced exercises help strengthen and stretch the muscles around your knee. Unless told otherwise, do each exercise 10 times per session. Build up to 25 repetitions. Do 2 sessions each day or as directed by your healthcare provider. Always contact your provider or physical therapist if you have pain during these exercises or as otherwise directed.

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. They may add riding a stationary bike or other new exercises to your program.

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 (above your buttock) to straighten the knee.

  • Hold for 3 to 5 seconds. Slowly lower the foot.

Leg from knee down showing short-arc knee extensions.

Straight leg raises

  • Lie down on your bed or on a mat on the floor. Bend your good leg, keeping your foot flat on the bed or floor.

  • With your operated leg, tighten the front of the thigh (quadricep) to straighten the knee as much as possible. Lift it about 6 to 10 inches (above your buttock) off the bed or floor. At first, you may only be able to lift the leg a few inches.

  • Hold for 3 to 5 seconds. Slowly lower the leg.

Leg from knee down showing straight leg raise.

Standing knee bends

  • Stand while holding 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.

Person from waist down showing standing knee bends.

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.

Lower body of seated person showing long-arc knee extension.

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