Request appointment

Top 10 Knee Pain Exercises

Make Your Recovery Following Knee Surgery Faster:
Top 10 Exercises to do prior to and after surgery

By: Chuck Schulte, PT, ATC
Diamond Physical Therapy

1. Side-lying Leg Raises

Stability in walking and standing is essential, especially when taking stress off your knee, and that’s why it’s a great idea to put your outer hip muscles to work with this pelvic-strengthening activity. Relax on your side with your legs straight, then proceed by lifting the top leg about a foot or two away from the other.

2. Clam Shells

Another beneficial exercise to strengthen your hip muscles is the clam shell. Engage in this exercise by lying on your side with your bad knee facing the ceiling. With your heels staying in contact the entire time, open and close your legs just like a clam shell.

3. Towel Squeeze

Strong muscles are always a plus and strengthening your quads is the aim here as you prep for your knee surgery. Find a comfortable place to lie down on your back, legs outstretched. Place a rolled up towel under your knees. Begin by tightening your front thigh muscles keeping your heels on the ground or bed. Hold for about five seconds and then relax.

4. Sitting Kicks

Keep your range of motion intact with this quadriceps-working chair exercise. All you have to do is sit yourself in a posture-perfect position stretch your leg straight in front of you, and hold for five seconds.

5. One-Leg Stands ( with support)

One complication that can arise while recovering from knee surgery is the fear of falling due to weakness following surgery. When the muscles in your hips and knees aren’t working correctly, your balance system is extremely taxed. On top of taking pain medication that can make you drowsy, maintaining your balance can feel like a struggle. With this exercise, you help eliminate that risk factor. Use the back of a chair or countertop to support yourself and stand on your damaged leg for around thirty seconds while keeping your good leg off the ground. Repeat the same on the other leg.

6. Knee Straightening Stretches

This exercise is an excellent way to start increasing your range of motion ( called knee extension) after surgery. Begin by sitting in your seat with another chair or table in front of you. Place the surgical knee in a straight, extended position for at least five minutes. Gradually increase this to 10 minutes as you can tolerate.

7. Knee Bending

Another brilliant wa to enhance your range of motion is to engage in bending your knees. Start by sitting in a stable chair that allows you to bend your leg beneath it. Slide your foot as far back as you can, holding for five seconds and the bringing it back to a resting position.

8. Leg Lifts

Lie on your back with your recovering leg fully extended while keeping the other bent to avoid any stress or tension on your back. Lift your healing leg about six inches from the ground, hold for five seconds, and then relax.

9. Hamstring Stretch

One of the most beneficial exercises you can add to your routine is a passive hamstring stretch as it assists you in regaining full knee extension. Prep a stack of pillows to help with elevation, then lie on our back, fully extending your legs, and place yor foot on the elevated object. With this light stretch, your leg will hang freely for about five to ten minutes.

10. Lying Kicks

While laying down and relaxing on your back, doing some lying kicks will not only alow you to maximize your range of motion but help build some muscle! Simply roll up a blanket and place it under your knee, straighten your lower leg for roughly five seconds, and then relax again all while making sure the blanket is in constant contact with the back of your knee.