Knee Exercises – After Your Joint Replacement Surgery

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Former patient, Chris Simons, demonstrates the required exercises needed after your knee replacement surgery. He credits his recovery to not only the care he received from his Washington University orthopedic physician, but to the vigorous rehab schedule that he followed. For more information about joint preservation, resurfacing, and replacement at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, visit:

Ankle Pumps
• This exercise can be performed in sitting or while lying down. Knees may be bent or straightened. If you keep your knees straight, you will feel a better stretch in your calf muscle on the back of your leg.
• Bend and straighten your ankles slowly.
• Move through the full range of motion from pointing toes like a ballerina to pulling toes up toward body, feeling the stretch in the back of your calves.
• Be sure to move at the ankle joint, not moving just your toes.

Quad Sets (Knee Presses)
• Lie on your back in bed with both legs fully extended straight and supported in bed.
• Tighten the muscles on top of your leg while pushing your knee down into the bed. This will strengthen your thigh muscle.
• You will note the knee cap move upwards with this movement.
• If you put a towel under your heel, this will enhance the stretch on the back of your knee to assist with improving your range of motion.
• Hold for 5 seconds. Make sure you are continuing to breathe in and out while you are holding this position for 5 seconds. Then relax your thigh muscle.
• You may slightly bend your knee back into a comfortable position during your brief rest break.

Straight Leg Raises (Leg Lifts)
• Lie on your back, with your surgical leg straight, the other leg bent.
• Slightly roll your surgical leg outward.
• Tighten your thigh muscle, and lift your surgical leg off the bed so it’s as high as your other leg.
• Keep your knee straight and rolled out while lifting and lowering it.
• Slowly lower your leg to the bed.

Heel Slides
• Lie on your back in bed with legs extended.
• Keep your heel in contact with the bed as you slowly slide your heel up toward your buttock, while bending your knee as far as you can. Your knee should stay up midline and point toward the ceiling.
• Using a slick surface, such as a cookie sheet or a thick trash bag beneath your heel helps to decrease the friction between you and the bed, making the movement easier.

Short Arc Quads (Mini Kicks)
• Lie on your back in bed.
• Place a firm roll approximately 8-10 inches in diameter, such as a pillow, large coffee can or a unopened 2 liter bottle of soda with a towel wrapped around it, under your knee so that there is a slight bend in the knee.
• Make sure your leg is relaxed on the roll.
• Slowly lift your foot from the bed and straighten your bent knee.
• Only straighten your knee. Do not lift your entire leg off of the supporting surface.
• Hold for 5 seconds, then slowly lower the foot back down to the surface and relax.
• Like with all of the exercises, please be sure you are not holding your breath.
• Your opposite leg may be relaxed in a comfortable position of your choosing.

Knee Range of Motion-sitting position
• Sit in a chair so that your feet barely touch the floor. If you’re tall, you may need to first put 1 or 2 pillows on the seat of the chair.
• Use the knee that you had surgery on.
• Bend the knee as far as you can.
• Then straighten the knee while lifting your foot off the floor.
• Be sure to try and get your knee all the way straight.

Remember to perform 10 repetitions of each exercise two times a day.

Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University Physicians are your partners in your journey to lead you back to a healthier lifestyle with your new joint. To schedule an appointment with a Washington University orthopedic physician, visit:


There and back again says:

I ruptured my quadricep tendon on april 24th, had surgery on april 27th, leg was hot swollen, red from the onset, spent 6 days i hospital asking to see anyone, for anti biotics as i believed it wasn't right, kept asking for them, i could not get any, i discharged myself, expected to be seen maybe a week later or 10 days, i got an appointment for staple removal and wound check on the 19th of may, i thought that is a long time, the leg was a 7/10 pain, it started discharging fluid around the 10th, i went to my local gp who said that was normal, i asked for anti biotics, the gp said they dont like us interfering, wouldnt even change the bandage, two days later i went back and said this isnt right it should be healing, its red hot agony, i was assured it was fine, got to the hospital on the 19th, straight away, thats infected, ofcourse it was, booked in for debridement which i got on the 21st of may, i thought all went well, discharged on the 26th, and its taken 4 plaster casts, with weekly and fortnightly wound checks for it to finally heal, it was a big incision, i got put in to a brace on the 13th of july, my leg has been in full extension since the 24th of april, ive tried bending the knee but its extremely tight, rock hard above the pateller, and just isn't working out. The surgeons and everyone else are passing the buck, these things happen, people often look for someone to blame when nobody is……hhhmmmmmmm 22 days left with a festering staph infection, nobody is to blame. Can anyone relate to this, because i keep reading about knee replacements, but nothing like my situation, am i ever going to get range of motion after 11 weeks on none, am i going to need manipulation under anaesthesia? Any advice would be helpful at the minute, everything that could go wrong has.

Aniza Azahar says:

Great video! 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼

Larry Walker says:

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RottAB says:

Bruh that dude's a macho!

Karuna Lakshman says:

Can l squat my leg after two yrs of knee cap surgery.

Attaullah Khkula says:

Which tablets is best for joints

Jerri Tucker says:

Thanks for this information. I just had surgery on the 19th of October. This will be very helpful for me.

Swapna Ramachandran says:

Would you please guide me with exercises that wil help me in losing the excess weight, especially on my thighs. I underwent knee Arthroscopy four years back.

Nicole Reyes says:

I'm 4 days post full knee replacement
I cant do anything , still swollen and soar

Alleen E, Martinez says:

Hello, did anyone have trouble doing the leg raises? I can’t seem to lift my leg yet

Ravinder Tiwari says:

Very helpful video for knee exercise after surgery

Suita EC says:

FAKE NEWS? I don't see any knee scars?

Shivarla Naresh says:

Contact me permanent for permanent solution , without knee surgery.. 9493433466

Gaurav Sharma says:

Thanks dear sister ….

sameer dalvi says:

I m a poor guy from India age 30 single boy need 2 lakh rs for my hip joint replacement operation is any one able to help contact me on my WhatsApp number +91 8828523664 will provide proof too as required pls anybuddy help me out I m in critical condition on 3rd stage so pls help me out as early as possible

Zaid Khan says:

Please madam help me. My cousin knee was broken in a car accident two years ago. Two rods were inserted in his knee but now his joint muscles do not contract and leg remains straight and do not bend. Please advise us some excersise and if possible send me a video on my email address. THANKS

Dumitrascu Claudiu says:

If You could bend tour knee whit nota tío mucho pain ,try bycicle, normal or medical,…


Brief and to the point video. No waste of time. Thank you.

ibrahim el-khayat says:

Please can you help me ?
I can't do exercise number 6 my leg is hurting me

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