If you have recently undergone surgery for a total knee joint replacement, rehabilitation will guide you back into your favorite physical activities. This all begins by focusing on building physical strength and flexibility.
Rehab helps you build strength and mobility in your knee. Here's what you can expect during your first few weeks of total joint rehab.
Straightening Your Knee
The first step in your therapy will be to help you slowly and safely straighten your knee. This will likely involve some passive movements (where your therapist moves your leg for you), as well as active exercises (where you move your leg yourself). This helps you build mobility and flexibility.
Activating Your Quad Muscles
Next, you'll start to work on activating your quadriceps muscles. This is the large muscle in the front of your thigh. Your therapist will help you find the right exercises to do. This helps improve your knee's range of motion and gets you ready to start bearing more weight on your leg.
Walking Progressively Longer Distances
You'll also start to walk during your therapy sessions. At first, you may only be able to walk a short distance. But each day, you'll gradually increase the distance you walk. This helps you build endurance and prepare for activities like going up and down stairs.
Ankle mobility is also important after a knee replacement. This helps you move your ankle and foot more easily. It also helps improve your balance so you can avoid an injury in the future. When your entire leg functions well, so will your knee joint.
Hip abduction is another important part of therapy. This helps improve the range of motion in your hip. It also helps you avoid putting too much stress on your knee. Slow abduction helps build strength and function in your hips as well as your knees.
Knee flexion is the last major focus of therapy. This helps you bend your knee more easily. It also helps you build the strength you need for activities like squatting and kneeling. You'll need to improve flexibility in your leg, and knee flexion helps you do this without risk of injury.
Sign Up for Rehabilitation to Learn More
If you're scheduled for a total knee joint replacement, be sure to ask your surgeon about rehabilitation. This is an important part of your recovery and can help you get back to your favorite activities.