Are you recovering from a total knee replacement and wondering what exercises you can do to help with your recovery? This video will go over the early phase of recovery, and explaining what functional recovery is and how to achieve functional recovery.

During the early stages of recovery following a knee replacement, it is important to have a rehabilitation plan focused on achieving functional recovery as soon as possible.[1] Functional recovery is the process of regaining or improving your ability to do everyday activities such as sitting, standing and walking after a knee replacement.[1]

Following a knee replacement, the two most important outcomes that define functional ability are range of motion and quadriceps muscle strength because both are necessary for everyday activities.[2][3] For example, a minimum range of 110° of knee flexion is needed to do most daily activities such as walking, climbing stairs, descending stairs and getting up from a chair.[4] Additionally, the quadriceps are the muscles at the front of your thigh and are involved in activities like getting up from a seated position.[3] Despite the importance of range of motion and the quadriceps for daily activities, it is common for people who have had a knee replacement to experience limited range of motion in the knee[2] and to experience a loss of muscle strength in the quadriceps.[3] Thus, following a knee replacement, exercises aimed at improving range of motion and quadriceps muscle strength are essential in the early phase of recovery.

Exercises that focus on knee flexion, knee extension, quadriceps muscle strengthening and functionality are recommended during the first 6 weeks after surgery. Six safe and effective exercises that you can do daily to help you achieve functional recovery include assisted knee flexion with a towel, double leg bridges, active knee extension over a roll, seated leg extension, straight leg raise and supported squats. For a more detailed description of these 6 exercises, click on this link. Please consult with your healthcare provider to ensure that these exercises are safe for you.

The Curovate Physical Therapy App has detailed videos and descriptions of these 6 essential exercises as well as many other important exercises for your recovery. Click on one of the download links below to start your knee replacement recovery today! Curovate is an evidenced-based app with guided physical therapy plans, daily guided video exercises, ways to measure and monitor your progress, and measure your knee range of motion! Download the Curovate App by clicking on the links below.

If you need further customized assistance during your knee replacement recovery check out our Virtual Physical Therapy page to book your 1-on-1 video session with a physical therapist.

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1. Lisi C, Caspani P, Bruggi M, et al. Early rehabilitation after elective total knee arthroplasty. Acta Biomed. 2017;88(4S):56-61. Published 2017 Oct 18. doi:10.23750/abm.v88i4-S.5154

2.Sancheti KH, Sancheti PK, Shyam AK, Joshi R, Patil K, Jain A. Factors affecting range of motion in total knee arthroplasty using high flexion prosthesis: A prospective study. Indian J Orthop. 2013;47(1):50-56. doi:10.4103/0019-5413.106901

3.Meier W, Mizner R, Marcus R, Dibble L, Peters C, Lastayo PC. Total Knee Arthroplasty: Muscle impairments, functional limitations, and recommended rehabilitation approaches. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. 2008;38(5):246-256. doi:10.2519/jospt.2008.2715

4. Rowe PJ, Myles CM, Walker C, Nutton R. Knee joint kinematics in gait and other functional activities measured using flexible electrogoniometry: how much knee motion is sufficient for normal daily life?. Gait Posture. 2000;12(2):143-155. doi:10.1016/s0966-6362(00)00060-6