Exercising after knee replacement

Following a knee replacement, many people experience pain, discomfort as well as decreased range of motion. All of this makes the task of exercising very daunting. However, if you want to return to your prior level of functioning, while at the same time saving your knee, your best option is to begin exercising as soon as your doctor says it is safe to do so. Exercising in the gym can be a sure way of regaining and maintaining strength and function in your knee.

Once your pain has been controlled and you have sufficient range-of-motion, you may want to start with low-impact exercises such as cycling and swimming. Riding a stationary bike will help improve range-of-motion and flexibility. Swimming may begin about 6-8 weeks after the sutures have been removed and the wound has healed. Other acceptable forms of exercise are dancing and golfing. Do avoid those that put stress on the knee such as running, jumping, contact sports and the like. For younger, more active candidates, you may require strength-training with weights, which are safe to use with today’s knee replacement components. But as always, be sure to clear this with your doctor or physiotherapist first.

The large quadriceps muscles help to keep the knee in place, therefore these need to be kept strong and well conditioned. Using the leg press and knee extension machines with light weights will give you the workout you need to increase and later maintain strength in these muscles. Those beneath the knee, such as the calves and hamstrings are also important in supporting the knee, therefore these should be exercised as well. The standing calf raises or the seated soleus machine will assist with this goal.

Maintaining strong legs is vital to proper balance and gait and building muscle helps you burn fat faster and get rid of unwanted kilos you may have accumulated during the recuperation period. Losing the extra weight will put less load on your knee and help you walk better. By following the advice of your doctor and therapist, your legs may be stronger than they were before the surgery.

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