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Exercise After Knee Replacement Surgery

Strong, flexible muscles help protect your knee. Improve your strength and increase your range of motion by doing the exercises shown here. Talk with your healthcare provider if doing your exercises causes new or lasting pain.

Man sitting doing quadriceps sets.

Image of block Build muscle strength

Strong thigh muscles reduce the amount of force placed on your knee. This helps the joint last longer.

Quad set

  • Sit against the head of a bed. Place the leg with the new joint straight out in front of you.

  • Tighten only the front thigh muscles. Then press the back of your leg toward the ground.

  • Hold for a count of 5. Repeat as directed.

Side view of seated woman doing knee bend exercise.

Image of block Improve joint motion

Range-of-motion exercises help your new knee bend more smoothly. Practice flexing and extending your knee as you were taught.

Sitting knee bends

  • Sit in a chair with a towel under the new knee joint.

  • Using your leg muscles, straighten your leg. Hold for a count of 5.

  • Then bend your leg back as far as you can. Hold for a count of 5. Repeat as directed.

Image Walk to stay in shape

  • Take a few short walks each day. Increase your walking time as you heal. Appropriate walking is one of the best ways to help your knee recover.

  • If you feel more pain than usual after an activity, you may have overdone it. Take it a little easier for a few hours. If the pain doesn't resolve, contact your healthcare provider.

It is important that your healthcare provider is aware of and supports any exercise routine after knee replacement surgery.

Online Medical Reviewer: Image reviewed by StayWell medical illustration team.
Online Medical Reviewer: Joseph, Thomas N., MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Petersen, Sheralee, MPAS, PA-C
Last Review Date: 9/20/2015
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