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Exercise After Knee 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 health care provider if doing your exercises causes new or lasting pain.

Image of man sitting against the head of a bed pressing his leg toward the ground.

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.

Image of woman sitting in her chair straightening her leg.

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.

  • If you feel more pain than usual after an activity, you may have overdone it. Take it a little easier for a few hours.

Online Medical Reviewer: Hanrahan, John, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: newMentor board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Last Review Date: 3/12/2013
© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.