Physiotherapy Exercises Immediately Following Knee Surgery

Posted on: 25 November 2014

This article takes a look at the exercises a physiotherapist will encourage a patient to do immediately after surgery to correct a knee problem. Part of a physiotherapist's work involves helping patients use parts of the body which have been operated on.

This reduces the amount of recovery time, and can also reduce pain following surgery by stimulating blood flow to the area which underwent surgery. It is common for patients who have had knee surgery to be referred to a physiotherapist to help with this. 

Immediately After Surgery

  • Lying face-up on the floor (or bed), and using a sliding board the physiotherapist will encourage the patient to bend and straighten the knee up and down the board. The kneecap and foot should face the ceiling while doing this exercise.
  • Lying on the floor (or bed) with the legs fully straight, the physiotherapist will have the patient bend their ankles while pushing down with their knees. This position is held for a few seconds, then released and repeated.
  • Positioning a roll under the knee which underwent surgery, the patient is asked by the physiotherapist to slightly elevate the foot and toes, while straightening the knee and contracting the thigh muscle. This position is held, relaxed and repeated.
  • While sitting on a chair, the foot is placed under the sliding board. The patient should bend their knee as much as possible, hold for a few seconds, and slowly relax the knee.

All of the above exercises are designed to start working the knee immediately following surgery.

Three Days After Surgery

Once the knee has had three days of recovery - and exercise – the physiotherapist will introduce exercises to further work the knee, aiming to gain some flexibility while at the same time continuing to improve the blood flow to the knee.

  • Lying face down, with both legs straight and together, the patient is asked to bend the operated knee as much as possible, while keeping the hips straight. It may be useful to attach a little weight to the ankle via a weighted rubber band.
  • Sitting on a chair, the physiotherapist encourages the patient to straighten the knee, and tense the thigh muscle. The toes should face the ceiling. Hold and relax, then repeat.
  • Lying face up, the patient is asked to straighten the knee and leg, and raise it up by tightening and pulling from the toes. The leg should be a couple of inches from the bed as it is raised and held.

According to how well the patient is responding, the physiotherapist may adjust the exercises by not including some, or asking the patient to repeat the exercises which are comfortable for the patient to do.

If you have further questions, be sure to check out companies like Sportswise Physiotherapy fore more information.