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Pre-Surgery Exercises for Knee and Hip Patients


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Mar 24, 2008
United States United States
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Pre-Surgery Exercises for Knee and Hip Patients

Doing exercises BEFORE your hip or knee replacement surgery can be a benefit. Since most surgeries are scheduled 3 months or more in advance, you can use this time to build up strength that may help your recovery. If possible, do the exercises on both limbs.

Start by doing each exercise 5-10 times (5-10 reps) twice a day (2 sets). As you get stronger, slowly increase the number of reps up to 25. You can also increase the number of sets to 3 per day if you wish.

NOTE: STOP immediately if you experience sharp or increased pain in your joint, dizziness, shortness of breath or chest pain.

Exercises for leg strength

Ankle Pumps


Ankle pumps can help prevent circulation problems such as blood clots after surgery. This exercise is good prior to surgery to stretch muscles and ligaments in your calf, foot and ankle. Ankle pumps are done while lying or sitting with your legs outstretched straight. First point your toes and far as you can down toward the floor or bed and hold slightly. Then flex your foot and try to point your toes as far as you can get them toward your body.

Quadriceps Sets


This exercise will strengthen your quad muscle, which is important for leg motion and stability. Lie on your back or sit on a flat surface with your legs straight. Tighten the muscle at the front of the thigh (quad muscle) as you press the back of your knee down toward the flat surface. As you do this motion, your heel will rise slightly. Hold the position for a count of 5 and then relax your leg.

Straight Leg Raises


Lie on a flat surface with one leg bent. Keep the other leg straight. Lift your straight leg as high as you comfortably can, but not higher than 12 inches off the surface. Hold for a count of 5 and then slowly lower your leg.

Short-Arc Knee Extension


Roll up several towels into a roll 6-8 inches in diameter. You can secure the towels with duct tape if you like to keep the roll in place. Lie in bed and put the rolled-up towels under one knee. Bend the other knee. Keeping your knee on the roll of towels, lift your foot to straighten the knee. Hold for a count of 5, then slowly lower your foot to the bed.

Heel Slides


Lie down or sit with your legs stretched out in front of you. Put a plastic bag or cookie sheet under one foot to help it slide. Slide the heel toward your buttocks while keeping it on the bed. Move it as far as you comfortably can. Hold for a few seconds, then slide your heel back. You can use a rubber therapy band, strap or towel to assist in the movement back toward your body.

Standing Knee Bends


Stand while holding onto a steady surface such as a table or counter. Bend your knee as far as it will go comfortably. Hold it for a count of 5 and slowly lower your leg.

Exercises to Help with Walker or Crutch Use

These exercises build upper body strength that is necessary to successfully use your walker or crutches during recovery. You can adjust the exercises to use small hand weights (1-3 lbs) or cans of soup to make them more effective. The stronger you are, the easier it will be for you to get around safely after your hip or knee is replaced.

Bicep Curls


Sit up straight in a chair with a back. Keep your elbow close to your body and your wrist straight. Bend your arm, moving your hand up to your shoulder. Then lower your hand slowly. Do sets with both arms, either at the same time or separately.

Triceps Curls


Sit sideways on a firm chair, leaning forward from the waist. Bend your elbow so that your forearm is parallel to the floor. Then straighten your elbow as you extend your arm behind you. Do a set with each arm.

Seated Press-Ups


Sit in a sturdy chair with arm rests. With palms flat on the arm rests, press down to lift your buttocks from the chair seat. Hold for 3-5 seconds, then bend your elbows to slowly ease back down to a seated position.
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