Extension stretches Extension exercises are those which stretch the calf and the hamstrings to allow the leg to straighten (0 degrees extension) or the knee to bend slightly backwards (e.g. -1 degree extension, backward bending is measured in minus numbers). There's loads, but I like to keep it simple and easy. Sit on a chair, rest your heel on something a little higher up. Press down on your thigh, you will feel the stretch through the back of your leg. Alternatively, lean forwards, that will really put the pressure on. No need to make it hurt, and you can do it loads of times a day. Extension stretch with a partner Caveat: In general, BoneSmart does not recommend using weight on the leg, or having a partner press down on your leg, for extension stretching. However, we also say: 'whatever works for you', and 'no pain, more gain'. And this exercise did work for me; so, if you think it may help you, please try. Gently! Sit on the floor with your leg outstretched, as straight as it will go. Your partner is going to help straighten your leg by pressing down above and below the knee, NOT on the knee itself, see 1st pic below. (The odd gear I'm wearing is cos I've just finished a bike ride and it was a quick opportunity to get a partner demonstrator and a photographer). If your leg won't go straight, as shown above, you don't need the book under your heel; it's only when the stretch really starts to work you need it. Partner presses down VERY GENTLY and increases the pressure; you will feel a fairly sharp pain all along your calf and behind your thighs. You will (eventually, maybe after weeks and months) get your leg straight, see next picture. It's not obvious from the pic, but my leg is clear of the carpet for its full length. My exercise partner (daughter, in fact) is pressing gently on the knees. You see here one hand slightly above the knee, one well below it. One hand each side of the kneecap is needed, distance to suit you. The next pic illustrates negative bend (extension is quoted in degrees, +n degrees is for forward bend, like the 1st pic; 0 degrees is straight; -n degrees is backward bend, the third pic) Compare pics 2 and 3; look how the ankle is raised by the book, the calf angles downwards, the thigh is flat on the floor. You don't need to do the same, but a backward bend is good, it helps you to be able to 'lock' the knee when standing. You don't have to have your partner lean right over your other leg, either, we've just done it that way so it's easier to photograph. Flexion stretch Loads of ROM (flexion) stretches seem to me to put force through the knee, not what's needed. So I have started doing this one using my son's skateboard (there must be one of those in any house that's had children about!), the beauty being that I use my arms to pull the legs gently backwards, no force going through the knee. When ROM (flexion) gets good, actually sit on the skateboard, feet either side of course, and put hands on the floor to rock you backwards and forwards. Extra information. It occurs to me that not everyone might know how to do stretching exercises properly. First, no pain. Discomfort just to the point of pain is OK. Extension: Press down/lean forward until you don't want to go any further, hold for about 10 secs, gently release. Swap legs and repeat. Repeat this set maybe 5 times. ROM (flexion): Pull forward until you don't want to go any further, hold 10 secs, relax. Wait 10-20 secs and repeat. Repeat the set maybe 5 times. Repeat this extension/ROM (flexion) set every hour, or even more often if it suits. Swelling won't notice until the next day, if any. If there's none, repeat the sets; if there is some, back off to even more gentle, or have a rest day. Quad strengthening And now, laydeez'n'genlmen, my latest idea in a new super high technology approach to quad strengthening. Be prepared to be amazed, stunned and all kinds of stuff. First, examine the detailed picture below: A fireplace with two piles of books, you think. Ha! You're right! But not any old books, oh no, Encyclopedia Britannica, bitta respect please. On top of them some copies of classic Winning magazine, cycling from the 80s, and an old bit of shelving. Top stuff. The idea is that I sit on the bit of shelving and and stand up again, getting a nice pull in the quads without upsetting the knees. The number of books used makes it the right height, wizard innit! Heels are close up to the books for maximum effect. The key to the hi-tech aspect is that every so often I take 2 magazines away (one from each side, you can't fool me!), to lower the height a tiny bit. When they're all gone I remove an encyclopedia from each side and put the magazines back. Slowly getting more strength-bearing range of motion. Look upon my works ye mighty and despair! And a close up. The wee doggy is called 'Bones', belongs to my eldest daughter, and is good at supervising.