After a knee replacement surgery, it's crucial that you start doing gradual exercises to build up strength in your knee and the surrounding muscles. Physiotherapy is often an important component of knee rehabilitation, since it can help keep you on track with your progress. Here are some of the types of exercises you can expect to do in physical therapy for knee replacement.
Range of Motion
One of the earliest parts of your recovery will be to restore your range of motion. If you are feeling pain after your surgery or your knee is still swollen, it can be tempting to keep your knee immobile, but this can actually encourage scar tissue to grow in and reduce your range of motion on a more permanent basis. Your physical therapist will help you do gentle exercises to build the reach of your knee, while taking weekly measurements to ensure there is forward momentum.
The muscles in and around your knee will need to learn to accommodate the new tissue in your knee. You may experience a significant loss of strength right after your surgery, and your physiotherapist will work to get you back on your feet by strengthening all of these muscle groups at the same time. Calf, quad, and hamstring exercises may be needed to get your body back in good shape.
Once you are able to stand on your own, you may still have issues with proprioception, which is how your brain interprets the position of your body parts. Balance exercises, walking on uneven surfaces in a controlled environment, and exercises that include quick changes of direction will all be used to recalibrate your sense of balance and awareness in your injured leg.
Occupational and Functional Exercises
Even as you begin to gain strength and balance in your leg, you may find that you have trouble performing certain daily functions that require the use of your knee. A physical therapist can play a role in reintroducing these activities to your life by helping you determine which ones you're ready to do, and providing exercises to help train the muscles responsible for those activities.
Physiotherapy can be beneficial for your recovery in many ways. They will make sure that you're making normal progress and not pushing your recovery too hard. With the gradual step-ups in exercise, you may be able to reduce your recovery time to regain normal motion and strength. A physical therapist like Physical Therapy from Edge Sport Physical Therapy may use any combination of the types of exercises above to help promote your rehabilitation.