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7 Strengthening Exercises to Prepare for a Total Knee Replacement

7 Strengthening Exercises to Prepare for a Total Knee Replacement

The more a patient physically prepares for their total knee replacement, the easier their recovery and rehabilitation process will be after the procedure. Here are seven strengthening exercises to begin — with physician approval — in the months and weeks prior to your total knee replacement surgery. 

  1. Seated Leg Extensions 

Improve range of motion and quadricep strength by following these steps: 

  • Sitting in a chair, place both feet flat on the floor. 
  • Raise the injured leg, extending it until the knee is straightened. 
  • Pause for three to five seconds. 
  • Slowly lower the leg. 
  • Repeat 10 to 20 times. 
  1. Thigh Squeezes 

Strengthen the muscles above the knee with the following exercise:

  • Lie facing up with both legs straight on the floor. 
  • Push the backside of the injured knee down toward the floor, engaging the thigh muscle. 
  • Hold for three to five seconds, and then relax.  
  • Repeat 10 to 20 times. 
  1. Heel Slides 

Nurture and maintain a healthy range of knee motion by repeating these steps: 

  • Lie facing up with both legs flat on the floor.
  • Slowly bend the injured knee, sliding the heel inward toward the rest of the body.
  • Once the knee is bent as far as comfortably possible, pause for three to five seconds. 
  • Repeat 10 to 15 times. 
  1. Knee Bends 

Preserve and foster fluid knee mobility with the following exercise: 

  • Sit in a chair and bend the injured knee back as far as comfortably possible. 
  • Pause for three to five seconds. 
  • Slowly return the leg to its original position.  
  • Repeat 10 to 20 times. 
  1. Chair Pushups 

Train the triceps for post-surgery support with this seated activity: 

  • Sit in an armchair. 
  • Grabbing both arms of the chair, push down to rise out of the seat.   
  • Pause for two to three seconds.  
  • Slowly lower back to a seated position. 
  • Repeat five to 10 times. 
  1. Straight Leg Raises 

Engage and strengthen the quadricep muscles with this lower body move:

  • Lie facing up, keeping the leg with the injured knee straight on the floor. 
  • Bend the other leg so its foot is pressing flat against the floor.  
  • Engage the thigh of the injured leg and slowly raise the leg, maintaining a straight position. 
  • Once the injured leg reaches the same height as the bent knee, pause for two to three seconds. 
  • Release and slowly lower the leg. 
  • Repeat 10 to 15 times.  
  1. Walking or Riding a Bike 

Engage multiple leg muscles and promote knee mobility with the following activities:  

  • Cycle using low resistance on a recumbent bicycle or riding on a flat, smooth surface outside.
  • Enjoy leisurely walks on terrain with minimal or no incline. 

Total Knee Replacement Preparation in St. Augustine 

The proper pre-op routine looks different for every patient. At Orthopaedic Associates of St. Augustine, our diverse team of orthopaedists, sports medicine specialists, and physical therapists work together to create a preparative and rehabilitative plan specific for your total knee replacement. Schedule your appointment by completing our online request form or calling 904-825-0540.

Paul Roettges, MDPaul Roettges, MD
A member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the American Association of Knee and Hip Surgeries, Dr. Roettges performs hip and knee replacements as well as complex unresolved hip and knee pain.