Day 1 Exercises
Straight Leg Raise
The basics of regaining strength – whether from deconditioning, years of neglect, or surgery – start with first getting your knee in full extension and making your quadriceps tight (referred to as a quad set). Once your quadriceps muscle is tight and your knee is in full extension, then lift your leg up several inches. It is important to keep your knee in full extension the entire time you are lifting your leg. It may be easier to start with your heel propped up on a roll (available in our Knee Kit) to allow it to fall into full extension before going from a quad set into a straight leg raise. Repeat 10 times.
This exercise is easier to perform while laying down, but the goal is to perform them while seated with your other knee bent (Refer to short video on left). When some people first start performing this exercise, they may have cramps or spasms in their quadriceps muscles. If this occurs, let the quadriceps relax, and then resume. As you continue to perform the exercise, the spasms will stop. Repeat 10 times.
Short Arc Quad
Short arc quads are performed by placing the roll behind your knee. Actively fire your quadriceps muscle to make your knee go into full extension. It is important to make sure your knee gets fully straight while doing this. Perform 10 times.
Long Arc Quad
Long arc quads are very similar to short arc quads. Perform this exercise by sitting on edge of bed, couch, or other hard surface with your legs hanging off the edge. Fully extend your knee, making sure it is completely straight. Perform 10 times.
Lying Hip Abduction
While lying flat on a firm surface, with feet together and toes pointing up, slide the affected leg to the side as far as you can and bring it back. Keep toes and knee cap pointed up and knee straight. Perform 20-25 times, and repeat with other leg.
Lie on your side with your knees bent, one leg lying on top of the other. Keep your feet together and lift your top knee as far as you can without rotating backwards. Lower your leg back to the original position and repeat 20-25 times. Repeat with the other leg.
In addition to strength, having good balance is important to safely perform activities of daily living. Exercises that improve balance can help prevent falls and allow individuals to manipulate unlevel surfaces, such as grass, gravel, unlevel sidewalks, etc. Click the picture to perform your balance exercises for the day.
Good flexibility helps maintain optimal knee and lower extremity function.
Each stretch should be held for 30 seconds.
Bring your knee toward your chest and wrap the strap around your foot. Keep your hip flexed to 90 degrees and slowly, with the use of the strap, extend your knee until you feel a stretch in the back of your upper leg and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat with other leg.
Hold on to something stable (like the back of a chair) or against a wall. Step back with the affected leg, keep knee straight, and toes pointing forward. Bend the knee of the opposite leg while leaning/lunging forward. Keep your back heel on the ground. You should feel the stretch in the back of your calf. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat with other leg.
Knee to Shoulder
Bring your knee toward your chest. Grab your knee with both hands and pull your knee toward your chest. You should feel a stretch in your buttocks and/or lower back. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat with other leg.
***You will advance to Strengthening 02 when you are able to sit in a chair and straighten your knee completely into full knee extension. Refer to Strengthening 01 Introduction.***
It is highly recommended to take the time to ice your knee after your exercises. Prop your heel on a bolster from your Knee Kit, or the LRU Pillow, and wrap the ice wrap from your Knee Kit. Rest for 20 minutes.