Day 1 Exercises
Stand in front of a step or a stair. Using a banister or sturdy support (such as back of a chair) for your arm to hold onto, place the foot of your affected side on the step. Stand upright and step the other foot up onto the stair. Keeping the foot of the affected side planted on the step, lower your other foot back down to the ground. Try to lower yourself down as slowly and controlled as possible. Avoid dipping other hip by trying to keep shoulders and pelvis level. As you get stronger, try to become less reliant on your support arm. Repeat 10-15 times. Repeat with opposite leg. You may notice a crunching or grating sound coming from your knee. This is a sign of normal wear in your knee and is very common for many people. Once it starts it will likely stay around forever. This is ok and it is still very safe to exercise. The best advice is to ignore the sensation.
Band squats are another great exercise for hip strengthening. Place looped band just above your knees with feet close together. Once the band is in place, assume a shoulder width, or slightly further, stance. Perform a squat, keeping knees in line with toes and toes behind the knees. The band will put increased strain on your hips; make sure to keep them directly over feet. Perform 10-15 times.
Lunges are a bit more difficult than squats, but good because we are isolating each leg at a more advanced level. Begin by standing upright and taking a very large step forward with the leg of your affected knee. Keep the toes of your back leg planted and your knee in a slightly bent position. As with squats, keep your forward knee in-line with your foot and knee behind your toes. This may require you to step farther back or lean your hips back further but you will quickly be able to adjust and maintain good form. Now bend your front knee to lower your body. The goal to work toward is to bend enough to touch your back knee to the ground. If you are not quite able to get low enough so your back knee touches, that is ok – just keep working on it. End by standing as you bring your affected-side leg back into original position next to your back planted foot. Perform 10-15 times with each leg.
Single Leg Gluteal Squeeze
Stabilize your balance by standing next to and holding onto a stable object (chair, table, wall, etc). Stand on the leg furthest from the stable object. Relax the hip muscles of the weightbearing leg and allow your other hip to drop. Then contract the hip/buttock muscles of the weightbearing leg so that the other hip rises. Hold that muscle contraction for 5 seconds and then relax. Repeat for 20 repetitions, and then do the same with the other leg.
Resistant Band Clam Shells
Tie the resistance band around your lower thighs, just above your knees, moderately snugly. Lie on your side with your knees bent, one leg on top of the other. Keeping your feet together, lift your top knee as far as you can without rotating backwards, feeling the resistance of the band. Slowly and in a controlled manner, lower your leg back to the original position. Repeat 20-25 times, then do the same 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.
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.