Exercises whilst resting on a firm bed

The following exercises should be carried out sitting on a firm bed and should be done slowly and smoothly.


Deep Breathing and Coughing
Following a major operation it is very important to make sure you undertake regular deep breathing and coughing exercises. This ensures you are getting air to the deepest parts of your lungs and helps to prevent the possibility of any chest infections. Sitting upright take in a large, slow and deep breath. Do this three times followed by a strong cough.

Repeat 2 to 3 times each hour. Do for the first week or so after surgery.

Watch a short video on how to do this exercise

Download the daily exercise reminder sheet that helps you track your daily exercise.


Ankle pumps
Blood in your legs is normally assisted back up towards your heart by the natural pumping action of the muscles in your legs. As you will spend a significant amount of time in bed resting, it is very important that you undertake these exercises regularly to help keep the blood flowing throughout your body in a normal manner.

Pull your toes and foot back towards your head, then point your toes and foot away from your body (a similar movement is used when driving a car). It is important you do this exercise using both feet.

Repeat 10 times.Do each hour during your rest in bed.

Watch a short video on how to do this exercise

Download the daily exercise reminder sheet that helps you track your daily exercise.


Static Quads
This exercise works your quadriceps, the large muscles on the front of your thigh. This is a good way to get the muscle working without creating movement at your knee joint. Squeeze the quadriceps muscles gently then gradually hold it tighter.

Once it is as tight as possible, hold it for 5 seconds, release and repeat 10 times.

Do 3 times a day.

Watch a short video on how to do this exercise

Download the daily exercise reminder sheet that helps you track your daily exercise.


Inner Range Quads
It is very important to have good control of your knee in a position that is nearly straight as this will help you while standing and walking. Place a rolled up towel under your knee. Tighten your quadriceps as before but at the same time push your knee down into the towel and lift your foot off the bed. Hold for 5 seconds and slowly lower.

Repeat 10 times.Do 3 times a day.

Watch a short video on how to do this exercise

Download the daily exercise reminder sheet that helps you track your daily exercise.


Straight Leg Raises
Place a rolled up towel under your heel. Squeeze the quadriceps muscle and lock your knee down by pulling your kneecap towards you. Then lift your heel without letting your knee bend. Hold for 5 seconds if possible, then release gently

Repeat 10 times.Do 3 times a day.

Watch a short video on how to do this exercise

Download the daily exercise reminder sheet that helps you track your daily exercise.

If either the Inner Range Quads or Straight Leg Raises become too easy add a weight to your ankle. You can do this simply by placing a bag of rice into an old sock and tie the sock around your ankle.


Bridging
This exercise is to be done lying down on a firm bed. It will work your gluteal or buttock muscles. Bend your knees up and squeeze your buttock muscles and slowly lift your buttocks off the bed. Hold for 5 seconds and lower.

Repeat 10 times.Do 3 times a day.

Watch a short video on how to do this exercise

Download the daily exercise reminder sheet that helps you track your daily exercise.


Knee Flexion
This exercise strengthens the hamstrings, the group of muscles at the back of your thigh that bend your knee and allow you to go up and down stairs. It also aims to improve the amount of bend in your knee.

Put your hands under your thigh and assist your knee to bend so that your heel slides along the bed towards your buttocks. Hold for 30 seconds or as long as you can for the best stretch.

Repeat 10 times.Do 3 times a day.

Watch a short video on how to do this exercise

Download the daily exercise reminder sheet that helps you track your daily exercise.


Knee Extension
It is very important to be able to fully straighten your knee as quickly as possible. The following exercise may be uncomfortable and create an ache as it stretches your knee into a straightened position.

Place a rolled up towel under your ankle. Allow time for your leg to relax and stretch slowly into a straightened position. Then, slowly and gently, push down on the knee to help add pressure to increase the stretch.

Hold for at least 30 seconds or longer it you can tolerate the stretch. The idea is to try and slowly increase this time with each attempt. When you have finished this stretch, bending your knee will be difficult so take it slowly and start with small movements. This stretch should be done at least 5 times a day but the more frequently you stretch, the faster your leg will straighten.

Do 5 times a day.

Watch a short video on how to do this exercise

Download the daily exercise reminder sheet that helps you track your daily exercise.


Advanced Knee Extension
If you feel you would benefit from a stronger stretch, put a weight (eg:an open book) over your knee to increase the stretch. Remember when you have finished this stretch, bending your knee will be difficult, so take it slowly and start with small movements.

Do 5 times a day.

Exercises for before and after knee replacement

Exercises for before and after knee replacement

It is important to be as fit as possible before undergoing a total knee replacement, as it will make your recovery much faster. To enable a fast recovery so you may get back into the activity you previously enjoyed, it is very important to follow an exercise rehabilitation program. This will ensure the muscles of the joint recover their strength and maintain a stable joint.

Following the operation, your physiotherapist will help you with the initial exercises and help you be able to reach certain milestones before you leave the hospital. You will be sent home with an exercise program and will be expected to attend clinics and further physiotherapy appointments in order to continue to progress through your rehabilitation program.

The following information is a general guide to types of exercises and what to expect, but the individual program your physiotherapist or surgeon has prescribed should always be adhered to. It is important that you consult with your surgeon and /or physiotherapist as to which exercises are best for you, how often you need to do them and how many times to repeat each exercise.


Seek advice from your health professional before starting any new exercise program.


If you find these exercises difficult, build up to the suggested number gradually.  However if any exercise is too painful, stop it immediately.

Watch a video of all exercises

Or view individual exercises

Login to view more content

Next Steps

Contact your GP or health professional to discuss your options