Restore Knee Extension Post-Surgery

Knee Post Surgery

I have had a lot of patients recently that have come in the following surgery on their knee. The main functions of the knee are to flex (bend) or extend (straighten) the leg. The knee joint can rotate, but very minimally when compared to the ankle and hip joints. It is very important to restore knee extension quickly after surgery to allow for improved quadriceps (front thigh) contraction and engagement.

Here are three examples of ways to help achieve knee extension:

  • Banded knee extension: You will need a resistance band that is anchored by a piece of immovable equipment. Step into the band and take a few steps back so the band is taut. At this time, if you were to relax, the band would force the knee to bend. Using only your leg that is held by the band, press against the band to straighten your knee, and hold for 1-2 seconds. Repeat 10x
  • Rolling stool assisted extension: Hang a weight from a heavy resistance band (you can also use a larger shopping bag with cans or filled water bottles at home) and loop the band above and below your knee as seen in the video. Use a rolling stool if available or an elevated surface to create a DIY ottoman. Slowly bend and straighten the knee allowing for the weight and gravity to assist in extension. Repeat 10x
  • Quad set with weight: Prop your heel on a comfortable surface. Add an ankle weight or a weighted pillowcase just above your patella (knee cap). Contract your quad and press the back of your knee into the table (you can use a couch, bed, or floor at home) and hold for 2-3 seconds. Repeat 10x

Video Demonstration