The time recovering after knee surgery can be a troubling time.
These procedures can be complicated in both execution and recovery, and you're likely to find yourself with a lot of difficulties, long after the initial surgery is finished.
Stiffness is a common after-effect of surgery, and it's something that can be a real pain to live with.
It's very possible that you already have an extensive recovery plan, packed with physical therapy techniques to help you recover.
But let's say you haven't – let's say you are in need of some exercises for a stiff knee after surgery!
If this sounds like you – don't panic! We have the solution.
We're going to take you over the best exercises for a stiff knee to aid you in recovery! We've also made sure to include some additional information regarding knee recovery!
Range Of Motion
First off it's really important to consider your range of motion. This will help you to understand the kind of exercise you'll be able to do without hurting yourself.
After all, the goal is not to injure yourself or cause further damage to your knee.
So if you know how much movement you can get out of your leg before it starts to hurt, then you can start working on strengthening your muscles.
The first thing we want to look at is the amount of flexion you can achieve. Flexion simply means bending forward.
If you can bend your knee 90 degrees, you should be good to go. If you can only get 60 degrees, then you may need to work on stretching more.
Stretching is a great way to loosen up tight muscles, but it's essential to make sure you aren't straining your knee too much. You can always ask your doctor about what kinds of stretches would be safe for you.
The next step is extension. An extension is when you straighten your leg back out again.
Again, if you can extend your leg fully, you should be fine. If you can only reach 30 degrees, then you may want to focus on stretching more.
Also, remember to keep your knees together while doing these exercises. They should never move independently of each other.
Strengthening Exercises For A Stiff Knee
Now that you know how much flexibility you have, you can begin looking into strengthening exercises.
There are several ways to strengthen your knee depending on your personal goals. Some people prefer to use weights, others prefer resistance bands, and still others prefer machines.
Let's take a look at some of those options:
Weights are probably the most popular option for strengthening the muscles around your knee. In fact, they are often used by athletes who want to improve their performance.
Weight training involves using free weights (barbells) or weight machines to build muscle. F
ree weights require you to lift them by hand, whereas weight machines allow you to control the speed and intensity of the workout.
Best Weight Training Exercises
Squats with weights involve lifting your body weight up until your thighs are parallel to the ground. As you stand up, you lower your body down towards the floor.
The key here is to ensure that you keep your core engaged throughout the entire movement. When you squat, you should feel tension in your hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, and calves.
Lunges are another effective way to strengthen your legs.
These are done by taking a large step forward with one foot, followed by lowering your body so that your front thigh touches the floor. Your rear leg remains stationary.
Then you push yourself back up to standing position. Make sure you keep your chest lifted and your hips square throughout the whole movement.
3) Leg Press Machine
This machine allows you to perform squats without having to hold any weights. It also provides resistance as you press against the platform.
You can adjust the height of the platform to accommodate your own strength level.
Step-ups are performed by stepping onto a box or bench, then raising your body until your feet touch the surface. Once you've reached this point, you lower your body back down to the starting position.
5) Standing Cable Rows
Standing cable rows are similar to rowing movements. You place your hands on an adjustable pulley system attached to a cable.
By pulling the handles toward your shoulders, you pull your arms upward. This works your upper back, biceps, triceps, and forearms.
Finally, there are many types of stretches that you can try. The key here is to find something that feels comfortable and doesn't strain your knee. It's okay to stretch every day, but it's important not to overdo it. As long as you feel no pain, you should be just fine.
Best Stretches For Stiff Knee
1) Quad Stretch
To do this, lie face-down on the floor. Place your right arm behind your head and extend your left leg straight out in front of you.
Bend your left knee and bring your heel toward your buttocks. Hold this position for about 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times with each leg.
2) Hamstring Stretch
Lie face-up on the floor. Bring both knees together and lean forward until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings. Hold this position for 10-15 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
3) Hip Flexor Stretch
Sit on the edge of a chair with your legs extended in front of you. Lean forward and grab the seat of the chair with your hands.
Keeping your torso upright, bend your knees and slowly slide your body backwards until you feel a gentle stretch in your hip flexors. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds. Repeat 2 times.
4) Gluteus Stretch
Sit on the edge of a bed or chair with your legs bent at 90 degrees. Keep your heels flat on the floor.
Slowly raise your hips off the floor while keeping your knees slightly bent. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds. Repeat 3 times per leg.
5) Calf Stretch
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lift your toes and gently pull your heels away from your body. Hold this position for 20-30 seconds. Repeat 4 times.
6) Spinal Twist
Lay on your stomach with your elbows resting on the ground. Raise your head and neck off the ground and look towards your knees.
Gently twist your spine in the opposite direction. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Repeat 4 times per side.
7) Side Bend
Lay on your side with your elbow next to your ear. Extend your top arm across your body and reach your bottom hand towards your forehead.
Hold this position for 60 seconds. Repeat 4 times on each side.
8) Shoulder Stretch
Holding a towel around your waist, stand facing a wall. Reach your arms overhead and grasp the ends of the towel. Pull the towel taut between your palms. Hold this position for 1 minute. Repeat twice.
A resistance band is a type of elastic tubing that allows you to perform a variety of exercises.
Resistance bands come in varying lengths, so you can choose one that suits your needs.
Like weight lifting, resistance bands offer a wide range of benefits, including increased strength, improved balance, and better posture.
Recovery Tips For A Stiff Knee
If you have had an injury to your knee, such as a torn meniscus, you may need to take some time off work to recover.
If you're able to return to work too soon, you could risk injuring yourself again. However, if you are unable to do any physical activity, you will likely experience more discomfort than usual.
While you wait for your knee to heal, you can still get plenty of exercise by using a stationary bike, swimming, cycling, walking, running, or even dancing. You can also use a foam roller to help loosen up tight muscles.
You can also apply ice packs to your knee to reduce swelling. Avoid applying heat directly to the area because it can cause further damage.
When you first start exercising again, make sure to warm up before doing any strenuous activities. This includes stretching out your muscles and joints prior to starting your workout routine.
When you finish working out, cool down by performing light stretches and then gradually moving into a seated position.
If you're experiencing pain when you walk, try wearing supportive shoes. Also, consider changing your stride to avoid putting undue pressure on your injured knee.
To prevent future injuries, be careful not to overuse your knee. If you notice any signs of soreness, stop exercising immediately.
In addition, never ignore minor injuries. These small injuries can lead to larger problems later on.
Recovering can take quite some time, and every day is a test that you have to continue to monitor, to make sure you don't cause yourself any injuries.
We hope that this article has given you all the information you'll need to know about how to recover from a stiff knee, and that you now feel a lot more confident!
We wish you the best in your recovery and hope you're soon enough feeling like your old self!