Achieving Full Function After Knee Replacement
by Dr. Carl Freeman
The Components of Range of Motion
Range of motion has two components, the ability to extend your leg so that you can extend it out straight and the ability to flex your leg. And so they are called extension and flexion and they’re both important. Extension is the first thing that you need to work on. In the video below let me show you why extension is so important. When you walk, it’s critical that you put your heel down first and then your toes. Achieving full function after knee replacement is the highest priority after your surgery. I share more below.
The Rug Test
And the reason will be obvious when I’d go up on this rug, if I put my heel down first, my toe doesn’t catch. Okay, but that requires that I be able to straighten my leg.
If I couldn’t straighten my leg, then I bump up against the rug and I can fall. And 25% of all knee replacement patients fall within one year of surgery. And that’s devastating.
It not only sets you back, it can cause additional problems like a broken pelvis and it can lead to years of less than ideal living. So that’s critical.
Heel to Toe Walking
When you walk, it’s heel, toe, heel, toe. Note how much your leg is flexed when you go to go upstairs. Or when you turn around to come downstairs.
You can see that one leg is flexed. If you can’t flex it, if your toe get stuck, you’re going to fall forward and you really can’t help yourself because the momentum carries you down.
Activities of Daily Living
In the video below you can see how much you bend your leg when you get in and out of a car.
Activities of daily living require you to be able to bend and straighten your legs, so it’s nothing that you should leave to chance. Medicare suggests that 105º bend is sufficient. However there is no reason to settle for poor straightening and bending. Achieving full function after knee replacement is possible for nearly all patients with focus and dedication to your physical therapy.
And for those who have access to ti, you should really explore the X10. Its purpose is to get your range of motion and your strength back so that you can go on living a nice, comfortable, fulfilling life.
The X10 Meta-Blog
We call it a “Meta-Blog.” We step back and give you a broad perspective on all aspects of knee health as with this article on Achieving Full Function After Knee Replacement.
In this one-of-a-kind blog we gather together great thinkers, doers, and writers. All our work is related to Knee Surgery, Recovery, Preparation, Care, Success and Failure. Meet physical therapists, coaches, surgeons, patients, and as many smart people as we can gather to create useful articles for you. This is for you if you have a surgery upcoming, or in the rear-view mirror. Or maybe you just want to take care of your knees to avoid surgery. Executive Editor: PJ Ewing
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