Life-long Stretching After Knee Surgery
by Yvonne LaCrosse, PTA
You are blessed to live in an age where medicine can come to the rescue even if you have ‘over-used’ your knees due to high levels of activity, excess weight or other conditions like osteoarthritis. That said, once you have a knee replacement or other knee surgery that compromised your knee range of motion, it is up to you to make the most of this new lease on life. One of the keys to doing just that is stretching after knee replacement.
Below I share the second of four blogs about life after knee surgery. To read Part One, click here: Life Goals After Knee Surgery.
Quadriceps Muscle Stretch
How to stretch: Use something sturdy to hold onto for balance, and have another chair with arms behind you for the stretch. Place the top of your foot on the seat of the chair, your knee should point down towards the floor and be straight. Stand up tall, do not lean. You should feel the pull in the front of your thigh; hold this stretch for 2 minutes. If you do not feel a good pull, try turning the chair to the side and put your foot on the arm of the chair; if you still need even more stretch, turn the chair again and place your foot on the back of the chair.
Hamstrings Muscle Stretch
How to stretch: sit at the edge of your couch, or use two chairs. One leg should be fully extended, while your other foot is planted on the floor. Lean forward with your trunk and reach toward your toes until you feel a pull behind your thigh. Hold this position for 2 minutes, do not bounce, hold the stretch steady.
Adductors Muscle Stretch
How to stretch: While lying on your back, straighten one leg out, while having one knee bent. Allow the bent knee to fall to the side toward the surface you are laying on until you feel a pull on the inside of your thigh. Hold for 2 minutes.
(ITB) Iliotibial Band Stretch
How to stretch: Lay on your side at the edge of a couch or bed. Drop your leg down while keeping it straight (your leg that you are not laying on). You should feel a pull on the outside of your thigh. Keep your body straight, do not allow your hips to roll back. Hold this position for 2 minutes.
How to stretch: Standing at a wall, put one foot forward and slightly bend the knee, the leg in back should be straight and is the leg you are stretching. You should feel a pull in your calf, hold this stretch for 2 minutes. Some other great stretches in this video.
As always be mindful of pain and don’t over do it. You have time to get these stretches right. And once you get a regular stretching routine stick with it. Even if you have 5 minutes between TV shows, at the commercial break, before taking a walk… it’s good to stretch before everyday activities. If racquet sports like pickleball or tennis are your thing then you should visit our blog “Stretches for Pickleball and Tennis.”
You will get more out of a new knee or a newly fixed knee if you stretch… and that’s not a stretch.
The X10 Meta-Blog
We call it a “Meta-Blog” because we step back and give you a broad perspective on all aspects of knee health, surgery and recovery.
In this one-of-a-kind blog we gather together great thinkers, doers, writers 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. Whether you have a surgery upcoming, in the rear-view mirror, or just want to take care of your knees to avoid surgery, you should find some value here.