Medically Reviewed by: Clint McCullough, ATC, OTC
If you had an elective surgery scheduled in 2020, chances are you are having to postpone due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Patients across the nation are anxiously awaiting the treatment for their elective, or “non-essential” surgeries, which may be more critical than the term implies. The Center for Disease Control issued framework on providing clinical care to non-COVID-19 patients, which depending on the state and local communities level of COVID-19 transmission, gives the green light for resuming elective surgeries. While hospitals and surgery centers are reopening, patients are still experiencing extreme delays in their surgery date due to the tens of thousands of surgeries that had to be rescheduled.
Often patients wait to have knee replacement surgery during a time of the year when they are not working, have personal time off, or have help readily available from friends and family members. Other times, they wait until the summer months to ensure they will have nice weather and footing as they resume walking, while others prefer the winter months to hunker down inside and break up the cold weather. Even if a patient is ready for surgery, they sometimes must wait several months before there is availability in the surgeon’s schedule – with elective procedures resuming after COVID-19, the wait may be longer than normal. If you are planning on having an elective knee replacement surgery, it’s likely you will have to wait several months before you get your new knee. While you wait, here are some exercises and resources that will help prepare you for surgery.
The more range of motion and strength you can build in your knee before surgery, the better your outcomes will be. Even if you have extremely poor range of motion and lots of pain, doing knee exercises prior to surgery will help. Getting your knee back to full extension following surgery is essential and a good “pre-hab” protocol will kickstart your recovery. Check out these simple home exercises that will help get you back on your feet faster!
Engaging your quadriceps (anterior thigh muscle) will help promote knee extension following surgery.
This is an easy exercise to work on flexion and extension of your knee. Even if you have poor range of motion or it causes some discomfort, you’ll be happy you did them after surgery!
This exercise will again focus on engaging your quadriceps and build strength as you lift your lower leg off the ground.
Seated knee extension will help improve your strength, motion, and endurance.
Great for knee, hip, and core strength. All of these are important after a total knee replacement.
You might notice a theme here – knee extension is essential following knee replacement. This is a static exercise that will help with that!
Another great way to promote knee range of motion while using gravity to assist you.
Preparing your home for your recovery after surgery is one of the most important steps to ensure safety and efficiency during the rehabilitation process. Follow these steps to turn your home into a safe space for healing and strengthening!