Post Knee Replacement Exercises You Can Do At Home

What Is Safe For You to Do in Order to Help Yourself Get Better Post Knee Replacement Surgery

If you had a knee replacement surgery, you surely know how serious a procedure it is and how dedicated you have to be post-surgery in order to get back on your feet as soon as possible. Rehabilitation is a must, but you also have to dedicate yourself to a home exercise program suitable for post knee replacement period.



Your leg muscles will surely be weak after the surgery too, as you could not use them much even before it due to the problems with your knee. This is why you need to be really careful while exercising at home, start slowly and gradually build up your exercise routine.

I have consulted a certified therapist and devised a set of safe and easy-to-follow post knee replacement exercises you can do at home. Sticking to this program will reduce the swelling, and increase the mobility and strength of your knee. You will be back on your feet and active in no time!


Help yourself Get Better: Post Knee Replacement Exercises You Can Do At Home

You are home, surgery solved your knee problem, and you want to get up on your feet and return to your normal activities as soon as possible, and so what can you do? Exercise, of course!

Do the exercises that are designed specifically for people recovering from a knee replacement surgery as often, and as regularly as you can, and you will soon be able to get back to doing the things you love to do.


It might also help to wear a knee brace post knee replacement surgery as to immobilize the knee, set the movement range and speed up the recovery.

As I have already mentioned, you will be a part of a mandatory post-surgery rehabilitation program or better to say a guided physical therapy designed to get you standing and walking in a timely manner. The success of this program will largely depend on you doing the exercises at home as well.

In order to make sure that you stay on track, I recommend that you create a home exercise tracking sheet and write down every exercise you do.

Extra Info: Find out more about physical therapy for sprained knee!


Your post knee replacement exercise program has to include the exercises that will:

  1. Increase the range of motion of the knee
  2. Strengthen the muscles in the knee area
  3. Reduce the swelling

And before you go out for a walk buy the best walking shoes for bad knees! Running might seem as a distant dream, but the time will come for that too, and you must make sure that you have appropriate running shoes for that occasion!

I. The Range of Motion Post Knee Replacement Exercises

You have to work on the knee motion – or bending and straightening it. In this way, you will stop limping sooner and be able to get up from bed or toilet.

The following exercises should be done three times a day, slowly and gently:

1. Sitting knee extension or a knee straightening stretch

Starting position:  sit on a chair and position the lower leg on the same kind of chair in front of you (it can be done while lying in bed too, but place a rolled-up towel underneath the ankle in this case).

Procedure: Straighten the knee and relax the muscles until you feel a gentle stretch behind your knee. You can squeeze your thigh to intensify the stretch too.  

How long: 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Sitting knee flexion or a knee bending stretch

Starting position:  Sit on a sturdy chair facing toward the front of it.

Step 1: Slide your foot back and forth in order to bend the knee slowly. Move the foot as far as possible (use your hands if needed).

How long: a few minutes.    

Step 2: Gently bend your knee back and stop when you feel a moderate stretch. You can scoot your body forward to intensify the stretch. Do not lift your hip though. Hold the position for half a minute. Return to the start position and rest. Repeat three times.

II. Strengthening Post Knee Replacement Exercises

You need to regain the strength as soon as possible and to do that you have to do the leg strengthening exercises regularly. Do the following exercises while lying down in your bed two times a day (start with 10 repetitions):

1. Ankle pumps and circles

Pull the feet up towards you and then push them away. Pump your feet this way for ten times and then move on to rotating them clockwise and counterclockwise.

2. Thigh Squeezes

Push the back of the knee down towards the bed until you feel the muscles on the top of your thigh are tight. Keep the position for five seconds and then relax.

3. Heel Slides

Slide your heel on the bed surface up toward your buttocks (you can use a plastic bag to help you) and then slide it back to the original position. Relax. The kneecap should be pointed up toward the ceiling all the time.

4. Leg slides

Slide the leg slowly out to the side, and then back to the starting point. Keep the kneecap pointed up toward the ceiling.

5. Lying kicks

Position a rolled-up towel (minimum 6 inches in diameter) under the knee and straighten the leg. Hold it up for 5 seconds and then carefully lower it and relax. The back of the knee has to touch the towel at all times!

6. Sitting kicks  

You will need a chair for this exercise- position it next to your bed and sit on it. Straighten the knee, hold it up for five seconds and then gently lower the leg and rest.

III. Swelling Reducing Post Knee Replacement Exercises

As long as there is knee swelling, you will not be able to bend or straighten your knee, and it is, therefore, important to reduce it as quickly as you can. If you do the subsequent exercises at least three times a day, your circulation will improve, and the swelling and pain will decrease.

1. Rest and elevate and ice the knee

Lie down on your back, elevate the affected leg by using pillows. The leg should be a bit above the level of your heart. Stay in that position for half an hour.

Place a towel and some ice packs on the knee while resting with your leg elevated (15 minutes at the time).

2. Muscle pumping exercises


I have already explained the ankle pumps, simply pool the feet up towards you and down away from you for ten times every hour you are awake. Then rotate your feet clockwise and counterclockwise.  

Using a knee sleeve before and after the knee replacement surgery can help reduce the swelling too.

Extra Info: Check out some great knee tendonitis exercises too!

Post Knee Replacement Activity


Each of us is unique; we will all thus handle the knee replacement surgery in a different way. A lot depends on our fitness level prior to knee replacement, but no matter how fit you are you need to take things slowly and give your body time to heal itself.

Therefore, when doing the post knee replacement exercises I have suggested, gradually increase the number of repeats or the time. Besides that, your out-of-home activities need to be controlled as well. If you push yourself too much, your knee may become even more swollen and painful.

Bella Williams

Hi! I'm Bella. I love running. I write this blog to share everyone about running.

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