Congratulations on your recent knee replacement surgery!  Your well on your way to have a fully function and pain free knee – but first comes the sometimes painful rehabilitation to get that knee moving again – which as you can already tell sometimes doesn’t happen right after surgery.  Starting these simple exercises that you can complete at home will help you on your way to a fully functional life.

The key is to NOT overdo it – if there is an increase in swelling and pain 10-15 minutes after the exercises are over – you have overdone it and need to taper off on the exercises.  Do not let pain take control and don’t let the negative cycle of pain-decreased movement-pain to persist in your rehabilitation.  What we like to see is pain, more movement and less pain, some pain, but then more movement – until there is a full recovery of movement without pain.

Always, and above all, be sure to follow the direction of your caring doctor.


While seated in a chair – pull foot as far back as possible, and then with the foot there, scoot out in the chair, hold for 3-5 seconds, and the scoot back.  Do not let the knee reach levels of pain greater than pain levels 5-6.  Complete 10 times.

This exercise is intended to increase your ability to bend your knee – which is important to gain after surgery.  So if you can bend your knee more after doing this exercise – GOOD JOB!  Keep it up.  If you are finding that you can’t bend your knee as much after this exercise – taper off and decrease the intensity of the exercise.


While seated in a chair kick leg back and forth.  To improve the effectiveness of this exercise – hold the foot out for 2-3 seconds and then relax it back.

This produces several positive effects for the knee.  It strengthens the quadriceps muscle.  It allows the knee to bend back and forth, which helps the knee heal.  This exercise also lets the knee move within the available range of motion, so you don’t lose any motion.


In a seated position put your leg on a stool and flex/contract the quadriceps muscle making the knee more straight, hold for 3-5 seconds, and then relax – complete 10 times.

This has three positive effects.  This exercise strengthens the quadriceps muscles.  It increases the extension (straight) motion in the knee.  It also prevents flexion contracture in the knee.  As a bonus it will also decrease the likelihood of terrible blood clots by keeping the blood flowing through the leg.


This is a vital exercise to help prevent blood clots while you are recovering.  Simply lie on your back and kick your foot back and forth – moving the ankle.  This keeps the blood moving through your leg and not pooling.