Once your knee replacement surgery or knee surgery in general is completed and you have gone through your physical rehabilitation program, you are encouraged to continue some sort of exercise program. For many this will consist of everything from strength training at a local gym to walking around the block. To get the most productivity out of your surgery, it is recommended you incorporate weight training as well as other exercises if you wish to keep the muscles around your knee strong to help you improve your quality of life and, to protect the prosthesis that has been implanted.
I recommend my patients and clients to work on an assortment of exercises depending on their age, prior level of function and, expectations. Today, with many younger adults having knees replaced, many of them are expecting to get back into enjoying their prior activities within reason as soon as possible.
The exercises to reverse the muscle wasting process I include in the exercise routine are leg presses, leg extensions, hamstring curls and calf raises. These are exercise I use and continue to use to keep my knee replacement running and operating at a high level. Use a weight that you can initially get between 15-20 repetitions to start with. You first want to build endurance in the muscle. Working with weight that is too heavy will cause a considerable amount of muscle soreness and discomfort and swelling if you are not careful. You start slowly and increase your resistance as you get stronger and more confident with the exercises.
What I instruct patients that are pursuing post rehabilitation strengthening is to start by warming up on a stationary bike for 10 to 15 minutes at a slow pace to loosen the muscle and surrounding soft tissue around the knee. Follow the stationary bike with two sets of leg presses for 20 repetitions using slow controlled movements. Do not take your knees past the 90 degree mark at this time. Follow leg presses with seated leg extensions for 15 -20 repetitions. Then you go to hamstring curls which can be done either seated or in the prone position for the same amount of repetitions. These exercises should be done for two sets each to start with.
As you get stronger in the months ahead you can of course increase your workload as tolerated. Avoid using very heavy weights that might stress the prosthesis. Heavy weights will not be needed to rebuild your leg or legs to get them to an ideal level. Remember after joint replacement surgery, your rehabilitation should really never end.
Also to be sure that you are taking in a good quality protein to help in reversing muscle atrophy and after knee surgery. Taking in quality protein such as skinless chicken breasts, salmon, ground turkey breast and egg whites are just some of the ways to help you increase your protein intake during the recovery phase.
Taking a good quality protein powder supplement also is the key in making sure you are getting the fuel your body needs to help in building stronger muscles not only in your legs but also by reversing the atrophy process throughout your entire body.