Exercises to build strength before a double knee replacement include thigh squeezes; ankle pumps and circles; leg slides; lying kicks; knee bends; sitting kicks; chair push-ups; and straight leg raises, explains Healthline. Having strong leg muscles above and below the knee provides the replacement joint with more stability.
Research indicates that patients who begin a physical therapy regimen and strengthen muscles above and below the knee are more likely to have a recovery period that is shorter and more effective. The added musculature aids the body in adjusting to the knee implant and dealing with the burdens of rehabilitation more effectively, according to Healthline.
The period after knee replacement is difficult for a number of reasons. Even passing urine can be a struggle in the time right after surgery, and pain medications can make this even more difficult. While a catheter can make it easier to evacuate urine, that process can be painful and frustrating. Even with this frustration, it is important to begin physical therapy as soon as possible, patients can start their therapy 48 hours after the operation. Stiffness, discomfort and pain are all common occurrences in the first days of physical therapy, states MedicineNet. Building muscle around the knee does not make recovery easy, but it does reduce the difficulty significantly, notes Healthline.