Exercises to try after having knee surgery include straight leg lifts, leg slides, thigh squeezes and passive hamstring stretches, according to Healthline. These exercises help increase blood circulation, strengthen muscles and aid a person in regaining flexibility.
Many of these exercises are performed when the patient is lying down so stress to the knee joint is decreased. The leg slide is done by lying down with both legs horizontal and parallel, and then lifting one leg out to the side and slowly bringing it back to the original position. The heel slide is done by bending one leg at the knee and slowly sliding the foot on that leg toward the body. The prolonged knee stretch is performed sitting down with both knees bent, with one leg slowly sliding toward the back of the chair, states Healthline.
Straight leg raises are done standing up as the patient supports himself to reduce stress on the knee, explains the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Before, during and after performing these exercises, the patient is encouraged to rest, keep the knee elevated, ice the knee and use compression on it. The patient's physical therapist may suggest more elaborate or intense exercises as the knee heals, such as knee bends without support, hamstring stretches along a vertical surface or using an exercise bicycle.