A rehabilitation program following knee replacement surgery involves knee exercises such as ankle pumps and circles, thigh squeezes, heel slides, leg slides, and lying kicks, according to Alina Health. These exercises help lower the risk of complications and improve strength and knee movement, allowing a patient to gradually return to normal activity levels. Walking inside the home or outdoors a few times daily is also beneficial.
To do ankle pumps and circles, a patient bends his ankles upward, with the toes pointed toward the face, explains Alina Health. Next, he arches his ankles downward and then rotates both feet clockwise and counter-clockwise while the toes point upward. Thigh squeezes involve tightening the thigh muscles by pressing the back of the knee on the bed for five seconds, relaxing and then repeating the exercise with the other leg.
Heel slides require a patient to bend his hip and knee by gliding the heel on the bed toward the hip, with the kneecap pointed upward, notes Alina Health. Then, he moves his heel back to its original position and repeats the exercise with the other leg.
Alina Health recommends performing these exercises two to three times daily after surgery and slowly increasing the repetitions from 10 up to 20 times within three weeks. They are comfortable to do while the patient is lying down on the bed.