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What type of rehabilitation program is needed after knee surgery?

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Quick Answer

A rehabilitation program that focuses on gradual revival of range of motion through exercise is recommended after a knee surgery, says About.com. Such a program should aim to regain full extension and flexion of the knee joint and then build strength and balance.

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Full Answer

A good rehabilitation program is doctor led and runs for around 14 weeks, states About.com. It allows patients to increase the amount of weight they are able to bear on the knee. Rehabilitation should start after an initial evaluation by a physical therapist and a recommendation on home exercises. A general rehab protocol should focus on passive motion exercises of the knee in the first two weeks. Between weeks 3 and 4, patients engage in easy balance exercises and focus on building muscle strength and increasing the joint's range of motion. In the next two weeks, patients perform strength-building exercises, such as using stretch cords with increasing resistance.

Between weeks 6 and 8, patients build on previous exercises, but they should follow the instructions of their therapists on their limitations and progression, notes About.com. In the last two weeks, patients start light jogging and agility exercises. They should also have follow-ups with their surgeon for functional testing to determine whether the rehabilitation program is going well. A variety of specific exercises are recommended for patients after knee surgery, including straight leg lifts, ankle pumps, leg slides, prolonged knee stretches and passive hamstring stretches, notes Healthline.

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