** These have been designed for my particular situation. These are not posted as a substitute for your particular medical condition. Please consult your physical therapist to determine what is best for you.
Exercises for STRENGTHENING
100 Straight legged lifts = Straighten leg, lift 30-40 degrees off firm couch, bed, or bench, with toes lifting towards knee. Hold for ten seconds, leg down (completely!), repeat. Pull heel towards wall in front of you to help position the leg correctly. Quads should feel tight and the knee should feel strong. Watch for hyper extension of the knee and adjust.
100 Hamstring lifts = On same firm couch, bed or bench and with firm rolled blankets or pillow or cushion under your pelvis, bend knee towards buttocks to a 25-70 degree angle. Feel for an angle that tightens your thigh muscles and pulls from your buttocks, keep lower pelvis pressed into the cushion so that your lower back straightens rather than crushes your lower vertebrae. Hold bend for ten seconds, bring leg down (completely), repeat. Hams should feel nicely tightened after this routine. Check for more shapely legs in a week!
Walking: Aside from what you must do to get along inside your home, strive for a two block routine outside of your home after the first month following surgery. Increase only if you your knee does not heat up or feels pain.
Exercises for STRETCHING
1) Straight legged bend = Sitting straight backed, legs straight out in front of you, lean chest towards knees keeping back straight – feel the stretch for 10-20 seconds, release. Repeat.
2) Knee Bends = Stand and with hand or belt, grasp ankle and bend knee behind you, hold until the knee joint tells you to stop and or/ the front quad stretch has been exhausted. Repeat 2 more times, several times a day.
3) Various Yoga twists that massage the spine and that stretches the Iliotibial band along the outer side of your operated leg.
Exercises for a POOL
1) All stretches named above, using the ladder into the pool to hold the ankle or to flatten both feet to reach for a Hamstring/Iliotibial stretch.
2) Bicycle motion for endless periods of time (usually between 10-20 minutes).
3) Straight legged crawl kick with or without a floating device (5-10 minutes). If you are a swimmer, enjoy swimming the crawl but mind the need for straight legs while doing it.
4) Kickboard drops = With kickboard, hold board down with revised knee leg, let board rise, push down, lift and push down repeatedly (i.e.3 sets of 20 per).
5) Walk backwards in water levels that you are comfortable with. The lower the level the more weight your knee bears (5 minutes) .
6) Walk forwards (5 minutes).
7) V to l – shaped sitting kick =sitting in deeper end of pool, press lower abdomen muscles towards spine using arms to hold you up, separate legs from hips to either side of your torso, turning feet toward each other press legs together. Turning feet away from each other, push legs apart. Repeat (60 times).
8) Leg Pulls = In lower end of pool, bend knees and lower body so that when the legs straighten out in front of you your chest to neck remain out of the water. Bend knees, take revised leg and straighten it out in front of you with the heel down on the pool floor. Require the leg to pull you forward until your straightened leg is now bent under you. Repeat with other leg. Right then left. Feel the quads tighten and the ham strings work (5 minutes).
Golden Rule: Strive to avoid acute, sharp stabbing pain. “No pain, no gain” is not an attitude to take with this kind of surgery. Strive for a tightening and then release sensation. Feel for agreement by the knee to accept these exercises. Tailor these exercises to your particular needs, and then for weeks and months to come, enjoy your ice-packs afterwards.
Exercises for a REST DAY
Anything that keeps me off my feet. I tend to write short stories, read, catch up on social media, organize my photos online, watch some Netflix, and nap.
Stretches – see above. Even on rest days….
Meditate (I use this time to also work at letting go of, sometimes very stubborn, images of being older than I am and far more disabled than I will be in due time… I also try to ignore thoughts of being alone or permanently immobile)
Contribute to online conversations about issues that matter to you. For example, as an American, I have been particularly active with this year’s mid-term elections.
Topical research: Choose a topic that interests you and dive deep into it. For example, I strive to update myself on matters related to sustainable living and then, silly, fun things like talent shows.