Robot Rehab Revolution: 4 Pre-Op Exercises To Conquer Knee Replacement

Before Surgery, Exercise Matters

Robotic knee replacement is an innovative approach to severe osteoarthritis that does not respond to conservative treatment. The procedure uses a robotic-arm-assisted device to help the surgeon remove the damaged joint and install a prosthetic replacement. Robotic surgery increases the accuracy, precision, and speed of knee replacement. Despite these benefits, there are some strategies patients can rely on to enhance the success of surgery further. Pre-operative exercises, for example, can strengthen the surrounding muscles, improve mobility, and support the new joint. These 4 exercises can support the rehabilitation process, helping patients to enjoy the joint faster.

1. Strengthen your quads with leg raises

The quadriceps are 4 muscles in the front of the thigh that are essential for keeping the knee stable and helping with movement. If quadriceps are weak, walking and other daily activities are more difficult after surgery. Leg raises serve as a fundamental exercise to strengthen the quadriceps. To perform leg raises, lie face up on a comfortable surface like a yoga mat. Keep 1 leg straight while bending the other knee, placing the foot flat on the ground. Stabilize the torso while lifting the straight leg towards the ceiling. Hold the leg raised for a few seconds, then return to the starting point. Perform the same movement for the desired number of repetitions, and then switch to the other leg.

2. A towel-assisted hamstring stretch

The hamstrings are in the back of the thigh and are essential for bending the knee and overall stability. Tight hamstrings can put more pressure on the knee joint and make surgical recovery more difficult. The towel-assisted stretch is an effective method to lengthen and relax the hamstrings. Adding towel-assisted hamstring stretches to pre-surgery exercises lowers the chance of problems after surgery caused by tight hamstrings. To perform a towel-assisted stretch, assume a seated position on the floor or bed, extending the legs straight out. Loop a towel around 1 foot, holding the ends in each hand. Gently stretch the back of the thigh by pulling on the towel while keeping the knee straight. Breathe deeply while holding the stretch for 20-30 seconds, then release. Repeat as advised by a doctor.

3. Glute activation with hip bridges

The gluteal muscles are essential for keeping the hips and pelvis stable, which affects how the knees work and stay aligned. If the glutes are weak, the knee replacement durability can decrease. Hip bridges are a dynamic exercise that activates and strengthens the gluteal muscles. Lie flat on the back, with knees bent at a right angle and feet flat on the ground, hip-width apart. Stabilize the pelvis to engage the core muscles. Form a straight line from shoulders to knees by lifting hips with heels. Squeeze the glutes at the movement’s top, maintaining muscle tension. Next, lower the hips slowly and return to the starting position in a controlled manner. Repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions, focusing on proper form and muscle engagement.

4. Strengthen your calf with heel raises

The calf muscles, including the gastrocnemius and soleus, are essential for stabilizing the ankles. These muscles help with movement when walking or carrying weight. Strengthening the calves helps maintain proper lower extremity alignment, which is necessary for a successful knee replacement surgery outcome. Heel raises are an effective exercise to target the calf muscles. To perform heel raises, stand upright with the feet hip-width apart, ensuring proper ankles, knees, and hips alignment. Place both hands on a stable surface for support, such as a countertop or chair. Start by raising the heels off the ground in a slow and controlled manner and lift the body onto the balls of the feet. Hold the raised position momentarily, then lower the heels towards the ground. Focus on controlling the movement and completing the full range of motion (ROM) for the desired number of repetitions.

Enjoy stronger knees after knee replacement

Pre-operative exercises can target essential muscle groups involved in knee stability, mobility, and alignment. The goal of a knee replacement is to improve movement while reducing pain. All muscles and bones work together for pain-free movement, so exercise is a vital part of rehabilitation. Incorporating pre-op exercises into the daily routine leading up to knee replacement surgery can optimize muscle strength and flexibility, enhance surgical outcomes, and facilitate a smoother rehabilitation process.

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2024-06-04T12:17:47-05:00
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