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Here are a few of the more typical knee exercises that you may see in the first phase of rehab.  Some may need to be avoided depending on your condition/injury, so check with your therapist first.  A picture can only tell so much, so thankfully there is video also. Click the links below for a short video clip via Youtube.

Ankle pumps are an important part of post-surgical rehab, especially a more invasive surgery like a TKA (total knee replacement).  They can help to increase blood circulation and lessen your chance to develop a blood clot.  Check out this video clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVt4fgia1jc

Quad sets are one of the most important exercises to help regain quadriceps strength (the muscle on top of your thigh).  This muscle is crucial in achieving full extension (getting your leg straight).  It is not simply pressing your leg into the mat, it is also contracting the quad muscle so the patella (kneecap) moves towards you.  It helps to start with a towel roll under your knee for better leverage.  Check it out here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iMemFCxYAI

Short Arc Quads (SAQ) target the quadriceps muscle as well, but there is movement of your lower leg included.  You may want to start with a larger bolster if you're having trouble getting your foot off the mat.  A small coffee can or big towel roll usually works great.  This exercise may have to be avoided depending on your condition, so check with your therapist.  Check it out here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDCK-Y1sA84&feature=channel

Straight Leg Raises (SLR) are a more advanced exercise involving not only your quads, but also your hip.  This exercise is particularly difficult for most patients after surgery due to muscle weakness.  This exercise may increase low back discomfort, so check with your therapist for modifications or other exercises that you can do if that is the case.   Check it out here- http://www.youtube.com/user/columbiaorthogroup#p/u/4/M7HRY7n_fGk

Heelslides are an exercise for your hamstrings (bottom of your thigh) and a great way to work on knee flexion (bending your knee).  They work best if you can find a low friction surface to do them on like a cookie sheet or piece of shelving so your heel slides better.  You can have someone assist you or use a belt looped around your knee to help get more flexion.  Check it out here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okhFhILVBCA

Wall slides are a more advanced version of the heelslides mentioned above.  They are great for achieving increased knee flexion. Check it out here - http://www.youtube.com/user/columbiaorthogroup#p/u/7/pV-XaU4jieE

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