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Should You Strengthen Before a Knee Replacement Surgery?

October 18, 2017

According to the Mayo Clinic, more than 3 million women and 1.7 million men are in 2010 had a Total Knee Arthroplasty (TKA/knee replacement). Knee replacement is seen as a last ditch effort to relieve pain typically thought to be caused by Osteoarthritis. 


Recent studies show that the strength of your quadriceps muscle is actually a HUGE determining factor in how much function you will recover following a knee replacement. Mizner et al. (2005) found that 'preoperative quadriceps strength plays a dominant role in predicting one-year... functional measures." Interestingly enough, they also found that Preoperative bodily pain and knee flexion ROM are poor predictors of all functional outcome measures!


What that all means is if you're considering getting a knee replacement soon, you should start thinking about strengthening your quadriceps muscle!!

If you're looking for guidance on how to build a comprehensive leg strengthening program prior to your surgery, be sure to talk with your physician about getting a referral to one of Haven's Outpatient Clinics located in Ava, Ozark, and Willard. We will sit down with you and work 1-on-1 until you're confident with a strengthening program designed specifically for you!


An example home program for quadriceps (and other leg muscle) strengthening:


1. Exercise Bike: x 20 minutes

- The exercise bike is a great way to promote blood flow to the legs and build heart health in a (typically) pain-free manner. Find a comfortable yet somewhat taxing pace. You should be able to carry on a conversation but be a little out of breath. 


2. Squat Taps: 3 sets to fatigue


- Nothing strengthens the quads in a more functional way than the squat taps. It's important to perform strengthening exercises to the point of fatigue or near fatigue (leaving 2 reps in reserve). Be sure to work your quads by tapping to the chair (and not sitting).


3. Mini Lunges: 3 sets to fatigue


- This exercise provides great quadriceps strength plus it adds in a little balance challenge. If you're afraid of falling, be sure to perform these next to a counter top!


4. Bridges: 3 sets to fatigue


- The bridge is a staple glute strengthening exercise. We use this one because hip extension strength from the glute can be just as important as quadriceps strength when it comes to return to function!


5. Single Leg Step Ups: 2 sets to fatigue


- Build quad and hip strength with this functional exercise. It replicates stair climbing but without all the stairs :) 

The best home based exercise program is one that's designed by one of our rehab experts designed specifically for YOU. This is just a very small taste of exercises we can use to ensure you have adequate quadriceps strength before your knee replacement surgery.



(Looking to avoid surgery altogether? Check out this video by the experts)












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