TKR Heel Slide Exercises

Posted , 15 users are following.

We all know that this is one of the best exercises to both straighten out your leg and increase the bend.  Tips:

- Your worst enemy is friction...  Gotta have a surface and something on your foot that will slide easily with as little friction as possible.  Silk or sil-like sheets are great if your doing this in bed watching TV.  On the floor, any plastic chair mat (the ones for your desk chair at the computer), thin plastic sheet (like those cheap ones for the snow), or anything else that slides easily will do.  Put a plastic bag with a rubber band over your foot to make it slide better.  

- Maximize your exercise for zero degrees...  To get your knee cloer to zero degrees, extend it as far as you can then put a 2-pound anke weight on the knee.  Just this slight extra pressure will pay off when you go to PT.  Not sure if I'd do this right after surgery...wait until you see your doc and have the staples removed.  But once you are doing full-on PT work, this helps a lot.  Just let the weight sit there as long as you can stand it...then back off and ice.

- Maximize your exercise for 120 degrees...  When you bend your knee, it's really hard to keep it bent and even push it to the next degree.  Just put a belt around your ankle and hold on with both hands.  Bend as far as you can and use the belt to hold it where it is.  When comfortable, give the belt a slight tug to bend just a fraction more.  Don't yank on the darn thing!  This is not a race.  Slow and easy...one degree at a time.

- A GREAT aid...  I got rid of all the friction problems with a device called a Knee-Flex...

It's a set of frictionless wooden rails with a heel cup between them.  Use this in bed, on the floor, in a pool, wherever.  It completely eliminates the friction problem and makes the exercise much easier.  Mine was actually from a different company and there are many "brands" of these devices around.  I just happened to grab this one off the web but you get the picture.

So...  No friction, add some weight, pull on the belt.  DON'T OVERDO IT but push it a bit to keep progressing.  Everyone has to find their own "sweet spot".  And always ice afterwards...

Hope this helps.

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  • Posted

    I bought a small hand dumbbell and it's great when sitting to put my foot on and roll my leg backwards.d does the best knee slide

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  • Posted

    Thank you Chico. I find this very helpful.
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  • Posted

    Good mornng Chico, thanks as ever.  I have read about Knee flex but cant buy it in the UK, so am using a home made version as of yesterday - it is REALLY making a difference so I'm delighted you mentioned it too.

    Have a lovely Sunday

    Susie

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  • Posted

    Chico to the rescue again....I never thought of it as friction which you so succinctly explained.  I love the exercise for straightening with weights on knee.  That's what it feels like when my PT holds the knee down for 10 loooong seconds, five times when measuring.  Now I can do homework and be prepared for the crunch...ow!  I have two soft ankle weights with a total of 2 lbs.  I'm not sure how long to keep them on or should it be done as an exercise using sets (ie: hold ten seconds, 10 times?)  Brilliant idea.

    The one for the bend, which I am having the most difficult time with;  I do a similar one in PT with a rope with big beads.    I place the bottom of my foot and in a sitting up position  (with a towel on top of the table) pull up and bend the knee as far as it can go where it hurts just a little...hold for 5 seconds and do this 20 times.  At home, I use a belt in the same way.  You mention place the belt around the ankle....could you please explain in a little more detail on how to do this.  I love the idea of a soft surface to make the sliding easier.  I have a very soft silky blanket and I can start using that for "anti friction."

    As you can see, I am very concerned about the bending and swelling of my knee.  It's 8 weeks post op TKR and still have a tightness around my ankle, calf, and  feels like a rock in my knee. My PT's tell me they are pleased with my progress 0, 105 I have gone through a tube and a half of Voltaren, stopped the Tramedol because it gave me tremors.  I have one healthy kidney and was born with celiac disease  and don't take any OTC pain relievers because of what they do to my stomach, kidney and liver.  I am on an antiinflammaory, low acidic diet and taking a home made elixer of tumeric, apple cider vinegar and honey...two tablespoons a day hoping to get down the inflammation.  My naturopath gave me a metabolic supplement because I was so weak, lost 10 lbs (I am a petite lady) and she thought I may be malnourished.  My appetite is back and I do part time computer work for my son and am able to sit with legs up and work on my laptop.  I do it in intervals of one hour, three times a day.  I just started on Monday.  

    I bless you for all your suggestions and advice.  My kids are great but this site (and you) give me the indepndence and strength I strive for in my life.  It's so difficult when a independent, women, single mom and grandmother who is highly respected with her family and friends, has a setback like this.  I don't chat on the phone with friends because I am too involved in PT and getting my life back together.  Most of them understand.

    Thank you again and I wish you a painless journey and no more compromises to your body....Marilyn

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    • Posted

      It's not a setback; it's a challenge...and you're doing all the right things.  I'm 68 and a little less than 5 months post-op.  Stiffness when I sit too long...waaaaay better when I'm active all day.  Virtually zero pain but I still use the Voltaren when I need it...no drugs.  I will get a bit of swelling if I overdo it so I keep an eye on my FitBit during the day.  Still working on the bend.  Got it to 129 but I'd like 138 like my other leg.  Dying to get back on my skates again but I'll wait 6 months for that...have to keep working on leg strength.  It will be worth it.  Stay strong...

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    • Posted

      My other leg is 138 like yours.  I did yoga for years and thought because I was so flecible that this would be a piece of cake...WRONG!  After I read your last note and suggestion for bending, I remember one of the exercises the PT who came to the house the first three weeks post op had me do.  I could barely get down on the floor to do them, so I stuck with the traditional bending exercises.  This is how it goes, and to quote you "friction" is pretty good.

      Get down on the floor on your back and ind a wall where you can lift the leg to a position that is comfortable and place it on the wall.  Then slowly slide the leg down bending it as far as you can and hold for 5 seconds.  I did it today and I got a pretty good bend.

      Just wanted to share that with you.  Sounds at though you will be back on skates pretty soon...you are so motivated.....you will need a lot of protection for those knees.  Were you a pro skater? 

      M

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    • Posted

      I'm just kneeling down and then sitting back on my heels as far as I can go.  PT said the other leg was so good because of 44 years of hockey.  140+ is trained athlete range or a yoga enthusiast.  If you can touch heel to butt, that's about 160 degrees.

      Here's the knee-flex device...

       

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    • Posted

      Thanks Chico....I can't even get into a half lotus posture now.  It seems that my energy level is so low that I don't even get to to my PT at home more than once a day.  I try doing as much as I can in bed.  I am busy with chores most of the day that includes getting in and ot of my car, shopping, cleaning and and by the time I am ready to do the torture, I am too tired.   I go up to bed, put on TV or put my earbuds in to a meditation and do them.  Also, I am going to outpatient PT 3 times a week and now they are giving me two hour sessions.  I can hardly move the next day.  They started me on a bike.  I did five minutes and  was a struggle to get a full rotation.  I remember from my biking days to point the row down on the pedals to get more rotation.  The first rotation I could barely get a full one, but then I was able to do the full five minutes.  It is so sad to see .2 of a mile in 5 minutes.  I remember my biking days when I was in my 50's and I did the longest ride I ever did...58 miles on my road bike with a cycle club.  Believe me, I am no jock.  I am a girlie lady but feel pathetic when I do my PT.

      I haven't taken any pain meds because of my reaction to tramedol.   woke up with whole body shaking.  This happened twice.  I decided to call my naturopath and she gave me a supplement of Tumeric and Tumeric root.  She said it is good for pain and inflammation.  I will let all of our friend know how it is helping.

      Do you believe in homeopathic remedies?  I know that you don't like to take narcotics after a certain time of recuperation.

      Weekend coming...everyday is closer to skating for you.  Hope you are well.

      Marilyn

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  • Posted

    How on earth do you get up again Marilyn after you have done your floor exercise? I'd have no chance. I'd have a job getting down unless I fell down never mind up.

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    • Posted

      Saralice....this is how I do my bends against the wall.  I sit down on the bottom step  in my house (that is near a small wall) while holding on to the railing.    Then  with my hands on the step, lift myself down to the floor..(using my good leg for all the movements) ..I slide down on my rear end and walk on my rear to get to a wall next to the stairs.  That I did when I was 3 weeks post op.  It was exhausting but I still do it and of course it's much easiernow.   It's really good for straightening the legs also.. I just like that bend because I don't feel as much pain when I push to the max

      It is  9 weeks post op and I am getting stronger everyday.  I still struggle with pain at night that wakes me up and the bend is also a challenge for me.   They measured me yesterday in PT  (omg what pain) and the bend in knee was 115.  I am pleased but I think those numbers change all the time.  I don't know it's just a feeling i have. I

      Good luck...I hope this is of help to you.  

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  • Posted

    Hi im 3 wks post op & cant even get to 90° bend yet. I use a small skate board to do knee bends & sit on a couple of cushions on chair to make up for the height of skate board. Got my 1st physio apt tomorrow, so shall have to see what they have to say. PT in hosp told me that their is no physio gym anymore, they've had that taken away due to nhs cuts. I had bout 6 sessions when i had my 1st tkr 4 yrs ago & it was very helpful. Seems like were just left to get on with it on our own now!!

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    • Posted

      So many people on the forum who have had both knees done separately report that their experiences were very different with each knee.  You know that 3 weeks is still very, very early and also know not to get depressed about it.  So with experience on your side, you know what you have to do.

      Skateboard...  Hmmmm...I hadn't thought about that.  Sounds like a much cheaper option to those heel slide devices.

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  • Posted

    The heel slide exercises I do lying on the bed, when I draw the knee up I hold it for a few seconds and then try a gentle further pull on it before releasing it back down again, I do this several times then rest.

    To help straighten the knee I place a small ball about table tennis ball size under the back of the knee, again lying on the bed and using the leg I press down on it and hold for a few seconds before releasing and redoing. This also promotes strengthening the thigh muscles.

    As I have a step into my kitchen, I place my knee foot on the step the other foot behind me and place my hands on the wall at each side and bend the knee forward, this really helps getting it bending

    But I agree with Chico don't overdo it but push it a little more as it becomes easier

     

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  • Posted

    Thanks this sounds really helpful and will give the plastic bag idea a try cos it is friction that stops it sometimes. I will look online for the knee flex device anything that can make exercising easier is worth it.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to send me this info it really helps.

    .

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