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This is for everyone but especially for those who can't afford PT or are too far away to travel to one. Remember: The goal is to break up the forming scar tissue. Screw the pain...do the work!!! You want to walk with a limp the rest of your life?
Nothing beats a stationary bike to get the blood moving and to warm up the knee. This is usually a given. Virtually all PT sessions start out by warming up the knee. Do this... No bike? Take a 10-minute walk...and walk correctly...
#1... Heel Slides:
When you use a belt to PULL your foot toward your butt, you will be increasing your bend to +120 and beyond. There is also a medical device to help with this (see picture).
Hold onto a chair and do squats. Deep as you can...hold...stand up...repeat. Start with three sets of 5 once a day. Increase to three sets of 10-15 multiple times a day over the course of weeks. Want more? Put some weight on your shoulders or hold onto some dumbells to pull you down.
Both the above home exercises will help with your bend. Do them diligently multiple times a day. When you see your doc again, he can measure your progress, although when doing the heel slides in the same location all the time, you can have a piece of masking tape on the floor; mark your progress with a pen and date it.
Now for straightening your leg...
Lie on your bed face down with your knees just on the edge of the bed...NOT OVER IT. Lower your TKR leg (or both) and just let it hang...gravity will do the rest. This is one hell of a difficult thing to do. Count "x" seconds...bend the leg back up to vertical...repeat. You can do as many reps as you can handle for how many seconds you can endure multiple times a day. As you progress, increase the number of seconds and the number of reps.
The big thing to remember with this is that you CANNOT use your muscles to support the leg. You have to relax and just let it hang!!! When you get adventurous, strap on a 2-pound ankle weight. That will be INTENSE!!!! ...but worth it.
#4... The Gym
Once you get your ROM going pretty well, you'll need to hit the gym anyway to regain all the strength in your atrophied quads, glutes and core. Doing more leg presses and squats with increasing weight and reps will help finish off your ROM work to 0 / +120...probably beyond. You can also do this at home with a good set of exercise bands of increasing resistance to do the leg work.
These are only some of the exercises you can do but, for me, they formed the core of my recovery. Do some research on the web, especially YouTube, for more ROM exercises. So, yes, a PT can be of immense help to you but if money or distance are issues, you can do this recovery at home, on your own, if you stay focused and diligent about the ROM work. You will NOT have a PT pushing down on your knee to break up the scar tissue but you can come close if you do the work!!!
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