What are the Different Knee Rehabilitation Exercises?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 October 2019
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The knee rehabilitation exercises one will use after a knee injury will vary according to the type of injury and any doctor recommendations. It is important to choose these exercises carefully and in conjunction with doctor recommendations, and if possible, these exercises should be done under the guidance of a physical therapist. The three most common types of knee rehabilitation exercises are stretching exercises, mobility exercises, and strengthening exercises. Depending on the severity of the injury, some of these exercises should be avoided until some healing has occurred. If a surgery is the cause of the rehabilitation, the injured person will need to start with light stretches and work up from there.

Mobility knee rehabilitation exercises are usually done first after a knee injury or surgery. These light exercises are meant to increase movement in the healing joint, and to allow ligaments to become used to regular movement again. Mobility exercises generally involve simple movements, and at first, the movements may be facilitated by another person. Once the healing process has progressed adequately, the injured person will begin to move the joint on his or her own to promote mobility and strength.


Stretching knee rehabilitation exercises are meant to help muscles regain some elasticity after having shortened during the healing process. Stretching exercises should be done lightly at first, and if pain is felt during the stretching process, one should stop immediately. As the muscle begins to become used to the stretching, the person can then begin to stretch further and more regularly, though again, if pain worsens or recurs, it is important to stop all stretching and allow the muscle to heal. In some cases, it may be necessary to consult a doctor if pain worsens. Stretching exercises can also stimulate blood flow to the knee, thereby promoting faster healing and less swelling.

The last step in the rehabilitation process includes strength training knee rehabilitation exercises. These exercises are designed to restore strength to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the knee. Many people may require a fair amount of healing before this process can begin, and depending on the type of injury sustained and the treatment that followed, strength training may not be attempted for several weeks to several months. This is a very important step in the rehabilitation process, however, and it must be done properly to avoid re-injury as well as further degradation of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the knee.


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