Physiotherapy can be prescribed as an individual treatment program or combined with other treatments. It is commonly ordered to aid in recovery after certain surgeries, injuries, and long-term health conditions such as arthritis. It involves a combination of education, manual therapy, exercises, and techniques such as water, heat, cold, electrical stimulation, and ultrasound.
For knee problems, physical therapy typically involves exercises that focus on strengthening and stretching specific joints and muscles. The exercises recommended for knee problems include:
- Straight leg raise: Lying on your back, bend one leg at the knee and lift the other leg straight off the floor for a slow count of 5. This exercise can be done twice a day.
- Step ups: Step onto the first step of the stairs with your right foot and then bring up the left foot. Step down with the right foot followed by the left. Repeat this exercise until you become short of breath. As you improve, try to increase the number of steps.
- Knee squats: With the support of a chair or work surface, squat until your knee covers your big toe and then stand. Repeat the exercise at least 10 times. As you become more comfortable, try to squat a little more.
- Knee extensions: Sit at the edge of a chair and gently slide your operated leg forward, straightening it. Hold this position for about 10 to 15 seconds and then return to the initial position.
- Passive knee extension: For this exercise, you need two chairs placed opposite each other. Sit on one chair and rest your leg on the other. Keep a rolled towel under your ankle and an ice pack over the knee. Place 5 to 10 lbs. weights over the knee for a recommended amount of time.
- Straight leg raise: Lying on your back on a flat surface with your arms resting by your side, use your forearms to support your upper body and raise your legs 12 to 20 inches off the ground. Hold this position for about 10 seconds and then slowly bring it back to the initial position.
- Ankle pump: Sitting on a flat surface with your legs stretched out, slowly move your foot forward and backward as far as possible.
- Quadriceps stretch (standing): Stand straight with one hand on the wall for support. With the other hand, hold your heel and bend your affected knee towards your buttocks to feel a stretch in front of your leg.
- Step ups: Step onto a stool with your involved leg and step down. The stool can be placed in front of you or beside the injured leg.
- Pedaling on an exercise bike and walking.
It is essential to discuss any questions you may have regarding the exercises with your physiotherapist. You can start with basic exercises and progress to more advanced ones. It is crucial to follow the schedule and only practice the exercises prescribed by your therapist.