Don’t Delay Your Recovery

In this lesson you are going to learn about how using traditional methods of stretching exercises after a knee replacement, ones that have been used for the past 20 years, may actually prolong your recovery and why. Anyone who has had a knee replacement will instantly recognize many of these methods. Leverage in many different forms is used to facilitate bending of a swollen resistant knee.

Initial reactions by many patients to this somewhat counter-intuitive concept is “Why Don’t I wait for the swelling to go down and THEN try to bend my knee?”. The answer to this is that waiting passively for knee swelling to go away is like waiting for evaporation to eliminate the flood waters that have entered your house-serious damage will have taken place in the meantime or at the very least a ridiculously unnecessary delay will have ensued. 
Prolong recoveryWhen you bend your knee it helps the body displace swelling located in the joint back into the body tissues similar to a mechanical pump removing flood waters  from your home.  Now that you have a basic understanding of why, we shall look at the traditional physical therapy after a knee replacement and the methods that fluid can be pumped.

Traditional Rehabilitation Leverage Methods Explained

Muscles in Your Own Leg (Leg slide) -This is probably one of the most well known knee replacement physical therapy exercises-sitting in a chair and attempting to slide your leg back as far as possible. This is the poorest leverage available secondary to the weakness that usually exists in the leg prior to surgery. Limitations: need for slick flooring surface.

Self-Assist Other Leg-This is similar to the stretch above except that it uses the non-surgical leg to assist the bend . Legs do not have as much fine motor control as the arms, and some people have trouble controlling the amount of force applied. Limitations: non-surgical leg is bad, bilateral surgery.

Sheet/Strap on your Stomach or Back-Lying on your back or stomach and using a sheet or strap to help pull the leg into flexion is another exercise after total knee replacement. Limitations: need a bed or ability to get up/down off the floor easily and safely, measurement.

Stool/Staircase-Stepping up onto a stool or a staircase and leaning forward will force a bend in the knee. Limitations: need equipment, staircase with a railing that is safe, balance, measurement.

Another Person-A physical therapist applies force to bend the knee for you or with your assistance. Limitations: very easy to over-do with resulting setback, availability vente de viagra sur internet.

Gym Equipment (Nu-step)-Equipment used in a physical therapy rehab setting that allows for a gradual increase of range that can be dialed out. Limitations: access.

Self-Assist Arms-Lying face up on the floor or bed and using your arms to assist the bending movement of your knee. Limitations: not for early stages of recovery, measurement.

Bike-Using a bike pedal and other leg to force a knee bend on the post-surgical side. Limitations: difficult to control force applied, easy to over-do.

The following infographic is a pictorial representation showing the weaknesses and strengths of each technique. The rating system is my own, developed over 20 years of practice.

As you can see, The F.L.EX bar is rated the highest of all the stretching techniques because it solves the majority of the problems associated with the other methods. The F.L.EX bar was designed specifically with your needs in mind. (Click on image to enlarge)

Feel free to share this infographic with friends and neighbors as well as on Facebook, Twitter and other websites.

Share this Image On Your Site

The F.L.EX Bar is everything needed in a leverage system.
• Portable
• Convenient to Use
• Safe
• Measurable
• Precision Control

I hope you can see how a portable leverage tool that is easy to use in any room in the house or in any office in an upright position can offer massive value to the post-op surgical patient!

Traditionaknee range of motionl Feedback Methods Explained
The physical therapist uses a tool called a goniometer to measure your progress at regular intervals. As we learned from part II of this series, not having access to your own feedback system can case massive delays and wasted time and effort. Fortunately there is a better way.

Tune in next to find out whether the rehab industry is really being honest about the effectiveness of their treatment programs?

If you missed the first two articles in the series you can find them here

Already know you want a fast start on your recovery?

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Watch Part One of the Video Series: How To Speed Up Recovery After a Knee Replacement

Watch Part Two of the Video Series: The Number 1 Reason for Slow Recovery

Watch Part Four of the Video Series: Is the Rehab Industry Being Honest About the Effectiveness of Their Treatment Methods



Michelle, PT
Michelle, PT

Michelle Stiles called "the no nonsense" therapist, by her patients, created a company called Cowboy Up Recovery after recognizing the bankruptcy of the present medical model. Too many people regard conventional medical wisdom as gospel, ignoring the subversive influences of Big Pharma and Big Medicine. She believes, Americans in general are being trained from an early age to defer to experts in numerous areas of life and losing the impulses for self-responsibility and self-reliance in the process. Over-diagnosis and over-medicating has become endemic. While thankful for the best miracles of modern medicine, she encourages people of all persuasions to listen to their bodies and seek out answers to maintain not just an absence of disease but optimal health. Her advice is: Cowboy Up, no one cares more about your health than you do.

    4 replies to "Traditional Stretching Methods Could Prolong Your Knee Replacement Recovery!"

    • paul colarusso

      I am 10 months in on tkr, and still have 110 degrees at most. Still stretching several times daily…. Knee is constantly stiff and sore, Am I stretching too much?

      One PT stretched me three times per week till I had to scream out loud and beg him to stop. is this acceptable?

      Thank you.
      [email protected]

      • Michelle, PT

        Hi Paul,
        Stretching into pain is couterproductive. There are three levels of stretching mild, medium and spicy. After spicy comes pain. The trick is to get into spicy so that you make progress but not into pain. The way this is accomoplished is to use some sort of a marking system that can track your progress. I explain this in the book. It is very easy to think you are stretching into new range but in fact you are just regaining the old range over and over again. This will tend to happen especially if you are experiencing swelling. You do the stretching, drive the swelling out but are only back to where you started before the swelling crept in. This is why people feel like they are on a treadmill. I would stretch 4 x a day and mark your progress whether you are measuring the feet of the flex bar or toe with heel slides etc. This way there is no doubt about getting into new range. If you don’t make progress with that there may be some other issue.

    • Daniel Schmitz

      I had my knee replacement 3 weeks ago and I was doing my stretching and did not feel anything abnormal, but a couple hours later the top of the knee swelled up now I can’t even do anything. Help, could I have wrecked my knee

      • Michelle, PT

        In my experience, most cases such as you describe eventually resolve themselves and do not result in lasting harm to the knee, though they are very scary and frustrating because your progress is really slowed down and recovery stalls. Most issues do resolve with only anti-inflammatories, ice and relative rest (some activities may need to avoided or restricted, others can be continued in some cases, that all depends on the injury)

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