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Home Exercises

Here is a set of exercises designed to increase flexibility and muscle strength in your surgical leg:

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  1. Sit in a chair with your surgical leg close to the base of the chair.
  2. Scoot forward toward the edge of the chair as far as you can to bend your surgical knee until you feel a stretch.
  3. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds.
  4. Do 10-15 repetitions and repeat three times a day.
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  1. Lie on your bed with your surgical leg up on the headboard.
  2. Let the weight of gravity bend your knee, as you let your toes slide down the wall.
  3. Hold for 5-10 seconds before sliding your foot back up the wall.
  4. Do 10-15 repetitions and repeat this three times a day.
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  1. Sit with your leg propped up as shown in this picture.
  2. If you can tolerate it, place a 1-2 pound weight on the top of your knee. If you do not have any weights, you can substitute a small bag of brown sugar.
  3. Once you have the weight on top of the knee, relax and let your leg straighten.
  4. Hold this position for 10-15 seconds.
  5. Do 10-15 repetitions and repeat this three times a day.
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Ankle Pumps and Circles:

  1. Lie on your back with your legs straight.
  2. Slowly move your foot up (until you feel a stretch in the calf of the leg); then down at the ankle joint. Do 10 times.
  3. For circles, move the whole foot around in a circle clockwise 10 times; then counterclockwise 10 times. Do NOT move your leg, just the foot.
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Quad Sets:

  1. Lie on your back with your legs straight and relaxed.
  2. Press the involved knee down to the bed while lifting the heel off the sheets. This involves tightening the muscles on the top of your thigh.
  3. Hold for 5 seconds, then relax.
  4. Do 10 times.
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Hamstring Sets:

  1. Lie on your back with your legs straight and relaxed.
  2. Bend your involved leg to a height of about six inches. Keep your other leg straight.
  3. Tighten your bent leg by digging down and back with your heel toward your buttocks.
  4. Your back thigh muscles should tighten. Hold for 5 seconds.
  5. Do 10 times.
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Gluteal Sets:

  1. Lie on your back with your legs straight;
  2. Squeeze your buttocks together as tightly as possible.
  3. Hold for 5 seconds, then relax.
  4. Do 10 times
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Heel Slides:

  1. Lie on your back with your legs straight and relaxed.
  2. Keep your kneecap pointed toward the ceiling throughout the exercise.
  3. Slide your involved foot toward your buttocks, bending your knee and hip.
  4. Hold for 5 seconds; slowly return to starting position.
  5. Do 10 times.
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Short Arc Quads:

  1. Lie on your back with an 8- to-10- inch roll under knee.
  2. Raise heel off bed until knee is straight.
  3. Hold for 5 seconds, then relax.
  4. Do 10 times.

Advanced home exercises

Here are four advanced strengthening exercises to be done at home:

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  1. Stand, holding onto a solid object as shown.
  2. Slowly pull foot up as shown in the illustration.
  3. Hold for 5 seconds; then slowly lower foot.
  4. Do 10-15 repetitions and repeat this three times a day.
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  1. Stand with feet 12 inches apart.
  2. Rise slowly onto your toes as high as you can.
  3. Hold 5 seconds.
  4. Do 10-15 repetitions three times a day.
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  1. You do this as illustrated or use a step in your home. You can hold onto a railing and a walker for stability.
  2. Simply step up onto a step with your surgical leg.
  3. Then step back down and repeat.
  4. Do 10-15 repetitions three times a day.
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  1. Stand with your back against a wall with your feet shoulder-width apart and 12-18 inches from the wall.
  2. Slowly slide down the wall as shown in this illustration.
  3. Hold this position 3-5 seconds.
  4. Do 10-15 repetitions three times a day.
For maximum progress, do 10-20 repetitions of the following exercises, two to three times a day.
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Straight Leg Raise:

  1. Bend non-surgical leg and put that foot on your bed.
  2. Keeping the surgical leg straight, slowly lift the entire leg off the bed 6 inches. Lower back down to the bed slowly.
  3. Do 5 to 10 times.
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Hip Abduction:

  1. Lie on your back.
  2. Keep your kneecap pointed toward the ceiling throughout the exercise.
  3. Slowly move your involved leg out to the side of the bed as far as possible.
  4. Slowly return to the starting position and relax.
  5. Do 10 times.
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Mercy Medical Center Sioux City | 801 Fifth Street, Sioux City Iowa 51102 | 712-279-2010