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  • Writer's pictureRachel

Knee Osteoarthritis Prehab

Many elective surgeries are being postponed amid the global pandemic. Use this time as a chance to do some pre-operative rehabilitation which may help manage your pain while you wait for your surgery to be rescheduled and give you a head start on your rehabilitation after you have had the surgery.

If any of these exercises cause you pain try doing less of the movement or skip the exercise.

What you need:

  • Small towel rolled up

  • Sturdy kitchen chair

  • Enthusiasm


1. Knee extension

  • Sitting up nice and straight

  • Straighten your left leg as far as you can and release down

  • Repeat this 10 times

Challenge: to make it harder after you have completed 10 hold it at the top for 10s

2. Knee flexion

  • Sit up nice and straight

  • Use your right leg to gently push the left leg backward encouraging the knee to bend hold 10s

  • Swap over and repeat

3. Calf rise

  • Stand behind kitchen chair, use to back to support yourself is you need

  • Rise onto your toes and slowly return to the ground

  • Repeat x 15

4. Mini squat

  • Stand behind the chair, using the back to support if you need it. If you have enough balance try just using one arm for support

  • Bend your knees roughly 45°, its just a mini squat and push back up squeezing your bum muscles

  • Repeat x 15

5. Knee bend

  • Stand behind the chair, using the back to support if you need it. If you have enough balance try just using one arm for support.

  • Standing on the left leg, bend the right knee bringing the right heel towards your bum.

  • Repeat x 15 then change legs

6. Step ups

  • If you have stairs, let's use them. (If you don’t skip this one and just do some marching with high knees for 30s)

  • Hold onto the banister

  • Leading with the right leg step up onto the step, the left leg joins, then down with the right.

  • Repeat 30s each side.

7. Knee extension

  • You will need a rolled up towel for this one

  • After your hard work let's lie on your back, put the rolled up towel under your knee

  • You can bend the resting leg to give your back more support

  • Lift your heel off the floor and straighten your knee

  • Repeat x 20 then change legs

Challenge: Hold the heel off the ground for 10s at the end of the set

8. Single leg raise

  • Remove the towel from under your knee

  • You can bend the resting leg to support your back

  • Lift the leg up straight roughly 40°, pulling your toes towards you to engage your quads more

  • Repeat x 15 then change legs

9. Leg extension hold

  • I hope you kept the rolled up towel handy

  • Put it just In front of the heel where there is a perfectly shaped gap for it

  • Lie down on your back and just relax letting the towel take the weight of the leg

  • Take 10 deep long breaths in and out and repeat on the other side

10. Relax

You're in the perfect position to do a quick meditation with everything going on right now heck we need it!

  • Remove the towel

  • Lie on you back, close your eyes and continue taking deep long breaths 5s in and 5s out

  • Think of the breath coming into your stomach, the ribs, then your chest and into your head then hold it at the top and as you breath out from your head, into your chest, then your belly and hold it at the end.

  • Try to focus on your breath and think of any tension or stress leaving your body and you breath out.

All better!

If you want to learn more about osteoarthritis try this detailed brochure from Versus Arthritis.

If you're ready to move on to some more challenging movements we have some to get your heart pumping here or if you're newly working from home try our guide to setting up your desk to avoid back pain.

See you again soon for more exercise tips!

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