How do you gain full range of motion after a knee surgery?
In order for you to walk, run, sit or kick comfortably, your knee, must be able to move through an arc of 130°. From completely straight, or fully extended; to completely bent, or fully flexed. Two muscle groups control this motion, the quadriceps, on the front of the thigh, contract to fully extend the leg. And the hamstrings, on the back of the thigh, contract to fully flex the knee. The second important structures are the soft tissues (ligaments and joint capsules), which control movements providing joint stability. These muscle groups lose strength due to restricted mobility after surgery. Additionally, the soft tissue joints and ligaments shorten. If muscle strength isn’t restored, there can be permanent loss of the knee’s range of motion. This loss of range of motion is flexion contracture.
When a flexion contracture is severe, additional surgery may be necessary to help restore range of motion. Many studies have shown that even in less severe cases, a reduction in range of knee motion by as little as three degrees to five degrees increases pain and decreases patient satisfaction with the outcome of surgery.
Whether you have had anterior cruciate ligament surgery, total knee replacement or other knee surgery, achieving full extension of your leg will give you the best chance to return to the activities you love.
To achieve the best possible outcome, we can design a series of progressive resistance exercises that will strengthen the thigh muscles, restore the knee’s function and strength. A stretching routine to return ligaments and capsule to normal length—while still allowing your knee to heal safely from surgery.
Call PhysioFit Physical Therapy in Los Altos, CA for a Discovery Visit: (650) 947-8500.