The importance of restoring knee extension!
In most cases, whether you have had a total knee replacement, a partial knee replacement or an ACL reconstruction the most valuable primary step is achieving good range of motion into extension (straightening the knee).
It is important that you aim to gain knee extension as early as possible, if there is a delay it becomes harder to achieve knee extension. You can start the process in hospital (once given the go ahead) by squeezing your quad muscles to maintain good range of motion, and muscle strength. It is also important that you get early physiotherapy to mobilise the knee, this may include gradually pushing the knee into full extension, mobilisation of the kneecap and traction techniques of the knee joint. It has been shown that patients who received manual therapy along side an exercise programme have better outcomes than patients who just had an exercise programme alone (Abbott et al 2015, Jansen et al 2011, Deyle et al 2005).
Knee extension is critical for optimal function in standing, walking, climbing and descending straights, and running (pretty much everything!). It is also very difficult to strengthen the knee if you have not regained full range of motion. Pain levels have also been shown to reduce once you are able to fully straighten the knee.
At In Touch Physiotherapy we can help by guiding you through the necessary exercises and assisting with the manual therapy you may need to achieve full knee extension as quickly as possible, then we will start resorting your strength and function to get you back on your feet and back to life!