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Doing these exercises BEFORE your knee replacement can help speed your recovery. Ask your physical therapist (PT) whether you should exercise one or both legs. Unless you’re told otherwise, start by doing each exercise 5–10 times (5–10 reps) twice a day (2 sets). As you get stronger, slowly increase the number of reps and sets.
Stop any exercise that causes sharp or increased knee pain, dizziness, shortness of breath, or chest pain.
Roll up several towels into a roll 6–8 inches thick. Lie in bed. Put the rolled-up towels under one knee. Bend the other knee.
Keeping your knee on the roll of towels, lift your foot to straighten the knee. Hold for a few seconds. Then slowly lower the foot.
Lie down or sit with your legs stretched out in front of you. Put a plastic bag or cookie sheet under one foot to help it slide.
Slide the heel toward your buttocks while keeping it on the bed. Move it as far as you comfortably can. Hold for a few seconds, then slide your heel back.
Stand while holding on to a steady surface, such as a table.
Bend your knee as far as it will go comfortably. Hold for a few seconds. Slowly lower the leg.