Knee Rehabilitation

What is knee rehabilitation?

Knee rehabilitation is an exercise regime to help an injured knee regain complete mobility and functionality. As a result, knee functionality must return after surgery or a traumatic injury.

A well-constructed knee conditioning program aims to improve the strength, flexibility and mobility of the knee. An exercise rehabilitation program targets several muscles of the knee to help activate them, such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, abductors, adductors and buttock muscles (gluteus medius and gluteus maximus).

What happens during knee rehabilitation?

There exist different phases of knee rehabilitation. The first phase involves treating the knee injury as soon as possible. The main objective is to implement conservative measures (rest, ice and elevation) to reduce knee pain and joint swelling. In addition, Dr van Niekerk conducts a physical assessment of the knee. In the meantime, your doctor and physiotherapist will wait for the swelling to go down before conducting knee function tests. By the end of the first phase, you should be able to walk with some swelling present.

The second phase entails strengthening the knee and improving the joint’s range of motion. As a result, your physiotherapist will help you regain the knee’s flexibility by introducing load on the joint.

Phase three of recovery involves introducing heavier loads that the knee should be able to withstand. Dynamic loading, for example, jumping and hopping, are best recommended during this stage of recovery. By the end of this stage, you can begin running, not at full capacity but instead jogging. However, it is best to take it easy during this early stage of recovery to prevent further injury.

The second last phase of recovery aims to help you return to the sport that you once did confidently. During the fourth phase, you will be required to engage in more strenuous activities that involve heavier loads, various motions and agility.

Lastly, the final phase of recovery aims to reduce the risk of a recurrent knee injury. Furthermore, you need to monitor your knee continuously to prevent injury and improve the function of the joint.


How long does knee rehabilitation take?

The exercise regime can take four to six weeks, depending on the individual.

What exercises are best recommended for the knee?

The following exercises are recommended:

  • Knee bends
  • Contraction of the thigh
  • Leg raises
  • Hamstring stretches
What can I do for painful knees?

You should avoid weight-bearing activities and apply ice to the knee from time to time. Dr van Niekerk may prescribe a painkiller temporarily until he finds the root cause of the problem.