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Doctor Lowe's Thoughts:
When talking about the health of the knee, or any joint, you must first keep in mind that the human body works together to accomplish any movement. So when we look to rehabilitate the knee, we must also take into consideration the neighboring joints/muscles and their effect on the knee.
Listed below are muscles that cross 2 joints, meaning they move the knee and another joint (either the hip or ankle). This is important because it tells us that for proper knee rehabilitation, we must also include hip and ankle exercises/stretches.
Muscle: Hamstring Group (Semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and the long head of your biceps femoris)
Joints: Hip and knee
Action: Hip extension and knee flexion
Muscle: Rectus femoris (one of the quadriceps)
Joints: Hip and knee
Action: Hip flexion and knee extension
Muscle: Gastrocnemius (calf)
Joints: Ankle and knee
Action: Knee flexion and ankle plantar flexion
Basic Rehabilitation Exercises for the Knee:
1) Calf Raises
2) Calf Stretch
3) Hip Flexion (isolating the rectus femoris muscle)
4) Hip Extension
4) Knee Flexion
5) Knee Extension
6) Quadriceps and Hamstring Stretches
Reason 1: Most of our daily life and exercises already focus on the quadriceps. Walking up stairs, arising for a seated position, squats, lunges, etc are all quadriceps heavy activities.
Reason 2: Your quadriceps are dumb. They consist of four muscles that all insert into one common location. Your hamstrings on the other hand (or leg), attach to the left and right side of your knee. I like to think of them as the reigns to a sleigh as they are more able to control and stabilize your knee.
Rehab exercises should be performed with high repetitions (15-20) for 2-3 sets. All movements should be slow and under control. If you feel any sharp or shooting pains during these exercises your should stop performing that exercise. Exercises should be done anywhere from 3-5 days/week depending on the extent of your injury and physical restriction.
***The major weight bearing joint are the knees, hips, and lower back. These joints are quicker to wear down and develop arthritis so give them some extra TLC.
Dr. Aaron Lowe