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Mind your knees' needs

Strengthen muscles to prevent serious knee surgeries

Strengthen muscles to prevent serious knee surgeries

August 08, 2005|by JULIE E. GREENE
(Page 2 of 2)

For Moore's first workout session last week with physical therapist Laura Blair at the Center for Joint Surgery & Sports Medicine, Blair started her with a few repetitions of various exercises to strengthen the muscles around the knee, asking Moore whether each exercise caused any pain.

No exercise should be done that causes joint pain, Blair said.

If you have a knee injury or are new to exercise, check with your doctor before beginning an exercise regimen to see how often you should exercise, she said.

For others, Blair suggests the following exercises can be done daily to strengthen the muscles around the knees:

  • Quad sets: Lie on your back. Tighten your upper thigh muscle, pushing the back of your knee into the bed or floor. Hold five seconds. Relax. Do this 15 to 20 times.

  • Wall slide: Lean against a wall with your feet flat on the floor about 18 inches to 24 inches in front of the wall. With a soccer ball between your knees, slowly slide down the wall. You're bending your knees, but don't let your knees bend your toes. Hold for three to five seconds and slowly push back to a standing position. This exercise can be felt in the quadriceps. Do this 15 to 20 times.

  • Single-leg stand: To start off, stand on one leg for 20 to 30 seconds per foot. Stand in front of a counter if needed so you can grab the counter to steady yourself. Once comfortable with this exercise, try adding a pillow or sofa cushion or Dyna-Disc. Stand on one leg on the pillow. This exercise forces you to use your foot, ankle and knee to stabilize or keep your balance. The wobbly pillow equates to a grassy or uneven surface. This exercise can be felt in the entire leg. Do this one or two times.

  • Step-ups: Using a step, step up on the step with your bad foot, then the other foot. Step off with the bad foot, then the other. Do this 15 to 20 times.

  • Use an elliptical machine, which gives you a cardiovascular workout and tones up the legs without the pounding or impact necessary on a treadmill. Start slowly with a five-minute workout. Work your way up to 15 to 20 minutes, splitting the time between pedaling forward and backward at a comfortable speed. This exercise should be done three to four times a week.
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