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How to Rehabilitate the Knee After Injury

Written By Abigail Amber on December 17, 2018

Knee Injury Treatment


Recovery from a knee injury will likely involve rehabilitation to strengthen the injured knee and help it regain flexibility and range of motion. The modalities for rehabilitation and the length of the process will depend on the type of injury, which we will subdivide into two categories: without structural damage and with structural damage

No Structural Damage

If you injure your knee, you must have it checked out ASAP. That way, you will know whether there is structural damage or not. In case of the latter, you’ll just need a few days (or maybe weeks, tops) of leg stretching and leg strengthening exercises. This was the case with Kansas City Royals’ Salvador Perez, who missed four weeks of baseball action after sustaining a grade 2 left knee sprain.

Very Well Health claims the goal of knee rehab is to strengthen the muscles that surround the knee. Strong muscles take the pressure off the knee joint, allowing it to function seamlessly with no additional burden. Therefore, it is important to perform exercises to strengthen the quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves. But before doing so, it is imperative that you do some leg stretches first to loosen up your leg muscles. In doing so, keep in mind not to over-exert yourself and to hold each stretch for 15–30 seconds.

Next, you can start performing straight leg raises and wall slides (to strengthen your quads), lying leg curls and deadlifts (hamstrings) and toe raises (to improve your calf muscles). Also central to knee injury recovery and rehabilitation is the strengthening of the hips and the core, both of which are important to movement. In short, a strong core and strong hips will allow you to move your legs with ease and less pressure, thereby further decreasing the load placed on the knee joint.

With Structural Damage

Things are more complicated when there is structural damage. Here, surgery is often the best option, along with some platelet rich plasma injections. As our article ‘The Benefits of PRP Injections’ explains, “PRP injections work by introducing cells that your body recognizes, which facilitates and speeds up the healing process.” But the road to recovery doesn’t end there. Rehabilitation follows, with WebMD pointing out the need for a physical therapist or PT. The PT will assist you in the initial stages of your rehab, giving you ultrasound massages and electrical nerve or muscle stimulation. Your PT will also help you do stretching and basic leg strengthening exercises, until such time that you can do them on your own. Ultimately, you can continue working with your PT or rehab on your own.

Recovery in this case will take time. Minnesota Timberwolves Point Guard Derrick Rose, for instance, took over a full year to recover from his torn right ACL. In February 2016, tennis superstar Roger Federer underwent meniscus repair and missed two months of tennis action. He came back in April, but later decided to take the last five months of the 2016 season off to rest his knee. He missed the 2016 Rio Olympics and U.S. Open, but was about to make a triumphant return. The Swiss icon returned from injury in January 2017 and looked like The Maestro of old, winning the Australian Open and then winning his record-breaking eighth Wimbledon title later in the. Federer took the long-view approach and allowed his knee to fully heal. His patience has been rewarded, as he remains one of the best in tennis thanks in part to his two healthy knees.

Recovery from knee injury won’t happen overnight. It will take days and in severe cases months. But if you rehab with passion, persistence and patience, your knee will eventually be in the pink of health again.


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By: Abigail Amber

Posted In: Chiropractic Knee Pain