Recovering from total knee replacement surgery can take a bit of work. However, by focusing on improving range of motion and leg strength, you'll be on the path towards resuming your day-to-day activities in no time.
Here are three main muscle groups in the upper leg that will require your attention and rehabilitation to return to normal levels of strength:
Quadriceps: Your quadriceps, commonly referred to as the quads, are actually a group of four muscles responsible for the extension of the knee. Only one of these four muscles crosses both the hip and the knee, and that muscle is called the rectus femoris. All four muscles converge to form the quadriceps tendon that attaches to the top of your kneecap or patella. This tendon encases the patella and becomes the patellar tendon that attaches to a lower leg bone called the tibia. Strengthening this muscle group is essential to assist with any activity that requires straightening the knee, including walking, standing, and stair navigation.
Hamstrings: This is a group of three muscles in the back of the leg. They start at your SIT bone (your ischial tuberosity, the bones you literally ‘sit’ on) in your buttocks and attach just beyond the knee joint. They are responsible for flexion of the knee. Good hamstring strength is critical to stabilize the knee and control your leg during specific phases of walking and running.
Gluteal muscles: These muscles form your buttocks, and they are responsible for extending or straightening the hip, the motion that happens when you transition from sitting to standing. Adequate strength of this muscle group is critical to help us get out of a chair and step up.
Talk to your Physical Therapist about appropriate exercises for your current state of fitness and how to best train these muscles to support your day-to-day activities.