Completing stretches during the lengthening process is essential to ensure your muscles and tendons stretch enough to keep up with your lengthening bone. Stretches need to be completed at least three times a day.
If your muscles are tight and restricting your movement you will need to stretch more often.
Knee bend exercise in sitting to regain knee flexion- Sit on a high chair/bench so your feet don’t touch the ground, gently bend your knee, so your foot moves under your chair.
Knee straightening – Whenever you are resting, position your leg with your knee straight and your foot supported to ensure you maintain full knee extension.
Knee straightening exercise on stomach – Rest on your tummy with your thighs and body supported on a bed. Let your lower leg fully straighten off the end of the bed
Quadriceps strength – It is important to get your quads muscles working well throughout your knee range of movement.
Exercises for quadriceps
Quadriceps static contraction – With your knee straight, tense your thing muscle and see it contract
Knee straightening in sitting – Sitting on a high chair/bench slowly straighten knee as high as able (leaving your thigh on the chair), slowly let your knee bend again
Walking with crutches
Throughout the lengthening phase you will work with your physiotherapist to ensure you are walking as naturally as possible using crutches to support your operated leg. It is important to use your operated leg when walking and not hop. When you walk with a good pattern you take weight through your operated leg which helps with the healing process and keeps your muscles strong.
When you have enough knee bend you will be able to start using an exercise bike.
Initially you will use the exercise bike to increase your knee bend. Then you will use the exercise bike to increase your muscle strength and maintain your fitness.
Exercise in water will help you to stretch and strengthen your muscles. You will be able to walk comfortably in the water without the use of crutches because the water supports the weight of your body.
Goals during lengthening process
- Complete stretches 3-5 times each day
- Ensure you can straighten your knee fully each day
- Achieve full knee bend
- Walk putting some weight through your leg (as directed by surgeon)
- Lift leg off bed with knee straight
- Cycle on an exercises bike