Home > Dealing With Injury, Physical Therapy > How to Prepare for Knee Surgery

How to Prepare for Knee Surgery

Got this online from eHow member “painfuljoints”  🙂

I feel like this is a VERY important step that is often overlooked.  This preparation is the key to having a chance at a quick and full recovery.

How to Prepare for Knee Surgery

Things You’ll Need:

  • Copies of your MRI and x-rays
  • Second opinion from another knee surgeon
  • Consultation with a physical therapist (interview several)
  • Examples of knee “prehab” exercises
  1. Step 1

    // Once your surgeon suggest you need knee surgery, research the type of surgery he suggests, even if it’s a seemingly simple arthoscopy. Take it from a veteran of seventeen knee surgeries on one knee who is still disabled in that joint.

  2. Step 2

    Your quadriceps, which are vital to proper knee function, are some of the fastest to atrophy when not used regularly and are some of the slowest to come back after atrophy has occurred. Thus it is critical to do at least four weeks of “prehab”, specialized knee exercises that strengthen the quadriceps, especially the VMO (or front inside part of the quad).

  3. Step 3

    As a veteran of seventeen knee surgeries, I can give you a list of excellent exercises, but it’s best to get this information from a trained physical therapist. If you do not want to seek out your physical therapist prior to surgery, something I strongly recommend, keep up a workout at the gym at least three days per week with your physician’s blessing, since you may have concomitant illnesses that make workouts dangerous.

  4. Step 4

    One less dangerous to the heart exercise that may help you prepare is what’s called the “quad set.” The quad set consists of lying flat on your pack with a rolled up towel or empty 2-liter soda bottle in the crook of your knee and bunching up the knee relaxing it. Do this exercise in 3 sets of 15 three times per day, and whatever you do on the surgical side of your body, do to the other knee as well because that knee needs to be stronger than ever when the other knee is out of commission.


  1. Dad
    February 10, 2010 at 10:23 am

    Hi Chad, one reason to have your x-rays and your MRI, is to not only see what was wrong with your knee, but after surgery you can visualize the area when you do your rehab. This is similar to when you lift weights, you visualize the muscles that the exercise is working on. When hypnosis is used for pain, the visualization is to mentally drain or send the pain out of the area. In rehab however, you want to visually and physically send energy to the injured area. You’ll do great.

  2. February 11, 2010 at 8:52 am

    Chad, thanks for including physical therapists as a recommendation.

    In some states, you can actually see a physical therapist first when the knee problem first begins being a problem. Physical therapists should be able to determine within a couple of visits if physical therapy will be helpful for the knee problem (even without x-rays or MRI).

    You are also absolutely correct in interviewing a few physical therapists. In the world of physical therapy, there happens to be a controversial issue with regard to using abbreviations after the physical therapist name. As a physical therapist myself, if someone with knee pain is searching for a physical therapist, I generally recommend a physical therapist with the letters OCS, SCS or ATC within their title. Having those extra letters means the physical therapist has additional certifications that can and would be helpful for someone with a knee injury.

    To help in finding a physical therapist, there is a link where someone with a knee problem could go to and find a physical therapist. The link is here: http://www.moveforwardpt.com/find_a_pt/


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