Although it is important in the initial stages post surgery to get strength back in your leg to kick start the rehab, essentially the main goal is to get the extension and flexion through movement. However, I strongly believe that while you should be doing exercises and trying and get movement in this period, it is also very important to be aware of how the knee is responding and therefore not too push through too much pain or your threshold.


If you go too hard early, you will just aggravate the knee, causing further swelling and taking away from your extension and flexion. It is important to do exercises but at times I have adopted the less is more theory, meaning that in my last couple of rehabs I haven’t pushed through excessive pain early days to get extension and flexion or strength back. Although the knee will improve with exercise, it also improves just through swelling going away. I also recommend that you do your exercises followed by icing straight away as this reduces swelling and is also soothing on the knee reducing the pain.


Exercises such as small leg raises lying down and quad holds are important to get the muscle used to working again. This is a beginners exercise that isn’t too difficult and will kick start the rehab. See the video below.

Keeping the leg elevated slightly on the couch with a pillow under your foot will help improve extension (straightening your leg). Tensing your quad and flattening your leg in this position will help with extension and quad activation as well.


Your eating and diet is something that you should try and have an understanding of during the initial weeks of rehab because you can’t exercise much early on (and therefore need less calories). At times you will struggle and eating poorly might occur as motivation levels can be low. Just understand the importance of keeping on top of your diet to avoid gaining weight.


At this stage of rehab, you are very dependent on someone else helping you with everyday activities such as walking, driving, getting food and drinks and just everything in general. So if people are there to help you, then use them as you don’t want to do things that are strenuous on the knee. Simple activities such as having a shower are not easy and you should have someone to help you getting in and out and even dressed at times to ensure you don’t injure yourself further. I realized that sitting on something in the shower is the safest option, see video below.

It is also a slow period in the rehab in terms of growth and progress so it is normal to be flat and disheartened at times but know that it will progress, it’s not gonna be smooth sailing all the way but if your pain is minimal then that is a win. Everyone will have different soreness levels and frustrations which is normal in this rehab, but don’t be afraid to use those people around you. Talking to people about how you’re tracking is something I found helped especially in my later rehabs as you don’t need to deal with this yourself. Utilise your resources whether it be a physiotherapist, friend, family member or psychologist – it will help release the pressure and keep you accountable, feeling supported and on track. Setting small goals, day to day or week to week, around exercises and small gains will help positivity and give you a feeling of achievement as you tick off and achieve these goals moving forward. Also, look at having things to keep you occupied, TV series, a holiday to plan, games, study, business plans or ideas, etc. Something that you will enjoy doing that you can focus your energy towards.