6 Walking Rehabilitation Exercises for All Stages of Recovery

Recovering from an injury takes time, but exercise can help move the process along by allowing you to rebuild strength and endurance. Walking rehabilitation can be a challenge, particularly if you’re recovering from knee arthroscopy, but there are a number of exercises that you can do at home to restore mobility and begin restoring your strength.

Note: Always talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program.

Initial Exercises

1.     Quadriceps Contraction

A simple exercise that can be performed on the floor with a towel. Start by laying down on your stomach. Place a towel roll underneath the ankle of your affected leg.

What you want to do is push your ankle downward into the towel. The goal is to straighten the leg as much as possible.

Hold the position for five seconds, and relax.

You want to repeat this ten times on the affected leg. You can repeat on the opposite leg as well for an additional ten repetitions.

2.     Standing Leg Raises

If you still have some difficulty maintaining your balance, you may support yourself when performing this exercise.

Begin by standing straight, supporting yourself if needed. From here, you want to lift your leg forward while keeping your knee straight – as if you were gently kicking a ball.

When you reach a more advanced stage in your rehabilitation, you can add weights to your ankles to strengthen your knee and hip muscles. Initially, you’ll use one pound weights and work your way up to five pounds over the course of four weeks.

Intermediate Exercises

1.     Half-Squat with a Chair

Squats are an excellent exercise for lower body strength, but during recovery, you’ll want to avoid moving into a full squat and use a chair for extra stability.

Hold onto the back of a sturdy chair (or a countertop if you wish) and place your feet 6-12 inches from the chair.

With your back straight, bend down into a squat. Do not bend any lower than 90 degrees.

Hold the position for 5-10 seconds before standing up slowly.

Repeat this exercise ten times.

2.     Quadriceps Stretch

This move will help you regain flexibility while alleviating tension.

Start by standing straight with the knee of the affected leg bent. Pull your heel toward your buttocks gently. You should feel a gentle stretch in the front of your leg.

Hold the stretch for five seconds. Repeat ten times, switching legs after one round.

Advanced Exercises

1.     Cross Trainer

Once you’ve reached the advanced stage of your rehabilitation, you may begin using an elliptical crosstrainer to continue building strength and mobility.

While you may be nearing the end of your rehab, it’s important to still take it easy when using a cross trainer. Make sure the resistance is light at first until you have the proper strength to progress to heavier resistance.

Start with just a few minutes of exercise and work your way up to 20 minutes per day.

2.     Lateral Step-Ups

For this exercise, you’ll need a 6” high step or stool.

Lead with your affected leg, and step up onto the stool. Only one leg should be up on the stool or step. Now, step down to return to your starting position.

Repeat ten times, and perform the same exercise on the opposite leg if necessary.