Best Leg Strengthening Exercises After Surgery

After hip, knee, ankle or foot surgery, your leg muscles may become weak. This happens because you’re not using these muscles a lot while you’re recovering. That’s why it’s important to start strengthening them once your doctor says it’s time. Restoring strength lost after an injury or surgery is an important step in recovery.

This article discusses the benefits of exercise after surgery. It will also teach you how to perform some basic strengthening exercises to help you recover.

The benefits of exercise

Post-surgery leg exercises have several benefits, including:

  • build back strength
  • prevent blood clots
  • Prevent pressure ulcers

When you contract your leg muscles, they act like a pump, moving blood through your veins. This can help prevent blood clots. Being able to move around in bed after surgery can also help prevent pressure ulcers from forming.

Work with a physical therapist (PT) to find the right leg exercises for you. This is an important step forward for you after surgery.

Consult your doctor before starting this or any other exercise program.

getting Started

Your first exercise should target all major muscles of the leg. Here are some to help you get started.

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Glute set

Do this exercise:

  1. Lie on your back and tighten your glutes as if you were suppressing gas.
  2. Hold the muscle tight for 5 seconds, then relax.
  3. Repeat 10 or 15 times.

Glute training can be done several times a day.This exercise is Isometricwhich means your muscles are working without your hip joint moving.

heel slip

Do this exercise:

  1. Lie on your back. Bend the knee of the operated leg while slowly sliding the heel toward the hip.
  2. Slide as far as possible and hold for 5 seconds.
  3. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat.


Simple exercises, like glute exercises and heel slides, can help you regain strength in the major muscles of your legs.

short arc quadrilateral

Short arc quads (SAQ) are an easy way to get your quads to work after an injury or surgery. Do this exercise:

  1. Lie under your knees with a towel roll, basketball, or something similar.
  2. Slowly straighten your knees.
  3. Tighten the quadriceps at the top of the thigh.
  4. Hold for 3 seconds, then relax.
  5. Repeat 10 to 15 times.

Four groups

Do four sets:

  1. Lie on your back. Try pressing the back of your knee flat on the floor.
  2. Release after 10 seconds.
  3. Repeat 10 to 15 times.

This exercise helps get your quads to work. It also helps control the position of the kneecap.This is a good exercise if you have Patellofemoral joint Stress Syndrome (PFSS), also known as runner’s knee.


Your quads straighten your leg at the knee and help keep your kneecap in place.

straight leg raise

To do straight leg raises:

  1. Lie on your back. Raise your leg until it is about 12 inches off the ground.
  2. Hold for 10 seconds, then slowly lower.
  3. Repeat 10 to 15 times.

Make sure to keep your knees straight throughout the exercise. Keep the opposite knee bent for comfort. You can make the SLR more challenging by adding 2 to 3 pounds of ankle weight.

hamstring strengthening

Your hamstring muscles bend your knees and extend your hips back. Keeping your hamstrings strong after an injury or surgery can help you walk normally again.

Do this exercise:

  1. Lie on your stomach. Gently lift your leg.
  2. Hold for 5 seconds, then slowly lower.
  3. Repeat 10 to 15 times.

Once you’re comfortable doing this exercise, try adding 2 to 3 pounds of ankle weight.


Adding ankle weights when you’re ready is a great way to make these exercises more challenging.

Physical Therapy and Home Exercise

Physical therapy can help you regain mobility after an injury or surgery. It also helps if you just have difficulty walking or moving normally.

Your PT may include leg exercises as part of your home exercise program. Over time, you may develop from simple exercises to more challenging ones. Improving your balance also helps your mobility.

With hard work, physical therapy and at-home exercise can help you regain optimal function and mobility quickly and safely.

Blood Flow Restriction Training: Low Load High Gain


Leg exercises can help you regain mobility after surgery or injury. They can also help prevent complications such as blood clots and pressure ulcers.

Work with a physical therapist to find the right exercises for your situation. Continued exercise will help you regain mobility quickly and safely.

VigorTip words

Pain after surgery can make it difficult to move around. Contact your PT as soon as possible after completing the procedure. The sooner you start physical therapy and leg exercises, the faster you can recover.