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When Should I Start Knee Rehab?

Starting knee rehab depends on several factors, including the nature and severity of your knee injury or surgery, the recommendations of your healthcare provider, and your individual circumstances. However, in general, knee rehab typically begins as soon as possible after an injury or surgery, once your healthcare provider gives you the green light to start.

Here are some general guidelines for when to start knee rehab…

  1. Post-Injury – If you’ve experienced a knee injury, such as a ligament sprain or muscle strain, your healthcare provider will likely recommend starting rehab as soon as possible after the acute phase of the injury has passed. This might involve initial rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE), followed by gentle range of motion exercises and strengthening exercises once swelling and pain have subsided.
  2. Post-Surgery – If you’ve undergone knee surgery, such as ACL reconstruction, meniscus repair, or knee replacement, your surgeon will provide specific guidelines for when to start rehab. In many cases, rehab will begin shortly after surgery to prevent stiffness, maintain range of motion, and gradually strengthen the muscles around the knee joint. Your surgeon or physical therapist will guide you through the appropriate exercises and progressions based on your surgical procedure and individual needs.
  3. Consultation with Healthcare Provider – It’s crucial to consult with your healthcare provider before starting knee rehab, especially if you’re unsure about the severity of your injury or the appropriate exercises to perform. Your provider can assess your condition, recommend a tailored rehab program, and ensure that you’re progressing safely and effectively.
  4. Early Mobilization – In many cases, early mobilization and gentle movement of the knee joint can help promote healing, reduce stiffness, and prevent complications such as muscle atrophy and joint contractures. Your physical therapist or healthcare provider can teach you safe and appropriate exercises to perform in the early stages of rehab.
  5. Consistency and Compliance – Consistency and compliance with your rehab program are essential for optimal recovery. Stick to your prescribed exercises, attend scheduled therapy sessions, and communicate regularly with your healthcare team about your progress and any concerns you may have.

Remember that every individual’s situation is unique, and the timing and progression of knee rehab will vary based on factors such as the type of injury or surgery, your overall health, and your rehabilitation goals. Always follow the guidance of your healthcare provider to ensure a safe and successful recovery.