The agony of a hyperextended knee is enough to convince you to avoid any pressure or resistance; however, this tendency can lead to muscle atrophy and extend your recovery process. Proper rehabilitation means knowing how to work out your leg without pain; the right exercises can help.
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A swimming pool affords an opportunity to rehabilitate your hyperextended knee. Slide into the pool carefully and remain in the shallow end. Do not move into water deeper than your chest as you may find it difficult to return to more shallow waters without injuring your knee further. The water renders your leg nearly weightless, allowing you to avoid the pain of managing your own body weight. While in the water, you can practice walking. Stand on your uninjured leg or rest your body weight against the side of the pool and practice moving your injured leg underwater. Do not attempt to move it above water and if you feel any pain, cease your current activity. You may notice some discomfort (which is normal), but any pain is a sign that you are pushing yourself too far. While keeping your leg over the ground, you can practice bending and straightening your knee. Once you possess a full range of motion in your knee, you can begin walking in the pool. Your decreased body weight makes this easier on your leg while putting just enough tension on your knee to further healing and keep you active. Do not rush this activity. Proper rehabilitation requires patience, and you may find yourself in the pool for hours a day while you heal.
Isometric exercises allow you to work out your leg while never leaving your own bed. This helps avoid any muscle atrophy throughout your recovery. Though you can expect some discomfort, cease the activity immediately if you notice any pain in your knee while you are doing this. Focus on one specific muscle. It may help to touch the muscle with your hand if you are beginning with one in your upper leg. Flex this muscle while counting to five. Let the muscle rest and then begin again. Go through every muscle in your legs--including your healthy leg--to avoid atrophy from inactivity. Repeat this exercise multiple times for each muscle.
Set your bike to give you no resistance and ride at a comfortable pace for one minute. Use your healthy leg to do the actual work until you feel comfortable using your injured knee. The motion will help exercise the tendons in your knee. If you feel able to continue, do so but avoid pushing yourself until you feel pain. You can add resistance and time as your knee heals. As you improve, you can also use your wounded knee to do more of the work.
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