One of the many questions I get in home health during knee replacement rehabilitation is " when can I start riding my bicycle". Though I am a big advocate of bike riding for strengthening and cardiovascular endurance training, I recommend they first talk with their orthopedic surgeon to get medical clearance prior to getting on a standard bicycle.
However, in my opinion, I get a patient of mine started on gentle range of motion along with developing coordination and flexibility in my patients knee or knees after two to three weeks if they have access to a stationary bike at their residence.
The motion that you get out of using a stationary bike for instance helps with range of motion, helps with the development of speed and coordination along with, developing and increasing muscular and cardiovascular endurance.
If you do not have a stationary bike see if someone you know has a bike you can borrow. I see many patients here in southwest Florida that live in condo communities or, mobile home parks that have access to an exercise center. Many of these centers will have either a upright or a recumbent stationary bike that we can use.
A stationary bike should be a part of every ones rehab program. You should also include it in your everyday exercise program after rehabilitation is over.
When I first start using the bike I make sure the seat is set at the proper height. For the first few days I concentrate with the patient on gentle rocking motions to start the knee mobility process. After several days more days or possibly less, then you find you can start making a full revolution once we get around 100-110 degrees of flexion in the knee.
Two to three times a day will suffice. Try and start this exercises for 5-8 minutes at first. You can slowly increase the time as you adjust and adapt to the exercise.
As you obtain more motion in your knee or knees, than you slowly lower the seat to help develop more flexion and mobility.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, in my estimation the stationary bike or some sort of biking is the best exercise there is for a total knee replacement and, a great exercise to increase your cardiovascular fitness and mobility that no doubt has suffered in recent months prior to your surgery.
Richard Haynes PTA/CPT
Total Joint Fitness LLC
Punta Gorda, Florida.