If you have had a knee injury or surgery on your knee, you have probably noticed reduced range of motion afterward. Typically, the most difficult motion to do is flexing the knee. This reduction in range of motion is due to swelling, and the pain you feel if you move the knee too much can make you hold it stiff. There are exercises you can do to increase the range of motion in your knee. If you are consistent, you can often get your knee back to full range of motion.
Do a heel slide. Sit on the floor with your legs extended straight in front of you. Put the towel around your foot, holding both ends with your hands. Gently pull the towel and your heel toward you. This will force the knee to flex. You will feel some discomfort, and this is necessary to improve your range of motion.
Do heel props. Sit with your legs extended in front of you. Prop up your heel with a rolled-up towel so your foot sits a few inches off the floor. This will cause your knee to passively extend. Start working on this soon after your injury or surgery for the best results.
Do quad-strengthening leg lifts. Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Extend one foot so it is at knee level, hold for three seconds and release. Repeat with the other leg. As your muscles get stronger, hold the lifts longer or add light ankle weights to your ankles for more resistance. Strengthening the quad muscles is important because they support and stabilize the knee.
Start walking when you can. Aim for 30 minutes to one hour every day as your knee gets better. This gives all the muscles that support your knee a general workout. And it's good for you, too. Many people are prone to knee injuries because they are overweight, and walking can help you keep your weight in a healthy range.