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How to Massage a Knee After Total Replacement

By Contributing Writer ; Updated July 27, 2017

Recovering after knee replacement surgery can be a long and difficult process. Pain and inflexibility may remain months after the surgery is over. While returning to a fully functioning state may be difficult, it is quite possible to regain good use of your knee. Your doctor will likely have given you a regiment of exercises to do in order to regain better use of your knee. It is important to do these exercises diligently during the at-home recovery period, and then you can reward yourself with a massage around the knee.

Quadriceps Setting

Lie flat on your back on the floor or on your bed.

Keep your hands to your sides and extend both legs straight outward. Tighten your quadriceps and press your heels downward and curl your toes upward toward your body.

Maintain this position for 15 seconds before releasing. Repeat the exercise every five seconds for five to 10 sets. Take this exercise slowly; as you improve your condition you can add to the number of repetitions.

Knee Extension

Place a pillow, rolled towel or other soft prop under the recuperating knee for elevation.

Lie onto your back. Tighten your quadriceps and carefully straighten your leg. Then lift your foot slightly so your heel is no more then an inch from the bed or floor, or until you feel sufficient tension.

Hold the position for 10 seconds before releasing. Repeat this exercise for 10 repetitions every four hours or as needed.


Prop up your knee slightly, either manually or using a pillow. Do not tense or tighten your leg.

Place your thumbs at the top of the knee and apply light pressure.

Move your thumbs in small circles and work your way around the knee joint, being careful not to apply pressure directly onto the knee.


Always be sure to follow doctor’s orders.


Massaging around the area of the operated knee is best done by a professional because it may be difficult to manually reach or concentrate proper pressure on the afflicted knee. If you choose to do massage at home, do so gently. The goal of massage is to relieve pain, not to cause it.

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