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Knee Dislocation: Rehab & Exercises

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  • 0:04 Rehab for Knee Dislocation
  • 1:30 Isometric Quadriceps…
  • 2:28 Straight Leg Raise
  • 2:59 Knee Extension
  • 3:31 Quadriceps Stretch
  • 4:08 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Dan Washmuth

Dan has taught college Nutrition, Anatomy, Physiology, and Sports Nutrition courses and has a master's degree in Dietetics & Nutrition.

A knee dislocation occurs when bones of the knee (fibula, tibia, femur, and patella) come out of their normal position. Learn how to rehabilitate this painful injury through a series of exercises.

Rehab for Knee Dislocation

Unfortunately, I'm sure we have all been there before. You're walking around, minding your own business, when all of sudden you trip over your own two feet, landing awkwardly on your knees. Or perhaps you didn't see a tiny bump in the sidewalk and tripped over that. Or maybe you were playing a sport and clumsily tripped while running after a ball. If you've ever been in one of these situations, you have been at risk for dislocating your knee.

A dislocated knee occurs when the bones of the knee (fibula, tibia, femur, and patella) come out of their normal position. Normally, ligaments and tendons help keep the bones of the knee in their proper place. However, when a person falls or trips, sometimes these ligaments and tendons are torn, stretched, or damaged. When this occurs, a knee dislocation could result.

This lesson will show you how to rehab a knee dislocation by performing a series of different exercises designed to strengthen the muscles that surround the knee. Note, that anytime a person suffers a knee dislocation, they should immediately go to the emergency room to receive professional medical care. If you have suffered a dislocated knee, it's important to consult with your doctor to determine when it is safe to begin the rehabilitation process.

The following exercises are designed to stretch and strengthen the muscles around the knee, helping the knee joint to heal and recover following a dislocation. Sometimes rehab can start quickly after a knee dislocation; other times rehab should not start until several weeks after the injury. Your doctor will know when it's best to start these types of exercises.

Isometric Quadriceps Contraction

Right after a knee dislocation, it might be painful to move the knee, and moving the knee might even cause more damage to the knee joint. Therefore, it is important to perform exercises that do NOT require a person to move their knee joint. These types of exercises are referred to as isometric exercises. The prefix 'iso-' means same, and the suffix '-metric' means distance. Therefore, isometric exercises are any exercise where the length of the muscle does not change.

The quadriceps muscle is the muscle that is located in the front of the upper leg. A great isometric exercise for a knee dislocation is the isometric quadriceps contraction.

To perform this exercise:

  1. Sit or lay on the floor with the injured leg extended straight out in front of you, and with your toes pointing straight up to the ceiling

  2. Contract your quadriceps muscle and hold that contraction for about 5 seconds, and then relax

  3. Repeat this contraction up to 5 times, holding 5 seconds for each contraction

Straight Leg Raise

The straight leg raise is another exercise that requires very little movement of the knee joint while strengthening the muscles around the knee.

To perform this exercise:

  1. Lay on your back with your legs extending straight out

  2. Bend the uninjured knee and place the foot of that leg flat on the floor

  3. Contract the thigh muscles of the injured leg and then raise the leg about 5-8 inches off the floor, keeping the leg straight

  4. Slowly lower the leg back to the floor

  5. Repeat 10-15 times.

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