Wear shoes and your brace (if you have one) when performing the exercises. Determine the maximum amount of weight your unaffected leg can lift by performing each exercise with the most weight you can handle. If the exercise seems easy, do it again with more weight. Record the maximum weight for each exercise that your unaffected leg can lift. This is the goal you work toward with the injured leg. As a general rule, you should be able to lift 10% of your body weight. Exercise the weaker leg once a day, every day. Perform the exercises slowly, at a rate of one repetition per second. Start exercising the weaker leg with a weight that will allow you to barely complete the prescribed number of repetitions because of fatigue. If the exercise seems easy, add more weight next time. If the exercise is too difficult, decrease the amount of weight next time. Over time, as the exercises become easier, increase the amount of weight by 1-1/4 or 2-1/2 pounds. Do not add more repetitions, but continue to increase weights as you get stronger. These exercises are designed to be performed pain free. If you experience pain while doing them, decrease the height of the lift and/or the amount of weight you are lifting. The generalized muscle soreness you will feel is normal and should not be confused with joint pain. As you progress with the exercises, this soreness will diminish. When the weaker leg can lift the same weight as the stronger leg, continue the exercise with both legs to strengthen both of them to their maximal potential. When you have reached this level, perform the exercise every third day.
Use black disk weights with a hole in the center (donut weights). Buy one 1 1/2 lb, one 2 1/2 lb, one 5 lb, one 10 lb weight, and a strap to secure the weights around the instep of the foot. (Do not use sandband or Velcro weights that wrap around the ankle.) This equipment can be purchased at many sporting goods stores. Wear shoes and your brace (if you have one) while performing the exercises.
Examples of Exercises:
- Side Lifts (Hip Abduction)
- Hip Flexion
- Straight Leg Raises - Hip Flexors and Quadriceps
- Hip Adduction
- Tensor Fascia Lata
- Hip Extension - Gluteus Maximus and Hamstrings
- Knee Extensions
- Knee Flexion - Hamstrings
- Toe Raises - Gastrocnemius and Soleus
- Ankle Dorsiflexion (Anterior Tibial Group)
- Ankle Inversion - Tibialis Anterior and Tibialis Posterior
- Ankle Eversion - Peroneal Muscles
- Short Arc Quadriceps
- Prone Knee Extension
Please discuss the details of each exercise during your appointment with our doctors and/or therapists when you come to Wellness Plus Clinic.