Most Exercise Therapists will tell you that 70 – 90% of the clients who come to them when waiting for surgery for knees in particular, don’t actually need surgery if they follow a regime of building up leg strength and natural movement patterns. The following simple set of exercises was devised by a leading Orthopedic surgeon in Russia after a woman patient came to him with crippling knee pain from arthritis. She went back to him after two months of doing the Three-Ways Squat with remarkable results after she asked him to give her exercises she could do because she didn’t want surgery.
Having had major knee surgery myself through trauma, I know how important it is to have some sort of regime to keep my mobility and after more than 20 years after my surgery (when they told me that I most probably would not walk properly again) I still do my series of post surgery exercises with certain variations. I have to be careful to not overdo things, but I still retain complete strength and mobility to this day.
The Three-Way Squat
This is a very simple set of three squatting movements that you do free-standing where you have your feet at about 1 1/2 to 2 shoulder-widths apart and squat down to a comfortable depth (but no more than thighs parallel to the floor) with your weight over one leg (as in the photo above.) Do 12 repetitions with your weight over that leg before you repeat by squatting with your weight over the other leg. Then do 30 repetitions with your weight evenly distributed over both legs (as in photo below but with your feet at the same distance apart as described above). That is 54 repetitions altogether and constitutes one set.
You may only be able to squat comfortably to a far higher depth than thighs parallel to the floor at first. That is fine, start with a depth that is comfortable as I have already said. And you may be able to do one set of this exercise to start with but build up to three or four sets every day. I would like to add that the Russian woman built up to where she was doing a total of 1000 repetitions of this exercise a day….but that is not necessary!
If you have complete instability of your knees you can squat supported by holding onto the doorjam to start with, but you need to eventually get to doing the Three-Way Squat free standing. Place your arms and hands wherever is natural for you (I have placed in photos that have two placements to give an idea). Do the exercise in front of a full length mirror to start with if possible to check your form. You should have your back straight and your knees should not extend over your toes at the lowest point of the squat. Breathe evenly throughout each repetition and set.
I outlined an idea in my previous Health Post on a natural way to feed your joints, and this is important.
The other exercises I do are Pistol Squats, Step Ups, Step Downs and Lunges to add variety – but only one of those exercises in one session and only after I gained complete strength and mobility using a similar rehabilitation series of exercises such as the Three-Way Squat described above. Slowly build up your strength and mobility and if you are awaiting surgery, check with your surgeon before you are scheduled for it to see as to whether you actually need it?
Surgery should be only the last resort, not the first option. Because quite often it’s not the best option…