Physical Therapy Guidelines for Patients Following Knee Surgery
1. Apply an ice pack to the knee for 10-15 minutes twice a day for the first 24-48 hours.
2. If inflammation has resolved after the first 72 hours, apply a hot pack to the knee for 10-15 minutes twice a day.
3. Perform passive range of motion exercise: flex and extend the knee 10 times slowly two to four times daily.
4. Begin slow leash walks of less than 10 minutes two to three times a day.
Weeks 2 and 3:
1. Apply a hot pack to the knee for 10-15 minutes twice a day until the swelling has resolved.
2. Continue passive range of motion exercise.
3. Increase the slow leash walks to 10-20 minutes two to three times a day.
4. Consider initiating swimming for two to three minutes twice a week.
Weeks 4 and 5:
1. Increase the slow leash walks to 20-30 minutes two to three times a day.
2. Have your dog perform 10-15 repetitions of figure-of-eight walks twice daily.
3. Have your dog sit against a wall for 10-15 repetitions twice daily, keeping the affected knee next to the wall.
4. If possible, take your dog swimming for two to three minutes twice a week.
Weeks 6 through 8:
1. Take your dog on leash walks for 30-40 minutes once a day, slow enough to ensure that our dog is weight bearing on the affected leg.
2. Take your dog on incline walks on hills or ramps for 5-10 minutes once or twice daily.
3. Have your dog go up a flight of stairs 5-10 times slowly, twice a day.
4. Take your dog swimming (as above).
Weeks 9 through 12:
1. Take your dog on faster 30-40 minute walks once or twice daily.
2. Take your dog on a run (straight only, no sharp turns) for 10-15 minutes once or twice a day.
These are "guidelines" and serve as ideas for physical therapy. You do not have to do all of these, rather, think of the idea behind each suggestion and taper them to your situation.
-Contributed by Dr. Robert W. Bertoy, DVM, MS, Diplomate American College of Veterinary Surgeons