Straight Leg Raises will make ya or break ya! It’s true! It’s the most difficult exercise that any total hip replacement or total knee replacement recipient has ever faced. And, it always comes sooner than you are ready for it!
You may say not so…those are easy and for some, maybe so… but the majority of ‘easy’ in the physical therapy world is easy because it is not done correctly and is attempted too soon and done sloppy and quickly. It seems to be a premature exercise for those who have recently undergone total hip or total knee replacement – especially total hip replacement.
Well, as a physical therapist, I understand the necessity of such an exercise. After all, it calls in both actions of the quad and hip flexor muscle (flexing the hip as well as extending the knee) not to mention a strong core!. And, it is an essential exercise to perform for walking stability and even core strength. It’s true, straight leg raises require a team of muscles that is up to the task!
But, sometimes it’s impossible to to do 8th grade math in 3rd grade. Post surgical patients need to wait their turn to begin this exercise – knowing when to start and how to progress is key.
Straight Leg Raises – Key Points to Remember:
- Ask your doctor if you should be doing this exercise.
- These should be done gently at first – get a feel for what the exercise feels like.
- You need to master quad sets and heel slides before you can do quality straight leg raises.
- Focus on QUALITY vs. QUANTITY when doing any exercise.
- Remember slow and controlled vs. fast and jerky.
- Follow any precautions your doctor may have given you.
- Be sure your weight bearing status matches what your doctor ordered.
- Pain can inhibit progress, a tennis ball can give you great relief! (coming soon!)
- Lock and Lift is the key – anything less can spell weakness down the road.
This exercise is vital to hip and knee strengthening and proper function after leg surgery…(although some have never even heard of nor performed it! – amazing how we are all so vastly different!)
Bless everyone for the stress and bravery of undergoing that knee or hip surgery. I’ve been there a couple times myself. It’s no walk in the park. Some have waited so long to get the repairs they needed that muscle strength was at a minimum going into the ordeal. And now you feel NO muscle on the other side of surgery! This makes straight leg raises seem impossible – as much as doing a push up sounds impossible until you know how to modify it to your level of ability. If pain is limiting factor, try this tennis ball trick!
Be encouraged! There is hope and healing for your situation… but let’s get back to 3rd grade math. This difficult exercise has it’s time and place…
But when? That is the question… in time – that is the answer. These leg exercises must be performed as a lock and lift and to be able to do that, certain knee strengthening exercises need to be mastered prior to accomplishing straight leg raises successfully.
This exercise clearly can make a difference in your optimal success towards a normal functioning life again. They are one of the most important exercises that you must put time and energy into. Now, go and strengthen your future but do your straight leg raises at the right time. You can find out exactly when in my e-book.