Patient Information

Physiotherapy leaflets

Physiotherapy Department
Ipswich Hospital

Physiotherapy advice for patients with acute knee injuries


  • Apply ice to your knee at least three times per day for periods of 20 to 30 minutes. Wrap crushed ice, or a bag of frozen peas, in a damp tea towel and apply to your knee. Be careful, ice can burn, especially in bony areas or where circulation is poor.
  • Try to walk as normally as you can. Put as much weight as necessary on your stick or crutches to
    relieve discomfort. If you have been told by the doctor not to put weight on your bad leg, then you will be shown how to walk with crutches.
  • Rest your leg as much as possible. Rest it on a stool when sitting. If your leg is swollen, lie down and raise it on to a pile of pillows for an hour after lunch and an hour before bed.

NB. If your pain or swelling increases a lot following any of these routines, or at any other time, you should contact your doctor or physiotherapist.


Do the following exercises after the ice treatments.

The physiotherapist will tell you how many of each exercise to do.


Image demonstrating exercise 1

1.  Pull your toes up towards you, push your knee down and tense your thigh muscles.
Hold for five seconds. Repeat ………. times.


Image demonstrating exercise 2

2.  Bend your knee up and down.
Repeat ………. times.



Image demonstrating exercise 3

3.   Place a wedge or rolled-up towel under your thigh. Pull your toes towards you and lift your foot to straighten your knee, keeping your thigh on the wedge or towel.
Hold for five seconds. Repeat ………. times.



Image demonstrating exercise 4

4.  Straight leg raise
Lift your leg 10 cm off the bed. Hold for five seconds and then slowly relax.
Repeat this exercise with your foot turned outwards.
Repeat ………. times.


Image demonstrating exercise 5

5.  Sit on a chair and lift your lower leg until it is just short of being fully straight.
Hold for five seconds and then slowly relax. Repeat ………. times.


Image demonstrating exercise 6

6.  Small knee bends against a wall.
Repeat ………. times.


Image demonstrating exercise 7

7.  When you have a knee injury, limping can cause weakness in your buttock muscles. To prevent this, lie on your side with your knees bent and heels together. Keep your back straight and pelvis still. Keeping your ankles together, lift your top knee away from the lower one. Go as far as is comfortable. If you start to feel yourself rolling backwards, lower your knee slightly.
Hold for ………. seconds. Repeat ………. times, daily.



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