Patients who have undergone knee replacement surgery must do exercises to strengthen their quadriceps and boost their knee function, a study in the journal Arthritis Care & Research has shown.
A team at the University of Delaware studied 200 knee replacement patients who were given six weeks of progressive strength training sessions and a further 41 patients who received conventional rehabilitation and physiotherapy.
They found that patients who did progressive strength training benefited from improved quadriceps strength and functional performance, both at the end of the training period and 12 months later.
Lynn Snyder-Mackler, professor of physical therapy at the University of Delaware, commented: "There are all of these old wives' tales that strength training is a detriment to the patient and that the new knee should be treated delicately.
"Our study demonstrates that intensive strength exercise as outpatient therapy is critical to begin three to four weeks after surgery."
Private knee replacement surgery is likely to cost between £8,000 and £10,000 in the UK.