Cycle Rehab Program

This program is a graduated rehabilitation program that is used for some knee and lower limb conditions.  The starting level is low intentionally.  Progression, duration, intensity (and seat height) should only be attempted if there are no problems.

Problems

  • Pain while cycling
  • Pain after cycling (on cool down or the following morning)
  • Stiffness that increases after cycling
  • Swelling that increases after cycling

If you have any of these problems drop back one level.  If you still have problems have a day off AND drop back one further level

Starting Level

  1. Seat a little higher than normal - your leg should be straight at the bottom of the stoke when the forefoot is on the pedal
  2. If you are unable to fully extend your knee (because of your injury) you may need to have your seat lower than normal
  3. Zero resistance
  4. Start with 15 minutes each day

Progression

  1. Increase by 5 minutes/day if there are no problems
  2. Build up to 30 minutes/day
  3. When you can cycle for 30 minutes/day without pain, stiffness or swelling lower the seat height to normal - knee straight with the heel on the pedal
  4. If you develop pain, stiffness or swelling reduce the load by 5 minutes/day until it settles then gradually build back up to 30 minutes/day
  5. When you can do 30 minutes/day at this seat height without problems gradually increase the resistance
  6. Keep building up until you can do a heavy workout for 30 minutes without any problems - at this stage you are ready to gradually return to weight-bearing exercise.

This is a rehabilitation program for the knee.  You also need to exercise in the pool if you want to maintain your aerobic fitness.  Upper body weights may also be important depending on your sport.

 

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