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General lower limb exercises

This resource has been made to help you remember the exercises your therapist taught and practiced with you.

The exercises should be done slowly and smoothly. You may feel some discomfort while doing these exercises after your surgery or injury.

If pain limits your ability to do your exercises, then timing them around your pain relief may be helpful. However, if your pain becomes worse, please seek advice from a healthcare professional and stop the exercises.

How many times should I do these exercises?

You should repeat these exercises 10 times each, and do them a minimum of 3 or 4 times throughout day.

What happens next?

You may continue to be seen for therapy at Sheffield Children’s Hospital or you may be referred for ongoing treatment at a local NHS Trust.

It is important to continue with the exercises you have been given during your stay in hospital to help get the best outcomes after your surgery or injury.

How can I manage my swelling?

Swelling is common in the first few weeks following an injury or surgery. This can be improved in a few ways:

  • Elevate your limb so it is above your heart so it is harder for blood to be pumped to it. Lay down, and use pillows or cushions at home to do this.
  • You can use cold packs to help reduce swelling. If you use something that is frozen this must be wrapped in a damp towel or cloth to avoid ice burns. You should only do this for 10 minutes at a time. You can repeat this throughout the day if it helps.


Exercise 1

Lay down on your back.

Point your foot and toes down to the floor or bed. Then slowly pull your foot and toes up towards your knee. Keep your leg straight throughout.

Photograph of person laid on their back with one leg outstretched and point their toes towards themselvesPhotograph of person laid on their back with one leg outstretched and point their toes away from themselves

Repeat 10 times.

Exercise 2

Lay down on your back.

Push your knee down firmly against the bed. Keep your leg straight with your foot and toes pointing upwards.

Photograph of person laid on their back with their legs outstretched, pushing their knee backwards and into the surface they are laid on

Hold for 5 seconds.

Repeat 10 times.

Exercise 3

Lay down on your back.

Squeeze your bottom firmly together.

Photograph of person laid on their back with both legs outstretched and squeezing their bottom

Hold for 5 seconds then relax.

Repeat 10 times.

Exercise 4

Lay down on your back or in sitting.

Bend your knee by bringing your heel towards your bottom. Return to the starting position.

Photograph of person laid down on their back with their legs outstretchedPhotograph of person laid on their back with one leg outstretched and the other knee in the air with their foot flat on the ground

Repeat 10 times.

Exercise 5

Lay down on your back.

Start with your legs together. Keeping your leg straight, bring your leg out to the side and then return back to the starting position. Make sure that you keep your knee and foot in line and your toes pointing upwards throughout.

Photograph of person laid on their back with their legs outstretched and keeping their toes, knees and hips in a straight linePhotograph of person laid on their back with both legs outstretched and bringing one leg out to the side from the hip, keeping their leg straight

Repeat 10 times.

Exercise 6

Lay down on your tummy. You may need support to change position to lie on your tummy as this can be difficult after surgery.

Position your head and arms wherever comfortable. Make sure your hips are level and in contact with the bed.

Lie for 30 minutes.

Contact us

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Physiotherapy Orthopaedics on 0114 271 7148.

Is something missing from this resource that you think should be included? Please let us know

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

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United Kingdom

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