Matthew Schirm shares a few physical therapy exercises to benefit your legs. IF you have any pain, come see us at San Diego Sports Physical Therapy in San Diego. We will help you regain your strength and improve your health!

A leg injury can limit your activity level.

Physical therapy is an essential component of a rehabilitation program for any leg injury. This entails a logical progression of low-intensity to high-intensity exercises designed to restore any lost flexibility, strength and power so you can return to normal activities as quickly as possible. Consult a physical therapist to develop a program that suits your personal goals and needs. Want to improve your health? Learn more about LIVESTRONG.COM’s nutrition and fitness program!

Stretching your calves, quadriceps, hamstrings and gluteal muscles will help restore your ankle-, knee- and hip-joint ranges of motion, respectively, depending on the location of your injury. Lengthen the involved muscles until you feel gentle tension, then hold for 10 to 30 seconds, gradually deepening the stretch with each exhalation as you breathe deeply. You can also repeatedly lengthen and shorten your leg muscles in a slow and controlled fashion to stretch them dynamically.

Isometric exercises are appropriate if you’ve injured an ankle, knee or hip joint and consequently moving the joint through a normal range of motion is painful. Performing isometric heel raises, for example, targets the calf muscles. This exercise involves standing on your tiptoes for 10 to 30 seconds at a time. Furthermore, isometric hamstrings and quadriceps contractions may help you recover from a knee injury, and isometric hip abduction, adduction, extension and flexion exercises may help rehabilitate a hip injury.

Perform traditional strengthening exercises when it’s no longer painful to move your injured joint through a normal range of motion. Use your body weight or a resistance band to provide low-impact resistance at first, then increase the intensity by using a barbell, dumbbells or a weight machine for each exercise. Examples of appropriate exercises include heel raises that work your calves, leg curls and leg extensions that isolate the hamstrings and quadriceps, respectively, hip abduction, adduction, extension and flexion exercises on a weight machine and deadlifts, leg presses, lunges, squats and stepups, which work your hip and knee joints simultaneously.

Perform plyometric exercises at the end of your rehabilitation program, after your injury has healed and you’re ready to resume normal activities again. These power-building exercises are particularly effective for athletes that jump, run and sprint frequently while training and competing. Examples of effective plyometric exercises for your legs include box jumps, depth jumps, lateral hops and long jumps. Do these exercises two to three times per week, progressively increasing the intensity with each training session.

“Essentials of Athletic Injury Management”; William Prentice and Daniel Arnheim; 2008 “NSCA’s Essentials of Personal Training”; Roger Earle and Thomas Baechle; 2004 Sports Fitness Advisor: Isometric Exercises and Static Strength Training

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