How to Increase Knee Range of Motion AFTER Knee Surgery?

How to increase knee range of motion AFTER Knee Surgery is a dilemma many knee pain sufferers struggle with after a knee surgery when the patient isn’t able to return to full extension and flexion in the knee joint. Most doctors and physical therapists will point to scar tissue as being the main cause of of limited range of motion (ROM). However, is that the entire truth? Can there be other factors NOT looked at by the conventional medical model preventing an increase in knee range of motion?

One of the most common questions I’ve gotten over the past 25 years.

“Bill, how do I increase the range of motion in my knees?”

Conventional thinking is the knee joint must be stretched to either break down scar tissue or lengthen tight muscles like the quads, calves or hamstrings.

When we want to increase knee range of motion after knee surgery, conventional thinking is to “push” the knee past it’s current range of motion. Many physical therapists will have their patients on their back or stomach on an examination table trying to push the “heel to the butt.”

Most of the time this will cause a tremendous amount of pain and the patient will limp out of a physical therapy session in more pain than when walked in.

This may work for some however, there is a percentage of patients that can’t deal with this level physical discomfort. Many times the traumatic experience in the PT’s office will make the patient less likely to want to come back.

The problem of limited range of motion in the knee still exists and the patient will continue to look for answers from their doctor. There are still 2 options the doctor can offer:

1.) A MUA, manipulation under anesthesia. This is where the patient is rendered unconscious during the procedure so as NOT to feel pain and resist the doctor. Here the doctor forces the range of motion in the knee while the can’t engage their neurology.


2.) Surgery to remove the scar tissue: In this procedure, the patient is also rendered unconscious and the doctor performs surgery to remove any scar tissue build up in the knee joint.

Both of these procedures can be quite traumatic to the patient and on the other end there is no guarantee of an increase in knee range of motion.

Is this really the best to be done for someone struggling to increase knee range of motion after a knee surgery?

I submit to you this is absolutely NOT the case!

In order for better options to present themselves, we must begin to look at how the body works differently. As a result, a different understand will emerge on how the body is able to heal itself if given the right conditions to do so.

There’s Actually Two Types of Range of Motion in the Knees:

1.) Anatomical Range of Motion

2.) Comfortable Range of Motion

The anatomical knee range of motion is what most people are familiar with and doctors and physical therapists measure progress in the knee. Which a common knee range of motion in the measures from 0 degrees in extension to 150 degrees in flexion.

They even have a fancy schmancy tool called a goniometer to measure the degree knee range of motion in the joint.

Unfortunately, what’s never taken into consideration by doctors and physical therapists is whether or not the knee hurts in that range of motion.

Now let’s look at the comfortable knee range of motion. This is the range of motion the knee can easily move in without help, force or increase in pain in the joint.

The comfortable knee range of motion is usually contained within the anatomical knee range of motion. Here’s the cool part about the comfortable knee range of motion. The more we create “Pain-Pattern Interrupts” in the comfortable knee range of motion the more the comfortable range of motion increases.

Given enough time, energy and effort creating “Pain-Pattern Interrupts” in the comfortable knee range of motion. The comfortable knee range of motion eventually matches the anatomical knee range of motion. The reason this happens is when you create a “Pain-Pattern Interrupt” in the knee by getting the pressure off of the nerves the width of an eyelash. The knee feels safe, supported and listened to enough to stop “hold on” and protecting the knee from further injury.

This is a distinction that must be studied and worked a little bit every day to completely eliminate chronic knee pain and to regain complete knee range of motion.

Click here to learn how to create “Pain-Pattern Interrupts” and increase the comfortable knee range of motion today!

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I am 53 male. I had ACL replaced with patella tendon, and torn meniscus when I was 21. I am now doing BJJ. I can’t sit fully on my feet. My range stops about 2 inches from my feet. Is it ok to constantly put pressure to force the range of motion, or is there another way to close the gap. Thanks

Major Chumley III

Hey Bill, I am 39 years old and I am 5 weeks post-op from patellar tendon rupture. I and here because I am looking to get Full ROM back and be able to play my sport again. Would/ could your program help me with that? And if so which one would you recommend?


Hi Bill,
My wife is 6 mo PO TPF and meniscus repair surgery. Her ROM is about 125, but she is slowing in her gains. She was 150 pre injury. Are there some good home exercises to get above 130 degrees, and assume gains can be made out to 2yr PO with consistent work.

David Collins

Hi I was involved in an accident 12 years ago which left me paralysed from the chest down Unfortunately I have let myself go these last few years and my legs have become stuck in the sitting position not sure of the degrees Now they have begun to cause me a lot of pain and discomfort and now I never leave my bed because of the pain Can you please help me with some advice on how I can get my legs to straighten out again as I am trying to get my life back for the sake of my… Read more »

Rochelle M.

Hello. 2 months ago, I wa hit by a car and my knee was severely dislocated. I ended up tearing my ACL, PCL, PLC and Meniscus in my right knee. My left knee also tore ACL and PCL. I have been using crutches and 2 braces since the accident. 3 weeks ago, I had surgery onnmy right knee. 3 days ago was the first time, I was allowed to bend my knee. I was only at 30 degrees the first day. Today, I’m closer to 50 degrees. My PT has been taking it very very slow and I’m concerned that… Read more »


Hi Rochelle,

I just came across this post and am I’m a very similar situation as you. I was hit by a car three months ago. Right knee was a torn ACL, MCL, LCL, PCL, Meniscus, IT band and tibial plateau fracture. Left knee is a torn ACL and MCL.

How are you doing today?

Rahul Chauhan

I am Rahul -28 yrs old. I have gone through tibial plateau fracture surgery 45 days ago. In this span have got 45 degree of rom . Is it normal , as doctors have adviced that there is only 8 weeks from the day of operation to get rom after that the leg won’t bend. Please guide.

vincenza perriano

full knee replacement going on 7 weeks now. Cant bend knee help

Alice Maier

I had knee replacement surgery then knee manipulation to break the hardened scar tissue. This resulted in a broken femur. I have limited range of motion and surgeon advises against revision surgery due to risk. Can your program get me to 90 degrees range of motion?

Tiana Gray

Hey I’m 26. I’ve had surgery in June for range on my knee but I’ve been stuck at a 80 can you please guide me on how I can guide more range please


Hello, I am 22 years old and had ACL and MCL torn. Post surgery i had intensive physical therapy but without much progress in ROM. Surgeon performed manipulation under anaesthesia and my comfortable range of motion was 95 after 3months. Now it is 1 year post surgery and my range of motion is still at 95 even after rigorous physical therapy. My surgeon thinks that neither surgery nor manipulation at this point in time could help me in getting full ROM. Is there any program that can help me ? Thanks.


Hi.dr iam kanwal I have a knee arthroscopy last week but my knee range of notion is still on 90 dgree please guid me well how can I achive more range.

Mike Wagner

I am 56 years old and had total knee replacement 11 months ago. My range of motion pre-surgery was around 125 degrees. 3 months post surgery my range of motion was 118 degrees. I had a “manipulation” under anesthesia three months post surgery to try to get more ROM. My replaced knee seems to be fine as long as I do not bend it more than 90 degrees. Even after 11 months, it is still a bit swollen on the anterior side, and I have pain if I try to bend the leg beyond 90 degrees. I can get to… Read more »

Sheila Diaz

Hello, I fractured my right patella in 2 and had surgery (2 screws and a wire) to fix it about 3 months ago. Patella is healed. I have no restrictions to movement or weight bearing. I have full extension, but am stuck at about 80-90 degrees flexion. My surgeon wants to do MUA but I’d rather not. Knee does not hurt or bother me unless I try to push it past that 80-90 degrees. Can your program help increase ROM even though I’m not in constant pain? I tried the stretch from the 7 day knee challenge but it didn’t… Read more »

Mai Pham

Hi Bill, I had knee cap (patella) fractured 8 weeks ago. Doctor decided no surgery and put my leg in the hinged brace to heal. I was out of the brace 2 weeks ago and have started PT. My range motion was 95 degree at the beginning of PT and now 140 at the therapist’s pressing. I practice walking normally but I can do only few steps. After that the knee just tightened up and I begin dragging. I have to do stand-still marching to be able to do a few normal steps then dragging again. Please advise any exercise… Read more »


I had knee surgery where they had to re line my pattela (kneecap) and put medal screw to hold it in place and I had the surgery in December 2017 and It’s 2018 of course and the date is june 25th and I can only be s my knee 100 degrees and it won’t allow me to go further it’s like my body won’t allow me too ad I used to play track and soccer and I know I won’t be able to play soccer but I at least wann all do track I loved running I would run everyday… Read more »


Hi! Please reply I am desperate. I am 16 years old. I had a surgery Sept 2016, to lengthen my leg and rotate my knee back into place. I had a case of knock knees. I had an ilizarov placed on my leg, one on the femur bone and one on the tibia. I had them removed on March 2017, and only have been able to gain 100 degrees passively. Around November 2017, my doctor told my I won’t be needing to go to phsyio anymore as my range of motion was stable at 100 for a couple of months,… Read more »

Burt Silver

I’ve been having pain in my knee and I’m not sure if small exercises can help me get rid of that pain, and I’m not sure what I can do. I think it’s interesting that you point out those two different types of range of motion in the knees. I’m not sure what’s going on but it’s been hard to put any stress on it lately. I’ll have to look into meeting a doctor and see if I’ll need surgery on it or not.


What do u think am I behind at 75 after 2weeks


Hey I tore my ACL pcl MCL LCL and dislocated my knee and fractured my tibula and fibula I was in a fixator for 5 weeks I started physio 2 weeks range is 75 is that good or should I be worried


I feel good but my pt says I should be at 90 degrees now. I just feel like I’m behind in degrees




Hi, I had MPFL reconstruction just over 4 weeks ago. My surgeon wanted me at 90 degrees by 3 weeks. I can’t even get 10. My knee is really hard around the scar (around 7 inches down the middle of my knee cap). And I’m finding it so hard to even do any physio. Do you have any tips to regain any form of movement?

Danum Waters

I’d like a simple “yes” or “no” before I even read further. I am 52. When I was 23, I was in crash. I made more or less 100% recovery, even after breaking and severing three limbs, traction, relearning to walk, and the declined suggestion of amputation. I went on to gain a health national ranking (3rd) for my class. I’m now an active yachting instructor. But for late evening limp, and the scars on my right shin, nobody would suppose how much damage I recovered from. I broke my left femur, and degloved my right leg below the knee.… Read more »

Amit Kumar

I had accident on 23 march 2016 and had a surgery with plates and k wire in kee petella…My petella was broken into 3 pieces…Nd femer was also damaged…After that i had arthoscopy surgery in september 2016 and another surgery for removal of plates and k wire in june 2017… I am having physiotherapy regularly..But am not vale to get my ROM …Now I am having range 10-45 degree… after doing exercise I get 90 degree approx but it is not maintained…flexibility is not there in ROM..Plzzz help

Barry Harrison

Advice urgently please. Three weeks ago I fall off my bike from a jump. Severe bruising to the thigh and calf plus a few days later plenty of fluid built up and remains. I am from the UK but the NHS wont give advice over the phone. I will go and see a GP here in Morocco but I am not that confident. He’s likely to suggest fluid removal, is this a good idea please? Range of movement is increasing. I think I suffered nerve damage and whilst still painful to the touch, it is decreasing. It doesn’t hurt to… Read more »

Barry Harrison

Hi Bill

He said nothing wrong internally and once the fluid has gone ROM will improve. He has told me to use ice as this will help remove he fluid. He has also prescribed a tablet called Dazen and said this will help remove the fluid. Not sure about that though. FYI there is a lot of fluid and he thinks its made up of blood and whatever the fluid is you get in your knee. The information was limited as I dont speak Arabic.

Thanks so much for the help.


Went through ACL and dual meniscus repair about 8 weeks ago. Currently at 119 deg R.O.M with machine assistance, and only about 100 +/-5 R.O.M unassisted. What is usually the recovery time for full R.O.M and how long can I expect usually before I can return to competing/fighting and events like Tough Mudders and Spartan Races?


I had total knee replacement 10 weeks ago and a manipulation under anesthesia 7 days ago. I still can’t get complete range of motion. I’m at about 80 flexion and -10 extension. So frustrating. Is there a program you recommend in addition to my PT to get me back up, walking correctly, and using the stairs?


My son (11 years old) had a eight plate surgery, after the surgery (done 3 months ago) he has lost range of motion, so much so that he can’t climb up and down stairs or run, can you help improve his range?


I’m 6 weeks out out tkr. I went from 55* rom bending my knee to 73* in just the last three weeks. I seem to be short of the 90* my doctor expects at this time frame. I do PT three times a week and 3 times a day at home I go through my bending and straightening exercises. PT has brought up the idea that my doctor may need to bend my knee under anesthesia. I don’t want to go this route since it will set me back again with PT. In your experience is six weeks enough healing… Read more »

Wanda Hernandez

7 month post op bend only 90 degress extend -20so massive scar tissue that’s for email

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