This exercise (quad set) is paramount to getting re-gaining active control your quadriceps muscles, which is the muscle on the front of your thigh. After an injury (which includes surgery), there is lots of swelling in the knee that accumulates. This swelling leads to a phenomena called arthrogenic inhibition, in which there is an inability to completely contract a muscle despite no injury to the muscle or innervating nerve. To combat this, lots of practice and developing a new “brain-body connection” is required.
HOW: Follow this foolproof guide to wake your quad back up! Laying on the ground or on a table, place a rolled-up towel/shirt under your knee. This will act as a lever which will make it easier to activate your quadriceps muscle. Attempt to lift your heel off the ground by squeezing your quadriceps muscle until your knee is fully straight. return to starting position and repeat
FEEL: Really focus on squeezing your quad. Sometimes touching the muscle, massaging it, or hitting it can help. Think about moving your kneecap up and into your hip socket. Push your knee down into the towel roll. Move your shin bone in the shape of a “J” by moving your knee down and your heel up at the same time. Squeeze both quadriceps at the same time to improve the quality of the quad contraction.
COMPENSATION: Do not lift your entire leg off the towel/shirt, focus on getting your knee fully straight similar to the other side.