I'm 68-years old and have put off getting a total knee replacement for at least five years. Now my leg is weak and I've lost muscle bulk. Is there anything I can do to get my strength back once the new knee is in place?

An exercise program is always part of the rehab plan after total knee replacements (TKRs). A physical therapist will work with you to get your motion and strength back. An exercise program is a good idea before the operation. However, most patients are in too much pain to carry it out on a regular basis.

A recent study from the Biomechanics and Movement Science Program in Delaware added electrical stimulation to the rehab program. They found exercise and neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) together gave an even better result. Quadriceps muscle function improved quickly in the first three weeks of treatment. Patients were followed for six months and still showed good results.

Ask your therapist about using NMES for you. Mention the article by physical therapist, Dr. Jennifer Stevens on NMES after TKR. It's in the January 2004 issue of the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine.